You’ve chosen your moving company and booked the movers, but there’s one thing that still needs to be done before the big day: packing up your belongings. Before you get too excited and begin stuffing your boxes with all your stuff, make sure that you’re setting yourself up for a smooth and efficient move. Mindless packing can end up taking a lot of otherwise unnecessary time and energy to fix—a combination that could cost you, as you’re most likely paying for the movers by the hour. “Sometimes people will complain and not tip the guys because it took so long,” says Cezar Iordan, owner of Moovers Chicago, “They don’t realize that it took so long because of the simple mistakes they made.”
So what are these mistakes? Here, Iordan reveals the three most-common packing blunders he sees, as well as the quick fixes to make your moving day as painless as possible.
Packing Books in Large Boxes
Why it’s a problem: We understand—you want to keep your beloved book collection in just one or two boxes. But Iordan says that this strategy slows the process down as huge, heavy boxes are incredibly difficult for movers to lift and carry—not even their trusty moving straps make it easier.
What’s more, Iordan says people often don’t tape these hefty boxes properly—they’ll usually put only one line of tape on the bottom of the box. “They have 100-pound boxes they want us to move and have them in perfect shape when they’re dropped off,” he says. “When you have a huge, large box full of books, the bottom of it will collapse and everything will fall out.”
The fix: Pack books in small boxes and reinforce with multiple strips of tape. While you may have more boxes, it’s easier for the movers, who can carry several smaller boxes with their moving straps.
Not Labeling Your Boxes Clearly or Correctly
Why it’s a problem: Reusing those old boxes from your last move? That’s fine, but make sure that any and all labels from previous moves be removed or covered—multiple labels make it difficult to know exactly in which room it should be placed. “Imagine you’re holding the box and asking a client where they want the box to go, but they don’t know what’s inside so they have to open it up and see what’s inside,” he says. “It will drag the duration of the move out.”
The fix: Cover or cross out all previous labels and put one very clear label on the side of the box, not the top. “Since we use dollies or straps, we carry four or five boxes at a time which makes it impossible to see the top of every box,” Iordan says.
Not Packing Your Fragile Items Properly
Why it’s a problem: “People will put all of their fragile items in a box without any kind of bubble wrap, paper, or peanuts, and expect the items to be in perfect condition after the move,” Ioran says. “That’s just impossible.” The good news? Many professional moving companies (like Moovers) will refuse to move the precious cargo until it’s properly wrapped (but this adds a lot of time onto the actual move).
The fix: Wrap your fragile items with care while packing. “Always, always, always wrap anything made of glass in bubble wrap to ensure that nothing gets damaged,” he says. You’ll thank yourself for putting in the extra time when moving day comes, and the movers will thank you, too.