Everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but if you ask 10 random people to name the most disorganized process in life, you can rest assured that at least a few of the answers will be about the transitional period of moving to another home. Despite the bad reputation the moving preparations usually have, disorganization, chaos and stress are three words which you don’t have to hear or deal with while you are getting ready to move out of your current home.
One of the ways to help you introduce structural organization into your house move is to devise a smart and fool-proof labeling system for your already packed cardboard boxes. After all, if you’re already thinking about the best way to label moving boxes, then this means that one of the hardest, laborious and time-consuming pre-move tasks (yes, packing!) must be over, or at least close to being done and over with.
And regardless of your current progress in your relocation preparation, just remember that in order to crown your packing marathon with the success it deserves, you must make one last effort and label your moving boxes properly.
Follow these 5 hand-picked tips for labeling your moving boxes for your next move.
#1: Get your labeling tools ready
Good and timely moving tips can make your entire relocation as easy and fast as it can possibly go. Our advice on how to label packing boxes kicks off with a few words about what exactly you will need to create a good labeling system for your moving containers.
The very first thing you must have to label your moving boxes properly is a set or two of permanent markers to use to mark down your containers. Now, while ordinary marker pens will most likely be enough for the labeling job ahead of you, you are advised to go a step further and keep these basic requirements in mind:
Good quality. For various obvious reasons, avoid the temptation to purchase the cheapest markers you can possibly find. Instead, go for a set of markers from a quality brand which you are familiar with and can trust. This way, you can use the writing tools for other purposes long after the house move is over.
- Colors. If you wish to take advantage of the highly efficient color coded labeling system, then purchase a set of markers with at least 5 different colors. Read on to learn all about this famous color coding labeling strategy.
- Permanent and waterproof. You never know what the weather will be like on your moving day, so it’s always a good idea to be prepared in the eventuality of rain. And if you haven’t used waterproof marker pens, your inscriptions on the sides of the boxes might smudge and become illegible.
Ready-to-use downloadable and printable moving box labels are available on the Internet for free. If you prefer, you can purchase them from your local moving company as well. Those labels have the names of the different rooms already printed on them, so you only need to fill out the contents of each container. On the other hand, if you have enough time and expertise, you can even design your own moving box labels to add some fun to the relocation process.
Of course, you’ll have plenty of clear packing tape lying around but if you really want to raise your labeling system to another level, you should use colored tape to enhance the box identification when you find yourself in your new home.
#2: Color codes are your secret weapons
It’s good to know that the best way to label boxes when moving is through the so-called color coding system. The concept is really simple yet very effective – you just choose one color for one destination room and stick with it until the very end. In fact, it can’t get any simpler than that.
For example, you choose the color blue to mean BEDROOM, in which case you take out your blue marker and mark with it all the packed boxes that should end up in your bedroom. Of course, in addition to writing BEDROOM on them, you should specify the exact contents inside each container as well.
Also, you are encouraged to use colored tape of the corresponding color to simplify the identification process as best as you can. Once you’ve labeled and marked all bedroom-bound moving boxes in blue, you should choose another color for another destination area (for example green for your KITCHEN) and repeat the labeling steps.
However, be cautious as the color coded labeling system can be a bit tricky. The thing is that you know what each color means, but what about your movers? They might have troubles delivering the right boxes into the right rooms unless they also know what each individual color means. So, place colored piece of papers on the doors of your new home that match the already color coded cardboard boxes.
#3: Trust the good old numbers
Another great way to label boxes for shipping is to use numbers instead of color codes. The great advantage of using this numbered labeling system is that you won’t need to mark down the contents of each box on 3 of its sides. Which, of course, will save you plenty of time.
The main idea of using numbers to mark your packing boxes is to designate a unique number to each container (for instance, #1). Then, you create a master inventory list where the contents of each box number will be written down in detail. In our case, Box #1 may contain your coffee maker and toaster, so you mark them down in your checklist against number 1, while you write KITCHEN and #1 on three sides of the box itself. This way, your movers will see that they should deliver the box in question into the new home kitchen, while your inventory sheet will tell you more about what it contains.
The trickiest part here is that you must make sure you don’t lose that master inventory checklist. Photocopy it at least twice and keep the copies in separate places. To guarantee there won’t be any headaches, you are also advised to e-mail the checklist to yourself or to a friend as an extra backup.
#4: How you label your moving boxes does matter
There are no strict rules on how exactly you will label your moving boxes as it is a uniquely individual process that comes down to personal preferences. And yet, there are a few guidelines which have been proven to work great and which should eliminate the chances of unpleasant packing mistakes.
For best results, adhere to the following guidelines to finish the packing project in style:
- Choose a labeling method that will work best for you and use it to label the top and two sides of each packing box. You want to make sure that your writing will be visible on at least one side even when the boxes are neatly stacked one on top of the other. After all, you can’t afford to waste valuable time moving around and looking at each and every cardboard box until you get lucky enough to spot the container you need at that very moment.
- The best way to attach moving labels to your boxes is to use clear packing tape over them so that they don’t fall off, or get torn or wet during the transportation. Using appropriate glue is another option to make sure the colored or non-colored labels stay where they are supposed to, but that is usually slower than taping the labels over with quality tape.
- If you just finished packing a box full of fragile and breakable items, you must mark that fact down on the outside of the box so that whoever’s handling it can be more careful. Whenever needed, write FRAGILE or HANDLE WITH CARE with big black or red letters to attract the carrier’s attention.
IMPORTANT: Consult this FMCSA moving checklist to make sure you are 100% ready to move.
#5: Three little secrets to labeling your packing boxes
There are many important things to know about household moves, and one of them is to know the best way to label moving boxes. Note down the following 3 bonus secrets to labeling your boxes so that you can end your arduous packing task as fast as you possibly can.
1) When labeling boxes for moving, timing plays an important role for boosting the overall efficiency. You should mark down the contents, destination room and special handling instructions on a container as soon as you are done packing it. This is the correct way of doing it simply because if you postpone the labeling job until you’ve packed a few boxes, or all of them!, then it’s possible that you forget what’s inside them. And that, of course, can lead to additional waste of time.
2) If you have taken hold of second hand cardboard boxes in great condition, some of the containers may already have inscriptions and markings on them. To avoid confusion, tape your labels directly above the old ones to mask them. If that is not really possible, then take pieces of colored paper and just glue them over the old labels or stickers.
3) It’s not a big secret that packing up an entire home can prove to be a truly overwhelming job. In fact, it’s one of those pre-move tasks where extra non-professional or professional help is strongly advised. In the end, should packing up all your earthly possessions prove to be too much for you, why don’t you contact reputable moving companies and ask them to quote you a price that includes quality packing services as well? The efficiency, safety, insurance, and peace of mind you get when letting professional packers do what they do best should be worth every single dollar of your investment.
Will you share with us your own tips for labeling moving boxes?