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We all know that moving houses can be rather stressful. And this is tenfold more valid if you are moving for the first time. The scale of organisation, as well as the psychological adjustment and emotional strain involved in the process, are the main culprits behind the tremendous pressure we can experience during this transitional time in our lives.
First-time movers often under-anticipate some key elements of the pre-moving stage, such as shopping around for a removalist service well in advance or packing their possessions in the right way.
So, to avoid feeling in a state of panic a week before the big day, do your homework and get a quote from a few short-listed removal companies. Also, make sure to start packing your stuff early enough and label the moving boxes properly.
This way, you will be able to find everything you need, fast and easy, when you start unpacking them in your new home.
The importance of labelling
Imagine this. An utter chaos is reigning in your new house for days. You are on the brink of tears, struggling to find your belongings in a pile of “nondescript”, anonymous boxes. Are you ready for such a scenario? We thought not. Then, labelling your moving boxes as you go, while packing, is what you need to do.
By picking an easy-to-decipher code system for describing what’s in the box and where it should go, you will save yourself a lot of hassle when trying to locate a particular item later. You will also do the removalists a favour by guiding them as to which box goes first in the truck.
Moreover, clearly labelled packs will be unloaded and moved in their right place in your new home.
And not to mention that the antique crystal vase you got from aunt Margaret will get to its new destination intact if you furnish the packaging with a nice and big “Fragile”. Last, but not least, by numbering each box, you’ll know straight away if one goes missing.
But what is the best way to label your boxes? Is there a universal system that works in all cases?
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How to label moving boxes
Well, there isn’t just one right way in which you can approach your packing venture. You can safely incorporate several proven methods of labelling without the risk of making things more confusing. But first things first, you need some labelling materials, right?
Get some coloured permanent markers and clear tape. Download printable label templates, or purchase some from your removal company. You can also have a go at making them yourself. Then, choose the labelling system that works for you.
- Colour code labels
Using different colours to label your moving boxes will make the unpacking later a much easier process. This system often goes hand in hand with the room-by-room labelling method as you can pick a different colour for each room.
Just write “Kitchen” with a yellow marker pen and “Living room” in blue to ensure that the removalists unload each box in its designated place. Use good quality waterproof marker pens to avoid ending up with smudged scribbles if it rains or snows on moving day.
To “reinforce” your colour-coded labelling system, secure the boxes with the same colour tape.
- Labels by room
Ok, we have already covered the room-by-room packing system. It is proven that it makes the unloading and unpacking simply a breeze, even if you use only one colour for writing the labels. Ensure that you tape the same label on each side of the box and even place one on top of the packaging.
Again, this will facilitate the movers a great deal when trying to get your belongings to the right room. There is nothing more inconvenient than circling around a large box to locate its label when you are strapped for time or worse, trying to move it, because the neatly written sign is on the other side.
- Priority code labels
This labelling system could combine a couple of house removals concepts. For instance, it could determine which box goes first in the moving truck and which is loaded last. This way, the removalists will be able to prioritise what items are coming off the vehicle first and get moved in their designated room.
The other idea behind this system is to clearly state and remind yourself which box is a priority in terms of getting it unpacked first.
So, you can label a box with an “H” for high priority, with an “M” for medium priority and with an “L” to emphasise its low level of priority. This labelling method will prevent you from unpacking your wedding dress first, while your kids’ school books are still buried somewhere in the heap of boxes. For packing books properly, check our guide and learn how to proceed when paperback editions need to be prepared for a move or storage.
- Number code labels
The number code labelling system involves creating an inventory list, which specifies what items are packed in each numbered box and what numbers apply for each room. For example, you can easily refer to your list when unpacking boxes 1 to 5 that are destined to go in the kitchen.
And, if the first thing that you want to do is to make a nice cup of tea, then you dash for box number 3 to get the kettle out. Well, the removalists still need to be directed somehow that box 3 belongs in the kitchen, so it won’t hurt if you jot down in red a nice and clear “Kitchen”.
- Labels by items
Packing your possessions by items works only in a partial way. And the method cannot replace other labelling systems. For instance, you can group soft items together like bedding, throw overs, rugs and cushions in a box and pack your kids’ winter clothes in a large bin bag.
Another example is your camping equipment that can be packed nicely, and labelled as such with an added “L” for low priority. All small electrical appliances that need to be handled with care can also go in a designated box.
But whether you decide to pack the hair dryer and the table fan together with the coffee maker and the juicer is another matter. Just find what works for you by weighing out the drawbacks and benefits of this labelling system. The key with it is to itemise clearly the contents of each box.
How to label boxes that contain fragile items
Whether you decide to pack your fragile items and breakables by room, number or by using coloured markers, you need to wrap them properly and label them clearly for what they are.
Envelop each object individually with a wrapping paper, whether it’s a glass, a plate, or a mirror, and place them carefully inside the box. Use plenty of bubble wrap or old towels and cloths to fill any gaps between the items and the sides of the box.
Make sure to put a label on all sides of the packs that say “Fragile” or “Handle with care”. This will also prompt the removalists not to get the boxes wet. In addition, specify clearly on the label which side of the box is up and which is facing down.
How to Label a Box of Essentials
It makes sense to pack a box of essentials that you can access immediately on your first night in your new home. What it will contain is up to you, but commonly people pack items that they need on a daily basis or make them feel comfortable.
Whether you put the baby soother, toiletries, medications, snacks and pyjamas or a bottle of wine, your favourite cheese crackers and a DVD will depend on your family needs, preferences and lifestyle. Whatever you pack, ensure to label this box with the right message, so you don’t risk looking for it for hours once you get to your destination.
For example, you can write the following label on this box of essentials with a unique colour that you have not used on any other boxes:
- First Night Box
- High priority
- First off the truck
- Handle with care
And you can always consider placing your essentials in the boot of your own car just to be sure…
How to unpack after moving house
So, you are here now. And there’s so much unpacking to deal with. The best thing you can do is to keep calm and take your time. You will find that unpacking can be fun, especially if you’ve done the packing and labelling right.
After all, all this pre-moving hard work you had to do was designed to make things simple when unpacking. Just make use of the labelling system again and start unpacking room by room, from high to low priority. Take regular breaks and enjoy painting the blank canvas of your new abode gradually and in a stress-free manner.
Finished? Then, why not open a bottle of wine, light up a scented candle and say ‘hello’ to your new home? And if you need to relocate again one day, you know now how to do it the easy way.
Did we miss anything? Do you have your own unique labelling system that you’re willing to share? Let us know in the comments below or give us a shout on social media!