Packing can be a time-consuming and tiring task. At the BAR we’d always recommend asking your shortlisted movers to quote for the packing element of your move, as the crews will be fully trained in the art of packing. They will know which techniques and materials to use to protect all of your belongings. From your flatscreen TVs (which can be placed inside quilted covers for the ultimate protection) to stemmed wine glasses that can be extremely fragile where a combination of specialist boxes, bubble wrap, packing paper, and packing peanuts may be used (newspaper can leave print on glasses), a professional mover will be understandably faster and better at, packing your precious belongings than you will be. You might also choose for your mover to unpack for you too.

It’s also worth knowing that under most removal company insurances, they can only accept liability for damage to those items packed by them.

However if you feel you have the time and would rather pack yourself here are a few tips we can share with you.

Start your preparations early!

Give yourself time to get organised, write lists and, pack. Decide early on what you want to take with you. It’s an opportunity to declutter, so make a list of the things that you’re keeping, what can be sold or given away and finally what is only fit for disposal.

Buy proper packing materials

Your chosen mover knows all about your move and will therefore know the exactly packing materials you will need to pack yourself. You will be able to buy the right boxes, packing materials and any other less obvious things that will best protect your belongings. Movers often have previously used boxes that are perfectly serviceable but will cost less, plus you’ll be doing your bit for the environment!

Pack early

We know from experience packing takes much longer than you might expect. Moving day is often a race against the clock as your removal company will be waiting to get started and other people may be waiting to move into your home, so start early and leave yourself with those items you use on a daily basis to pack last.

Have a box of essentials

There are certain things you may need during the day or when you first get into your new home, so have a box (or two) for those items. These could be children’s favourite toys, snacks for your pets (or children and adults!) as well as toilet paper and other toiletries you might need. You’ll also almost certainly require everything to make tea or coffee at the other end (including the kettle which is often forgotten) as well as a knife to open boxes and a couple of black bin bags and basic cleaning products in case you feel the need to so that at the other end. Make sure any electronic devices such as phones, tablets and laptops are fully charged.

Have a bits box

In addition to your essentials box you might want a bits box that contains things like remote controls, chargers and labelled plastic sealable bags with any screws, nuts, bolts, washers and dowels etc from furniture, as well as the tools to put the items they come from back together. Alternatively and if possible you might tape these fittings to the items they come from.

Do one room at a time

It seems obvious but just like any large task packing be overwhelming, so make it easier by doing it one room at a time. This allows focus and also means your home isn’t in a complete state of upheaval! You’ll also feel like you’re getting somewhere as each room is finished.

Label your boxes

Put a sticky label on the top and at least one side of each box you pack. Write the room it’s going to in your new home and a basic explanation of the content, such as ‘Bedroom 2: Josh’s t-shirts and shorts’. The labels – or marker pen if that’s your preference could be colour coded to help. Whatever you do, it will enable your mover to put each box in the right room for you and also let you know what’s where. If there are any items that are fragile write that on the box or on the label so it’s easily seen by the mover. And you!

Use the right boxes

Movers use different boxes for different purposes. Some will be sturdier than others to give extra protection. If you’re packing heavy items such as books make sure they’re in the smaller boxes (removal companies will have designated ‘Book boxes’). A standard box full of books will be too heavy to carry any distance and if the weight is too much they might come through the bottom. If you don’t have small boxes then you can mix and match heavy items like books with lighter but bulkier items such as pillows. You can always test lifting a box yourself, just remember to bend your knees! Smaller boxes for heavier items, bigger boxes for lighter items!

Keep an inventory

As well as labelling your boxes it’s a good idea to keep an inventory or list so you know exactly where everything is when you get to the other end. You simply won’t remember what’s in every box, even if they’re labelled. A digital inventory can be really handy going forwards too.

Disconnect your appliances

Unless its agreed in advance your removal company will not disconnect electrical or gas appliances such as cookers, nor white goods with water hoses such as the dishwasher or washing machine. Depending on the appliance some items may need gas safe or registered electricians to disconnect and reconnect them, so check in, For appliances with water lines or fridges/freezers, make sure they are drained or defrosted and water free in advance.