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44 tips on packing your house for sale

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Follow these tips the next time you move house.

Congratulations! You have sold the house and found the new one. Start making lists. Lists will be your friend. Make lists and check them off.

We are discussing packing and moving here, so assuming you have already arranged change of address, told the utility companies to turn off the old, and start with the new, redirected mail at the post office, changed addresses on all magazine subscriptions, gym memberships, Medicare, Centrelink, drivers license, and insurance companies.

Call the nice people at the charity shops and they will collect the spare lawnmower / chest of drawers / record collection.

Now — you are just about to start packing.

Here are some tips to help this crucial step go more smoothly.

  1. Reduce your stuff. Obvious I know, but the less you have, the less boxes you need. You probably should have already had a big clean out before you put the house on the market.

  2. Prospective buyers turn their noses up at your crowded garage or stuffed-to-the-gills linen closet.

  3. Larger items which may be nearly obsolete (that old tv, computer, treadmill) might actually cost more to move than they are worth – Get rid of them.

  4. Stop grocery shopping. This is the time to consume (or throw) all those cans of diced tomatoes, sweet corn and black beans.

  5. Empty the freezer and pantry by eating your way through it. Thaw those chops, chow down on all those nearly empty boxes of cereal, and almost finished jars of peanut butter and check all the ‘best before’ dates.

  6. When in doubt, throw it out.

  7. Calculate how many boxes. Boxes, bubble wrap, sticky tape, old towels or blankets.

  8. Make friends at the big grocery stores and ask for their empty boxes. Request early or they will wrap them, cut them, and send them for recycling.

  9. Moving companies should have wardrobe boxes so you can simply hang all your current clothes.

  10. Zip lock bags are very helpful. In a variety of sizes They help collect like-items: pens, cards, medicine, hair items, phone chargers, toiletries, coins.

  11. Better to have too many boxes than too few.

  12. Don’t forget a pad of paper, a couple of really good markers, scissors and some post it notes.

  13. Box packing 101. If you haven’t done this for a while, steel yourself. It all starts off so nicely…

  14. Heavy things (books, plates and dishes etc) go in smaller boxes.

  15. Lighter items (cushions, pillows, quilts, doonas) go in large boxes.

  16. Get plenty of mid size boxes and bear in mind someone (you?) must be able to pick up that loaded box. Lets not add a bad back to the problem.

  17. Consider mixing your heavy books with a couple of space sucking pillows to keep the weight reasonable. Heavy things on the bottom, lighter things on the top.

  18. Don’t leave gaps at the top because a box placed on top will crush the one underneath.

  19. Wrap your precious things in towels or old t-shirts, sweaters or socks. Loose items will move around in the box and that’s where breakages occur. Plenty of padding and no gaps.

  20. Try not to use black bin bags. They tend to rip, your items will shift around causing damage, and more than once someone’s precious pillows have been relegated unknowingly to the tip.

  21. Write a brief inventory on each box.

  22. It doesn’t have to be war and peace- ‘small kid toys’ or ‘photo albums’ or ‘kitchen pantry, spices’ will help considerably when unpacking.

  23. Label with the destination, the room you want it unpacked in- Master bed room, pantry, garage etc. You don’t want to move these boxes twice.

  24. Don’t forget to write on all four sides (not the top) to help with unloading.

  25. Number the boxes and keep a master list. One sheet with 63 box contents will be very helpful down the track.

  26. Your important or valuable items don’t need to be advertised on the side of the box. You will have a list which tells you, Box 8 is where the diamonds are.

  27. Consider your first night at your new home in Terrigal.

  28. Cereal and a couple of bowls and spoons, tea kettle, mugs and tea bags, kids favourite cuddly toy and book, dogs bowl, phone chargers, medicine, tooth brushes and tooth paste, a roll of loo paper… pack a box with what is essential in your first few hours of being in the new home.

  29. Don’t forget some non-perishable snacks.

  30. Add an essential change of clothes. Even if it's just fresh undies and a clean t-shirt, it will help.

  31. Don’t forget a box with a pillow and linens (or sleeping bags) for the bed, and towels and toiletries for your first shower in the new home. These boxes go with you in the car.

If the moving van doesn’t make it, or if you are travelling a long way and get separated, these few boxes will be a life saver. You might THINK you will unpack everything the minute you take possession of the new house, but it’s unlikely to actually happen.

  1. Take photos of the back of the electronics, stereo, tv etc, and stick labels on each electrical cord and it's port or destination. Unless you have a fourteen-year-old, who will likely be able to do it without looking.

  2. Label pieces if you are dismantling furniture too. I know you imagine you will remember that you need to put the legs on last, but after 24 hours of unpacking you will likely forget.

  3. If you are moving a long distance, interstate or overseas, consider your important documents such as passports, birth certificates, repeat prescriptions, jewellery or your dads medals.

  4. Consider keeping those items with you either to carry on the plane, or in a lockable suitcase.

  5. Take photos of everything.

  6. Back up your phone and computer too. Would be a shame if you lost everything because of a slippery grip

Quick packing tips

  1. Put a cotton ball on top of your blush and close the lid, avoids breakage.

  2. Take the lid off liquids, wrap with cling film and put the lid back on again. This prevents a box full of spilled olive oil/ bleach.

  3. Pack plates vertically, like old records and they will be less likely to break.

  4. Keep screws or curtain hooks in small zip lock bags.

  5. Start a few weeks early to at least get your head in order, if not your packing!

  6. Be hyper vigilant about your pets too. They may sense something is going on, and can become stressed with all the activity. Pay extra attention and maybe consider a doggy sleepover at the kennels or your mums.

  7. Don’t forget to call to order a bulk waste collection to pick up the detritus which won’t fit in the bin

As with everything, preparation is the key here. I hate to tell you, moving is no fun. As my friend The Moving Doctor says, take two aspirin and call me in the morning. But you can at least alleviate some of the stress by referring to the tips above.

And then there is the UN-packing!


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