My best friend recently left South Africa to live in England and, in a month, family members will be doing the same. Packing up your life to move halfway around the world, or even just around the block to a storage facility, is never easy, and you certainly want to make sure that when you do pack, you do it well:
A box isn’t just a box
You can go down to your local supermarket to get used boxes but I would recommend buying smaller double-walled boxes to pack your heavier items and ensure precious belongings are moved and stored safely. You can buy quality packaging supplies such as storage boxes, moving boxes, bubble wrap, and packaging tape from Stortown. Lighter items such as pillows can be packed into bigger ones. If you are going to pack a box with some lighter and some heavier items, pack heavier things at the bottom.
Fill up the empty spaces
If gaps aren’t filled in, it is a lot easier for damages to occur. Movers are also sceptical of boxes that rattle and some have been known to refuse to move them so use clothing, towels, or packing paper to fill those gaps.
Put a system in place
When you reach your new spot, searching for your pillow isn’t going to be fun so clearly label your boxes and keep items for the same room together. When we moved, I started with a moving checklist (here’s a really useful one from Stortown) and then created an inventory list. Whenever I packed a new box, I would number it and place the number on the inventory list with a brief description of the items, as well as which room it was destined for. When the movers unpacked, I just looked for the number on the list and was then able to tell them which room to place it in. It made our lives so much easier. This tip is even more relevant when it comes to packing items for storage. After a while, you will forget what you’ve packed in your stored boxes and your inventory will be your saving grace.
Pack breakables properly
When packing crockery and other breakables, put bubble wrap around each one, then wrap bundles of five or six together with more bubble wrap. Use plenty of bunched-up paper as padding above and below to fill in gaps and to add padding. Add fragile stickers onto the sides of the boxes.
Tape boxes well
One line of tape along the bottom is not going to be enough to secure a box. Rather use a couple of pieces of tape to close the bottom and top seams. My rule of thumb is to not have any open seams at all – as if I am securing a box in order to post it. I would also recommend buying decent tape and a tape dispenser. You can get these and other packing supplies from StorTown from as little as R3.50 per metre for bubble wrap and R8 for packaging tape.
My top tips for packing for a move or storage:
- As soon as you decide to move, start de-cluttering your space. Don’t spend money to move things you no longer want, need, or love.
- Use online selling portals and, if you’re inclined, organise a garage sale day.
- Pack properly – using the tips above. You’ll be pleased you did.
- If your goods are going into storage, work with a reputable storage company like Stortown, and use their handy space estimator to decide what size unit you need.
- Pack important documents separately so that they will be easily accessible, for example, children’s health records, passports, family records, and insurance information.
- If you have kept the boxes for your electronic equipment, then use these to pack them. If you haven’t ensure your equipment is very well packed using bubble wrap and perhaps some blankets for even more padding.
- If you have furniture or fittings that come apart, make sure to tape all parts to the main base or secure in a Ziploc bag that is clearly labelled. For storage, keep those bags in a clearly marked, clear container near the front of the unit.
- If you are packing away collectibles for storage, get advice on how they should be stored. Paintings, ceramics, and linens can get damaged easily if not stored properly so a little extra care may go a long way. For example, using packaging materials that contain acid could damage paintings and photographs.
- Pack a box of essential items that you will need immediately after the move and make sure it’s the last thing added to the truck. This should also include some snacks for the day.
- When unpacking into a storage unit, create an aisle going down the middle of the unit so you can easily get to the back. And don’t forget to pack the things you need to get to often in the front.