Moving smart starts with packing smart. You’ll seal the deal by labeling smart, too.
When it comes to your next big move, we’ve already given you some smart ideas for where to get shipping boxes on the cheap. If you don’t have a plan for labeling them smartly, though, it won’t matter how nice or nicely packed your boxes are. Frustration at your final destination will mount as you dig through box after box, hunting for something that could have been simple to find, if only the box is labeled properly. Here are some basic labeling options for you to consider.
Use Color Coding
You know what you can buy today in a much wider variety of colors and patterns than you could just four or five years ago? Duct tape. If you want to make sure boxes get to the right room at your new place, use this technique.
Count the number of rooms at the new place - let’s say you have a kitchen, living room, two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a storage space. That’s seven different rooms. Get seven different colors or patterns of duct tape and finalize your box taping with set colors for each room. So, if you have boxes festooned with yellow, you know those go to the kitchen. Fuchsia-labeled box? Goes in bathroom number two. You get the picture. First, write up a color-coding key and keep it on your phone, then share it with your movers or friends or anyone who’s helping you move.
If you don’t want to lay out the cash for something as grandiose as whole rolls of duct tape in multiple colors, you could go with colored stickers. Similar to duct tape, colored stickers make it easier to identify a box from across the room versus having to walk over and find the writing on the sides or top. Unless …
Use Smart(ly) Labeled Boxes
Some boxes sold for moving come with a handy little checklist on the side, with rooms where the items inside might end up during the unpacking. Master bedroom? Kitchen? Garage? Pack it up, tape it up and put a checkmark on the appropriate space. Easiest option on the list.
Use Bold Markers
Regardless of how you choose to mark your boxes, you’ll need at least a couple of basic, bold, black markers (Sharpie comes to mind). Probably the most common option for people who are packing for a move. Smart Move Alert: atrocious penmanship or a penchant for getting woozy from that new marker smell could make you reconsider this option.
Use Computer Generated Labels
Let’s say your handwriting does stink, you’re color blind or you find yourself on the outside of the Fancy Pre-Labeled Box Society. Let your fingers do the walking on your keyboard and use label sheets in your printer. Just be smart about it - you’ll want at least a 60-point font if you want to read the label from 20 feet away, so you’ll want to avoid mailing labels; go for shipping or name labels instead. Or you can try a label maker.
Prioritize & Give Details
Regardless of which organizational labeling technique you choose, you’ll want to create a list of priorities for your unpacking chore, in detail – and note this on your boxes. What rooms need to be unpacked first? Note it on the box (another note: it’s the bathroom. Get it ready first). And if a box holds fragile items, make sure this is noted in multiple spots on the box.
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