Tips for Organizing Your Belongings Before You Move

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Sorting Through Rooms for a Move

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Sorting through your rooms as part of the packing process may not be an easy task. It'll be especially difficult if you have a lot of clutter, but it does provide an excellent opportunity to get organized and to get rid of unwanted or unneeded items.

This process could take awhile, so make sure you don't put it off until the day before your move. Start a few weeks before moving day, and spend at least a day or two on each room. Starting early and taking it slow will make things less stressful, and it'll be less likely that something gets overlooked.

Create a schedule and stick to it. That way, you won't waste time, and you'll be sure that everything is organized and packed by moving day.

When you sort through the rooms of your home, you should do so one at a time and start with the least-used room. You wouldn't want to pack up your kitchen two weeks before your move and then have no access to plates until move-in day. The following advice is listed by room and in order of frequency used. Of course, you may use your dining room much more often than others, so tailor your schedule to your own needs.

For every room you pack, you should:

Dining room

The dining room, especially if it's formal, is often the least-used room of the home. Even if that's not the case, you could probably make do eating at the kitchen table or in the living room until after you've moved. This is a good place to start the process of sorting and packing.

Pack fragile items first. These will include:
  • Glass items
  • China sets
  • Lamp shades
  • Pictures
  • Showpieces or centerpieces
  • Crystal
Make sure your silverware and flatware are packed separately and away from glass or other breakable items. Once you've finished packing your fragile items, you can move on to furniture. Disassemble furniture as necessary, and wrap things in protective blankets or other cushioning.

Home office

It's a good idea for your home office to be one of the first rooms you pack. This room may take some extra time to sort through, especially if you have a lot of files or books.

Start by going through your books. You should first identify any books that you don't want to keep. Unwanted books can be donated to a local library. Once you've lightened your book load, you can start packing them. Dust them off before you pack them, so they'll be clean and ready to be put away in your new home. Pack your books into several small, but sturdy, boxes. Overloading one large box will make it difficult to lift on moving day.

Next, go through your files. Discard any files you won't use, and organize the rest. Pack them into clearly labeled boxes, so you can keep them organized when unpacking.

Use sturdy boxes and proper packing techniques for your electronics. Make sure any wires are unplugged, neatly wrapped, and packed along with the electronics they go with. You may want to take a picture of where each wire plugs in, so that you can properly set up your electronic equipment in your new home.

TIP: Check out the guide, Packing Electronics, for proper packing techniques for computers, TVs, and other electronic equipment.

Living room

As with your other rooms, you can start by sorting out the items you don't want to bring to your new home. Perhaps there's an old couch or coffee table you aren't going to use, or maybe you plan on buying all new living room furniture. Whatever you choose to do, you can donate furniture that is in good condition. Furniture that is in bad condition will most likely need to be discarded.

Pack all pictures, figurines, knickknacks, and fragile items first. Then you can move on to your televisions, sound systems, and other electronics. Finally, you'll need to pack your furniture. Disassemble furniture, if possible, and make sure you properly protect anything that needs extra care.

Other rooms (kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms)

Use the same steps listed above to pack all your other rooms. When packing your bedroom, set aside some extra clothes. Make sure you have enough to make it until you unpack your clothes in your new home.

The same goes for the bathroom; set aside the toiletries you'll need after you've packed. You'll probably want to save your kitchen for last. Donate or discard perishable items and then pack food, dishes, kitchen appliances, etc. into boxes and clearly label each. Leave out the food you'll need on moving day and while in transit to your new home.

If you plan ahead and follow this advice, you can be sure your belongings will be well organized and ready to be unpacked in your new home.

Photo by: Ambro (

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on August 27, 2009 - Moving Expert
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