Here are a Few Important Tips I’ve Learned on Packing and Moving…

As we’re winding down the last week before we close on the sale of our 100 year old house, and the purchase of our next house, we’ve been packing and moving stuff into storage. The new place we’re buying, a mid 1970’s house, will need an extensive renovation, so most of it will not be lived in during that time… (there is a small basement apartment that we will be living in during the renovation) but for the most part, 95% of our stuff is going into storage.

On a side note, it’s a funny thing how ‘stuff‘ a/k/a/ ‘worldly possessions‘ sometimes referred to as ‘family heirlooms‘ ever so quickly becomes ‘junk‘ once the weeks progress into 100’s of boxes being packed and your vision is blurred with more shelves of stuff and closets still full that you had completely forgotten about, and then the thought of the basement shelves still needing to be emptied pop into your head! Junk! It’s all junk! (not to mention the sneaking thought that we perhaps could be candidates for that hoarding show…) Seriously, how do we accumulate so much stuff?!!

All of that really leads into the first major packing tip I have for you. It’s a tip my mother told me many years ago. When it’s time to start packing to move, always start with the most precious, most breakable items you own. When our energy, both physically and mentally are highest, we care about how carefully things are packed… by the end, if you’re like me, you might be willing to give it to anyone that will come and get it, just so you don’t have to pack another box of stuff you forgot you even owned!

The next tip is to get your packing supplies ahead of time, and be prepared… you’ll use more boxes than you can imagine! Yikes, I think I must be at something like 600 boxes and counting! I don’t know, I haven’t counted them… I may need a therapist if I do the actual count. When most everything is going into storage for several months, pretty much everything needs to be boxed and wrapped. I have loved using Home Depot for getting packing supplies from. The site to store online saves me so much time. I pick out what I need and get it ordered and then they have it already pulled and ready for me. Love that! I way underestimated the number of boxes and wrap, but that’s OK, it’s easy to order more and swing by and pick it up as the packing progresses.

Another tip is that what they refer to as the ‘small’ packing boxes at Home Depot are the probably going to be the right size. A few large items that are light weight and need a ‘medium’ size box will be necessary, but be careful because they get heavy. In fact, even the small boxes filled up get heavy quickly. It’s much more difficult to handle heavy boxes carefully… I have a lot of glassware and breakables, careful handling is key.

I do have a few favorite packing supplies: (see links at the end of this post) The small boxes as I mentioned: Tips for packing and moving

packing tape with the easy tear dispenser for securing those boxes, (I used some leftover Office Max packing tape as well): Tips on Packing and Moving

large green rolls of bubble wrap that has easy tear perforations every 12″: Tips on Packing and Moving

rolls of plain newsprint paper, (no black newsprint ink stains from this!): Tips for packing and moving

and the heavy duty construction clean up bags, (these puppies are super duper strong for linens, towels and pillows): Tips for packing and moving

Here’s a tip, that will prevent much sadness when you unpack your art… When you take down framed artwork and set it to be packed, always place it face to face & back to back. Get what I mean? Don’t place it with the back of the art to the face of the next one… or you will risk the possibility of the hanging brackets on the back of the frame scratching the front of the next frame it’s resting on. So, face to face and back to back. (This one I learned the hard way, and it was very sad to me the day I realized I scratched the set of vintage Currier and Ives frames I have from my grandmother, because I set them back to face!)

Here is how I’ve been packing the framed art:

I loosely measure the width around the prints and double it plus some, (to cover front and back of print, allow thickness for sides and have a little extra for overlapping to tape shut) For large prints, I lay 2 widths of bubble wrap slightly overlapping: Tips on Packing and Moving

With super large, heavy pictures, I only do a single picture per ‘package’… But with lighter, smaller pictures, I layer 2 or 3 together. However, a layer of bubble wrap needs to go in between each print, and always still obeying my rule of front to front and back to back: Tips on Packing and Moving

I make sure I have extra bubble wrap hanging off all 4 sides so that the entire outside edges of the frame is cushioned: Tips on Packing and Moving

After all, the edge of the frame is what is going to get the brunt of the move…

They will set on their edges during the hauling and storage and re-hauling back to new house… edges need to be cushioned for sure!

Here you can see how I wrapped the large print with the 2 widths of bubble wrap: Tips on Packing and Moving

I’d like to say 10 pictures down, 100 to go: Tips on Packing and Moving

But that is actually probably underestimating the number of prints, painting and artwork that were filling the walls of this 3-story 100 year old house!!

I have one more tip for packing and moving, and this one is huge! Don’t be afraid to get help! I hired 2 young gals, one in high school and the other fresh out of college to help me pack and move boxes. That single thing probably saved my sanity! Any huge, daunting task seems so much more manageable when we have someone else making progress on it too. This one single tip was a game changer. But that’s also why it was so important to have the packing supplies ready and waiting. When you’ve got people to pack, you certainly don’t want to hold up the progress because you don’t have the supplies.

So back to packing… really, it’s almost all finished for now… then we renovate the basement apartment, move the 5% of our things into it and live there while we renovate the rest of the house. Our kids are all grown, so it’s just my husband and me doing all this house hopping… if we still had children living with us, I don’t think we would be doing this. We believed that offering stability for our children is key in giving them the best skills for coping and developing. Not to say we never moved when they were little, but only a couple times, and with several years in between. But now we’re footloose and fancy free, so we’re having fun with these renovation projects! (hahaha… I’m sure my husband is reading this right now and wondering who the ‘we’ is I’m talking about. Ok, so he’s not as keen on seeing the ‘fun’ in renovating as I am, but he’s 100% on board with it. I just wanted that in writing for when it gets hard… and it will… all renovations have their hardships)  I hope you’re as excited as I am to show you the new house and my plans for it!! Think: ‘boring-1970’s-ranch-turned-Colonial-Revival-Cottage’… 😉

Here are the links for the packing supplies I found most useful:

Here are more closet and storage ideas:

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Reader Interactions


  1. Donnamae says

    I don’t envy you…and yet I do! We purged a lot last spring…took a break over the summer, but it’s time to get started again. I’m curious to see how you remodel your 70’s home! Enjoy your weekend! ?

  2. Lynnie says

    I had put myself to bed just reading about this move???….you’re killin ‘me!…good tips.. Fun to read from my prone position. .

  3. Eunie says

    Love your Posts Liz! My folks always said a move was as good as a fire……..for the amount of stuff that got sorted and pitched!! ?
    Can’t wait to see the new place. It will be amazing I’m sure.

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