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Moving into a new apartment or house is exciting, but packing for the move can be a drag–it’s time-intensive, physically demanding and often overwhelming. To help make packing a bit easier, the moving pros at Atlas Van Lines offer the following tips:

  • Pack a couple of boxes a day, starting well ahead of the move. And pack one room at a time to help stay organized.
  • Pack the essentials you’ll need during your first night in your new place, such as toilet paper, paper towels, snacks, sheets and cleaning supplies, separately in a clear plastic bin. Also pack a personal overnight bag including a change of clothes, your laptop and toiletries to take with you in the car. Make these the last things you pack so you can find them right away.
  • Take personal and sentimental items that can’t be easily replaced with you in the car instead of having the movers load them on the truck.
  • Pack important documents like birth certificates, Social Security cards and tax documents in a special box or briefcase.
  • To save time and labor, pack things in place whenever possible. For instance, pull out your sock drawer and seal the socks inside with plastic wrap instead of taking them out and packing them in a box.
  • Use wardrobe boxes to safely pack clothing items like coats and nice dresses without taking them off their hangers.
  • Vacuum seal your off-season clothes for easy storage when you arrive at your new home.
  • Write detailed labels on boxes stating which room they belong in–e.g., kitchen or bathroom–and write them on the side instead of the top so they can be seen when the boxes are stacked.
  • To avoid losing small parts like screws and cords, put them inside plastic bags and secure them on the item they belong to with tape.
  • Take photos to remember how the wires are connected for your electronics instead of struggling to put your sound system back together.
  • Prevent toiletries and other liquids from leaking by removing the cap, placing plastic wrap or a plastic bag over the seal, then replacing the cap.
  • Pack your dishes vertically in a box like records, instead of horizontally in stacks; they’ll be less likely to break.
  • Are you a visual person? Use different colored tape to organize boxes by room at a glance.
  • Never lose a box or go looking through five different boxes labeled “kitchen” to find the pizza cutter again. Label each box with a number and make a list of all the items packed in the box corresponding with each number on a notepad, on your phone or in an online document.
  • Don’t struggle with an enormous box of hardcover cookbooks. Pack heavy items in small boxes.

Perhaps most importantly, though, make the bed early at your new home so you can fall into it at the end of a long moving day.