10 Smart Solutions for Common Packing Mistakes

Moving is exciting: you've got a new home waiting for you, a new space to make your own, and a lot of “firsts” in your new domicile to start celebrating.

But the packing?

Well, the packing tends to be the part that everyone dreads.

But it's the common packing mistakes that often make it so hard. Fortunately, we've tackled 10 packing mistakes with 10 smart solutions to help make your packing — and your move — a little easier!

Packing Mistake 1: Waiting Until the Last Minute to Pack Everything

Pack Smart Solution: Look for the things you don't use often, and pack them early.

Think of things like seasonal decorations, out-of-season clothing, seasonal sports gear, or extra bedding and linens. You can get a jumpstart on your packing by getting a lot of the stuff you're not using anyway packed up well ahead of time. The closer you get to your move, the more items you can start to pack, because the less time you'll be doing without them.

Don't feel like you have to wait until the last few days to pack! Focus on what you really use on a daily basis… and get a head start on packing everything else. You'll feel less rushed, and when it's time to do the final pack-up, you'll have only a fraction of your house left to handle.

Packing Mistake 2: Selling Items You Don't Want Online… During Your Move

Pack Smart Solution: Wrap up everything before you move.

As you pack, you're sure to find items you no longer want. Selling items online, through sites like eBay or Craigslist, is a popular and often effective way to make some money from your discarded items. But if you go that route, make sure you've got time to wrap up the sales and get things shipped before your move. You don't want to be trying to ship items or coordinate a buyer meetup in the middle of your moving day – too chaotic!

Packing Mistake 3: Forgetting to Donate the Donations

Pack Smart Solution: Schedule an afternoon to make your charity drop-offs, or schedule the pick-up appointments.

So you're setting aside piles of items to donate as you're packing? That's great! But it's also easy to forget about those piles right up until it's moving day when… there they are. The piles of donations that never quite got donated. To prevent your good intentions from being a moving day inconvenience, schedule an afternoon to make your charity drop-offs, or the pick-up appointments, so you know you've got it covered.

Packing Mistake 4: Being SURE You'll Remember What's In That Box

Pack Smart Solution: Label, label, label!

Nothing gets more frustrating faster on moving day that opening and re-opening and re-re-opening the same boxes because you keep forgetting what's in them or what room they belong in. While you're packing, it can be tempting to think, “If I just write ‘Kitchen Stuff' on this box, that'll be enough, right?” but when you're in the midst of moving, you'll be thinking, “Kitchen Stuff? What did I mean by that? Plates, glasses, pots, baking dishes, all the under-the-sink stuff…?”

Do yourself a big favor and label each box with which room it goes to, and a brief – but clear! – description of what's in it.

Packing Mistake 5: Forgetting What's Fragile

Pack Smart Solution: Boxes containing fragile items should be clearly marked on multiple sides.

If you only label a box “Fragile” on one side, you run the risk of someone not seeing that before they stack something heavy right on top of it, or set it down up a little less carefully than they should have. Make sure the word FRAGILE is clearly visible on the top and at least one side (whichever side lists the contents is usually smart).

Packing Mistake 6: Packing Big Boxes Full of Heavy Items

Pack Smart Solution: Pack according to the rule, “The heavier the items, the smaller the box.”

To keep the weight of your boxes manageable and avoid any unnecessary pulled back muscles (ouch!), pack heavier items like books in smaller boxes. Save your big boxes for lighter items like pillows or stuffed toys.

Packing Mistake 7: Throwing All Your Cords ‘n Cables Together in One Box… Where They Become Tangled and Mixed Up

Pack Smart Solution: Use plastic bags to sort and organize your cords, electronics, cables, and items with little pieces.

Write what the contents belong to on the outside of the bag with a marker, or make notes for yourself on an index card that you put in the bag with the items. When you get to your new home, you won't have a big, tangled mess of cables to deal with and try to figure out what goes with what, and where did the necessary piece go… Instead, you'll have pre-sorted, easily identifiable, ready-to-plug-n-play bundles.

Packing Mistake 8: Not Giving Yourself a “Roadmap” of Your Electronics Setup

Pack Smart Solution: Before you start unplugging your computer and all its peripherals, or your television and everything its connected to, take a picture!

Take pictures of how all of your cords and cables are connected to all of your electronics, so that when you're in your new home setting everything back up, you'll have “photo roadmaps” to guide you as you reconnect. Much easier than starting from scratch!

Packing Mistake 9: Leaving Space Between Items to Protect Breakables

Pack Smart Solution: Pack items so they're well protected and snug.

It might seem like you're doing yourself a favor by giving your breakable items plenty of space when you're packing, but in fact, just the opposite is true. If there's a lot of space around an item, that means the item can move, roll, slide, and bump from side-to-side during your move, making scratches, dents, chips, and breaks more likely to occur.

For the safest move, make sure breakable items are protected well (wrapped with bubble wrap, packing paper, newspaper, rags, or towels) and then packed snugly. If you can hear the items “clanking” or jostling when you move the box, they're probably not snug enough.

Packing Mistake 10: Not Spill-proofing Your Liquids

Pack Smart Solution: Use the plastic wrap trick!

This quick tip takes just a couple of minutes and will prevent most mid-move spills, potentially saving you hours of cleanup and expensive damages. Take off the lids of your gels and liquids, and cover their openings with a small piece of plastic wrap. Then put the lids back on. Now, even if the spouts pop open or the top loosens a little while things are getting moved, the plastic wrap will keep the liquid or gel from sloshing out, and you won't wind up with an unpleasant and messy surprise!