Child Friendly Packaging: 5 Ways to Keep Moving Home a Smooth Process
For upheaval and excitement in equal measure, there’s nothing quite like a house move. For you, it means a time when your organisational skills are tested to the limit. For small children, it’s often a memorable time for very different reasons: not least, an unfamiliar space to run around in and lots of irresistibly interesting boxes to delve into.
Sadly, there isn’t a magic solution to make a family move a stress-free experience. There’s some good news though: the right child-friendly packaging can go a long way in making everything run much more smoothly. With this in mind, here’s how to choose the perfect packaging to get everything, and everyone, to your new home in one piece.
First things first: de-clutter and work out what needs to be moved
What’s going to come with you and what can stay behind? With any house move comes a valuable opportunity to de-clutter. In a family home, this means a chance to decide which of those toys and clothes that haven’t been touched in years can be consigned to eBay, the charity shop, or the bin.
Once you’ve dispatched everything you don’t need, you can start thinking about the logistics of the move. To help you, here are five areas to focus on:
1. Cardboard boxes: invest in a kit designed specifically for family moves
Packing wise, for a typical home move, cardboard boxes are your best friend. There are some very good reasons why cardboard boxes remain the staple of the great British house move: cardboard is cheap, easy to handle, light (yet very robust) — and the boxes themselves can either be folded down and neatly stashed away or disposed of at the other end.
Traditionally, one way of sourcing boxes was to carry out a trawl of supermarkets for them. There have always been a few problems with this. For one, there’s the very real risk of discovering that the box isn’t quite as strong as it appears when the bottom collapses and the contents are strewn across the street. Even more of an issue when there are children on the scene, you generally end up with a hotchpotch of different types of boxes that can prove to be very hard to stack without them toppling over. What’s more, frayed edging makes it easier to take a peek inside, while loose and exposed staples can easily find their way into tiny hands.
If a safe, smooth moving process is your priority, the answer comes in the form of a moving kit: a bundle of boxes, wrapping, tape, and even a couple of marker pens. From wardrobe boxes and archive boxes, through to double thickness corrugated boxes for heavier items, these type of kits can cover all bases. Different kits are available to match different house sizes.
2. ‘No nail’ crates for safety
If it’s a move overseas, or possessions are going into long-term storage, wooden shipping crates may be called for. These days, dealing with shipping crates no longer has to involve a hammer and nails; something that’s especially welcome when there are children around. ‘No nail’ shipping crates are quick and easy to put together; they come with secure locking tabs attached, while the plywood construction means they are resistant to moisture and humidity.
3. Packing in a child-friendly way
Your bathroom, kitchen and garage are home to a number of hazardous substances such as bleach, aerosols and solvents that you would normally keep well out of reach. For moving, it’s advisable to have a separate box for dangerous materials from each room and to label it in such a way that you know what’s in it. You should keep this separate from the rest of the boxes. Lockable shipping crates are one option. Alternatively, if you’re using cardboard boxes, make sure that the box is tightly sealed. The sellotape you would normally use for gift wrapping isn’t strong enough for this; instead, invest in a roll of polypropylene tape, which is thick enough to completely cover the seam.
For breakables, use a combination of bubble wrap roll and tissue paper. For especially cherished breakable items such as ceramics, polystyrene loose fill (packing peanuts) bring extra peace of mind as these are great for bulking out the space around awkwardly-shaped fragile items in cardboard boxes. Tissue paper is preferable to newspaper for separating individual items of crockery as it won’t leave print stains.
4. Have a ready supply of see-through self-seal bags
Let’s say you have to dismantle a series of wardrobe doors or other items of furniture. You don’t want to leave stray plugs and screws lying around for children to get hold of and ideally you want to keep the fixtures with the right pieces of furniture. Place the screws in a transparent self-seal bag and either label each bag accordingly and put them all in one box, or else tape the bag to it’s matching piece of furniture.
5. A ‘special box’ for each child
For little ones, this tends to be an exciting time, but some children won’t like the idea of all of their toys being bundled away, even if it’s just for a few days. Reassure them and make them feel involved by giving them a “special box”. This could just be a simple, small archive box: they can choose which of their toys to put in it and they can keep this with them throughout the move. It’s a nice way to get them involved in the entire process as well, making the move just that little bit easier for them as well as you.
For more information on the logistics of moving home, and how to safely pack all your possessions up,head on over to our Packaging Clinic.