Moving involves a lot of work. There are utilities to disconnect at your old place and set up at your new one, changes of address to send, forms to complete and file, and packing.

Packing usually involves the most work and takes the most time in the entire moving process. This article describes how to hold a packing party to help get more packing done.

Background: What is a packing party?

A packing party is a social event where friends come together to wish someone well in their new home while helping with some of the basic packing chores.

The Steps

Here are the basic steps for holding a successful packing party:

1. Create the guest list.

2. Set the date.

3. Arrange for the food.

4. Send the invitations.

5. Plan the packing.

6. Prepare for the guests.

7. Manage the party

The Details

Packing Party Step 1: Create the guest list.

There are a few criteria you’ll want to use in putting together your guest list:

· Your potential guests should know you well enough to care about your move.

· You need to be able to trust your potential guests with helping you pack.

· You should invite people you can rely on to actually show up.

· Don’t invite anyone who is going to be resentful about packing or who can’t enjoy the party.

Okay, now assuming there’s anyone left on your list, move onto Step 2!

Packing Party Step 2: Set the date.

You want to schedule your packing party about 2 weeks prior to your moving day. That should give you enough time to prepare for the event while leaving enough time remaining to make up for any packing that doesn’t get done.

Packing Party Step 3: Arrange for the food.

While I don’t completely understand it, there is no denying the fact that food has miraculous powers to attract and motivate people. And now is one of those times to reward those who come to help you. If you’re a great cook, break out your signature dishes. If you can’t cook, try recruiting a friend who can help make the meal. If both of those fail, pizza and beer are usually good alternatives.

Remember, those coming to help deserve the good stuff!

Packing Party Step 4: Send the invitations.

I usually recommend a three wave system:

· Start with an email letting people know that written invitations are coming, but asking them to reserve the date. Be sure to mention the food and request a reply.

· The written invitation comes next. Yes, it’s more trouble than email, but it makes a much bigger impression and serves a mark of respect for your guests.

· Lastly, follow up with a phone call.

Packing Party Step 5: Plan the packing.

There are a few guidelines for planning how guests can best help pack:

· To start, pick areas of your home you use less often, such as the garage or storage room.

· Bookshelves are examples of easy packing tasks to delegate.

· Pick which rooms you do NOT want packed, and make sure you have signs for those doors.

· If you want boxes labeled a certain way, have a sample box created for each room where guests will be packing.

· Don’t plan to have the actual packing last longer than an hour so that guests get to enjoy the party aspect of the event.

Packing Party Step 6: Prepare for the guests.

Here are some ideas for getting ready for your guests’ arrival:

· Be certain to have plenty of packing supplies on hand: boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, wide-tipped markers, scissors, and packing paper (blank newsprint).

· Have “stations” of food and drinks ready.

· Try to arrange for a music player for each packing room.

· Have assignments ready to go as guests enter.

Packing Party Step 7: Manage the party

Your most important tasks are to welcome guests, answer questions, and create as much fun as possible around the event. Make sure you’re doing a little packing as well. Take plenty of pictures to send after the event.

Good luck with your move!