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Best Strategy for Labeling Boxes When Packing for Your Move

Moving is often chaotic. According to Moving.com, even a minimalist with two children will need at least ninety boxes of various sizes to move a four-bedroom house. A pack rat will need at least 190! You may find yourself with a sea of boxes, from large to small, to wardrobe and picture. Without a good strategy for labeling, you could end up in a world of confusion when it comes time to unpack.

Here is a step-by-step plan for labeling your boxes when packing for a residential move.

1. Gather the tools you will need for labeling.

You only need two sets of supplies to label your boxes:

  • Markers: High quality, permanent markers, such as thick Sharpies. Whatever pen you choose, it should be waterproof. Use a dark color, preferably black, for easy legibility. Yellow ink is difficult to read, as are other light colors.
  • Colored tape: You can use colored tape to create a color-coded labeling system that will enable you to quickly identify your boxes by room when you reach your destination. Colored tape is available in most office supply stores.

2. Color code your rooms.

Choose a different color for each of your rooms. For example:

  • Blue – master bedroom
  • Red – master bathroom
  • Green – daughter’s bedroom
  • Yellow – son’s bedroom
  • Orange – guest bathroom
  • Purple – kitchen
  • Brown – dining room
  • Pink – living room
  • White – kids’ bathroom

While this step is optional, it can be an added bit of fun and will enable you to sort quickly by room when you arrive. Just place a strip of colored tape across your box for quick identification.

3. Label each of your boxes by room.

You should also label your boxes by room, in case anyone who is helping you to move does not know your color-coded system. Be as specific as possible. Instead of “bathroom,” for instance, say “master bathroom” or “kid’s bathroom” or “guest bathroom” if you have packed these rooms separately.

Generic room labels are workable, however, if you have gathered items together from several rooms. For instance, if you have put all the toiletries in one box, you would just label your box “bathroom.”

4. Label your box by contents.

You need to be a bit more specific than just the room. Also, list the contents of the box. You don’t have to get too specific here, but at least use general categories. For instance, bathroom: towels and shower curtain, but not bathroom: hand towels, bath towels, washcloths, bath mats, shower rings, and shower curtain.

5. Number all your boxes.

Numbering your boxes has three primary advantages:

  • You’ll automatically know if you’re missing a box because that number will be missing. Otherwise, you might not even notice a box was missing until weeks later when you go looking for an item you don’t have.
  • Numbering your boxes makes inventorying your household items easier. You can keep a spreadsheet of what you packed in each numbered box.
  • Numbering your boxes makes retrieving your items easier. You may not unpack everything the first day or even week that you are in your new home, but if you need something, you can consult your inventory, which will contain the box number. If your boxes are clearly numbered, you can go straight to that box to get what you need.

Following these labeling steps will ensure all your boxes make it to your new home and get placed in the right spot for efficient unpacking. For other helpful tips, check out our blog or for a free moving quote, give us a call. One of the oldest moving companies in Austin, TX, we also offer moving services across the country!