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Moving is exhausting, especially when you have a large closet. Learn how to pack clothes the right way to save time and headaches.

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How to pack clothing

Moving clothes is not a task many people enjoy. It’s easy to leave this essential household item to the last minute and forgo packing them altogether. We’re all for cutting corners when packing clothes if it makes sense. However, a little organization and the right techniques will show you how to pack clothes for moving like a pro.

We’ve gathered some effective packing methods that will streamline the wardrobe-moving process. In fact, some of these methods can be done at the last minute without damaging your clothes. Before your big move, set aside some time to read this guide and plan accordingly to make less work for yourself ultimately.

Step 1: Organize, declutter and launder clothing.

Before you pack your clothing and wardrobe items, you should be sure they are clean and free of stains. Wash all of your things and let them dry completely before folding or hanging them. Resist the temptation to pack stained or damaged seasonal items without having them treated or repaired. Now’s the time to assess your entire closet and leave behind items that don’t make the cut.

To get started, consider the following packing tips:

  • Organize clothing by season and family member.
  • Create piles of like items and match a packing box with the size of the pile.
  • Discard as much unused clothing as possible to avoid packing more than necessary.
  • Separate out seasonal clothing that you won’t need during the move.

Step 2: Pack off-season clothing ahead of time.

Once all your clothing is organized, start packing off-season clothing well in advance. This is clothing you won’t be using within three months of your moving date. Label these boxes, so you know that these don’t need to be unpacked right away. If you are storing them for longer than a couple of months, make sure to protect the garments from moisture and unwanted pests.

Read Also: How to Store Clothes for Future Use

Step 3: Create a “moving week” box of clothing.

Grab a suitcase, duffle bag or box for each member of your family and set aside a “moving week” wardrobe. After a long move, unpacking could take weeks or even months to complete. Give yourself a cushion by packing clothing you can wear during that first week. Be sure to include all the essentials like enough socks, underwear, and pajamas.

Step 4: Pick the best packing method for moving clothing.

The distance and amount of clothing involved in a move will help determine which of these clothes packing techniques will work best.

If you’re traveling across the country, it’s crucial to keep clothing sealed and protected. If moving one neighborhood over, zip tying hangers together and piling them on the back seat of a car would work just as well.

8 Clothes Packing Hacks to Try:

1. Use wardrobe boxes.

Hanging clothing should be stored in enclosed boxes or garment racks when traveling a long distance in a moving truck.

2. Leave clothes in their drawers.

For clothing within a dresser drawer, consider leaving all clothing in its place and seal the drawers and doors, so they don’t fly open when they’re moved. This technique works best if you have professional movers who are used to moving heavy furniture. If it seems safer, remove the drawers, seal them with plastic, and move them individually.

3. Wrap hanging clothes.

If you’re moving a short distance, hanging clothes can be piled onto a cart or draped over a box right on the hanger. Just be sure to tie hangers together and move them in groupings of 5-15. Cover each grouping completely with garbage bags or sheets to protect from dust and dirt.

4. Vacuum seal off-season clothes.

If you are only packing away your off-season clothing for a short period, consider vacuum sealing to save space during the move. Clothing needs air circulation when being stored for a long period.

5. Pack delicates and shoes separately.

It’s important to keep all your delicates and shoes separate from other clothing to prevent damage. Take extra care to wrap silk and other delicate fabrics in tissue paper to add a layer of protection.

6. Create clothing “bundles.”

The bundle packing method makes it easier to move clothes in and out of boxes in an organized way. Lay one large item across a flat surface, like a jacket. On top of this item, layer a smaller piece. Then put an item smaller than that. Once the jacket is full, wrap it around the other clothing to create a bundle. Toss this and other bundles inside a cardboard box with the heaviest on the bottom.

7. Clothing is heavy so use small boxes.

It’s tempting to load up a large cardboard box with as much clothing as you can stuff it with. Clothes can get very heavy, which will make a move much harder on your back. Resist this urge and use smaller boxes or totes instead.

8. Use luggage to move a wardrobe.

Think of how you pack a suitcase when you go on vacation. To make space, you might roll clothing into small bundles. Use this technique to move your most used clothing.

Did we miss a clothing packing tip you’ve used while moving in the past? Let us know in the comments below. Good luck!

Updated 3/16/2018 from an article originally published 7/1/2013.

About the Author

Lauren Thomann

Lauren Thomann is a moving and storage expert. She covers everything from finding a home to settling into one, and all the stages in between, for the Life Storage blog.

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