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How to Pack for a Move - 10-Step Guide Made by Pros

Learn the essentials for how to pack for a move. From organizing and decluttering to properly packing fragile items, our guide has everything you need.

January 15, 2023
Denis Loncaric

If you plan to move and don’t know where to start, you are at the right place.

In this article, we will teach you how to pack for a move efficiently.

That’s not it; we will have you:


●     fully prepare for packing

●     tell you about all the things you need to prepare

●     when to start

●     how to organize the moving

●     lots more


We know the headache that goes with moving. But preparation is everything, so to make the move more efficient and organized we made step by step packing checklist.

Abraham Lincoln said: If I get 8 hours to cut a tree, I’ll spend 7 hours sharpening my knife.”

If you are ready to“ sharp the knife,” let’s start.



1st step - Supply List

You can lose plenty of precious time running in and out of the store when it’s time to pack for moving.

To pack more efficiently, it’s best if you prepare everything in advance.

Here is a packing checklist for supplies:

Boxes (various sizes) - Boxes are like sturdy containers for your belongings. It will protect your stuff and allow more accessible transport.

Packing tape: You’ll need more than one packing tape while moving. It’s the most valuable "packing tool.” With packing tape, you will secure boxes and keep everything safe. It will keep boxes closed and everything in place.

Bubble wrap or packing paper: Use it to protect fragile things like glass.

Markers or labels: Labeling your boxes will make unpacking much more effortless. It will help movers and allow you to organize everything by room.

Furniture pads or blankets - Handy for protection of heavy furniture.

Plastic bags: Plastic bags are used for packing smaller items, moisture protection, extra protection, or temporarily storing things.

Trash bags: You’ll wish to throw away many unnecessary things, so prepare big trash bags.

Wardrobe boxes: These will allow you to access clothes quickly and prevent clothes from getting crushed during the move.

A utility knife - You will use a utility knife primarily for opening boxes and cutting straps and cords.

A tool kit (including a screwdriver, pliers, and a hammer) - Will come in handy for furniture disassembling/reassembling, hanging pictures, shelves, or minor repairs.

A box for essential items (such as medications, toiletries, and phone chargers)- Make sure these items are on the safe spot and you know where they are at anytime.

Cleaning supplies - Useful for cleaning both old and new homes but also for removing dirt from belongings.

A first aid kit - Anything can go wrong, so make sure your first aid kit is always nearby.

Snacks and water - It’s obvious you need to eat and drink while moving but make sure you supply everything before moving starts.


2nd Step Move timeline

It’s time to plan the move. Here are some packing and moving tips:


One month before the move


It’s time to gather all of the supplies from the list in the 1st step.

Start packing items you won’t use as much and won’t need until you move.

At the same time, you can start making a list of everything you need to pack and everything you plan to get rid of.


Two-Three weeks before moving


It’s the perfect time to find the moving company, and it’s also the right time to pack some of the clothes.

If you have large appliances, you don’t use them every day, disconnect them and start disassembling them.


One week before the move


It’s time to finish packing, confirm the schedule with your moving company, and arrange for all the utilities to be turned off at your old home and to be turned on in the new one.

Also, it’s a good time to go through all the supplies and see if you miss anything.


A few days before the move


It’s about time to pack the necessary stuff you will need right away in your new home.

Keep an eye on the essential documents and keys cause moving can get messy quickly.

Pack snacks, drinks, and clothes for your new house for the first couple of days.


3rd step Decluttering before a move

There are a few reasons why you should declutter before a move.


  1. To save money - The fewer things you move, the lower the cost.
  1. To save time - The less stuff you have, you will need less time to gather supplies, pack everything, load, and unload.
  1. To get more open space - It’s easier to get the simplicity effect with less things.
  1. The fresh start effect - That indicates that a person will more likely take action to reach the goal after temporary landmarks in the form     of new beginnings.
  1. Help others by donating - If you have belongings, you won’t need  them anymore, why not help others by donating those things?


Now that you know the benefits of decluttering here is a short step-by-step guide on how to declutter before a move:


Step 1 -Make a list of items you want to get rid of and the ones you are unsure about

Step 2 -Go room by room and decide what to keep, donate, and throw away.

Step 3 -Start the process by throwing items you haven’t used for years, like old appliances that don’t work, old or torn clothes, etc.

Step 4 -Contact local charities and donate things you won’t need but can still be helpful to someone.

Step 5 -Sell some things and either buy new ones or make more room in your new home.

Step 6 -Organize everything you decide to keep (more on that later).


4th step Pack room by room

By packing room by room, you stay organized; it helps declutter, makes it easier to unpack, and helps prioritize and stay on schedule.


Packing storage rooms and garage

Garage and storage rooms usually contain most of the things you will eventually get rid of.

By starting with these rooms, you will declutter with more ease.

Besides decluttering, packing an oversized garage can be overwhelming if it’s overstuffed. By packing the garage first, you will get some head start and save energy you’ll need to pack the rest of the house.


Packing the bedroom

Although some prefer to leave the bedroom packing until the end, we suggest something different.

Since having packed everything besides the bed will not ruin your routine, it’s painless.

So, go ahead and“ pre-pack” the entire living room and leave the bed for the last day.


Packing home office

If you work from home, it’s time to switch to the living room with your PC or laptop and pack the home office.

Make sure to mark all the cables and leave essential documents in a safe spot. Pack separately critical supplies that you will need as soon as you move.


Packing living room

The living room is usually the largest room in the house, taking most of the time to pack.

You don’t need to wrap up the couch, sofa, and tv until the very last day.

However, the living room contains a lot of stuff you can pack right away, like pictures, stools, a chest of drawers, etc.

Leave only essential things for later.


