Family Life, Organizing

Efficient packing system

This is our fifth move in three years. You would think by now we would be a family packing machine. But alas, such is not the case. I still hate packing. It still takes forever. And it still makes me feel very, very tired.

We are moving tomorrow (Saturday). But due to a busy work schedule, I was not able to start packing until Tuesday! I packed three boxes in the evening.

At this rate, we were not going to get anywhere. Wednesday: 6 boxes all day. Got distracted, did some work, started organizing, got way off track. 6 boxes all day was not working.

So Albert and I went on a date in the evening and made a plan. This plan worked GREAT and between yesterday and today we packed some 70 boxes and now our whole house is pretty much packed!

So here is our system:

First we have a couple locations for items:

  • A place where new, flat boxes are so they can easily be taped up.
  • A place where we throw small, soft items (bags, purses, jackets, blankets) that can be used for stuffing in odd spaces.
  • A place where packed boxes are stored.
  • A “do not move” place where we put stuff we wanted to keep around (to clean the house after everyone is done). We used a bookshelf and empty cupboard to put these items.

1. Albert or Daniel tape up empty boxes.

2. I load up boxes with items.

3. As I load up, I call out the items to Megan, who is at the computer typing in the items into a spreadsheet in Google Docs. We use Google Docs so anyone in the family can access the document from any computer. It is a two column spreadsheet. First column is number of the box. Second column is everything in the box.

4. When box is full, I write the box number on all three corners (top, and both sides). This is a sign the box is done.I did use a system. Box number first. Wrote a “*” if it meant we need to unpack it immediately. (When we unload, all these boxes will go in one location.) Then a letter or two for boxes that need to go to specific rooms (“K” for kitchen). Box could look like “3* – K.” (We added letters before our number for other coding, but this is a simplified explanation.)

5. Albert or Daniel tape it up and move it out to the garage.

This system works for us because:

1. It keeps everyone busy. Everyone is doing something. One crew is packing/labeling, the other is making boxes or moving them in or out.

2. We are all working on one room at once. It goes very quickly this way.

3. It adds more energy because we do not feel like we are working alone.

4. We have a detailed list of everything packed. The beauty of Google Docs is we can do a search for an item and know immediately where it is!

Every once in a while there is a lag so we just take a short break before hitting the other boxes.

It also helped in some rooms to open all the cabinet or closet doors that still had stuff in them and then close them as we cleared out the items. This helped us know we were done in those locations and was a feeling of accomplishment as the doors were closed!

End result: packed the entire house in 4 days, start to finish, including my working full time Tuesday and Albert working part time Wednesday.

Off to bed… tomorrow our friends come to help us clear out the house!

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