Everyone dreads the packing portion of a move. Things always get damaged, broken, and lost. It’s a long process that takes even longer if you don’t know how to stay organized. Here are 30 packing tips for moving that will make moving a breeze.

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Checklist of Packing Tips when Moving

packing boxes and other packing supplies

Get free boxes

Don’t pay outrageous prices for some “moving boxes.” Any box can be a moving box. Here are five places you can get free boxes right now: 1. Craigslist 2. Nextdoor 3. Liquor Stores 4. Superstores 5. Restaurants. Marketplaces like Craigslist, Nextdoor, and Facebook have box listed for free all of the time. If there aren’t any online, call up one of your local businesses and ask them if they have any cardboard boxes they are getting rid of in the next few days. Usually they will have a pile of boxes during stocking days. Trust me, I worked in a restaurant during college and I had to flatten boxes during all of my breaks.

mirror with tape ready to move

Tape your mirrors

Mirrors of any size are probably the most fragile item you will move. Tape a big ‘X’ across the front of the mirror to prevent it from shattering. There are a bunch of other precautions you can take but taping an ‘X’ should be the bare minimum when transporting a mirror.

saran wrap

Saran wrap your silverware holder

Take your silverware holder out of the drawer and wrap some plastic wrap around it. A few times around should do the trick. Now you can put it in a box safely.

drawers removed from dresser stacked on top of each other

Remove drawers

Rather than carrying an extremely heavy dresser or taking your clothes out, just remove the drawers. Removing the drawers will make it lighter to carry. Plus, you’ll spend less time worrying about those drawers sliding out.

blue shower curtain assembly

Pack your shower curtain accessibly

Many places won’t have a shower curtain when you move in. I once moved into an apartment and didn’t realize this until I woke up for my first day of work the next morning. Showering without a curtain forty-five minutes before your first day isn’t a fun way to start.

couple packing dishes into a cardboard box

Use dish towels or newspaper for dishes

The most breakable possession you will move is your set of dishes. Take extra precaution with these by placing something some in between each plate before stacking them. Old newspaper is great for wrapping glasses and mugs.

color coded packing system

Create a system

If you are having somebody help you move, you don’t want to play the role of manager all day. Use colored stickers to create a system that maps out where everything goes. That way your helpers can keep moving without having to ask constant questions.

stack of moving blankets

Use towels and blankets to protect furniture and electronics

Don’t waste one of those boxes on a pile of blankets or towels. Use those for added insurance on your furniture and valuables. Avoid using your favorite blankets, because they will likely get dirty in the process.

wardrobe box for packing clothes

Use grocery bags for hanging clothes

Again, why pack your clothes? Just transport them on their hangers. If you are worried about your clothes getting dirty, put a garbage bag around the bottom of them. When you get to your new place, you can just hang up your clothes and pull the bag off. There are even boxes created for this exact thing. The box comes equipped with a way to hang your clothes.

books packed into a suitcase

Pack books in suitcases (or anything with wheels)

If you have a bookshelf (or three) full of books, that will likely be your heaviest thing to move. Rather than straining your back with heavy boxes, use suitcases (or anything with wheels) to pack your books. This will prevent you from hurting yourself, but it will also prevent your books from falling out the bottom of that box.

man with blue jeans lifting a couch

Put heavier items in the truck first

The weight distribution of the items in your truck is of utmost importance. Heavier items such as appliances (refrigerator, washer/dryer) need to be towards the front of the truck or trailer. Followed by your furniture, then your lighter boxes. Don’t believe me? Check out this video showing the importance of proper weight distribution.

pile of miscellaneous donations

Make a box for miscellaneous donations

Even if you went through a pre-packing purge session, you will continue to find things that you no longer need. If it’s in decent condition, put it in a box. You can choose to sell the things in that box or take it to the local goodwill.

stack of colorful file folders

Organize files as you’re packing

If you don’t have a filing cabinet, get one. If you don’t want a filing cabinet, at least come up with some sort of filing system that’s more efficient than old shoe boxes. Paper still has a place in this increasingly paperless world. Taxes, insurance, medical records, birth certificates, marriage certificates, automobile records, and more. As you pack, you’re going to come across papers. Decide whether or not you need to keep them. Don’t bring clutter to your new home.

garbage can filled with cleaning supplies

Use your garbage can to carry cleaning supplies

Pile all of your cleaning supplies into your garbage can. This is just a matter of using the extra space that you have. If you pack your cleaning supplies in your garbage can, there is less risk of a catastrophic leak or spill.

