The packing fairies failed me

I am putting out an SOS.  This is my Bat Signal, the rocks in the sand spelling H-E-L-P.  I need you webernets!  I am here on my knees…grovelling.

Our house has a contract on it.  We’re waiting on inspection reports and will likely have a bit of negotiating to do, so it could all fall apart still, but in all likelihood our house is going to sell and we will need to be out June 30.  That’s 30 days from now.  Which means one very important thing:

I need to start packing.

I bought boxes last weekend to do just that.  See?


I brought the boxes home – 11 small boxes, 7 medium boxes and 4 large boxes – and I excitedly set them in the kitchen, prepared to begin filling them with all our life’s treasures.  Then I stepped back and looked around and my throat closed.  I sat down in a kitchen chair and stared at the boxes.

A half hour later, Lee walked by.  “What are you doing?” he asked.

“I don’t know,” I shrugged.

“Are you going to do something?” he asked, ever so gently.

“I don’t know,” I replied, my eyes glassed over.  “Maybe I’ll start with the closets.  I can at least pack up the winter stuff.”

So I carried four boxes to my bedroom and leaned them against the wall…where they still sit.

I don’t know where to start, folks.  I just don’t even know where to start.  I can pack up winter clothes, but that means going through the closets, which look like this:






Clearly, going through the closets is no small task.  They are filled with clothes, many of which should probably be weeded out and donated.  And I’m just not sure where or how to start.  So I asked the packing fairies to come out at night and magically fille my boxes in an organized and efficient manner.

They haven’t responded.

It was suggested that I try packing up things I don’t use, like my fine china.  That’s a much less overwhelming room to pack because there’s not much in it and I won’t be giving anything away.  I just need to pack it.


But I’m nervous, because that stuff is highly breakable and fragile and I don’t know how to pack it in a way that doesn’t destroy it.  I’m scouring the internet for special boxes and I know I should get packing paper and newspaper.  I do have bubble wrap and a nifty tape gun, so I have the tools.

I just don’t know what to do with them.

I have moved before, incidentally.  But that was back when we were first married and we lived in a little apartment and had17 possessions to our name.  Packing a house?

I need a drink.  A stiff one.  And I really need those dang fairies to do their jobs.

So do you have any advice for me, internets?  Where do I begin?  And please, someone tell me how I’m supposed to do any of this with three rug rats under my feet!


  1. Oh, I’ve moved so often I should have my own company!! Use lots of bubble wrap and newspaper to wrap breakables then pack with towels or bedding for added support. Once, I labled boxes with a number ranking–1 meant I needed to unpack it first (stuff I would use right away, 2–needed but not crutial, 3–stuff like seasonal junk, china, etc. (a.k.a. stuff you can leave in the garage unpacked for 6 months–lol). I also wrote which room the box belonged in and had the movers put it in the appropriate room. That saved many trips to and from the garage later. Don’t feel guilty about just throwing random items in a box toward the end. It happens to everyone, including professional movers. Don’t forget to have a box of ASAP items like toilet paper and cleaning supplies. Last piece of advice–keep a huge purge box and haul it to Goodwill ASAP. Why bother moving junk you don’t want? Too much trouble. Good luck!

  2. Ah…organization. I stink at it. It turns out, though, that writing about this was motivating! I just made it half way through my closet. I have a pile to pack and a pile to keep. I started! Yeah!

    Thanks for the tips, Megan. I like the ranking system. 🙂

  3. candy martin says

    Hang on, mom will be there soon. We can tackle this pretty quickly. Leave the china to me. I will pack it well and nothing will break. I think getting started is the hardest part!!

  4. Set a goal, like a certain number of boxes per day. Pack things that you can do without – whittle down the number of towels, blankets, etc that you have and just use the minimum for the next few weeks.

    And whatever you do, when you pack the kitchen, label the boxes excessively. It may seem like you’re overdoing it, but when you UNpack them in your new kitchen, you’ll forget about things as you’re finding a home for all of them, and then have to rearrange.

  5. Mom, I’m pretty much counting on you. And Nicole, I’ve heard that. I can see how kitchen stuff would get out of hand pretty quickly. 🙂 Thanks!

  6. do you have freecycle up there? I like that idea…cause you can have people come get all the junk, I mean stuff, you don’t want to mess with or move…you don’t even have to haul it anywhere…instant goneness…love that. Goneness isn’t a word? Totally should be. 🙂

  7. melcable says

    we used those large ziploc bags for things like bedding, pillows, a free for all catch all. The grocery store will give you free boxes, saving them during the night, egg boxes, banana boxes, maybe Target would too? Maybe what you should do is pack up everything you think you know you’ll need the next 6 months, like a big vacation, first, then pack what is left behind. Keep all your towels and sheets, etc out, you’ll use those to help you pack, although I guess you may be needing those at your 6mo abode. I had my kids pick out their favorite 20 books and toys, then packed the rest away. Where is your furniture going? We did even unpack drawers last time, left them in the drawers as we moved them. Ok, just get going!!!

  8. Vonita Hill says

    Hi, Kelli. You’ve already read the advice I would give. I’ll just reiterate that STARTING is the key and MARK EVERY BOX. You will be so glad that you took the time to do it when you get to your new place. Having your mama come to help will be a HUGE blessing! A packing partner goes a long way. Strangely, I had a little trouble recalling ‘tips’ at first. I never thought that would happen since Mike and I moved 9 times in our first 7 years of marriage. Alas, we’ve been in the house we’re at now for 15. I guess this means packing is a little like giving birth. You’ll forget the pain, eventually! ;)Good luck, friend!

  9. Sharon Schacher says

    Hi Kelli,
    This is a lot of very good advise. If you need some help I could come on Friday! I’m a great organizer and I’ve been known to pack a few boxes in my day.

  10. Becke, we do. I need to look into that. 🙂 Mel, I LOVE the idea of Having the kids pick a few toys to keep out and packing the rest, or…you know…throwing them away. 🙂

    Vonita, I love that you compared packing to childbirth. Well done…

    Sharon, I promised the kids we’d go swimming this Friday but THANKS for your offer! You guys are the best!

  11. Your mom is right, Kel! Getting started is the hardest thing. I remember how overwhelmed I was with packing when we finally decided to move to my home town. It was a tough task. And the beginning was the hardest part. Just fill your first box and the idea for the second will come quickly. Good luck, dear! I wish I could help you!

  12. I wish you could too, Sveta, because that would mean you were here! 🙂

  13. NOT an easy task, but definitely doable! My advice is to PURGE like crazy as you are packing! Keep a ‘give away’ box close by when you are packing and do NOT hesitate to give stuff away! Every couple of days take those boxes to a donation center. (Also, don’t hesitate to THROW AWAY…it is liberating!)

    when you wonder if you need to keep it just look back at the Compassion blogs!

    Wishing you the best!

  14. Karen. Excellent advice…especially the part about keeping perspective. Thanks!