Packing children’s room

The process of moving can be stressful for children because it interrupts their daily routine.

That’s why it’s crucial to leave their room for the end. Minimize their stress by packing all the toys they rarely play with and all the furniture they won’t stress without first.

Leave everything else for the last week.


Packing kitchen

It’s obvious you will need a kitchen until the very end. Packing the kitchen is challenging due to all the small items it may contain.

Along with that, it includes some large appliances.

Make sure you organize, label, and group things in separate categories, so it makes unpacking less painful.

Plan your meals and put some money aside for eating in restaurants or taking food to carry home for the last few days.


Packing bathroom

The bathroom is the room you are going to need until you move. If there are any things you don’t use on an everyday basis, pack them ahead.

Sort and declutter all outdated medicines and bottles and label them in boxes.

Pack things you use every day, like toothbrushes, in one separate box because you will need them immediately.


5th step Packing in boxes

Boxes are used to save and support your belongings, and they will protect them from damage and make everything easy to organize.

Besides that, boxes are easy to pack for moving and transport. You will need various sizes of boxes, but fortunately, they are relatively inexpensive.

Here are a few packing tips for moving when packing in boxes:


●     Use smaller boxes because large ones are tough to transport and make the mover's job harder.

●     Pack heavy belongings into small boxes and lighter items in large boxes.

●     Make sure boxes are full, and don’t leave any space because you are risking damage.

●     Label each box with items that contain. This will make everything easier to organize and unpacking less stressful.

●     Don’t overload the boxes. You want to make them easy to lift and carry. The rule of thumb is to keep them under 50pounds.

●     For fragile items such as glassware, dishes, etc., use boxes specifically designed to transport fragile belongings.

●     Don’t mix items from different rooms. Keep everything organized and in place.

●     Tape them well; this is the last but crucial step when packing items into boxes. Make sure the bottom and top are firmly closed.


6th step Labeling Moving Boxes

This simple yet essential step can make moving a lot easier. Just imagine what would happen without labeling your belongings.

Can you imagine yourself in a room full of non-labeled boxes not having a clue where your things are?

You wouldn’t know whereto start, right?

To avoid this, labeling is a must.

Here are some labeling tips for moving:


●     Get a few high-quality waterproof markers

●     Label all items inside each box

●     Label with different colors for different rooms

●     Label each box with a number

●     Label boxes for priority, let’s say H for high priority and L for low priority

●     Label more than one side of the box


7th step Protect fragile items and expensive art

Fragile and expensive items should be at especially designed boxes while moving. These things need special care, and it's essential to know how to keep them safe.

Here are some tips to take additional care of fragile items:


●     Talk with your movers and emphasize what items are fragile

●     Mark them as important/fragile/expensive

●     Ask movers for special crating

●     Wrap it up in bubble wrap or foam packing peanuts to prevent damage

●     Put delicate items in specially designed boxes

●     For expensive art, use special art boxes or crates

●     Don’t move large items by yourself; only use professional movers

●     Consider insuring costly items before the move

●     Avoid stacking anything on top of these items


8th step Disassemble furniture

By disassembling large pieces of furniture, you’ll make it easier to transport. However, since you are not a pro, ask the moving company to do this for you.

Disassembling things like sofas makes them easier to handle.

If you decide to disassemble furniture by yourself here is what you need to do:


Step 1:Ensure you have all the necessary tools like a screwdriver, automatic or manual, a wrench, a hammer, and a chisel.

Step 2:Remove anything easily detachable, like pillows, and pack them separately.

Step 3:Aim for bolts or screws that hold furniture together. They are located on the underside or hidden behind decorative panels. You can remove them with a screwdriver drill or a regular screwdriver.

Step 4:Remove any drawing furniture has. In most cases, this is a straight forward process, and you can easily lift them off the runners and pull them out.

Step 5:Once all bolts and screws are out, it’s disassembling time. Carefully separate apart different pieces of furniture.

Step 6:Secure all the pieces in boxes and protecting wraps and label them accordingly.


9th step Pack a “first-night” box


The first night in your new home can be exciting but overwhelming, so ensure you have the vital stuff nearby.

That said, the "first-night” box should always be with you while moving.

It would be best if you kept it away from all the other things that go with the movers.

If you don’t have room for it, ask movers to load this box last so you can easily access it when you arrive.


Here is what should goin your “first night” box:


●     Phone chargers

●     Medications

●     Snacks

●     Clothes for the first few days

●     Bedding (pillows, blankets, sheets)

●     Towels

●     Toiletries (shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, etc.)

●     Bottles of water

●     Essential tools (screwdriver, hammer, drill, etc.)


10th step Unpacking

We discussed how being systematic and having things planned is crucial for effortless packing.

Well, the same goes for unpacking. It would be best if you had a clear unpacking plan to:

●     Save time

●     Keep everything organized

●     Reduce stress


Here are the steps to do so:


Step 1:Unpack your “first-night” box that contains all the essentials for the first couple of days until you settle.

Step 2:Unpack room by room, but before you do, make sure you plan the entire room design.

Step 3:Don’t unpack all over the place - set one area to unpack and sort items. Remove boxes outside instantly.

Step 4:Unpack the largest and the heaviest items first.

Pro tip: Give kids time to adapt by allowing them to participate and unpack the items from the kid’s room.


Let’s summarize.

We discussed what supplies you need for moving and how to make a moving plan.

Then, we talked about how decluttering is essential and how to keep things organized by packing roomby room.

Later, we discussed how-to pack things in boxes and label them.

Finally, we discuss how-to protect fragile items, pack a first-night box, and unpack.

We hope that you appreciated effort we put into creating this article.

Please help us by spreading the word about it.



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