Most people focus on protecting their fine china and glassware when they think about packing their kitchen and this is completely understandable. A fine crystal wine glass can be worth more and hold more personal value than a box of Captain Crunch cereal but packing up the kitchen pantry can be more difficult than anticipated if you don’t plan ahead.
The results of incorrectly packing the kitchen pantry rarely involve breakage, rather a headache, a mess to clean up, and maybe even bugs. When it comes to moving, opening a box containing spilled flour or sugar can be a real hassle! For a smooth, safe, stress-free move, be sure all food items are properly sealed and packed.
The first step in packing the kitchen pantry is getting rid of ALL perishable goods that will not travel well; what you keep and what gets tossed depends on the distance and length of your move. If you are only moving across town into a new apartment, then that new bunch of bananas, a dozen eggs, and box of Italian Ice will probably survive the trip. But if you are going from Boston to Houston you might want to have your friends over for a “let’s-eat-everything-in-the-freezer dinner.” No long distance moving company is going to appreciate it if you accidentally pack away a nice slab of rib eye steak for your cross country July move!
Take a look through the pantry, the fridge, and the freezer the week before moving day and plan meals that use up any foods that you can’t easily take with you in your own vehicle. Leftover ice-cream, bread, dairy goods, frozen vegetables, and other perishables can be offered to your family members, neighbors, or friends.
Canned goods are very easy to pack. They were intended for transport, are easily stacked, and have a much longer shelf life. However, putting all your canned soup, vegetables, and fruit into a single box can make for one heavy box –that your moving company might charge extra for and may crush other boxes if stacked on them. Canned goods are generally heavy so spread the weight between a few different boxes and be sure to use small boxes (typically 1.5 cu ft). Begin by placing a layer of cans on the bottom of the box and fill up the rest of the box with paper goods, plastic silverware, or different kitchen utensils.
Paper and plastic bags, boxes, and cartons that hold dry goods such as flour, sugar, breakfast cereals, oats, and rice can easily break. Consider transferring them into reusable plastic containers to not only prevent messy accidents, but also keep the contents fresher for longer and make it easier to pack them.
Special care should be taken when packing wine and fine liquors. Excess heat can ruin wine, so transporting it in a hot moving truck for a long period of time is not a good idea. The bottles should not be shaken or tipped up either. Some companies sell special boxes designed for wine and liquor bottles. A low-cost alternative to buying these boxes is stopping by a local liquor store and asking to take some of the boxes from their latest shipment. Also taking your best bottles with you in your personal car is not a bad idea. Whatever you do make sure they are kept cushioned, cool, and safe from spilling.
In addition to packing your kitchen pantry, it’s a good idea to keep some food and snacks to sustain you while traveling to your new place and on moving day. Cookies, dried or fresh fruit, and other snacks can also keep the kids occupied while you and the movers get your new home in order and until you fully unpack.