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Packing to move can be drudge work, but it's an even worse task if your labor results in broken glassware, tangled jewelry, busted gadgets, and lost electrical cords. Leaving your home for a new one is stressful enough without these added woes.
To the rescue, here are some brilliant hacks that'll get your stuff loaded up with nary a crack -- and almost no sweat -- from experts who live and breathe packing.
Don't just grab your dinnerware from the shelf and stack it in a box -- it's more apt to break. As counterintuitive as it sounds, it's better to pack them sideways instead. Just make sure the box is small enough so that the plates fit with only a bit of wiggle room on each side where you can insert bubble wrap or other cushioning.
Bronx-based Katie McCann, a home and office organization coach with Maeve's Method, expands on this approach. "Wrap each plate in packing paper, then wrap each set of 6 to 8 again to reinforce them," she explains.
Randy Shacka, president of Two Men and a Truck in Lansing, MI, will sometimes insert paper plates between ceramic ones before standing them up in boxes.
Glasses and cups
Put your tube socks to good use: Insert your stemware into them (one per sock, of course) to prevent cracks. Mim King, a professional organizer in Minneapolis, recommends turning the handles of coffee mugs and pitchers inward in boxes to save space. "You can also pick up wine or beer boxes with the cardboard separators to pack glasses and other fragile items -- liquor stores give these away for free," she notes.
Necklaces and bracelets
Don't let all of those pretty chains get tangled in knots! To prevent bracelets and necklaces from ending up in this sad state, grab a few empty toilet paper rolls or drinking straws. Thread each chain through the roll or straw, and then fasten the clasp. Lay them gently in a box and cover with a layer of clothing to keep them in place.
These tiny objects need their own packing compartment -- and your old egg cartons are just the solution. Pop a few pairs into each nesting cup and then top with a few cotton balls. Close the carton and seal it with a bit of packing or masking tape. You could also poke your earrings through a paper towel tube, secure them with backs and then wrap the whole roll with plastic wrap or a soft T-shirt.
Moving a dresser is easier without the drawers in it, but if you're hoisting it full of clothes, take some heavy-duty plastic and wrap it around the entire piece so the drawers don't slide out.
Wes Taft, co-founder of moveCHECK, a mobile app designed to save time and ease stress during a move, likes to slide trash bags over hanging clothes while they're still on the rod of the closet to make them easier to carry or stack.
Soft items like towels, sheets, and dishcloths can do double duty when you pack them. Shacka suggests rolling up wooden and plastic utensils and other kitchen items in dish towels, while King uses cloth napkins and T-shirts to wrap or separate fragile items. "Pack pillows at the top of boxes to add extra cushion and wrap artwork in blankets," she adds.
Much like jewelry, cords might get balled up and separated from their devices, so make a special effort to keep these organized.
Taft recommends repurposing those plastic tabs that come with loaves of bread to secure cords. "Be sure to label them so you don't lose track of which cord goes to which piece of equipment," he says. You can also take a photo of your electronics before unplugging them so that you remember which cords fit into which sockets.
Your daily necessities
It seems so obvious -- until you're standing, exhausted, amid towers of boxes wishing you had your toothbrush and slippers. Pack this special box and fill it with the essentials you need on the first day and night in your new house, including toilet paper, pajamas, a spare set of clothes -- and a bottle of Champagne!
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Watch: Is It Smarter to Rent or Buy?