How to label and organize boxes for a household move

Note that some of our clear boxes are labelled with the contents

The first thing you need to do is get thick blue painters tape, thick green tape (there is a tape called Frog’s tape at hardware stores), and sheets with the small colored dots on them.

As you pack boxes, designate a colored dot for each new room as well as the garage or storage areas. That way, the movers or your friends won’t need to ask where the boxes are going. The dot should be on the top and the side. Place a dot on the molding of the new rooms so people can, for example, pick up a box with a yellow dot on it and simply walk it into the room that has a yellow dot on the molding. Simple. You can even write instructions on the top of the box, like “store in closet” to further assist your helpers.

The thick green tape is for FRAGILE boxes. Anything that has breakables in it will get a thick strip of green tape across the top. Write FRAGILE on the tape. Consistency will help the movers or your friends in assessing where items need to go as well as how cautious they need to be with certain items.

If this will not be your final move and you need to store items and boxes in a storage facility or the garage of your temporary home, then consider numbering the boxes and creating a simple Excel spreadsheet (or table within a Word document). Put the number on the blue painters tape on the top and the side of the box or storage container. Then, in your spreadsheet, include the number of the box, the contents (for example, writing books from Heidi’s office closet) and the final destination (for example, will it be inside the house to be unpacked, stored in a closet in the house or placed in the garage or attic space).

Here is a low row of numbered boxes that we won't unpack. They are behind a couch.

If you are storing a large amount of boxes and containers somewhere (a garage or a storage facility), consider using a 3D grid on paper so that you can know where a certain box is located. That way, if you are looking for a particular box, say box #31, you know it is in the garage in the second row, 3rd from the house wall and 2nd box from the top. You don’t need to dig through boxes and boxes to find the item you are looking for.

Check out my blog post later today on how to organize a local move and let me know if this post helped you organize your belongings.

Note, the row of boxes hidden under a coordinated sheet and behind a couch (I put two lamps on it and used it as a sofa table)

Same row of boxes, notice the draped sheet . . .


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