Using good organization practices for labeling and packing items, whether for moving or just storage, is always a wise idea. Often times when doing something like packing a box or tub there is the good intention of doing things properly, but we cut corners to save time. However that time saved ends up being time wasted down the road when you can’t find what you want or are worried about the condition of your packed items.
What is the best solution?
It makes sense to develop a system for packing and labeling that you can use for any situation. Not only will it become familiar and thus faster when you do it, but it will also save time later when you need to find something and provide peace of mind that your stuff is protected until you need it.
Labeling Pro Tips
For many people labeling involves a black marker and some quick scribbling on the side of a box or tube. I know, I have done it. Quick? Yes. Efficient and well organized? Not at all.
When you label a box “Memories” and then unearth it from your attic three years later are you really going to remember what “memories” are in there? The same thing can be said for almost anything when it is labeled in such a general manner. Heck, even Christmas supplies end up being a game of hide-and-seek as you try and remember if the tree skirt and stand was in the “Christmas 2” or “Christmas 4” tub.
There are various organizational ideas you can employ to help making find items simpler. Pick and choose from this list to create what works best for you and you needs:
- Label effectively – Labels should be descriptive so that you can tell at a glance what is in a box or tub. Rather than just “X-mas 1” you might add next to it more descriptive terms like ball ornaments, wreaths and the like. When you label think about someone else trying to find something and how easy it would be.
- Consider label apps – Technology has come a long way. Now we have apps available to help with just about everything including organization. It can be a great tool for organization. Apps like In That Box for the iPhone allow you to enter items into a database and then track them. You can print out labels for your boxes or tubs, some even with options for QR codes, which allow you to quickly see a list of contents.
- Use stickers – White sticker labels are perfect for boxes and tubs. You can find them in a variety of sizes, they are eye-catching and if you re-use a box or tub you just need to apply new stickers over the old ones.
- Label uniformly – Rather than labeling on one side only, label consistently in the upper right hand corner of each side and the top of the box. It helps to add arrows to indicate which side is up. That way no matter what side of a box you see, you can identify the label easily.
- Packing lists – For people who prefer the paper and pen method over apps, it can be helpful to create an inventory list for your boxes. You can then use a reference number on your label to the appropriate list. It is also a good idea to leave a copy of this list on the top of the box before you seal it.
Packing Pro Tips
Packing for short-term or long-term storage should involve similar steps. After all, no matter how long your stuff will be stored, you want it to be safe and sound.
- Tubs or boxes – The choice between tubs or boxes should be based on time and money. Boxes are a cheaper storage solution, but for items that are going to be stored long-term the added cost of tubs should be looked at in terms of protection. How often have you heard stories about water leaks or storm damage in an attic or garage ruining items in cardboard boxes? For moving your household boxes make the most sense, but for those items going to the garage, attic or other storage spots consider investing in storage tubs that stack evenly together.
- Right size boxes – Put heavy items in small boxes and light items in bigger ones. If you do mixed-weight items in a box, put the heavier items on the bottom as to not squish lighter items.
- No empty spaces – Fill in gaps with clothing, towels, or packing paper to ensure boxes aren’t loose, unbalanced and won’t shift or settle.
- Focused packing – For moving, pack only items from one room into one box rather than mixing different rooms together. For storage pack similar items in the same box so you don’t have to access multiple boxes or tubs to get what you want.
- Tape boxes – The bottom should always be well-tapped along the middle and seams to prevent bottoming out. Making a few wraps all the way around the box’s top and bottom edges, where stress is concentrated, can help add structural support to a box.
- Bundle breakables – Dishes and the like should be packed carefully with paper around each one and then bundled together. Bundles should then be packed on their sides and not flat to reduce the chance of breaking. Specialized boxes are recommended.
Efficient labeling speeds up moving and unpacking time because you quickly identify the contents and where things belong. Proper packing protects items for both the short and long term. By approaching both tasks with an eye for organization you will end up saving time and energy down the road whether your goal is moving or just ensuring the important things you keep in storage stay safe.