Top Tips for Labeling Moving Boxes

When you think of moving to a new home, what words come to mind? If you’re like most who have gone through the process of a home move, you probably think of words like chaos, disorganization and stress. It’s not that moving to a new home is all bad. In fact, it can actually be a very exciting time in one’s life. The problem is that there are a lot of details involved in order to orchestrate and conduct a move. From finding a new place to live, to packing, cleaning and buying supplies, there is a great deal to organize if you want to get from Point A to Point B successfully.

Luckily, your moving preparations don’t have to be disorganized, chaotic or stressful. How, you ask? One way is to devise a smart and foolproof labeling system for packing. Below you will find our top tips for labeling moving boxes for an upcoming move.

Create a Color-Code System

We previously mentioned a color-code system. Now we will discuss in full what this is and how it works. So here goes! The best way to label moving boxes is to create and use a color-coding system. Here’s an example:

Say you choose the color blue to mean bedroom. You will use either a blue marker or blue tape to label all boxes that are packed with items from your bedroom. Come moving day, you will know to take all boxes labeled with blue to the bedroom until they can later be unpacked.

How will others, like friends and movers, understand your color-coding system? A good way to keep them informed is to place colored pieces of paper on the doors of your new home that match the color-code on your boxes. For example, for bedroom boxes labeled with blue, place a blue piece of paper over that specific bedroom door.

Create a Number Labeling System

Are you into numbers more than colors? No problem! Another great labeling technique you can use is a number labeling system. The purpose of using numbers to mark your moving boxes is to designate a certain number to each container. Then, you create a master inventory checklist that includes the contents located in each numbered box.

For example: If Box #1 includes a coffee maker, toaster and blender, each of these items will be listed under Box #1 on your inventory checklist. Then, on the box, you will write “#1”.

The key to using a number labeling system is to ensure you don’t lose the master inventory checklist. So print several copies and also email it to yourself and even to a friend for extra backup.

Gather Labeling Supplies

One of the keys to successfully pack for a move is to have the proper supplies to get the job done. While the most obvious supplies you’ll need are things like cardboard moving boxes, packing paper, bubble wrap, and tape, you will also need labeling supplies:

Quality Markers. One of the most important labeling supplies to have are markers (have several on hand!). Unlike ordinary pens, markers are the best choice. When shopping for markers, keep these things in mind:

Color. Using markers of different colors will allow you to color-code each box based on the room it belongs in. This will make moving day, and unpacking, much more organized.

Quality. With moving costs exploding around you, it can be tempting to cut costs on things like markers. But this is a definite mistake, as they are more likely to run out of ink faster and not show up as well.

Permanent and Waterproof. Moving day comes with a big list of what-ifs. What if it rains? What if something leaks? Problems like these can cause labels to smudge and smear. This is why using permanent and waterproof markers when labeling your moving boxes is a must.

Labels. If you prefer to have sticky labels that you write on, you can find downloadable and ready-to-use printable moving box labels on the Internet. You can also purchase labels from a local moving company. These labels will include the names of different rooms on them so you won’t even have to write on them.

Colored Tape. While packing your belongings, you will have lots of clear packing tape on hand. But this won’t work for labeling! To label your boxes, you will need to purchase colored tape. This way, you can enhance your labeling system and make box notification easier.

Label Boxes Correctly

There are, of course, no serious rules to follow when it comes to labeling your moving boxes. You are a unique individual, after all, and can label them whichever way you choose. But we do have a few proven techniques to share with you to help make labeling an easy and organized success.

  • Choose a labeling method that works best for you. Then, label the top and two sides of each moving box. Be sure your writing is legible. It should also be visible on at least one side, even when boxes are stacked one on top of the other.
  • Attach moving labels to your boxes then place clear packing tape over them. This way labels won’t fall of or get torn or wet during transportation.
  • Label boxes that require extra care with words like “Fragile”, “Breakable” or “Handle with Care”.

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Top 5 Items Damaged When Moving and How to Protect Them

When preparing for a move, you will spend a fair amount of time packing. Each and every item you own will need to be wrapped and boxed in a way that will keep them safe during their transport from old home to new. Failure to do so will result in your belongings being broken or damaged. Before you start packing, it’s a good idea to make a game plan. First, figure out which items are fragile and will be easily broken during your move. Then, gather the appropriate packing supplies that will keep all of your breakables safe.

So which items should you pay extra attention to? Here’s a list of the top five items most easily damaged items during a move, and how to protect them.

1. Drinking Glasses

Considering they are made out of glass, it makes sense that drinking glasses are the #1 most easily damaged item when moving house. So how can you pack them in a way that will ensure you won’t be left with a box full of broken glass? First, individually wrap each glass in packing paper. Then:

  • Place the glass horizontally on packing paper.
  • Grab a corner of the packing paper and roll the glass into the paper. Be sure to tuck the sides of the paper in (imagine wrapping a burrito).
  • Repeat these steps 3-5 times (depending on the thickness of the glass) with more sheets of packing paper.
  • Label each glass so it doesn’t get tossed aside in the packing paper madness that will occur later during the unpacking process.

Once your glasses have been wrapped, you’ll want to ensure you use the appropriate moving box. “Dishpack” boxes are made with double thick walls that create extra protection, which make them perfect for packing all sorts of breakable dishes and glassware. With your box in front of you, crumple packing paper and place it in the bottom of the box. This will provide a protective cushion. Then, place each wrapped glass vertically in one layer inside the box. After completing the first layer, place packing paper on top, and then repeat layers until the box is full.

*If there is any remaining space left in the box, fill it with crumpled packing paper.

