- go slowly. start a few weeks before moving day by packing items that you don't use regularly (for me, kitchen goods). then work your way towards those items you use on a daily basis (for me, clothes).
- clear a space. make a spot in the corner or along an empty wall where you can begin stacking up packed boxes and furniture pieces that are ready to go. this will give you a visual separation of what is done and what is left to do.
- wash everything. run a few extra loads in the dishwasher and the laundry. you'll be much happier unpacking those wine glasses and spare linens if they're not covered in water marks and cat hair.
- size matters. use a variety of box sizes. lighter things like pillows and blankets are easily carried up and down stairs in one trip packed in larger boxes. but smaller and heavier items like books and kitchen supplies should be packed in smaller, more manageable boxes. it's a bit like Goldilocks... find the box that is just right.
- categorize. i know most people pack "by room", but when you're still renting apartments you really only have a few categories:
- kitchen - everything from pots and pans to cookie cutters to flower vases. most breakables fall into this category. except for some miscellaneous "tchotchkes", probably. and it may sound like a waste, but go get some of those foamy dish sleeves. a co-worker gave me some that she had leftover and man those things are great. time savers and space savers.
- bathroom - if you're like me, this category will probably fit into one box. mostly toiletries and shower organizers.
- linens - keep 'em all together. get some large boxes and pack everything from dish towels to bedspreads.
- clothes and accessories - if you're anything like me, this will take the longest. don't get overwhelmed and pack with the like: scarves, jewelry, sweaters, tanks and tees, pants and shorts. and trust me, invest in a wardrobe moving box - the kind with the metal hanging bar. they range in price from $7 - $12 each and are definitely worth the investment. also, make the most of your duffels and suitcases. if they can move your clothes to you vacation destination, they can sure move them to your new home. they're also great for toting all of your other totes.
- everything else - i'll say it again, pack with the like. i know everyone says "don't pack all your books in one box. it'll be too heavy." that is why I encourage using multiple box sizes. file boxes are perfect for packing books. keep other similar items together also: photos and frames, dvds, records, electronics, papers and files, craft supplies (you have those too, right?), those miscellaneous "tchotchkes" I mentioned previously, etc.
- keep one box open. if there's a spare box lying around, tag it "miscellaneous" and leave it open until the last moment. this will come in handy for cleaning supplies, extension cords and any other items that may have been overlooked.
There you have it. Six no-brainer steps that will simplifying the moving process.
I may not be a professional, but after moving 7 times in 8 years you could say I've gotten the hang of it.