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You need to store your belongings and/or you have to move? Take advantage of the situation: clean and sort your belongings as you’re putting them away in boxes!

Sorting Your Things: Don’t Overlook This Crucial Step!

Sorting may not be fun, but it’s an essential step of you want to avoid needlessly carrying around stuff that you no longer use. You can sort your non-essentials into 4 categories: give away, sell, recycle or throw out. But before you throw something out, check whether it’s still in good enough condition for someone else to use. If so, there are several charitable organizations that accept donations and that provide help to people who need it.

A move or situation that requires temporary storage is a good opportunity for you to sort through all your old belongings. If you give yourself enough time, you may be able to sell certain items on specialized websites, or you could also organize a garage sale. Think about organizing this 4 to 6 weeks before “the big day,” giving yourself enough time to sell the belongings that you’d rather avoid moving.


There’s nothing more stressful than doing things at the last minute: it’s when simple tasks can become serious headaches! To avoid hastily throwing stuff into boxes in no particular order, try to spread out the packing process over several weeks.

Time is a crucially important factor when you’re moving or storing your belongings. As soon as you know you have to move, start making boxes by putting away anything you know you won’t need until after the move. You can start by clearing the top shelves of your closets, kitchen cabinets, laundry room or shed. Once that’s done, you can pack up your out-of-season clothes.

Where To Start?

Tips: Work on one room at a time. Aim to pack up 2 or 3 boxes worth of stuff each day for several weeks; this is how you can avoid the stress of packing everything in a hurry over the week before you move.

  • Library/office: Put your books in solid and/or specially designed boxes: filing boxes are very practical for books and documents. Don’t over-pack: a single box of books that weighs more than 10 to 12 kg (20 to 25 pounds) is not an easy thing to carry.
  • Kitchen/dining room: You can start by packing the dishes you only use on special occasions and the pots and pans you don’t rely on regularly.
  • Living room: Pack the contents of your bookcases and all your decorations, including anything hung on the walls.
  • Bedroom: Put away your out-of-season bedclothes, clothing, shoes and decorative items.
  • Garage, shed, basement or laundry room: All these places are often filled with things that you can start packing long before moving day.
  • Label your boxes by room (“kitchen,” “living room,” “bedroom,” etc.) along with a basic list of each box’s contents. You can also colour-code boxes to more easily identify all those that belong to a given room: for instance, green dots for everything that goes in the kitchen, red dots for living room boxes and blue dots for the bedroom!


  • Pack items separately so they’re easier to unpack. Use bubble wrap, newspaper, dishcloths or even towels to wrap and protect fragile objects—and remember to label the box FRAGILE.
  • On each box, write the name of the room in which it belongs, plus a brief description of its contents.
  • Pack heavier objects first. Place them at the bottom of a box and then fill it with lighter-weight objects.
  • Make sure that any sharp edges or corners are properly wrapped.
  • Fit as much into each box as you can. Fill any leftover space with crumpled newspaper.
  • Avoid stacking heavy boxes on top of each other.
  • Tape up and seal boxes well so they don’t tear or pop open.

Fill a Bin with Essentials for Your First Night Away

Set aside a bin or a box and fill it with the things you’ll need the first night after you’ve moved. You might want to include some kitchen utensils, plates, cups, a toaster, a coffee pot, packing supplies (a felt-tip marker, tape, utility knife), basic tools for furniture assembly, toilet paper, Kleenex, paper towels, personal hygiene products (toothbrush, soap, towel), a change of clothes, pyjamas, sheets, a shower curtain, a cellphone charger and snacks. Pick a container that’s easy to identify—a clear plastic bin, for instance. You can put it in your car or van when you’re ready to move, so its contents are at hand when you need them.

You can also pack cleaning supplies you might need separately (broom, dustpan, bucket, rags, cleaning products, gloves, garbage bags).

Don’t pack or move combustible products. Call an ecocentre that can dispose of or recycle hazardous materials.

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