By Kathryn Weber

Moving is stressful, but packing early, using the right materials, helps things go smoother

Moving is stressful, but packing early, using the right materials, helps things go smoother

Moving isn't the end of the world but it can certainly feel like it.

It's stressful, frustrating and downright exhausting. In fact, moving is among the top 20 life stressors that include the death of a spouse, getting married, or being fired.

But armed with some simple tips, you can make it through unscathed.

Tips to smooth the way:

1. Pack one room at a time.

You may want to pack all your pictures at once, but it's better to pick a single room and pack everything in it. Going room by room, you'll feel more productive and less scattered.

2. Get the right materials.

The boxes, tape and markers you choose matter. Stock up on fresh new wide markers to label boxes, double the supply of tape you think you'll need, and live by the mantra that you can never have too many boxes.

3. Thin tape works best.

When it comes to sealing boxes securely, thin brown tape is the best. If you can't find it at your local home center, go to a moving company; many sell supplies and have the right tape for the job. Thick tape will come off of boxes and won't seal tightly.

4. Pack early and often.

Prepacking makes moving day go faster. Another option? Have one or more large rental storage boxes delivered to your house. Once you've packed them, the company will deliver them to your new home.

5. Cheap isn't always cheaper.

Sometimes a self-move becomes more expensive in the long run, based on the amount of time and energy you expend. Don't overlook full service movers and be sure to get quotes from three or more before you make your choice (and let each company know you're taking competitive bids).

6. Use specialty boxes.

They make all the difference for packing mirrors, china, glasses and wardrobes. Specialty boxes can be purchased online from moving companies or from box suppliers such as

7. Avoid using those old newspapers in the garage for cushioning.

Box companies and online moving companies often have better buys on newsprint than movers or home centers. Or buy roll ends from your local newspaper; some can be had for just a few dollars and have 10 or more pounds of paper left on them.

8. Create a "first day" box.

Each person and room should have a first day box that includes toiletries and other items needed on the first day you move to a new home. Be sure to include plastic cups, paper towels, coffee, coffeemaker and toilet paper. Label each box "first day."

9. Should you move your packed refrigerator and freezer?

Sure. If your new home is only a short distance away, ask your mover to consider this. Many will if you remove all glass bottles first and strap the doors.

10. Get a good tape gun.

Tape guns make packing go much faster. Many of the tape guns I tested from my local home center and office supply store were unwieldy and wouldn't apply tape correctly. The tape gun from UHau worked best and was a good value at about $10. It was also easy to find because of the orange color -- something you'll value when you go hunting for it!


Available at

Cut Your Energy Bills Now: 150 Smart Ways to Save Money & Make Your Home More Comfortable & Green

It's Easy Being Green: A Handbook for Earth-Friendly Living

Sean Conway's Cultivating Life: 125 Projects for Backyard Living







Home & Garden - Moving Day: 10 Ways to Take the Stress Out of Packing