It's the truth known to everyone: moving is a headache. Especially if one has a larger place and stayed there for a longer period of time: number of furniture pieces, dishes, clothes and other items seem to grow at an exponential rate.
When a moving day comes, you can leave everything to the movers, from packing to actual moving. That's a preferred option for everyone, but what if your budget is tight? Packing some of your items can surely save you a substantial amount of money.
Assuming you are not a professional mover and are on the budget, my common recommendation to people when asked how they need to prepare for their move is this: leave furniture packing to the professionals, especially if you have higher end or antique furniture. This way the chances of them being damaged or otherwise tampered are kept to a minimum (provided your movers are actual professionals and know what they are doing). So, leave the furniture to people who do this for a living. However, in order to stay within your budget, pack up all the smaller items, such as dishes, toys, clothes and other items of this sort. General rule of thumb is: whatever can be fit in the boxes, can be and should be packed by you. Assuming you are on a budget, of course.
If you choose to pack up your furniture yourself, first step is planning: make a list of items you will be moving. The goal of this initial planning is to determine what kind, and how much, of packing supplies will be needed.
Chances are you will need several, very likely, even all of the following packing materials:
So, you made a list; determined amount and type of packing supplies needed; got the supplies. Let the fun begin!
The first step is to empty all the dressers, drawers and cabinets. Next, disassemble any pieces that can be disassembled. Furniture manuals, if any are left, will come in handy. Next, use shrink wrap to wrap all the pieces up; use packing tape to secure edges and corners, if needed, although in many cases this will not be needed since shrink wrap has a feature of sticking ("good sticking", which means it will not damage your furniture).
If you choose to move your furniture yourself, please make sure you have the thick moving blankets. Otherwise, do not even start loading your rental truck! Trust me, I've seen people trying to save a buck and moving their furniture without furniture/moving blankets: it's sad to see their furniture afterwards.
I hope you haven't forgotten that moving by yourself is pretty much a mission impossible. You will need at least one helper with a strong back and friendly enough to agree on helping you.
Be careful with your furniture, especially while in the house, as if you were operating a heavy duty tractor. This is not a Porsche or Lotus for sure! Do not make sudden moves; do not rush. It's way better to spend an extra hour than to spend another day repairing the holes in the walls after spinning around with your furniture in the house.
Use dollies if the pieces are too heavy to carry. Of course, there's a very good chance you won't be able to use a dolly inside of your residence: furniture will have to be carried through the doors and corners "manually". But outside, it will be a breeze, if you utilize the dolly right. And hopefully you got a moving truck with a liftgate - this prevents a lot of damaged spines, and saves quite a bit of time and energy. And - I cannot stress the importance of this step enough - remember to cover every piece of furniture with those thick moving blankets. Otherwise, all your previous work and spent time on packing and loading will be wasted.
Hopefully this will help you to make your transition from one place to another smoother. Moving is not a rocket science: it's more of a common sense thing. If you have it - move yourself; if you are better with computers or other activities and have a little higher budget, simply box up your smaller items, and leave everything else to the professionals.