Packing up a customer’s storage, like a garage, shed, attic or basement is rarely a good time. Even if a decent amount of their stuff is already in boxes, we still have our work cut out for us.
First off, their boxes are usually a hundred different shapes and sizes. Some of them are only half full. Most are either open or the flaps are in that interlocking situation. A number of them are in rough shape and a few are probably rotting out on the bottom. Maybe some contain hazardous materials or mysterious liquids. And some… some we just want to tape shut and forget what was even in there.
Every box is an adventure. So how to tackle that shed without making a career out of it?
First, forget about getting everything packed into standard moving cartons and accept that you’ll be playing Tetris with a load of odd-sized boxes. Take the ones that are in good shape and are packed well (and legally), tape them up and set them aside. Hopefully, this will take care of a decent chunk of the load right off the bat.
Now for the fun part. It’s almost impossible to lay out steps for packing whatever is left at this point. But these few basic concepts are what I always use to get through.
- Pick an isolated place for all those hazardous items and mystery liquids so you can get all the things you can’t put on the truck out of the way.
- Fill any partially empty boxes with random loose bits you see lying around. (Any self-respecting garage or shed will have plenty for you to choose from.)
- Alternatively, use the contents of those old flimsy cartons to fill out those half-full boxes.
- If the customer has larger-sized boxes on hand for their pack, or if you brought your own, packing that shed is going to go a whole lot quicker. Using a dose of good judgment and some quick creativity, you can fill those large boxes with a mix of those smaller, older half-full boxes and an assortment of the miscellany lying around.
Remember that this is the garage – or the shed, or the attic or basement. No other room is going to have as wide and as odd an assortment of stuff, so your boxes will rarely be perfectly tight and dense. You could end up spending a week and a half trying to hunt down the perfect item to fit into that last empty corner of the box you’ve been packing, but is this a good use of your time and the customer’s money? If need be, stuff some crumpled up packing paper into those empty spaces and keep moving.
While there’s usually no need to be meticulous when it comes to packing up a shed, the process can still take forever without a decent plan of attack. Go at it with the basics in mind, and before long you’ll be finishing up, ready to head back into the house to join the rest of the crew well before they finish all the pizza the customer ordered.