Home & Garden

Packing tips can help plan a safer move

Keep heirlooms, important documents, and prescription medicines with you, rather than in the moving van. (Shutterstock.com)

You’ve hired a moving company, and you’re preparing for the big cross-country move. There’s no better time to go through your things. While there are many things you’ll need to remember to pack, there are also a few things you won’t want to pack. Here are the top five packing tips for this big transition.

Packing tip 1: Always be safe

If there is anything that comes to mind while you are packing up your home for the moving company that makes you stop and think, it is probably too dangerous to pack. Things like firearms, fireworks, explosives, and toxic substances should be on your no-go list.

If you have firearms you want to leave behind, check with your local police department. Many cities will collect your unwanted guns, no questions asked. Whatever you do, do not leave them unattended when you are packing up your home, especially with small children. You want to protect against any accidents.

Should you happen to have any hazardous material in your possession, check to see if there is a nearby chemical recycling company that could help you properly dispose of the items. Best to get rid of them before you move, so you do not have to try to figure out what to do with them while you are working to get settled in a new city.

In general, some things that moving companies won’t pack include:

• Acid

• Sterno

• Darkroom Chemicals

• Pesticides

• Motor Oil

• Gasoline

• Charcoal

• Lighter Fluid

• Fertilizer

• Paints

• Car Batteries

• Ammunition

• Kerosene

• Pool Chemicals

• Chemistry Sets

• Fireworks

• Paint Thinner

• Loaded Weapons

• Weed Killer

• Ammonia

• Lamp Oil

• Propane

If you do have these items, either properly dispose of them or see if a neighbor can use them. Make yourself familiar with shipping restrictions, too. The United States Postal Service publishes a list online of things that are illegal to ship. Review the list to ensure compliance if there are any boxes that you will be mailing to your new home.

Tip #2: Perishable and non-perishable food

Chances are you’ve probably got a pantry full of canned goods and non-perishables that have been sitting around collecting dust. The hassle of packing, moving, and unpacking those is often not worth it for some of those items that will continue to collect dust in your new pantry. Instead of throwing them away, consider donating your non-perishable foods to a local food pantry.

Some movers partner with a national nonprofit, Move for Hunger, that collects non-perishable foods from your home and delivers them on your behalf to a local food bank. Not only does this save you time, but it’s an excellent way for you to give back to your community before you move.

In addition to your non-perishables, you will want to go through your refrigerator and freezer. This is a great time to do some deep cleaning, throw away expired food items, and really only keep the essentials — but only if your move is relatively local. If not, you’ll just want to dispose of all perishables. Chances are, they will not be stored properly during the move and will not be any good.  This packing tip can prevent you and your family from contracting a food-borne illness, something  you do not want to deal with during your big transition.

Tip #3: Important documents

You most likely have a file container in your home to store important documents — things like birth certificates, social security cards, passports, wills, insurance papers, etc. These are documents you would not want to get into the wrong hands. Plus, you’ll want them handy once you get to the new city, especially for orientation at a new job.

Pro packing tips: Upgrade storage of your sensitive documents to a safe before the move. Find a small one that can organize a handful of important documents and will easily travel with you in the car. You’ll benefit from the added peace of mind, and furthermore, you’ll know exactly where they are when you move into your new home.

Tip #4: Prescription medications

If you are on any prescription medications, another excellent packing tip is to talk to your pharmacist about best practices for transporting them. You’ll want to get your prescriptions transferred to a new pharmacy near your new home.

If you have any prescriptions on hand, make sure you transport them in your purse or briefcase. Doing this will ensure they arrive to your new home safely and securely as you will be aware of where they are throughout the entire journey.

Tip #5: Valuables

Another great packing tip to remember is to transport your items of value personally. This includes high-value items and sentimental pieces.

High-value items might include computers, jewelry, artwork, and collections (coins, stamps, etc.). The main packing tip for valuables is not leaving these items for the moving company to pack. You eliminate any chance of something happening to them as they’ll be in your personal care.

Don’t forget those sentimental pieces. Your old family videos, heirlooms, photo albums, and children’s artwork, to name a few, are irreplaceable. It also is recommended to pack these items in your car.

What Can I Pack for the Moving Company?

Whether your moving company is packing for you, or you’ve elected to pack your items yourself, one of the essential packing tips is to declutter and purge.

Your movers may be the most professional, incredible people at their jobs, but that doesn’t make them mind-readers. This is the optimal time to weed out all of the stuff in your home that is no longer useful or of value.

Savvy Packing Tips: Don’t give your time, energy, or money to move stuff you don’t want. Throw a yard-sale, consign what you can, and give away the rest. We promise you won’t miss all the clutter when you are settling into your new space.

Do not forget areas like the fridge, garage, attic, and shed. It is important to have all those areas covered so you can be ready when the movers arrive. This means your whole house is packed up and prepared for them to swoop in to load the truck and hit the road. Just be aware of what can and cannot be packed and have your plan in place before the big day.

Have questions on packing tips or things that can’t be packed for a moving company? Contact Colonial Van Lines at (800) 356-1855 for guidance and a free quote.