Moving is both exciting and stressful. It can feel overwhelming to look around your current space and think, “I have to pack all this?!” Having a plan will help you get it done in no time. Learn how to efficiently pack to move with our helpful tips from the experts at BHHS Fox & Roach.

How to Pack for a Move

We’ve organized our tips into a few important categories like preparing for the move, the best way to pack boxes, what to pack first, how to pack clothing, and a handful of other tricks to make your life easier.

Preparing for Your Move

Prepare for a move ahead of time and you’ll thank yourself later! Starting early will decrease stress, help you avoid last-minute expenses, and reduce the likelihood of forgetting something important. We recommend starting six to eight weeks in advance.

  • Get organized! Create a moving checklist and timeline for tasks. Store these and other moving-related documents in a central location, like a binder or electronic folder.
  • Determine your moving budget – Will you hire a company to help with your move? If so, gather recommendations or search companies’ reputations with the Better Business Bureau or Yelp before hiring. If not, remember to add the pizzas you’ll have to buy your friends into your budget.
  • Purchase moving insurance – Be sure to take inventory of everything you own to determine the amount of insurance you’ll need. Movers often have a checklist you can use.
  • Gather supplies – You’ll need boxes, bubble wrap, old newspaper, packing peanuts, and tape. If you’re watching your budget, check Craigslist to find free boxes from people who have moved recently. On average, you’ll need ten small boxes, seven to eight medium ones, and five large per room, but be sure to have extras on hand.
  • Get ready to purge – You can’t take it all with you. Well, you can, but you shouldn’t. Sort your belongings into three piles: donate, trash, and keep. By getting rid of things you no longer want or use, you’ll make packing (and unpacking) easier.

How to Pack Moving Boxes Efficiently

When you follow these steps, you’ll maximize space, time, and energy. Plus, you’ll ensure your possessions arrive safely and are easier to unpack. Here’s the best way to pack boxes.

  • Start in one room or section of your home – By grouping items together from the same room, you’ll make it more convenient when you unpack.
  • Group similar items – Gather items around the same size and weight, placing heavier items on the bottom of the box.
  • Put heavy items into smaller boxes – This makes them easier to lift. Books are a great example. Try not to pack any box heavier than 40 lbs.
  • Line the bottom of your box – Use items like newspaper or bubble wrap to cushion your valuables. Do the same at the top of the box before closing. Remember, boxes will be stacked during the move.
  • Protect breakables – While bubble wrap or packing peanuts are essential, linens can also help keep your breakables safe. Wrap delicate items in tablecloths, hand towels, and the like.
  • Tape each box well – Remember to reinforce any stressed sections, such as the top and bottom edges.
  • Pack boxes tightly – Make sure the contents (especially breakables) can’t shift around during the move.
  • Label, label, label! Always write the name of the room the box is going to in your new space. Include a general summary of what’s in the box. For example, writing “ kitchen, small appliances and cutlery,” will help you find your toaster the morning after your move.

What to Pack First When Moving

Before you start packing things up, it’s important to think about what you should pack first – and last. A general rule is to pack nonessentials first and essentials last. Follow this timeline as a guide.

  • In the weeks leading up to your move – Pack all non-essential items first. This includes anything you don’t regularly use. Check your attic, garage, or storage closets. Books, off-season clothing, power tools, and sports equipment are good examples. Decorative items too. Now is the time to empty your curio cabinets.
  • In the days prior to your move – Pack the majority of your clothes, leaving a few changes to get through the upcoming days. Now is also the time to begin packing children’s toys (set aside a few favorites to keep your kids happy during the move), your home office and supplies, and kitchenware items. Again, don’t pack the essentials.
  • The day of your move – Pack everything that’s left, such as your coffee maker, toiletries, bedding, and perishables. Since you’ll also need these items the evening of your move, be sure to label the box and keep it close at hand. For example, place these items in your car so you can locate them easily. Nobody wants to search for their pillow the night of a move!

Packing Clothes for a Move

You may be tempted to leave your clothes until the last minute. After all, many are still in use. And you can just toss them in large plastic bags, right? But there’s a better way. Make sure they arrive clean, undamaged, and take up less room with our tips. Here’s how to pack clothes for a move.

  • Pack off-season clothes first.
  • Leave clothing in your dresser drawers during the move.
  • Use small boxes, as clothing can become heavy.
  • Place clothing in suitcases.
  • Tie 5-10 hangers together for clothes already on hangers, such as suits. Cover with a garment protector or trash bag to keep them clean.
  • Pack delicates and shoes separately to avoid damage to your garments.
  • Pack only clean, stain-free clothes.
  • Ensure clothing is thoroughly dry before packing to prevent mildew.
  • Vacuum seal your clothes to create more space while packing.
  • Cut down on the amount you have to pack by donating clothes, shoes, and accessories you no longer wear.

Other Moving Packing Tips & Tricks

Before we wrap up, here are some additional moving packing tips and tricks to make your life easier.

  • Assess mover limitations – If you’re using a moving company, find out what items they can’t transport. For example, do you have gas tanks for your grill? Or an oxygen tank? Movers may not be able to handle compressed gases.
  • Protect your valuables – Do you own anything that may need special treatment – like expensive wall art or a piano? Talk to your mover about how to best prepare these items for the move.
  • Pack your dishes carefully – To prevent breaking, pack your dishes standing upright, instead of flat. Be sure to place padding of some sort (bubble wrap, linens) on either side of the box so they’re secure and won’t shift during the move. Wrap each individual dish. And, for added protection, wrap each set of five to six dishes together as well.
  • Create a box (or suitcase) for each member of your family – Place the items you’ll need the day of the move. This might include medications, toiletries, pet food, and your child’s favorite toy and blanket. Don’t forget your pet’s needs!

By following these tips, your move is sure to go more smoothly! Remember, the more efficiently you pack, the easier it will be to unpack and begin enjoying your new home.