Speaking from experience there is nothing worse then bad packing. Last time we moved we thought "how hard can this moving thing be?!". combine that with 2 small children, parents who work 7 days a week between them and no one on the scene to babysit and actually it becomes a pretty big challange.
We bought loads of those huge re-useable bags from Tesco, Hobbycraft and other various locations and, along with lots of nappy boxes basically stuffed them to the top with books.
Then we got loads of re-usable plastic crates and filled them with anything we could find as we went along.
There was no method to the 'packing', no consideration of where it'll go the other end (I labelled a couple of boxes) in fact there was no planning went into anything.
Clothes were pretty much left on hangers and dumped in a corner to go.
lampshades, lights, and anything to big for a box well they landed in another pile.
Then hubby told me a week before we got the keys that he couldn't get the day off work to help me move house! But it was ok because he had around 5 friends and our neighbours to help (one who had a van).
So on the day of the move (with no one in sight) I set off with the boys to get the keys ..... and wait for someone to come and help move. (but anyway that's another story in itself) Lets just say moving day (which turned into moving week) was a complete and utter disaster and had me crying in many many corners. Had the packing been done properly it would have been a far smoother operation.
To pack or not to pack, that is the question.
Perhaps the biggest decision to take when moving is whether you will be packing yourself or having an inclusive removal package that does it for you.
With our moving day so up in the air we had no choice but to pack ourselves (thank you Big Yellow Self Storage).
If you decide to go with an inclusive deal it's worth remembering that if you want to pack some things before the move they will probably provide you with some boxes in advance. However some removal companies will not insure these boxes in transit. so make sure to check this out. If you are moving yourself then check if your own household insurance covers breakages.
When to pack?
If you are packing yourself it is sooo important to start as early as possible. Whilst the professionals may make it seem a piece of cake ... it isn't. Especially if you are sensibly decluttering as you go.
Items that you don’t need on a daily basis can be packed up well in advance. Obviously leave the kids some toys but pack others.
I found these small boxes from Poundland were fantastic for kids toys as you can put one collection in each one and then if needed if can come out and be returned easily.
Small and Medium boxes from Big Yellow Storage Solutions are really useful for storing books away, just leave the favourites out or a enough chapter books for older children for the time left before moving. These can easily be put in a carrier bag in 'misc' box on the day of the move.
I also packed most of the kitchen leaving just 4 of everything (as we weren't planning on entertaining) last week then it's a few less to bubble wrap nearer the date. Make sure to box it well with plenty of wrapping and mark as "Fragile".
It may help to dismantle furniture as you go along. Once the book cases were emptied we took those to pieces. If you have large pieces of furniture and they will go in the van in one piece leave them up to make things easier. Make sure you have duvet covers/ blankets etc to cover them well in transit.
Pack room by room - and label
Clearly label each box with details of what they contain and the room it needs to go in at the new house. This will make things easier to put boxes in the correct room straight away when emptying the van and when you’re unpacking in your new home, (or need to find that essential item you have packed in error)
How you label is up to you, personally mine say "craft", "toys" or "books" and that's enough for me. However I know of other people who will happily list every single item that is in the box.
Don't forget to label Fragile boxes clearly.
Pack heavier items in smaller boxes, save the larger ones for lighter items. But use some common sense. For example we have hundreds and hundreds of ball pool balls, last time we transported them in bin liners but you can imagine this was quite a lot, so by using one of the larger boxes I was able to fit them all in one.
Get the whole family involved. Let children pack their own toys. It will keep them involved when you’re packing your own belongings and will distract them from the upheaval of moving home.
I've written about this in plenty more detail here.
If you are packing kitchen knives, scissors or other cutting tools, these should be carefully wrapped up so that they won’t puncture the box or cause injury when you’re unpacking.
Clothes and blankets can be packed in suitcases, you need to transport them anyway. Make sure to keep one each for toiletries and clothes for a few days until you have had time to unpack properly and build the wardrobes/ chest of drawers.
Pack paint, bleach and aerosols, in a separate box and keep them away from the rest of your stuff.
Pack an 'essentials' box.
Pack an 'essentials' box for the first night in your new home and take it with you so it's the first thing in the house. Fill it with: coffee, tea, snacks, cups and a kettle - you will need it!!! Torches, first aid kit basics, pain killers, pencil and paper and a small tool kit are also useful. Consider adding plates, utensils and a kitchen cloth. Although all I ever want to do on the first night in a new house is order takeaway! Ohh and toilet roll!!
Prepare an overnight bag for everyone in the family (see above),
Try not to move wet clothes, they will be weighty, if you don't have time to dry them then consider moving a bin bag of dirty laundry.
Pack the kids toys onto the van last to give them something to unpack the other end while you are moving boxes in and out the house.
Keep important document like passports, birth and marriage certificates together so you don't need to hunt for them when required.
Whilst you're not going to pack this as such you do need to make sure to defrost a couple of days before moving.
When taking items to pieces secure them together and keep all nuts and bolts together in a self seal bag. Be sure to label the pieces so you know how to reassemble it at the other end!
WARNING: Be careful how to keep these items together. Last time the husband used brown parcel tape - which took all the paint off when we took it off the other end!!
Have I missed anything??