Packing with organization in mind
We all want to be that organized packer. The person who is somehow able to fit the entire kitchen into one, reasonably-sized, beautifully-packed box. The person who planned everything so perfectly that unpacking in the new apartment is actually exciting. That person who probably wins every game of Tetris and has never been overwhelmed by the contents of a junk-drawer.
But, since that level of organization is beyond most of us, moving is more often a struggle of Can I squeeze one more pair of socks into that flower vase? andI already donated two bags of clothes, I can’t get rid of anything else!
To top it off, New Yorkers live hectic lives. We don’t have all the time in the world to plan out our move. Most of the time, we’re so happy to have landed that impossible apartment that we’re willing to move in the second our application is approved. Which often means hurried packing and an overall stressful moving day.
Don’t worry. There is a way to pack quickly while also achieving a level of organization that will save you stress and time later. By incorporating just a little bit of intentionality now, you might just become that packing expert you’ve always been so jealous of.
Focus on a room at a time
Now, we don’t mean that you have to finish one room before moving onto another (in fact, it’s more convenient to pack away the things that you don’t often use first and then pack the rest closer to moving day.) But, you’ll start pulling your hair out if you start in the bedroom and then realize that you should wash that dirty cup on the nightstand and then start packing all of the cups in the kitchen. In other words, you won’t be as efficient if you allow yourself to get side-tracked every few minutes.
Instead, pick a room and stick with it for a good chunk of time. You’ll get more done, and feel more accomplished.
Start by getting everything out in the open
You’ve got to make a mess to make it organized, so don’t be scared to pull everything out where you can see it. When your belongings are in plain sight, you’ll be able to see what needs to be packed, how it might fit together, and what you should start with. There are even some printable inventory sheets if you want to get real Pinterest-y about it.
We know, this step seems like you’re adding more work for yourself, but trust us: it will save time in the long run. When your things are physically put into categories – hair products, winter clothes, shoes, linens – you’ll be able to decide what should go in boxes first. If you’re moving in the middle of summer, for instance, you can start by packing winter clothes. And then, once you’re in the new place, you can unpack based on convenience as well.
Take the time to go through the things you don’t need anymore.
Since your things are already in convenient categories, you’ll be able to see whether you have duplicates or extras. You can start asking yourself the hard-hitting questions like Do I really need 8 pairs of jeans? and How many half-used lotion bottles is too many?
This step is undoubtedly the most difficult part of packing. It’s not easy to part with your things. One trick that can be helpful is to make a pile of possible donations. As you finish packing the essentials, you can go back and decide if you’re willing to make space for the things you’re on the fence about.
And, for the things that you’re not ready to give away but know wont fit in your new place, the pile will show you the size storage unit that you might need.
Every space is valuable. Be creative!
Keeping in line with the categories you’ve set up as much as possible, push yourself to be really mindful about how you’re using the spaces available to you. Candles with lids can house jewelry. Cooking spices can be placed into cooking pots.
And even things that seem to take up a lot of space can actually be useful with a little creativity. Yoga mats that are unrolled can provide cushion for bedside lamps or picture frames. Clunky snow boots can be stuffed with your winter beanies or gloves.
So, look at what you’ve got, and try seeing your things a little differently.
Be really clear about labeling
Again, you can be as creative here as you’d like. Some people use different colored duct tape for boxes that correspond to different rooms. Others write out the contents of a box on the side for easy unpacking.
Clear labels also help our movers know which boxes should be handled with extra care.
And finally, relax a little bit.
Moving is stressful. Packing and finding storage is stressful. But when you think of it more in terms of a puzzle or a personal goal to be a bit more organized, the entire process can go so much more smoothly.
And on the other end, when you peel the tape off your beautifully labeled boxes, you’ll probably surprise yourself by the creative packer you’ve become!