After a move, when someone says, “I am never doing this again!” they’re likely not referring to the closing process or hopping from neighborhood to neighborhood to go to open houses, they’re talking about the packing and unpacking.

Moving’s hard work, whether you’re relocating across the country or just another neighborhood.  But we’re here to make it a little easier with some of our favorite packing tips, or, as we like to call them, #PackHacks.

#packhack no. 77 - pack decorative items first

1. Let’s start at the very beginning. A very good place to start.

Pardon us for channeling our inner Mary Poppins, but she did have some great advice for tackling seemingly large tasks. Sometimes getting started is the toughest part of doing – well – anything, really. If you need an easy first step to kick off your packing, box up those decorative items.

Artwork, vases, knick-knacks – these are a great place to start because while they may have sentimental value, they won’t be missed during or shortly after your move. And, once you’re done filling up a few moving boxes, treat yourself to a spoonful of sugar (or maybe a big chocolate chip cookie — your choice).

#packhack - start with the essentials for last-minute moves

2. Short on time? Create a packing checklist.

Not everyone has the luxury of months – or even weeks – to prepare for a move. If life throws you a curveball and you need to be ready to move quickly, you’ve got two options: 1.) Panic and freeze, or 2.) Create a packing checklist.

Since time is of the essence here, it’s probably best to keep your sanity intact and go with option two. A checklist is a great way to make packing and moving feel less overwhelming. List all essential items you need for your move organized by room or category (kitchen wares, books, clothing, etc.). Then, enjoy the feeling of crossing off the items one by one. So satisfying.

#packhack no. 2147 - see your things clearly

3. Consider clear boxes.

It’s helpful to set aside the things you’ll need right after your move. Pack a suitcase with two to three days’ worth of clothing and personal items and use clear containers so you can easily locate daily essentials. Because no one wants to sleepily dig through cardboard boxes in search of a coffee maker and mugs.

Speaking of clear containers, there are several advantages for packing certain things in plastic boxes. Not only do the containers last for years, they protect against moisture, heat, and humidity. They’re also easy to snap and stack – no messy packing tape required.

#packhack no. 734 - cut down on moving supplies and use linens to wrap breakables

4. Let your linens do double duty.

Instead of putting sheets and towels in their own boxes, use them as a protective cover for fragile items. Wrap plates, cups, glassware and other breakables with blankets, T-shirts, and more. Use towels as dividers between levels. This is a great way to save on packing supplies and keep your breakables safe.

#packhack no. 32 - schedule a donation pickup if you're short on time

5. Remember to donate.

There’s nothing like packing and moving to force you to get rid of things you no longer use or need. But, before you head to the trash or put your furniture curbside, consider calling a donation service. What you no longer want could provide a great deal of help to someone in need.

Many nonprofit organizations will send a moving truck to your home to pick up a large haul. This is a smart idea, too, if you’re in a time crunch. Fewer things to pack means fewer things to unpack – and more shopping opportunities.

#packhack no. 59 - secure knives in an oven mitt with a rubber band to prevent injuries

6. Don’t be afraid of packing and unpacking sharp objects.

Have you ever tried to pack a knife? Did you wrap it in paper? Bubble cushioning roll? Throw it in a box and hope for the best? No pun intended, but we could poke holes in all of these options.

A simple way to prevent pre- and post-move nicks is to put your knives in an oven mitt and secure it with a rubber band. This takes some of the anxiety out of unpacking too!

#packhack - bag & label parts

7. Some disassembly required.

If you have time, consider breaking down furniture and packing the pieces to save space and time on moving day. Store the nuts, bolts, and screws in a plastic bag (and make sure that bag gets labeled and stored in the right box to prevent a major headache), wrap the furniture pieces in protective material, then pack them in large boxes. Your movers will thank you!

#packhack no. 1091 - put shoes in boxes with dividers to avoid smashing them

8. One woman’s wine box is another woman’s shoe container.

Before you break down that wine box and put it in the recycling, consider another use for the container. Throwing your shoes in an empty box – even if you wrap them in packing paper – can create majorly smushed kicks.

To keep your shoes looking fresh, pack them in boxes with dividers. And, if you don’t have a wine box on hand, check outside your local liquor store for discarded materials. Or ask that neighbor who thinks he’s an amateur sommelier.

#packhack no. 909 - cut pool noodles to protect picture frames

9. Use this pool toy to make sure your frames don’t make a splash.

Even if you wrap your pictures and artwork, the frames can still bump and cause breakage in transit. Prevent broken frames and glass with a simple packing hack that uses a common, affordable pool accessory.

Pool noodles are great for frame protection. Measure your frames, then cut the noodles to fit the perimeter. Once you’ve got your sizes, cut the noodle down the middle so it can cushion the border.

We understand that moving can be stressful, but we hope that these #PackHacks make things a little more bearable. These are just a few of our tried-and-true moving tips, so for more in-depth information about a variety of moving-related topics, check out some other articles on our blog, like 12 Foolproof Packing and Moving Tips From Someone Who’s Moved 20+ Times, and be sure to follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

LB Gabriel is a freelance writer and frequent PODS blog contributor. When she’s not on a deadline, you can find her on a tennis court or golf course.

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