Take The Stress Out Of Moving

Few people actually enjoy the process of packing and moving all of their belongings from one home to another.

However, at some point almost everyone has to do it, and many will be doing it in summer, the prime moving season.

The Early Show, with the help of Real Simple's Kris Connel, offers to make the task a little easier. Click here to get your moving-countdown checklist.

Look at the bright side, Connel says, this is a great opportunity to go through all of your stuff and get rid of anything you don't need or use.

The earlier you start, the better off you'll be. One month before your move date, you should begin packing up items you don't use frequently.

Connel says you can make the job easier by having the correct materials on hand. According to Real Simple, expect to spend about $250 on the materials needed to move a couple or small family. If you head online to buy these supplies, you can save 20 percent or more over office-supply stores and moving companies. Real Simple recommends www.onlinemovingboxes.com and www.boxesdelivered.com. And, you'll always save if you buy in bulk.

There's nothing wrong with heading to the grocery store or liquor store and requesting their used boxes. Just avoid any box that looks as though it has been wet, or is torn or smelly.

However, it is worthwhile to spend money on two types of "specialty" boxes. Large, flat picture boxes will keep your artwork safe when you move. Wardrobe boxes, which are quite tall and come with a metal hanging bar across the top, make it much easier to move clothes and coats.

Wondering how many boxes you'll need? Of course it depends how much stuff you have and how well you pack it. But as a general rule of thumb, count on using at least 100 boxes to pack up a sparsely furnished, three-bedroom house, Real Simple suggests.

Turn to page 2 for packing basics.

Once you have everything you need, you're ready to start packing. Connel offers a few packing basics:
  1. Choose the correct sized box: Remember to put heavy stuff in small boxes, and lighter stuff in large ones. A big box full of heavy items is going to be difficult to move. Many people typically put their books in boxes that are too large. Connel shows a box that is a good size for books, and shows something that many people probably don't know - how to pack books correctly. You should lay them flat in a box, spine to spine. Any extra space in the box should be filled with crumpled packing paper.
  2. Fill all empty spaces: Reserve towels, sheets or clothing to stuff into empty spaces in boxes. This keeps your things from sliding around and breaking during a move.
  3. Tape around box's top and bottom: In addition to taping a box's lid closed and covering the seams in tape, wrap the tape around the top and bottom of the box where stress is concentrated. Use brown packing tape, not masking tape or duct tape.
  4. Label each box: Assign each box and number and keep a record of what's in each box in a notebook. This will make it much easier to unpack. When labeling the box, be sure to write the numbers on the side, not the top, of the box.

Packing Fragile Items
Moving can also be nerve-wracking for many people - you don't want to unpack boxes and find all of your fragile belongings broken into pieces. The kitchen in particular is full of fragile items. So, Connel offers some advice on how to pack up dishes.
  • First, wrap each individual dish in packing paper. You don't need bubble wrap; paper will do a fine job protecting your dishes. It is worth your money to buy paper specifically designed for packing. It's basically newsprint, minus the print. Newsprint can rub off and stain dishes and other items.
  • After you've wrapped each dish, bundle five or six dishes together with more paper. Place dishes in a box ON THEIR SIDES - not flat - and use lots of bunched up paper to pad above and below. You can also buy special "dish barrels" designed for packing dishes. These cost about $5 to $7 a piece and are made of double-walled cardboard.
  • Follow this same procedure when packing bowls and cups, placing one inside the other with extra paper in between.
  • When packing mirrors, large photos or prints covered by glass, place a big masking tape "X" across the glass. This will help prevent the glass from breaking. And, if it does break, the tape will prevent it from shattering into lots of tiny pieces; instead, it will break into a few large pieces. You don't need to do this with small-framed items.

For more information, visit Real Simple online.