Packing with Sally & the Crew

Spend the day with Sally McCabe and the team from Next Step Baltimore and you will learn a thing or two about efficient packing and moving. Recently they helped one busy couple move from a four-bedroom house in Timonium to their temporary residence at Silo Point in under a month.

Before most people put their home on the market, they have already spent weeks or months, sorting, packing and staging. When Terry and Carol decided they wanted to look for a new home on the water, they contacted their real estate agent to discuss strategies. Knowing that other homes in their neighborhood had been on the market for up to a year, they knew they would have time to prepare for the move while they searched for a new home. 

But that was not the case. Their agent was already working with a buyer, and she asked if Terry and Carol would be willing to show their home right away. The client decided on the home immediately. Great news for the sellers – they hadn’t had to do a thing to the house to “get it ready for market,” the bad news was that the couple had one month to organize their belongings and move from their large house to the smaller setting. Without the luxury of time, they realized that they needed help. 

Enter Sally McCabe and the next Step Baltimore team. Sally helped Terry sort through all their belongings, while Carol worked full time. They decided what items would go to Silo Point, what would go into storage, and what things could be donated or consigned. While this was being sorted out, the packing could begin.

When the Next Step Baltimore team packs a house, the client can be assured that everything arrives safely at its intended destination. Here are a few tips I learned from Sally.

• Organize items into categories. (In this case, storage, Silo Point, donations.)

• When possible, box items by location – for instance, dining room china cabinet, or basement bar area.

• Label every box carefully with contents and end destination – storage, new home, consignment, etc.

• Number boxes and keep a master list of everything inside each box. Sally used her ipad to keep a detailed list of the boxes going into storage and their contents, and where they came from in the house. In that way, if her clients need to retrieve something, they know exactly which box it is in.

• If an item is going to be wrapped in bubble wrap, add a layer of paper first, so that the plastic bubble wrap does not stick to surfaces.

• Pack your table lamps in boxes, (the movers will appreciate it, and it will save them time and you money). Remove the shade, harp and bulb. Wrap and place the lamp base into the box first. Fill the shade with paper so that it holds its shape, and place it upside down in the same box. Fill the empty spaces with loosely crumpled paper. Wrap the bulb and harp and tuck those on top of the shade. Voila, the lamp arrives undamaged and ready to reassemble!

• Pack fragile artwork in its own box with packing peanuts. If possible, transport that item yourself to ensure safe handling.

The most important thing I learned from Sally? If you don’t have the time or the desire to organize and pack your own home for a move, hire a professional!