I got started on the packing effort for our move yesterday. Here are some tips for making packing manageable:
1) Start with the infrequently used items. I began by packing up serveware and my "nicer" set of dishes that we use for entertaining. Since I know we won't be having guests between now and the move, it's easy to pack that stuff up without impacting our daily lives. My next "sweep" will be holiday decorations, knick-knacks, out of season clothing and artwork. Then on to books and CDs, and I'll be saving our everyday dishes, clothing and our office supplies for the final week before our move.
2) Label the boxes! I can't stress enough how important this is. First of all, I bought brightly colored neon labels on which I'm writing the destination room so that the movers will know where to put the boxes in our new house. Then, I'm using a larger white label to jot down an inventory of what's inside, so I know where to find things when we arrive.
3) Take this opportunity to purge. More likely than not, there are items that you simply don't use or need anymore. I have started a pile for Goodwill and will be making a run there later this week. Better to give items away to people that can really use them than to pay to move stuff you don't need.
4) Consider your new space/storage options. As I am packing boxes, I am thinking about where the items will go in our new home. For example, our new kitchen is much smaller than our current kitchen, and we have about half of the cabinet space available. However, we will have much more storage in the basement. So, I am packing up rarely used serveware and kitchen items to be stored on a shelf in the basement. So they are going into a "basement" box rather than a "kitchen" box.
5) Don't pack things too heavy. Even though we've hired some burly movers, it's easier for them to move smaller, lighter boxes than ones that are super heavy.
6) Pace yourself. I'm going to try and pack up just a few boxes each day so that I don't get overwhelmed or fatigued. Oh, and stretch and bend at the knees when lifting those heavy boxes!