Are you bracing for a big move and haven’t even started packing yet? These packing tips for moving are designed to help take the stress out of relocating.

Packing tips for moving

You’ve found a new home, rented a truck, and bought boxes and tape. All that is left to do is pack your stuff room by room – how hard could that be? The truth is, packing is a journey often complicated by stress.

By learning how to pack in the most efficient way, you can ensure your transition will be smooth and that everything will arrive in one piece. These packing tips for moving are filled with smart moving hacks and insight that will turn you into a calm, cool and collected pro in no time.

1. Declutter unnecessary items for a lighter move.

One of the most crucial packing tips for moving is making sure you don’t move anything that you no longer need. Do a thorough walkthrough of your home and declutter as you organize.

To get organized before your  move:

  • Create sell, donate and trash bins for each room.
  • Get rid of anything that is broken, mismatched or unused.
  • Schedule a donation pickup and arrange to sell higher ticket items.

2. Get organized and pack things up by room ahead of time.

Once your home has been successfully decluttered, start by creating broad categories for everything you need to pack. The easiest way to create categories is to start with the main rooms of the home.

To get further organized, consider creating an inventory of your belongings. An inventory will help you quickly locate items as you need them.

If you can, start the packing process a month before you scheduled moving day. The more time you spend packing and organizing ahead of time, the less work you’ll leave for yourself at the last minute.

Tackle one room at a time and spend an hour each day packing up items into boxes. Pack pairs or sets together and make sure your box is the appropriate size to hold a complete set of belongings.

3. Label everything and take photos of electronics.

As you pack, be sure to stay as organized as possible. Here are some simple packing tips to keep in mind as you get everything together:

  • Package screws and bolts from furniture into ziplock bags and label them.
  • Color code moving boxes by room and pack and unload one color at a time.
  • Label moving boxes on the side for an easier view as opposed to on the top flap.

4. Create an essentials totes with everything you’ll need.

Separate out one box in each room for personal items – the things you might need during the first few days or weeks at your new home. A set of clothing, toiletries, electronics – anything you can’t live without. Pack these boxes on the truck last, so you don’t lose track of them.

5. Take care when packing breakables like dishes.

Consider packing everyday dishes, bakeware, Tupperware, and silverware separately. Crumpled newspaper, bubble wrap or corrugated cardboard will help prevent your fragile items from breaking, but just about anything can be used to pack breakable items. Utilize dish towels and even paper plates to create buffers.

Remember, crystal, china, ceramics, and keepsakes need to be carefully packed with lots of padding. Pack these items in smaller boxes with appropriate packing materials and labeled as fragile.

Tips for packing dishes:

  • Pack plates and bowls in vertical rows instead of stacking them directly in the box.
  • Invest in dish packs that are thicker boxes that are specially designed for breakables.
  • Leave at least a couple inches of space that is filled with just packing materials on all sides of the box including the top.

Learn more about packing fragile items here: How to Pack Dishes for Moving and Shipping

6. Invest in quality moving boxes.

One mistake a lot of people make when moving is trying to cram all of their belongings into a few cardboard boxes they have around the house. Use as many boxes as you need to create easy-to-lift loads.

Remember, when you load up the truck, you will need lightweight and heavier boxes, so keep an eye on your box weight. It is a good rule of thumb to keep your largest boxes to no more than 50 pounds.

Don’t use boxes from grocery or liquor stores if you plan on storing items. These boxes can be infested with eggs, mold and unwanted pests. If you’re moving a large household, t’s best to buy your moving boxes new to ensure they are sturdy and won’t fall apart mid-move.

Learn all you need to know about moving boxes here: Tips About Moving Boxes

7. Save space when packing clothing.

Clothing can be one of the most time-consuming elements of packing. The important thing is to save as much space as possible with clothes because excess clothing can take up most of the moving truck if you’re not careful.

Space-saving packing hacks for clothes:

  • Pack hanging clothing in garbage bags by cutting a hole on top of the bag then placing the garbage bag over a grouping of hangers.
  • Roll clothing instead of folding to save space.

See our guide on packing clothes: How to Pack Clothes for Moving

8. Protect more substantial items like furniture to prevent damage.

Take the extra time to protect larger pieces of furniture before you move. Remove and secure all drawers and doors beforehand. Also, if you can’t gather up a bunch of friends to help with the move, consider hiring professionals just for the larger scaled and heavier furniture items.

Read Also: How to Protect Your Furniture When Moving

9. Use this wool string hack to make opening boxes easier.

This packing hack makes all the difference when it comes to unpacking. You will be creating a pull tab that you can use to open moving boxes without scissors or box cutters. Simply place a piece of wool string on the center of the closed box flaps, leaving excess on the sides. Tape over the string and seal the box with moving tape, but be sure there is a small piece of string left not taped on the end.

10. Don’t pack these items with other household belongings.

It isn’t enough to know what items to pack together. You must also consider what should not be packed. Some things can be hazardous during the moving process, so it is best to move them separately or dispose of them before moving.

Tools, painting equipment and cleaning chemicals should be packed together in clearly marked boxes. You may want to use plastic totes to prevent messy or dangerous leaks.

Pack bottles and medications together and keep them separate from other belongings.

Other items to pack separately:

  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Ammonia
  • Chlorine granules
  • Heating agents like Sterno
  • Paints and varnishes
  • Auto batteries

Read Also: Everything You Need to Know About Moving Truck Rentals

These packing tips and tricks are just as useful when moving your things into a temporary storage unit. With a little planning and time, you can quickly pack your entire home in a way that will make it possible to move without worrying about broken or misplaced items.

About the Author


Lauren Thomann

Lauren Thomann is a moving and storage expert. She attended the University at Buffalo and has worked in the storage industry for over five years. Here on the Life Storage blog, you can find Lauren covering everything from finding a home, settling into a new home and all the stages in between.

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