At some point in their lives, most people find themselves in situations where they have to pack something more than a suitcase. It can be a daunting task, but with some organization and proper planning, packing can be easier than you think.

Choose the Right Size Box

If your boxes become too heavy, they’ll be difficult to carry or won’t hold up to being handled and moved. Use smaller boxes to pack books and papers, laying books flat or stacked. (Books can also be placed spine first with paper edges up or standing up with spines against the side of the box.) Blankets and pillows can be packed in larger boxes or used to pad other items. Try keeping the weight of boxes to no more than 50 lbs.

Carefully Wrap Fragile Items

It’s a good idea to cushion the bottom of boxes that will contain breakables, with a layer of crumpled paper or bubble wrap. Each item should be individually wrapped in paper or bubble wrap, before placing it in the box. Start with heavier items and work up to lighter items towards the top of the box. Fill in the extra space with crumpled paper or bubble wrap.

Organize Like Items

When packing up your house, keep items from the same rooms together. It makes for easy labeling and you’ll appreciate this when you begin to unpack your belongings at your new home. It’s also very handy for a moving company to know where each box should be unloaded at the new place. If you disassemble furniture or other items, keep all the parts and pieces together and clearly labeled in one box or container.

Pack in a Strategic Order

First, pack up the items you use the least such as household and holiday decorations or the contents of spare closets. Next pack items you use more frequently, finishing with things you use every day as you near moving day. You don’t want to have to open boxes that you’ve already packed to find something you need.

Clearly Label Your Boxes

Be sure to clearly label each box as it gets packed, including the room where the items belong and a list of the items inside. If the items are glass or breakable, label the box as fragile to avoid damage.

Secure Boxes with Packing Tape

Be sure not to over-fill boxes. Allow the top to be closed easily. If you have extra space at the top of the box, use packing material or bubble wrap to fill in the space. Secure the box along the flap with packing tape.

Remember, packing doesn’t have to be overwhelming if you stay organized and focused. Plan in advance by having all the needed supplies on hand.