Box Staging Ground. Yes it’s my dining room, isn’t it always?

How to Pack Like a Professional

Packing is something I literally have not done in over 10 years. Seriously. The last move, I was sick so my husband was in charge, much to our detriment. The previous move I hired packers. Because I just had to. And frankly if you’ve got the money — and it’s close to what you’ll pay for the actual movers — it’s worth it. If you don’t? Well then welcome to my world and read on to find out the best way to do it.

Enlisting Child Laborers

Now that I’m pushing 50 I can’t believe I’m contemplating packing on my own. But needs must. Now I’ve got three young workers to help me. When the box kit arrived from U-Haul, I was disappointed by the amount of book boxes they gave us. Like 6? These are tiny boxes and we’ve got a lot of books. Especially the 5 year old. A. LOT. OF. BOOKS. I put all these boxes together before the kids got home. Plus a big box for Sam’s stuffed animals. They got excited. We’ll see how long the allure lasts before I’m throwing their crap into boxes on February 28th.

One of my “child laborers”

You Don’t Have to Leave the Fragiles to the Movers

I’ve always heard you should let your movers pack the valuables or they won’t be liable for them. I learned during one of my estimates that even if the fragiles are reasonably packed that most places will still cover them for breakage. I also learned that lots of time and money is wasted having the movers move your pictures and lamps. Since we are literally moving around the corner to the next street over, we will be moving our pictures and lamps on our own.

Forget the Movers and Use U-Haul

I think we’re going to be doing this. I’ll let you know how the reality is. But the frugal girl inside of me just can’t resist paying $100 bucks for a truck and $100 an hour for two guys to move the stuff. Especially since we’re only moving around the corner. Just seems ridiculous to have to pay 3,000 bucks for such a local move. The moving company’s estimated 8 hours and 4 guys which probably makes sense and as we get closer to D-Day. Although the moving company charges the same for labor, they also charge the same hourly rate for the truck, which seems a little steep. We don’t actually have to be out of the house until the 15th, so we’re going to move the week before, so I guess that will give us some wiggle room if our two helpers don’t pan out.

Start With Your Books

My tidy bedroom with the books packed up. So much quicker to pack a tidy room!

The same way I started with the books in my 5 year old’s room, I suggest you start with books. They don’t need any protection, you’re not using them everyday and you’ll feel accomplished once you’re done. And if you have more than a couple of bookshelves, or a 5 year old, you’re going to need twice as many book boxes than U-Haul will provide you in one of their kits. We ended up using their small boxes as I know they’re not that much bigger, plus they’ll actually fit photo albums and kids’ books.

Next Up: Do Your Fragiles: Tchotchkes, Fine China, Glassware, Crystal

First of all this is not something you want to leave till the last minute. You want to take a lot of time to insure that your fragile valuables — whether sentimental or financial — are protected. So doing it after you’re feeling accomplished but have some time to do it, is a good idea. Plates and glasses are easiest so start with those as you’ll feel accomplished and can then tackle the hard part.

U-Haul has special dishes and glassware boxes and dish packers which made packing them a breeze. I’ve also watched and unpacked enough fragiles in my Pixie work to know that all you really need is a helluva lot of newspaper wrap. That’s not actual newspapers unless you want to have inky hands at the end of the day. Unfortunately the U-Haul pack only came with one box, although Sam got busy making elaborate games out of all the moving stuff so maybe it’s hidden in my box staging area. They did have a lot of bubble wrap, but like I said with over 5 moves with the best movers our the New York City tri-state area, Aristocrat Moving, you don’t need bubble wrap.

Use a single sheet to make a ball of paper and put a nice layer of bedding at the bottom of a box, and then wrap the crap out of your fragile…place delicately in the box and then fill the empty space between fragiles with more “popcorn” paper. Sam liked to do this for me, and when my basketball throws into the box would fail, she’d get the rebound for me. And yes so far, the 15 year old has packed her books, the 12 year old has one book in a box, and the now 6 year old, Sam has filled one extra large box with all of her stuffed animals. Another reason to not feel bad about throwing out stuffed animals that you don’t like. She doesn’t really miss them.


