By guest writer Daniela Coleman
When the time comes for a move to another home, parents have so many things to arrange. If you are one of them, you probably know what we are talking about. All that chaos you have learned to live with should now be packed and moved to a new place. The task is not so simple, and it will take some time, but we will try to help as much as we can. That’s why we have prepared the guide to packing your kids’ toys and stuffed animals when moving.
Where to start?
Relocation is an excellent opportunity to get rid of the stuff you will no longer need in your new place. However, kids are not always so practical and they tend to get attached to their old toys. Before you start packing any of their possessions, you should talk to your little ones. They are already stressed out because of the relocation and seeing you throw away some of their toys can be too traumatic.
Try to explain that decluttering is a part of the moving process and nothing they should worry about. Make the process fun by including them and letting them decide what they would like to buy for the money they’ll get at the yard sale for selling their old toys. Talk about your new home and let older kids decide what the layout of their new rooms is going to be. Allowing them to participate and make decisions will make the moving process less stressful.
What should you get rid of
When packing for a move, it is crucial to get rid of all the unnecessary stuff. In terms of kids’ toys, those would be:
- Toys that are broken or those that are missing some pieces;
- Those toys your child has outgrown;
- Supplies that have gone bad, such as dried up watercolors;
- Old coloring books and magazines your child is not fond of anymore.
You do not necessarily have to throw away all those toys. Those that are still in good condition can be passed on or donated to other children.
Get the boxes
If you can choose the boxes for your relocation, make sure that you have various sizes. Packing your kids’ soft toys is not the same as packing books. Books are more massive, and you should not put too many of them in a single box. Leaving a bigger box half-empty is not something that we recommend, since the books will get damaged inside during a move. Instead, small-sized boxes are perfect for this purpose.
On the other hand, lighter items should be packed in bigger boxes. Medium-sized boxes are the most practical choice for plastic toys, while the largest boxes are reserved for the most delicate of all – stuffed animals.
What else will you need for packing your kids’ toys?
Boxes are essential moving supplies, but they will not be enough for a smooth move. You will also need:
- Tape to seal the boxes once they are packed;
- Markers to write down the contents of each box and indicate where the box should go in your new place;
- Labels to help your movers know which box has some fragile items packed inside or which side of the box should go up;
- Wrapping materials – whether you will opt for packing paper, plastic bubbles, towels, blankets, or clothing items, is up to you. Use them to pad your boxes and protect your kids’ valuable toys;
- Bigger plastic bags and zip-lock bags (we recommend that you get various sizes);
- Scissors – for cutting tape, paper, and many other purposes.
The packing order
A general rule of thumb is to start the packing process from those items that you will need last at your new place. Since we are dealing with packing kids’ toys and stuffed animals, this rule implies that you should pack the least favorite or forgotten toys first. Leave the favorites for the last box or for the bag with essentials.
Another rule you should follow to pack toys as efficiently as possible is to do it by category. So, let’s start with books.
Packing kids’ books
Books can be rather heavy to carry. To avoid the bigger boxes falling apart and, of course, to prevent injuries on moving day, books should be packed in smaller boxes. You can use some padding material at the bottom of the box and add some to the sides to prevent the corners of the book covers from getting damaged. Put the large-format books at the bottom of the box and stack the smaller ones on top to reduce the risk of damage.
Some children’s books have additional parts that can easily get lost during a move. To prevent that from happening put them in zip-lock bags and pack them together with the appropriate books.
Books can even be packed in suitcases, but only if they have wheels and if there are not too many stairs in your home.
Soft books, usually made for babies, can be packed with other soft toys or stuffed animals. Or, you can pack them among your diaper bag essentials.
What about puzzles and board games?
Puzzles and board games are useless when they miss pieces. To prevent that, you should be very careful when preparing them for a move. First, make sure that nothing is missing from the start. Then, put small parts in zip-lock bags and use a marker to write the name of the game to which they belong.
If you can fit the bag in the game’s original box – do that. But, if you haven’t kept it, try to find a similar-sized one. Once all parts of a game or all pieces of the puzzles are inside the boxes, seal them with tape and put them all in a bigger box. Even though this type of toy is not particularly heavy, try not to overfill the box.
How to pack stuffed animals when moving?
Kids love to cuddle with their stuffed animals, so it is vital that their soft friends are clean and dust-free at all times. You can either wash them several days before packing or leave the washing part for after unpacking. If you prefer to do it beforehand, make sure that the toys are completely dry. Place them in clean, plastic bags and they are ready for the move. Don’t forget to leave the favorite ones out so that your kids can still play with them on moving day. After all, you will need some toys in the car to make your travel fun for kids.
Legos and blocks
Packing legos and blocks is similar to packing puzzles. Check whether something is missing and put every piece where it belongs before tightly sealing the boxes. And don’t forget to pack the instructions too.
If you are keeping legos in plastic boxes with lids, you can move them in those as well. Just be sure to seal them properly and add some tape for added security.
Packing breakables and figurines
These toys deserve to be treated with the utmost care. Again, if you have kept the original boxes these delicate toys came in, you can use them for relocation. If not, try to find similar-sized ones. Either way, you will need to protect each and every breakable toy or figurine by gently wrapping in some soft padding material. Place them all together in a box, and add some packing paper or other soft items (socks or other clothes) to prevent them from moving around the box.
Arts and crafts
Painting supplies, glues, and glitter tubes should be sealed tight to prevent spillage during transport. Bigger zip-lock bags are great for packing these. This is an excellent opportunity to clean all the brushes, sponges, and other crafting tools so that they are ready for your kids’ creations in a new room.
How to pack the rest of the toys?
Toys made of solid plastic or wood are the most durable, so you can pack them all together in a box that is lined with paper. If any of them has some moving parts, tape them so that they cannot fall off during transport. Secure and seal the box and your kids’ toys will be ready to go. Mark the box so that you know what’s inside when it’s time for unpacking.
Leave the favorites for the road
Moving long-distance with toddlers or babies can be really stressful for you too. Try to keep them entertained and bribe them with their favorite toys and snacks to make the road easier. Also, they will crave your attention when you enter your new home. Since you will be overwhelmed with unpacking and many other tasks, their dearest stuffed animals and a couple of other toys should be the first ones to leave the boxes and keep your kids company in their new room. Good luck with packing your kids’ toys and stuffed animals!