Packing the boxes! Hopefully you've gathered up all of your stuff that you'll need to use to pack and you have your boxes so now it's time to PACK them! I usually start with the same things every time I move.
1. Start with your decorations. My very first box is always my pictures and artwork on the walls. I grab my biggest but flattest boxes for those things and put them all in the same box as tightly as possible. I use table cloths to wrap around the edges but if they are tight enough, and not able to move, they won't get damaged. Small decorations and breakables are wrapped in washcloths, towels, etcetera. All packed together tightly in the same boxes - not too big either. Remember, if it can't move or shift in the box, it can't get broken. It's when it shifts in the box and strikes something that will allow it to get broken. Mark these boxes as Glass - FRAGILE. Trust me, say WHY it is fragile. Some people just put fragile on everything but if you say glass, people respect it when loading and unloading. I put all of the pictures and decorations together because they should be the LAST boxes to unpack.
2. Books - These are easy to live without for a while and easy to pack neatly but take a little TIME. If you have 4 book lovers in a family like us, we have TONS of books! I like to use boxes that are 1'x1'x2' or somewhere in there because books are heavy anyway and you don't want to have to lift them multiple times when they are soooo heavy. Pack them as you want them on your shelves in your new home. For example, I try to pack by genre or set so you're not trying to find the last 5 books to a series in another box somewhere. Then label by type and genre or set. So if the box holds all of your Mandie books - put BOOKS - YOUNG ADULT - Mandie Set - and then what room your shelves will be in.
3. Next step is always a little trickier to figure out what to pack next depending on how far away you are from your moving day. If you still have a couple of weeks, this would be a good time to sort and purge your clothes, shoes, toys, kitchen items and whatever else you don't want to move or figure out what to do with in a new home. So examine your possessions and donate what you don't want.
4. If you have young children - SAVE THEIR THINGS FOR LAST! The younger they are the later you should save them! My daughter when she was about 2 would panic when I rearranged the furniture in front of her or moved things around too much. Keep their space the same for as long as possible. They need that security of "their things" surrounding them. The older they get the more you can transition. Like now, Aimee is so excited about moving she wants to make sure all of her little things get to "the white house" in Chatsworth so she's been helping pack up her things. If she helps, she's good. We packed up the wall hangings in their room without her and it suddenly seemed empty in their room and she walked in and looked around and I could see the tears developing a mile away. After a few hugs and talking about the changes and how excited we are about our new home - she was back to helping us pack.
5. Clothes are next! Grab a box for donations as you're packing up clothes and shoes so if you do find something you don't want anymore you won't feel like packing it. Take a few minutes to plan clothing for the time up til moving day and pack them in suitcases and bags and set them aside so they don't get packed. We usually leave hanging clothes hanging up in the closet and we move them in our personal vehicle where they won't get dirty or thrown around too much then they just go straight to closets when we get there. You may want to pack the clothes but they take a LOT of space and we've just found that that goes smoother. Small kids clothes are a different story though so go ahead and pack them up and if you can, leave them on the hangers (you have to pack the hangers anyway so might as well still be with the clothes!) Clothes in dresser drawers can stay put. They are already packed for you! When people move the furniture, they usually take the drawers out so just lay hand towels or other things on top of the contents to hide and keep them dust free. This works great because then you know exactly where the clothes you need are - where they always are!
6. Desks and Craft supplies - these take a little time too unless it's in drawers - then just leave it in the drawers and they should be fine. Pack up your computer cords and speakers and keyboards and everything else in one big box so it's all together for unpacking. Some components should be packed in boxes but sometimes, they get nicer treatment if you just leave them as is because people see what it is. Our huge desktop PC has a tall large console and we won't pack it or the not flat panel monitor - they will just get loaded as is into our personal vehicle.
7. Kitchen - I try to keep this until a couple of days before the move simply because you want to still eat and cook fairly easily!
8. Food - I really don't like having to move food. It bothers me! There are grocery stores all over and we can always go shopping AFTER we move so as soon as I know about the possibility of moving - I stop grocery shopping! Seriously! I announce to my family that what we have is what we are eating and it's time to eat as much of what we already have. It's amazing to me what gets eaten from our cupboards when the favorite foods are gone!
I usually have a deep freeze full of food and I go through it and take out the things that thaw quickly like fruit, hash browns, vegetables and basically things other than meat and things just in there for storage (like bulk flour and spices etc.). If it takes around 4-8 hours for something to thaw out in the refrigerator it should be fine STAYING in your deep freeze. That may sound crazy but it's true! We actually already moved our deep freeze so we wouldn't have to worry about it and we took all of the food out - moved the deep freeze - then put it all back in for the trip. The freezer works as a giant cooler and frozen things help keep things cool enough to be preserved. If you're going to take a long time to get where you need to be, just see if you can plug it in (use an extension cord run along the side of your moving van if it needs to be in the back) for about an hour without moving it to re-cool everything for a while.
That should keep you busy for a while! I know it is for me! My mom and sister came and helped me pack up a ton of stuff and so far we have everything except for the kitchen and outside shed mostly packed. I feel like I'm ahead of the game! We have 6 days til moving day and today I'm going to work on the shed and any outside things that need to be gathered up. Yay! I get to be outside!