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Packing Tips for Disorganized People

woman standing in messy room

It’s time to move, and the idea of being in a new space feels so good. Then, you take a look around your place. You have piles of shoes jammed in the closet. Drawers in the kitchen with everything from cooking spoons to sticky tack. Bathroom cabinets are full of expired medicines and mostly empty lotions. The idea of packing looks a lot different to the disorganized amongst us.

disorganized bedroom from above

Chances are if you’re disorganized in place you’ll be disorganized in motion. Before you start grabbing boxes and throwing anything and everything into them, take a moment. Read our packing tips for disorganized people to help you plan your move and avoid packing mistakes. Future you (you know, the one who has to unpack those boxes on the other side) will thank you.

Strategize

First thing’s first. The best place to start is by coming up with a plan of attack. While you may be tempted to do a marathon sorting and cleaning session trust us, it’s not as simple and painless in practice as it is in your head. Breaking the job down into smaller parts is the best way to approach organizing and packing.

Start with one room at a time. Not just that, set a timer. Allow yourself to cap the amount of time you spend in each room. It’s nice to reward yourself with a break after a sustained amount of effort. We recommend 30-45 minute sprints, with breaks to reset your mind and energy afterward. This will help save you from burning out.

Get Sorting

folding and sorting clothes

Head into your first room, and start sorting through your things. This means not only making piles according to what things are but moving the stuff that doesn’t belong into the place where it does. When the packing stage comes, you’ll organize things by room, so this is a crucial moment to be sure you’re able to divide things up into the appropriate places in your house. That helps to make sure you can unpack into the right places when you arrive on the other side.

Dump the Junk

Let’s be honest: not everything in your home is coming with you. Nor should it: why pack things that you don’t need, want, or use? This is a great time to do a purge and clear some space for what remains.

Start with taking the junk or trash and piling that all together. This is the pile of things that others can’t use or wouldn’t want. Broken or expired items and actual trash should go in this pile. Separate your trash and recycling, of course. Consider things that may need special care in disposing of, such as medication, batteries, or electronics.

Pile Your Donations and Giveaways

Now that you’ve cleared out all of the trash, have a look at what’s still good – just not good for you. You’re bound to have items that others may want or need, so separate those into another pile.

Once you’ve gone through every room and created piles for donations and giveaways, decide where they’ll go. Choose a local charity or thrift store that would benefit from your things. Check to see if they have special days and times where they receive items – the last thing you want is to show up with them all in your car and be turned away.

Pack!

The time has come! Now that you’ve gotten rid of all of the things you’re not taking with you, take out the boxes. Start packing all of your things room by room. Protect your valuables with rags or newspapers. If you have heavy items, make sure to keep them in smaller boxes to save effort when shifting them. Keep the larger boxes for lighter things like clothes and blankets. Try wrapping shoes in pairs to keep them together.

happy couple packing boxes

No need to stop your organization streak here. Make sure to clearly label your boxes so that they can enter your house in an orderly fashion, too. 

Be Sure to Label

We mentioned labeling above but it’s so important, it deserves its own section. Make sure you label your boxes! Since you spent so much time sorting, organizing and packing, labeling will ensure the momentum continues.

Label your boxes by room or, where relevant, specific contents. Label them on multiple sides and on the top, as boxes get turned as they’re carried, loaded, and unloaded. Ultimately, what labels you put on them is up to you, as long as it’s a system that works for you. Think about the end result: you want to know that your boxes are in the right place when you open them up.