2. Plates

Running neck and neck with the most easily damaged item when moving, is plates. The main reason for plates breaking during a move is that most don’t put enough packing paper in each box to adequately protect them. Luckily, wrapping plates takes basically the same steps as wrapping glasses:

  • First, wrap each plate individually in packing paper.
  • Repeat this step 3-5 times with more sheets of packing paper until the plate is properly secured and cushioned.
  • Label each plate.
  • Using dishpack boxes, cushion the bottom of the box’s interior with crumpled packing paper.
  • Place each wrapped plate vertically (not flat!) inside the box.
  • Then follow the rest of the steps listed above in the section about how to pack wrapping glasses.

3. Artwork

Whether you have artwork that is valuable, or even something you made yourself, you want to ensure all pieces are protected during your move. The best way to keep your artwork safe is by using a picture box. First, line the bottom of the box with crumpled packing paper. Then, place your artwork inside the box, keeping it securely in place by stuffing more paper in the front and back, and along the top. You can also use bubble wrap. The point is to make sure whatever is inside the box doesn’t shake, rattle or move during shipment.

4. Lampshades

Due to their awkward shape and often large size, lampshades are another item that can be hard to pack, putting them at a high risk of being damaged during a move. If not packed properly, they can easily be dented or torn. What to do?

  • Wrap the lampshade in bubble wrap. Be sure to cover every inch of the shade.
  • Fill the interior cavity of the shade with packing paper. Avoid using newspaper, because the print can rub off onto the shade.
  • Place the shade inside a properly-sized moving box and fill it with packing paper to keep the shade from shifting around inside.
  • Do not place anything else inside the box, especially on top of the shade. This even includes light items, like linens or clothes.

5. Liquid Cleaning Supplies

A spill that occurs inside of a box during a move can be awful – especially if the spill involves liquid cleaning supplies. These types of liquids can leak and damage items both inside and outside of the box. To avoid this, be sure all bottles of liquid are sealed properly when packed. To do this:

  • Remove the cap of each bottle and place a small piece of plastic wrap over the opening.
  • Tightly screw the cap back on.
  • Tape the outside of the cap to the bottle to further seal and secure it.

To pack your liquid cleaning supplies:

  • Choose a box that is small and secure its bottom with tape. For optimal security, run the tape in multiple directions across the bottom.
  • When the box is full, place packing paper around the bottles to stop them from shifting.
  • Tape the top of the box so it doesn’t open and spills its contents during transport.
  • Finally, be sure to label all boxes.

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How to Create a Moving Inventory List (Part 2 of 2)

In our previous blog, we discussed the importance of making a moving inventory list. This blog will provide you with the basics of how to create a moving inventory list.

Before you begin packing, you must stop, look and document. These are the key things that you must do in order to create a moving inventory list. Here are some tips.

Room by room. When making your inventory list, document all items in one room before moving on to the next room. This will provide maximum efficiency and better organization. If you prefer to list items sporadically among rooms, be sure to create separate inventory sheets for each room for good organization.

Document major items first. As you begin your inventory list, be sure to document major items first. These items include furniture pieces, household appliances, large electronic devices, etc. Once you have completed this, you can then proceed with your list by documenting smaller or more insignificant belongings. When writing down all of your belongings, be sure to note any items that will require special handling during the moving process. This will help better prepare your movers for moving day.

When making an inventory list, you do not need to document every single possession you own, like individual books, pieces of clothing, office supplies, and other odds and ends. Instead, your inventory list should include all large, valuable and sentimental items. Also note that your inventory list will become one of your most important possessions during your move, so be sure to keep it in a safe place at all times.

Details. Whether you choose to write everything down on paper or use a spreadsheet program via your computer, you will want to set up an inventory template to make it simple to use and limit confusion. Here are some essential columns to use when creating your template.

Column 1. State the name of your item.

Column 2. Give a description of each item. Make each description as specific as possible, providing information, such as: quantity, material, make, model number and any other distinctive features that may be of use to you or your movers.

Column 3. State the current condition of each individual item – and don’t sugar coat it. Inspect each item and be objective, noting the actual condition of every item. Document any pre-existing damage and include all applicable documentation, like warranties, receipts, certificates, appraisal statements, photos, etc.

Column 4. List the estimated value of each item. This is an important column on your inventory list as it will be used to establish the limit of your movers’ liability for loss or damage of an item.

Column 5. Column 5 should state the designated new location for each item on your list. By listing the specific room or location where each item on your list should go in your new home, your movers will be much more efficient; it will considerably speed up the unpacking process.

Column 6. The final column on your inventory template should be designated for any personal notes you may want to include about each of your items. For example, if you have numbered any boxes or containers, be sure to also note the number of these boxes or containers in this section of your inventory.

Visuals. Along with your written moving inventory list, another way to increase its effectiveness is to include visuals. Adding visuals, like pictures and/or videos of your belongings, will provide proof of their condition and will also better capture distinctive features of each item than written descriptions can. Just remember, visual records of your possessions are meant to accompany your written moving inventory list – not replace it.

Copy, save and backup. Once you have created your moving inventory sheet, be sure it doesn’t get lost or damaged during the chaos of your move. So always save, backup and make copies of your list. Also play it safe by keeping copies of your list in different locations, like in a folder, a filing cabinet, and even in the glove compartment of your car. For those who opt for a digital file, be sure to save your list to a jump drive or store in it in the cloud; you can also email it to yourself.

Another good idea come moving day is to compare your inventory list to the one prepared by your movers. This way you can check to ensure everything is correct.

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