Liquor stores and supermarkets are a great place to get free boxes. Call ahead and they are usually very happy for you to take them off your hands. Some stores put out there boxes for trash pickup on certain days. Find out which days and get there early.
Lamp Shades, Light bulbs, and Shelves
All good movers know to take these off for a safer move, but you can save yourself time by having them all boxed up when your movers arrive. Also the inserts that shelves sit on can wiggle loose and get lost in a move so it is a good idea to take these out and pack in a Ziploc baggie.
30 lb Rule
Always keep boxes under 50 lbs and if you can under 30 lbs. This will make your move faster, make unpacking easier, and keep your belongings safe in their boxes instead of breaking through the cardboard.
2 Inch Rule
Fragile items should have 2 inches of peanuts, newspaper, foam, etc. between packed items and the box.
Box Inside of Box
No matter how much care your movers take and how good well they pack the truck, the boxes will vibrate and experience minor shifting while traveling. If you have important, super delicate items, pack them with the 2 inch rule, then pack that box in a bigger box with padding surrounding it. This is tedious but will ensure nothing gets broken no matter how bumpy the ride!
Before disconnecting your electronics snap a quick picture of the connections to make hooking them back up easier. Also makes a fun learning challenge for kids. Another option is colored tape to code cords to connections on electronics.
Comforters, Bedding, and Pillows
These are the light items that large boxes are meant for, but also these items can be placed in kitchen or larger garbage bags. Not only will this take up less space, and cost less than buying large boxes, but these soft bags can be used as extra padding for electronics, sculptures, TVs, paintings, and other fragile items when packing the truck.
2-3 months prior to your move, start packing belongings you will not need. If possible, downsize by eliminating unwanted items either by having a garage sale or donations. Also think about the cost of replacement vs. the cost of moving for inexpensive items. This will save you time and money on your move and make unpacking easier too.
“Open First” Boxes
Especially for kitchen and bathrooms, make “open first” boxes with essential items you use a lot or will need first. This can be fun for kids, help them be part of the move, and help them transition to a new home faster. Have them help pack and un-pack an “open first” box for their room with favorite book, stuffed animals, pillows, PJs, etc. For extensive moves, a numbering system can refine this idea: 2’s on “open next,” 3’s next, and so on.
Always mark the top and at least one side of a box so when they are stacked you can find the box you are looking for when unpacking. You can also color code boxes with tape, stickers, or permanent markers. This will save your movers time reading labels if they can just look quickly for color and know red is the kitchen, blues is the master bedroom, etc.