Mom Hacks Monday: Color Coded Packing

Micah and I are experienced movers.  We love to tell people that he is from the Kansas City area, I am from the Cincinnati area.  We met in Denver, moved to Maryland, then moved back to the Kansas City area when I was 5 months pregnant.  We lived in 4 different homes in the Kansas City area before moving to Ohio to be closer to my family.  In the 21 months that we’ve been here, we’ve lived in 4 different homes.  We’ve learned a thing or two about moving.  Last week, I gave some tips for moving with children.  Today, I’m going to talk about our best tip for making the unloading of the truck and the unpacking easier.

Using scrapbook paper or construction paper, assign one color to each room of the new home.  Make a key with a scrap of each color paper and what room it is for.  Keep the key and the rest of the paper in the same area that the other packing supplies are kept in.  Every time someone packs a box, think about where the items in the box will go in the new home, and put a label of that color on the box.  Then, write the contents of the box on the label.  This is REALLY simple, so long as everyone remembers to put a label on each box as it is packed.

On the day of the move, my job is to get the kids out of the old house and over to the new house.  When we get there, we take a big piece of paper of each color, and tape it in the corresponding rooms.

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This is the part where the EASIER comes in.  When Micah arrives with the moving truck, and it is time to start pulling boxes off, instead of reading labels and trying to figure out what to do with each individual box, the movers just look at the color of the label and take it to the room with that color label taped up.  We always live in small houses, so it only takes a few minutes to memorize what color goes where.  The boxes are stacked neatly in the rooms they belong in.

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Before we implemented this system, one of two things happened with boxes coming off the truck.  Either it took forever to read each box (and sometimes we had to figure out which writing was from THIS move, if the boxes had been reused), and figure out where that box should go.  Or, we would just stack ALL of the boxes in one central location and start unpacking one box at a time.  Neither of these were ideal solutions.  In the first example, it would often take many hours to unload the truck because of the interaction with each box.  If we were still doing that now, with 6 people’s things to move instead of only 2 or 3, we would have to pay for an extra day with the moving truck!  In the second example, it was difficult and frustrating to find things that we needed.  I often wasn’t physically able to lift boxes from the top of the stack to look for things that I needed that were in lower boxes.  Our color coding system has pretty much put an end to both of these problems.

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Now, any friends or family who come to help us move are easily able to grab a box and help out.  There is no stopping to ask where the box of books goes, or to ask if “bedroom” means the master bedroom or the kids’ bedroom.  It is all smooth and easy.  And because the contents of the box are clearly on the label, I can easily find what I’m looking for, and it is easy for Micah to arrange the boxes so that the items we use most often are near the top.  It is also easier to unpack because I’m not taking boxes from a storage area to the area where they belong to unpack them – I am unpacking right in the room they belong in.

What great moving tips do you have to share?

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