Change your linens and then pack whatever’s in the linen closet. It’s an easy one and a good bet for those extra large boxes. You’ll need it, especially if you’ve got a mattress pad or two. They take up a lot of space! I haven’t done it yet, but only because I carried those ridiculously large wardrobe boxes upstairs so I put them together first and threw my clothes in there. It’s pretty much the same skill set, and almost the same size boxes.


I don’t know how all movers do this. Aristocrat had their own wardrobe boxes because they are definitely reusable. In fact I got four from my pack which leaves about one for my 15 year old and none for my husband, but he doesn’t have a lot of hanging clothes right now so it should be okay. Also I’m not a clothes horse, so definitely allot yourself at least three wardrobe boxes for yourself. U-Haul has other wardrobe boxes besides the Grand Wardrobe box and it might make sense to think about using other ones to supplement these four ones. I will definitely be making a trip to U-Haul next week for more boxes.

Doing this a couple of weeks before your move will also remind you that you don’t need to keep as many clothes in your closet as you are. Yes it’s winter so putting summer clothes in the boxes is a no brainer. Plus all the pageant dresses my 15 year old wants to keep for posterity, ugh. (One day when I’m beyond old and grey I’ll talk her into moving them into her attic, or she’ll finally come to her senses and get rid of them!) But there are a lot of clothes that you don’t wear and this is a good time to dump them. What you don’t care about for the next two to three weeks is a good indicator that they’re clothes that are on their way out of your mind…and out of your closet.


I’ve been waiting to do this because. Ugh. After I do the linens there will be nothing left, except to attack my kids’ rooms when they ultimately prove their unworth as “child laborers”. Organic Freedoms aren’t really good at instilling discipline in their children. I’ve already gotten the six year old’ room packed up but I’m holding out hope for the older ones. I could say that I will treat the toys as fragiles, but I won’t. There are. Too. Many. Toys. But it will feel good to get them all into boxes that my six year old can’t get into. I’ll leave all the toys in the living room until the day before and I’m sure she’ll help me pack those up. She likes to help when she’s around and I’m doing it.

Pictures and Lamps

The moving guy told me that lamps and pictures were expensive to move. I’m not sure why, but it’s because they need to be packed separately in their own box. So I might just take mine over to the new house in the car. But if you’re not so lucky as to be moving around the corner, then use the boxes that U-Haul uses to send you their boxes as picture boxes. They’re perfect! And I’d use the bubble wrap on them before you put them in the box. Smaller frames you can use paper on and put them in a regular box, just make sure they won’t be moving around in there and that the glass is protected.

The Kitchen

It’s the first room we unpack and its the LAST room we pack. And ideally you can start packing the deep storage stuff the week of your move, paring down to the real essentials the closer to D-day. It should be down to an economy kitchen the night before the move! Make sure to get extra dish packing material as it will come in handy.

Pillows & Bedding & Other Odds and Ends

We don’t just mean the pillows you lie your head on. Throw pillows and any pillow that won’t be kept inside a moving blanket should go in a box. Odds and ends would be things like the laundry sorter in my basement, or the massively large doll house I’ve got that I’m sure I will put off doing until I see how many boxes I’ve got left. But it’s very large so I think I’ll consider having them throw a blanket over it. I remember needing my mom to help me carry it over to the table the Christmas I assembled it.

You can empty all your drawers if you want to do a clear out, but at this point if you haven’t thrown it out, don’t feel guilty. Movers use plastic wrap to keep your drawers in their dressers, or alternatively they take the drawers out and  wrap the clothes inside of them. You can do the same. And if you have Jewelry bulletin boards? You can plastic wrap them in place and move them.

Well that’s all I can think of. I’ve gotten a reprieve myself. We don’t actually have to move until the 15th and since I was going the U-Haul route, I can reschedule for the week before. It gives us an extra week! Woo hoo! So I will share with you how everything goes on D-Day coming up in March.


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