2) If you have a lot of books (tick - we do) then you can never have enough boxes. More than three hardbacks in a box will render even the most buff removal chap unable to lift it. Spread books out if you can. It will mean that when you unpack at the other end you could potentially find Monty Don's Complete Gardener in your pants, or A Guide to the Universe in your 'fragile kitchen' but hey! Who doesn't like a teeny amount of chaotic packing?
3) Remember that if you purchase a bargain super pack of 33 boxes from Argos, you will in fact have 34 boxes because you will have the box the boxes came in. However, it is likely to be a useless box unless you are wanting to pack, for example, a valuable painting of the size 4 feet x 4 feet x 8 inches. Then it will be a marvellous freebie box!
4) Other people will donate boxes but only if you put out a whole staff email at your place of work. However, make it clear they are unlikely to have them returned, not from Shropshire anyway. This ensures you get boxes only from people who are not precious about their box ownership.
5) Before you start filling your boxes, check for cats. Remember the old adage: 'Where there's a box, there's a cat. Where there's a filled box, there's a squashed cat.' Special cat-in-boxes detectors are available. They are called 'hands.' Use in pairs if you can.
6) Before you pack an item in a box, drop it. If it cracks/ chips/ smashes into a gazzillion pieces you will need to wrap it in bubble wrap, tissue paper or the collection of newspaper you've been obsessively saving for the last 4 months. Other useful packing material includes blankets, duvets, cushions, sheets, cats.
7) Before you pack an item, ask yourself, 'Am I likely to want to steam vegetables/ watch the boxed set of Jam and Jerusalem/ machine sew a ballgown/ buster collar the cat/ cuddle this enormous 5 foot high bear/ read the biography of Beatrix Potter/ engage in futuristic play with a remote control Dalek any time AT ALL in the next 3 weeks?' If the answer is a firm 'No' then you are safe to pack away. Otherwise you might end up packing away something immediately useful. Like sellotape. Like I might have done yesterday.
8) Did I mention checking empty boxes for cats? Actually, it is also worth checking half full boxes for cats, too.
9) DO NOT be sidetracked into any sentimental behaviour. You should have indulged this process during the de-cluttering stage. Now is the time for efficiency and precision. For example, right now you should NOT be upstairs playing with a remote controlled Dalek when you should be dismantling shelving. Not that anyone at Much Malarkey Manor would be doing this. Heaven forfend.
10) When filling boxes, check sporadically that they can be lifted from the floor. On moving day, if the removal men comment the boxes are a little heavy, respond with, 'Well, I'm a fifty year old girly and I managed to lift them,' followed by an arched eyebrow stare. Shame is the name of the game. Make sure you get your money's worth of removal fees.
11) Be prepared to be a little emotional when you pack away paintings, photos and things that the grandchildren have made for you, and your home of the last 12 years start looking a bit bare and sounding a bit echoey. Stop for tea and cake and a good nose blow then continue onwards. Be glad for having a husband who has a heart that insists you keep your wedding dress even though your own head says it really ought to go to a charity shop. And be even more glad when your husband announces, 'I've packed your wedding dress!' then refuses to tell you where.
12) Be prepared to realise you'll miss the weirdest of things: the wallpaper in the living room, the tiles in the bathroom, the cobnut tree, the border of lavender you bought as 6 plants for £3 from B & Q six years ago that have done so well year after year. The atmosphere in your arty-crafty writing room. The patio.
13) Check boxes for cats.