Clothes Call: Packing Your Clothing for a Move
If you are like most Americans today, you have a lot of clothes. If you are like some Americans today, you have too many clothes. Years of not discarding outgrown, out-of-fashion, sentimental and/or aspirational garments can create piles (and piles) of frustration when it comes time to move them.
Obviously, you’ll want to take a serious look at your (and your family’s) clothing, making needed decisions as to whether to keep, discard, sell or donate. That done, how do you handle the rest? The easiest thing to do, of course, is to have your mover carton them up and transport them. That path, however, can result in more work for you on the other end and even some lost opportunity. In that regard, here are some ideas we’ve culled from experts and drawn from our own experience in helping our clients work through all the many details of moving.
First, you may want to take the opportunity to organize your remaining clothes the way you’ve always wanted to have them. Maybe it’s by color. Maybe it’s by work vs. play. Maybe it’s by pieces, i.e. bottoms vs. tops. Maybe it’s by complete outfits. If this is a concept that pleases you, it can guide your packing and speed your unpacking.
Then, decide what you are going to wear for a day or two once you’ve checked off the last moving box, and keep these items separate. (This sounds obvious, but your intentions to unpack immediately can get derailed by unexpected events or just sheer exhaustion.) This is also a good time to put aside, or make a list of, personal hygiene and grooming aids you’ll need, as well. And don’t forget to include underwear, socks and sleepwear. You also might want to include a towel and washcloth for each person, in case the linens box is hard to find when you need it.
For folded clothes, some experts assert that the best way is to fold them inside out, which theoretically reduces creases or makes it easier to get them out. If you don’t want to take the time, however, just make sure you fold the individual pieces neatly, facing them in different directions to keep the surface level and maximize space. Another option is “bundling,” in which you create a sort of fabric pyramid with a large piece of clothing on the bottom, working up to a small article and then rolling it all up for packing. Again, this can absorb time, but could save space.
For lighter clothing, talk with your mover regarding whether you can leave such items in your dresser drawers, which can save you time and effort.
Clothing can be deceivingly heavy, so sturdy smaller boxes, or luggage, are recommended for items that can be folded. For clothing on hangers, wardrobe boxes, with metal racks, are highly recommended. (As wardrobe boxes are a bit pricy, you can make them do double duty by putting small light items like throw pillows in the bottom, if there’s space and they won’t cause wrinkles in the clothes hung above.) And speaking of hangers, you may feel as though you have thousands of the things now but make sure you have enough when you get to the other end of your move. Also label or write on the boxes as to the family member and contents of which container of clothing.
Shoes should be packed separately to prevent transfer of dirt, in shoeboxes if you have them. If not, individual pairs should be wrapped in paper or put in plastic grocery bags to prevent them from damaging others. For those shoes not in boxes, you can stuff socks or paper inside them to help maintain their form.
Make sure the clothes you pack are clean and dry, to avoid mildew in transit and the transfer of stains and odors to other garments. The addition of insect repellent in boxes that will remain packed for a while will discourage unwanted guests from taking up residence in your soft, warm clothes.
Again, try to look at this as an opportunity, rather than a chore – a chance to make a fresh start in your new home with a refreshed wardrobe. It’s easier said than done, we know, but we’re here to help if you need any advice when making your next move.