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Common Packing Mistakes

Organizing a move is stressful enough, but improper packing makes it worse. Broken boxes, damaged items, and extra work are just a few of the headaches that can occur. Make sure your move is as smooth as possible by avoiding these common packing mistakes.

Waiting Until the Last Minute

Packing is time consuming. The longer you wait, the more rushed and disorganized it will be, so start as early as you can. A month is ideal, but allow yourself two weeks at minimum. Create a schedule. Set aside 1-2 hours a day to box up a room. Identify which items need to be left out until the end and which can be packed up now. Starting early gives you time to wrap everything properly, so it’s protected during transport. It also gives you the opportunity to sell or donate unwanted items, rather than dump them in the trash.

Using Plastic Bags Instead of Boxes

Plastic bags break more often than any other packing material. Nonetheless, they’re commonly used for all types of items: clothes, bedding, towels, toiletries, food, even furniture sometimes. They’re the go-to for miscellaneous items lying around the house.

But while they’re convenient, plastic bags don’t offer any protection. Items stored in them can easily break or become damaged. They’re unstable; during transit, they can shift and bang into something. Worse, the bag can tear and spill its contents. Keep your stuff safe. Use boxes instead.

Using Old Boxes

Using leftover boxes is an easy way to save money, but it comes with a downside. Old boxes are more likely to break than new ones. What’s more, if they weren’t designed for moving, there’s a chance they’ll crumple if anything’s stacked on top of them. Purchasing new boxes costs a bit more, but they’re far more likely to hold up during the move. Moving boxes are also uniform in size, which makes them easier to load and organize, and more stable when stacked together inside the van.

Not Buying Enough Supplies

Economizing on supplies is another common packing mistake. Boxes, tape, and packing peanuts aren’t expensive, but people often try to get by with less than they need. Packing supplies are designed to keep your belongings safe and secure. Purchase more than you think you’ll need. Odds are you’ll wind up using them, and they’ll save you a lot of money in the end.

Failing to Protect Boxed Items

Boxes get bumped during moves, so make sure you’re prepared. Wrap fragile items in bubble wrap or moving paper before putting them in a box. If there’s empty space in your box, fill it with packing peanuts. Leaving boxes half-full is a common packing mistake. Not only can items jostle against each other inside, an unfilled box can get crushed if something heavy is placed on top.

Overloading Boxes

It’s tempting to fit as many items as you can into a box, but it can lead to serious problems. Overfilled boxes are unstable and difficult to stack. Anything placed on top is more likely to fall off, which can lead to big problems during transit. Worse, packing too many heavy items can cause the box to break open or any handles to tear. Carrying it might even cause back injuries. Keep boxes under 50 pounds. If you don’t have a scale, pick the boxes up before taping them shut. If you can’t lift a box easily, transfer a few items to a different box before sealing.

Not Labeling Boxes

Without a label, the only way to figure out what’s inside a box is to open it up and dig through the contents. Without knowing where each box goes, movers have no choice but to stack them randomly in your new home, which complicates and lengthens the unpacking process. Instead of setting up rooms quickly, hours are spent identifying contents and carrying boxes back and forth across the house. Taking a few moments to add labels when packing saves a lot of unnecessary time and effort in your new home.