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Plan your move

How to pack

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Shamefully incomplete as this guide is, we would like to hear your advice for packing specific things or alternatives to the methods we have suggested. Send TheMoveChannel a tip.

Don't forget that the best people to ask may well be the removals people, especially if you are concerned about any items you feel may require special attention. They have more experience of packing than we do - we just want to point you in the right direction and get you thinking.

One general point - when packing, it's a good idea to clean as many of the items as possible, either dusting them, polishing them, or washing and airing them. There's nothing worse than unpacking dusty ornaments or stale smelling curtains. Having everything clean means that your new house will feel clean and fresh from day one.

Glasses and tumblers should be wrapped individually, first with a sheet of tissue and then with normal paper. They should be stored and transported upright in a box padded with lots of bubble wrap or newspaper. One of the best things to do with glasses is not be clumsy, as they break easily.

Newspaper is usually sufficient to protect your plates from damage. Wrap up the individual pieces and then put them in a box that is lined with much more paper.

Use towels, blankets, tablecloths etc. to line boxes which will be packed with china or glass. Children's soft toys also make
good padding material and help to fill boxes without making them too heavy.

Self-assembly furniture
What do you do when you have a lovely workstation desk that you painstakingly put together but have no longer got the instructions for? The best answer we can give is that you should talk it over with your mover. It is rare to successfully put something back together that involved any amount of gluing in the first place and you may find that sturdy old piece of furniture is now a little more wobbly than it used to be. Check if it is covered by insurance and think of alternatives to dismantling it. Could you leave it to the buyer for a nominal sum?

When it comes to heavy storage items, such as wardrobes, chests, bookcases or suchlike, you should do your best to minimise the weight of any items that you pack into them, particularly if you have lots of stairs to overcome. This goes for normal boxes too - books, for instance don't necessarily need to be kept together to be easily found when you get to your new home. Break big bulky or heavy items up as far as possible and you may find the old back lasts a little longer. Or if you're lucky enough to have hired help, they'll certainly be grateful.

Be sure to separate small or valuable items and handle their transfer yourself. Don't forget to check all your little hideaways. If you are really concerned about losing things, it may be worth renting a safety deposit box for the duration of the move. Any sizeable pieces of silver should be wrapped in acid-free tissue paper, especially if they are going into storage. This will avoid them getting tarnished. You should be able to find this paper at jewellers or pawnshops. Any gold should be sent directly to TheMoveChannel for safekeeping*.

*Do not try this at home

Important documents
These can be treated like jewellery, as they often are just as valuable. Start gathering your documents together a couple of weeks before you move and make copies of everything you can. Keep them together and if you are worried they might get caught up in the chaos of the final days before you move deposit them somewhere safe. This could be a safety deposit box or a relative, for example. Take the copies with you when you move - some identification is always useful - and collect the important stuff once you're settled.

Tropical fish
Guide the fish into small plastic sealable bags like the ones you get from the fish shop, filled with water from your tank. Gently put these into a polystyrene box. This helps retain the heat. If you can't get hold of one of these, then use a normal cardboard box filled with newspaper. Try and keep it stable and warm and be as quick as you possibly can. For journeys any longer than four or five hours, this method is not really feasible.

As long as you don't overfill them, you can usually leave some clothes in your chest of drawers or bedside drawer units. Don't lock the drawers though as it may be necessary to open them to get a better grip on the furniture whilst carrying it and you may find that you don't have any idea where the key has got to.

Food is best transported in your stomach. Aside from that, all jars should be tightened before moving, and open packets and bags should either be used up or sealed. Wrapping anything that may leak in a plastic bag can be a good idea. Put the food into boxes and keep like with like - tins, fruit, bags etc. This will help make it easier to know how to treat the box.

Refrigerated food should stay together in a separate box, with meats wrapped in separate plastic bags. Frozen food should either have been defrosted and eaten or put into deep freeze a few days before you move. Only take this approach if you are sure your journey is short enough for the food not to defrost. Refreezing food that has defrosted is a good way to get food poisoning.

Cover the corners of paintings with several layers of cling film. Then wrap the whole lot in bubble wrap if you have any. This is definitely recommended for any paintings of value. You then need to cover this with some thick wrapping material and put the whole lot into a picture box. If you're like us and will probably never own a valuable painting, it's probably not worth going to the expense of getting picture boxes specially made. Just do the cling film bit, bubble wrap them if you can, keep all your pictures together and be careful.

Find out when you should be packing things with the Move countdown.

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