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Checklist of Packing Tips when Moving

pantry filled with food

Pack fridge/freezer food in a cooler

If you are on a long-distance move, it might make sense to get rid of your fridge and freezer food. Ask friends and family if they want any of it before you throw it away. For shorter moves, the coolers you have around will be perfect.

stacks of packing boxes

If you have an assortment of boxes, use the nicer ones for the stuff that will be in storage

When you get to your new home, you will inevitably need to store some of that stuff you have. Whether you are looking to maximize your space or protect some valuables, use certain boxes for certain reasons. If you are going to be storing electronics, use any plastic totes you might have. This protects them from impact and water damage while moving, as well as when it’s stored. If you are going to be storing a lot of possessions, choose the square boxes. They are a lot easier to pack into storage. Plan the boxes that won’t need unpacking before you pack.

woman holding a red drill

Pack any tools you might need separate

Your drill, screwdrivers, hammer, nails/screws, level, tape measure, and stud finder should all be accessible when you move in. Keep them close together so you have a quick kit for furniture assembly or wall hanging.

dumpster filled with random trash

Get rid of anything broken, expired, or that you haven’t used in over a year

You should have purged before you started packing, but you’ll notice that the more you pack, the more you realize that you don’t need. My wife and I have forty or more coffee mugs, yet we use about six of them on rotation. It was time to part with a handful of them, no matter how many times we told ourselves we needed them.
If it’s broken, why are you still holding onto it? If you are serious about a reclamation project, you can keep it. If you have told yourself more than five times that you’ll do it next week, throw it out.

roll of clear garbage bags

If you need to empty drawers, use gallon-sized plastic bags

You shouldn’t have to reorganize your kitchen drawers. Take everything out and put it in a gallon Ziploc

duffel bag

Utilize your bags

If you have a bunch of duffel bags and backpacks, use them for the move. Always looks to fill empty space. Pack the awkwardly shapes items in here. For example, shoes work well in duffel bags.

brown duffel bag sitting on the floor next to a white chair

Pack a “first night bag”

Here is everything you will need in your first night bag:

  1. Toothbrush/Toothpaste
  2. Towel
  3. Deodorant
  4. Soaps (shampoo, conditioner, soap, etc.)
  5. Spare set of clothes
  6. Prescriptions/Medicine
  7. A plastic cup – Have you ever moved somewhere and had nothing to drink out of? Exactly.

coins sitting on wood

Check your furniture for treasure

When you go to move your couch, take off all of the cushions and start digging for coins. I once found a hundred-dollar bill in a chair. You never know what you might find!

smiling couple with movers moving a mattress

Protect your mattress

If you don’t want to pay for a mattress protector, use two spare sets of fitted sheets on both sides of the mattress. Spread one over the top of the bed like you normally would, then spread the other over the bottom side of the bed. This will create a layer of protection.

cardboard box with a handle

Cut handles in boxes that don’t have them

Picking up heavy boxes can be difficult without handles. Use your box cutter and make your own handles. We highly suggest cutting the handles before you pack anything in the boxes to avoid unnecessary damage.

man unscrewing a screw

Take pictures of anything you have to disassemble

You threw away those complicated Ikea instructions ages ago. How are you going to put that bed back together? Take picture of the assembly to make reassembly easier.

nuts and bolts in a plastic bag

Use plastic bags to hold bolts and nuts, tape them to what they are used for

Every time you take something apart, keep all of the pieces together in a plastic bag. Tape the plastic bag to the back of one of the disassembled pieces. Nuts and bolts are often the first thing to go missing in a move.

three men lifting a tire with proper lifting form

Lift with your legs

We don’t need anyone throwing out their backs!

christmas decorations packed into a box

Keep your Christmas decorations together

If you don’t already have a designated box for Christmas decorations, now is the time to create one. Christmas decorations tend to be oddly shaped and difficult to store. If you put it all together now, you can have it ready for the next holiday season.

hdmi cord being unplugged from the back of a TV

Take a picture of your TV

HDMI cords have made TVs less cluttered, but some TVs are still packed full of cords. If you are concerned with reconnecting all of your cables, take a picture of the back of your TV to use as a diagram later.

couple playing around with a cardboard box

Have fun

Many people see moving as a stressful process, when it should be a joyful one. You are (assumedly) moving to a new home! Relax, take pictures, and make it a fun time.

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Checklist of Packing Tips when Moving

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