Which of These Packing Mistakes Are You Making?

1. Forgetting about the first week

It’s likely you’ve heard the advice to keep your essentials handy—but that doesn’t just mean packing an overnight bag with some clothes and your toothbrush. There’s a good chance you won’t get fully unpacked for several days—maybe even weeks. So you’ll want to consider all of the things you might need while you’re in limbo.

Add to your overnight bag other essentials such as toilet paper, towels, first-aid supplies, and anything else you think you might need in the first few days. (Did somebody say “corkscrew”?)

2. Not being proactive

Proactive packing can make the unpacking process much smoother. So what does that really mean? Consider the space you’re moving into: Where will each item go? Where would you like to store your dishes, your extra toilet paper, your winter clothes? Knowing all this ahead of time means you can direct each box to its proper location, instead of dumping them all into a room and sorting them out later.

Think about your junk drawers, too, says Kristen Laxgang, co-founder of Two Girlz Packing in Chicago. Try putting miscellaneous smaller items in labeled Ziploc bags, which “makes for an easier unpack than digging through boxes.”

3. Overloading boxes

There’s a reason book boxes exist—books are heavy, and putting too many in a large cardboard crate guarantees a very rough day of moving.

“It’s just a back-breaker,” says Kelly Petersen, who co-founded Two Girlz Packing alongside Laxgang. “Magazine, books, and records should always be in file boxes or small book boxes.”

For other heavy items, make sure you’re keeping the box’s cumulative weight into account. Packing a full set of dumbbells? Divide them equally among a number of boxes, filling extra space with lightweight items such as pillows and comforters.

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