One of the ways for first-time DIY packers to cut relocation costs is by sourcing their own supplies. However, labeling moving boxes can be confusing. Without preparation, they may find it hard to organize their belongings to make packing and unpacking seamless.
If you’re getting ready for your first move, then this blog is for you. Here, we have 10 tips to help you formulate effective labeling strategies for stuff you’re about to transfer to a new home.
Labeling Tip #1: Plan by Area
Label moving boxes according to the new rooms where they’ll be assigned. This doesn’t just organize your packing, but it also makes unpacking easier. It eliminates the guesswork for everyone helping you settle in your new place.
Labeling Tip #2: Save a Box for Immediate Necessities
Don’t pack everything in the big moving boxes. Save some supplies for immediate needs and possible emergencies. Include medications, toiletries, spare clothes, food, gadgets, chargers, batteries and anything else you think you may need while on the road. Label the box where you’re putting these supplies.
By doing this, you keep yourself from unnecessary delays and expenses. You also buy yourself some time to rest before you completely unload your belongings.
Labeling Tip #3: Color-Code
Color-coding helps organize your things and identify moving box destinations efficiently. Colors mean different things to different people. So you’re free to create whatever system you want, so long as it helps you get the job done. Make sure that the colors you use are written or printed on a contrasting background so you can make the most out of them.
Labeling Tip #4: Consider Different Labeling Materials
Below are your options for labeling your moving boxes:
Printable Moving Labels
You can print your own stickers using sheet labels or thermal labels.
Sheet labels are made of ordinary paper and rely on inkjet or laser technology for printing. Both can produce wide color varieties, but only laser prints are smudge-proof and can stay clean-looking on rainy days. Moving label templates, typically designed for sheet labels, can be downloaded and easily customized.
Thermal labels are made of heat-sensitive paper and come in rolls or fanfolds. They rely on direct thermal technology and are commonly used for barcoding and making shipping labels. They can fade after 6-12 months, but they are otherwise smudge-proof and perfect for short-term uses, such as relocation.
Thermal labels’ main drawback, however, is their color limitation. Most direct thermal printers, like Dymo, Zebra, and Rollo, print only in black. Meanwhile, some Brother models can yield both black and red images. Integrating thermal labels into your color-coding system will require colored markers.
Printable labels are both customizable and reproducible. They also provide good contrast and visibility on the surfaces of dark-colored boxes.
Pre-Printed Moving Labels
For very busy individuals, like small business owners, pre-printed moving labels can make home organization a lot more convenient and efficient. They are already color-coded and pre-assigned to different rooms, so you won’t need to figure these things out on your own.
Pre-printed moving labels come in sets. Most stickers are assigned to rooms, but one type is left blank, and another is marked with the word “Fragile.” Each kind of sticker has plenty of copies, so you can put them on multiple boxes. They are inexpensive, neat-looking and appear prominent on any color box.
Markers are also good labeling materials, but their colors are not very noticeable on dark-colored boxes. As such, they are better used as a backup for moving labels. They may come in multicolor sets or individually. They are very affordable and widely available.
Labeling Tip #5: Use Peelable Labels on Furniture and Equipment
Labeling your own furniture and equipment may not make sense to you, but it will save the movers a ton of headaches on moving day. For example, if you own three computer tables, labels will let the movers know which one is for you, your spouse and your kid. The same goes for other stuff present in multiples but assigned to different rooms.
Furniture and equipment need peelable labels so that no residue is left behind when they are removed. Of the kinds mentioned above, pre-printed moving labels are the ones specially made to be peelable and are, therefore, best suited for this task.
If you don’t have pre-printed moving labels, you can make do with other stickers. The main drawback, of course, is having to remove the adhesive stains after unpeeling. Alcohol and acetone may help, but they may also ruin the surface of your furniture or equipment.
Alternatively, you may consider string tags. However, their use is limited to furniture and equipment with handles or parts on which these tags can hang. Examples are treadmill handles and bedposts. You certainly won’t be able to use them on wide-bodied couches.
Labeling Tip #6: Label Moving Boxes Once Sealed
Attaching moving labels to empty boxes without being certain of the latter’s contents may lead to waste if you need to reassign the boxes later. You may prepare your moving labels ahead of time, but it is best to put them right after you’ve sealed your boxes. Not only does this minimize waste, but it also ensures that the labels are placed in prominent locations and not hiding behind the sealing tape.
Labeling Tip #7: Put Moving Labels on All Prominent Sides
Attach your stickers at the top and all sides of each box. This makes them easy for movers to identify regardless of whether the box is at or below eye level. Quick recognition makes hauling efficient, allowing you to save on movers’ hourly rates.
Labeling Tip #8: Note the Box Contents
Using an appropriately colored marker, write a short description of the box contents beside or below the top label. Additionally, you can make a list of your moving boxes and note their count and contents. All these will help you monitor the boxes delivered to your new place and see if any of them is missing. They will also speed up your unpacking and reorganization.
Note that, legally, you can file a loss or damage claim within 9 months of relocation.
Labeling Tip #9: Use Fragile Stickers
Use fragile stickers on moving boxes containing items that may break or malfunction on an impact. If you forget to put them on, the movers may just take the boxes’ contents for granted and not be extra careful when hauling them. Attach them on all sides, beside the main moving labels, to ensure that they are also easy to spot.
Labeling Tip #10: Use This-Side-Up Stickers
Still on fragile objects, if you have multiples of them stacked in a single moving box, make sure that the latter has this-side-up stickers on all its sides. If you don’t have such labels, you can mark the sides with an appropriately colored marker, writing the words “This side up” and an upward arrow beside it.
Make sure that these labels are big enough for the movers to see. These markings guide the movers so they can properly haul your fragile boxes, helping them avoid damage.
Getting your own packing supplies can help lower your relocation costs. Moving labels are supplies that are essential to your organization strategy. Formulating an effective labeling system may be challenging to first-time DIY packers, so we shared these tips to help. These measures can make your move efficient and inexpensive, keeping hitches to a minimum.