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Packing the Kitchen in 10 Steps

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Step One: Sort, Select and Simplify

Before you move, select those items you're taking with you and remove the items you're leaving behind. Make sure you have "homes" for the things you won't be taking and check that you're not moving items that shouldn't be packed. Go through each cupboard and drawer and be very selective. Donate items to shelters, food banks, have a garage sale or give useable items to friends. See Preparing Your Kitchen for more information.

Step Two: Prepare an Essentials Box

Put aside the things you'll need for your last two days in your current home and for the first two days in your new home, including dishes, cutlery, food items, appliances (coffee maker/toaster), dishtowel, dishcloth, cleaner, soap, etc... For a more detailed list see Preparing Your Kitchen.

Step Three: Collect Packing Materials:

For a family-sized kitchen, you'll need the following:

  • 5 Large Boxes (18 x 18 x 24): For lightweight and hard to pack items such as plastic kitchenware, dish racks, small appliances, baking tins.
  • 10 Medium Boxes (18 x 18 x 16): For heavier items such as small appliances, pantry items, pots and pans, silverware, contents of drawers, cookbooks.
  • 5 Heavy Duty Boxes (18 x 18 x 28): These have thick, double-walls, perfect for packing fragiles, such as plates, glasses, stemware, wine and canisters.
  • Unprinted Newswrap: To pack fragiles, including food items, small appliances. Purchase a 4-5 lbs bundle.
  • Bubblewrap: Purchase a 36 ft roll or if it saves money, purchase additional amounts. You'll need it to pack other rooms.
  • 5-10 Cell Kits (18 x 18): Cell kits are extremely useful for packing glasses, stemware, wine and liquor bottles. I've also used them to pack figurines, vases and canisters. Check the sizes of your cell kits to ensure they'll fit into the boxes you have.
  • 5 Packing/Sealing Tape: Purchase in bulk as you'll need it for packing all your rooms.
  • Marker, labels: Again purchase enough so you can pack your entire house.

Step Four: Pack Items Not Frequently Used

Start by packing those items in your cupboards and drawers that you don't use on a daily basis. This could include:

  • Vases, crystal
  • Food storage containers
  • Wine glasses,
  • Mixing bowls
  • Cookie sheets, pie pans
  • Small appliances, such as mixers, blenders, etc...
  • Cookbooks
  • Extra dishtowels, dish cloths and oven mitts
  • Special utensils, such as barbecue tongs, meat mallets, ladles and spatulas.
  • Special-event dishes, such as serving plates, condiment dishes, cream and sugar containers, etc...
  • Pictures and wall hangings

Step Five: Pack Wine, Liquor or Other Unopened Bottles

Wine and alcohol can be packed early on in the process. Select the bottles you plan on opening between now and the move, and pack the rest. Other items you may want to pack now are food items that are in glass bottles, but are still sealed, such as cooking oils, specialty oils and fine vinegars. Remember, ask yourself if the weight of each item is worth the cost of moving it. For items such as aged olive oils, balsamic vinegars or truffle oil, it's worth the cost of moving.

Step Six: Pack Drawers and Shelves

Start with the messiest drawer. Get rid of extra items or items you no longer use. Rule of thumb: if you haven't used it in the last 6 months, don't move it.

Pack the cutlery drawer, keeping only one set per family member. These sets will be kept in your essentials box.

If you still need to pack your cookbooks, do it now. Remember to pack books flat to prevent bending the spines. Place the books in the box according to preference; keep the books most used on top. If there's a book you'd like to include in your Essentials Box, keep it out. Just make sure you only set aside one. Your Essentials Box should be only for the most critical items.

Step Seven: Pack Dishes

Put together the cell boxes for glasses and stemware. Take your time with this step, ensuring items are packed well. This is also the time to pack plates and bowls and any odds and ends.

Step Eight: Pack Pots and Pans

Keep at least one all-purpose pot for your essentials box. Pack the rest, including lids and crockery.

Step Nine: Pack the Pantry

The pantry should've been sorted by now, keeping only those items you want to move. Start with the spices then work your way to the larger items. Canned goods aren't worth moving unless you're moving yourself. Again, check the weight of each item and measure the cost to move it. Tape up any opened food packages and get rid of all perishables, including freezer items unless you're moving close-by.

Step Ten: Prepare Appliances

Make sure you properly prepare large appliances for your move. This should be done at least 24 hours in advance. Improper preparation can lead to gas leaks, broken parts and appliances that won't work. Read the manuals, and if you're unsure of how to prepare them, call a professional.

Related Video
Tips for Packing a Kitchen

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