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Packing - The SMART Way
by Kari Lamanuzzi

Packing up all of your stuff and moving can be quite an undertaking. Still, if you go about things the SMART way, your moving experience should be a rather smooth one.

S: Size matters. Just because you have a gigantic box does not mean that you should fill it to the top with everything that you can possibly fit in it. Contrary to popular belief, it's a good idea to get small and medium sized boxes for your small and medium sized items instead of throwing everything together in the biggest box you can find. When you use a variety of different boxes, it's less likely that the box will break from the weight of the items inside of it. Also, keeping things separate can prevent larger and heftier items from crushing and breaking the smaller, more delicate things that you own.

M: Make sure you wrap things properly. This is probably the most important item in the whole SMART acronym. Wrap things securely enough that they can survive a tumble down a flight of stairs, because the odds are pretty good that you'll drop at least one of the boxes. Don't be afraid to get a little overzealous with the cushy stuff, you'll thank yourself for it as you unpack box after box of unbroken items.

A: Always secure your boxes. This actually ties in with making sure you wrap things properly, but is crucial enough to deserve its very own letter. Please don't kid yourself into thinking that as long as the four flaps of the box are closed together, your box is secure. Even if you don't put 50 pounds worth of stuff in a 20 pound box, the bottom can still fall out. Unless you want your stuff to fall and crash on the floor, tape it up. Go to the store and buy as many rolls of packing tape as you think you may need, and then buy two more rolls. When taping a box up, use twice as much tape as you think that you'll need. While you can never have too much tape securing a box, you can certainly have not enough.

R: Reuse materials to save money and help the environment. This is actually one of the easiest steps to follow, because there are so many incentives built into it. On one hand, you'll do your part to save the environment. On the other, you'll also save yourself a boatload of cash. Instead of buying boxes at a packing store, call up some of the clothing stores in your area and ask if you can come and take some boxes off of their hands. Usually, the stores get new shipments in weekly, and then throw away the boxes after they've been unpacked. Also, avoid bubble wrap (which, in addition to being costly, usually just ends up in the trash) and use sweaters or other soft articles of clothing instead. When you run out of sweaters, try packing things in old newspapers, which can'then be recycled.

T: Travel safely and lightly. All of the careful packing in the world isn't going to make a difference if you drive like a madman on the way to your new place. Take the turns slowly, which will keep your boxes from flying around the back of vehicle. Also, it saves you a lot of time and effort if you take any of the clothes that you haven't worn in years, as well as old pots, pans and knickknacks to your local Goodwill instead of to your new apartment. Your trash might be somebody else's treasure.

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