Moving house can be a stressful business. Often emotional, invariably time-consuming and expensive, it’s always a major operation. Time and money tend to be in short supply. However, when it comes to packing up your home ahead of a move, there are several things you can do to save yourself a bit of both.

First of all, do not underestimate the size of the task. Allow yourself enough time to do a thorough job, and put a bit of thought and planning into it. The first step is to decide what stays and what goes – it’s just a waste to pack up and ship things you no longer need. Before you even pack the first box, have a thorough clear-out. Throw away stuff you don’t need or want, or donate it to the goodwill store or friends or family.

You’ll need to decide whether you want to do the packing yourself or to pay someone else to do it. Clearly you save a lot of money by doing your own packing. If you’re moving from a larger home and running out of time, maybe friends or neighbors can give you a hand?

Obvious though it sounds, have everything you need on hand before you make a start. That includes, of course, packing boxes, but also labels, sticky tape, scissors and bubble wrap. Many Internet companies do package deals where you get everything you need in one order for a reasonable price.

You may not have to buy cardboard boxes. Beg or borrow them from friends, neighbors, family or your place of work. Or ask a local store. Start collecting them, maybe in twos or threes, in the days and weeks ahead of your move. Pack up one room at a time, not starting a fresh room until you’re done in the last one. Try and tackle non-essential items first – such as winter clothing if you’re moving in the summer.

Labelling is important, and you can save money by printing out your own labels from your home computer. Each box should be clearly labelled with its contents, where it should go in the new home, and any special handling instructions. Put labels on the front and side of each box. This saves time when you get to your new place – you won’t be rummaging around 10 different boxes to find a can opener.

Pack boxes sensibly without overloading. This is all too easily done, especially with heavy items such as books. Burst boxes and damaged things are just a waste of time and money all round. Stack boxes properly so that those of a similar size are piled together. This makes loading that removal van much easier and quicker.


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