Moving? Packing Tip to Help You Keep Track of Boxes Better

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Written by Bernie Carr

Summer is prime time for moving, as it is so much easier to move when it’s not raining or snowing. But no matter what time of year you decide to move, moving is a very stressful time and keeping track of box contents is one of the pain points.

In my previous moves, I labeled the boxes on top with the room the box belonged to, such as Kitchen, Bedroom, Bathroom, etc. But once the boxes are stacked, you can no longer see the label and you may have to un-stack or move the boxes around to see the label. It’s also time consuming to label every side of the box. We always tried to mark boxes “fragile” if they contain electronics or glassware. Even with the best intentions, it is easy to lose track of box contents, causing undue confusion and stress.

My daughter recently moved to another apartment and she only had a couple of weeks to pack. She came up with a system that helped make her move a lot easier and more efficient.

Use color-coded duct tape

She used colored duct tape to mark her moving boxes. Here’s how the color-coded tape system works:

  • The first tape indicates the room the box belongs to. You’ll have to decide on a tape color for each room in your apartment. For example, green for living room, yellow for kitchen, blue for master bedroom, purple for the kids’ room. Memorize the colors before you start packing, or write down the color system so you don’t forget.
  • The second tape from the top is to indicate whether the box have breakable contents. Yellow is somewhat fragile, and red equals fragile.
  • The third tape (yellow) signifies “extra fragile.” Use the third tape only for items such as glassware, computers, gaming console, electronics, pottery, picture frames, etc.
  • Place the colored-coded duct tape on each corner of the box, so the tape is visible for all sides. You won’t need to turn the box around to figure out what room it belongs to.

The box in the photo below has a green duct tape on top so it goes to the living room. It has a red tape indicating it’s fragile so some caution is needed for moving it. If the box contents were extra fragile, add a yellow tape below to red one to remind the mover that it is very fragile.

With this method, you also do not need to write the contents of the boxes with marker, unless it has an item you want to find right away, such as “coffee maker.”

Did the system work?

After she settled into her new place, I asked my daughter whether her system worked. She was happy to report that color coding the boxes with duct tape worked very well. She saved time packing. Being able to see from every corner of the box which room it belongs to made it easier to group them in the moving truck and also easy to unload.

I am going to use this method the next time I have to move. Hopefully it can help you as well. Do you have any favorite moving tips? Please share in the comments below.

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About the author:

Bernie Carr is the founder of Apartment Prepper. She has written several books including the best-selling Prepper’s Pocket Guide, Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure, The Penny-Pinching Prepper and How to Prepare for Most Emergencies on a $50 a Month Budget. Her work appears in sites such as the Allstate Blog and, as well as print magazines such as Backwoods Survival Guide and Prepper Survival Guide. She has been featured in national publications such as Fox Business and Popular Mechanics. Learn more about Bernie here.

Photos by M. Clarke

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