Lifesaving Tips on How to Pack for a Move

Relocating to a new house can be incredibly exciting. The worst part? Getting packed. The very notion of fitting all your belongings into cardboard boxes can be stressful, even for veteran movers. The good news is, with the right approach, you can be methodical about your move, keeping your packing anxieties to a minimum.


We’re happy to present some expert tips on how to pack for a move. Here are some general guidelines for making your relocation a breeze.


Start with the Essentials


First on our list of moving packing tips? Make sure you have the right supplies. There are just a few items you’ll need to ensure a successful move:



  • Moving boxes. You can buy nice boxes to help with your move, but much of the time, this is unnecessary. There are plenty of ways to scout out cheap or free ones: Hit up local liquor stores, log into the Next Door app, or just ask friends and family members to keep an eye out for any loose boxes. Make sure you get lots of boxes in various sizes and shapes.
  • Bubble wrap. Bubble wrap can help you protect your more fragile items, preventing them from being damaged during relocation. You can often find bubble wrap at office supply stores, but you may also see if you can score some cheap or free bubble wrap via Facebook Marketplace.
  • Dolly. A dolly can make it quite a bit more efficient, and less physically taxing, to move boxes to and fro. You can usually rent one from your rental truck company, or even from an office supply store.



In addition to these items, also be sure you have just a few standard tools: Some scissors, packing tape, a screwdriver for disassembling larger furniture pieces, etc.


One particular note about boxes: It may be worth it to splurge on wardrobe boxes. These can be a little pricey, sometimes up to $20 per box, but they allow you to move hanging clothes directly from your closet to the box. They can make packing your apparel considerably easier.


Where to Start: Some Advanced Packing Tips for Moving


In addition to gathering supplies, there are a few more steps you can take to get ready for your move, before you ever actually start placing items into boxes. For example, consider a few basic planning steps that you should take six to eight weeks before the move:



  • Give your house a good, thorough cleaning. Spend a few minutes tidying up and putting everything where it goes. This can help you take stock of how much stuff you really have, and plan your move accordingly.
  • Purge! Go through your house room by room and decide if you have any items that you don’t really need, want, or use anymore. Think about parting ways with these items, whether by tossing them out, selling them, or donating them. Remember, the fewer items you have to pack, the easier your move will be!
  • Set unwanted items elsewhere. Even if you haven’t yet had a chance to donate or sell unwanted items, put them somewhere out-of-the-way. This can provide you with a better sense of what you are planning to pack and take with you.



How to Pack for a Move: General Tips


As for some more general packing tips for moving, consider:



  • Set up a “don’t pack zone.” You may have certain items that you don’t wish to put into boxes nor load onto the moving truck. For example, you may have some priceless family heirlooms, portraits, or delicate items that hold sentimental value. Set these items somewhere you’ll be sure not to toss them into a box.
  • Remember, there are certain items movers won’t take. If you’re working with professional movers, certain items will not be allowed on the truck. You should always check the specific rules of your moving company, but generally speaking, the items not allowed include:


      1. Aerosol cans
      2. Ammunition and firearms
      3. Batteries
      4. Fuels of any kind, including charcoal, gasoline, and kerosene
      5. Fertilizer
      6. Plants
      7. Pool chemicals
      8. Perishable food items


  • Pack your rooms in the correct order. As a rule, you will want to start with the items that you use the least; for example, most families start with their guest bedroom. Work your way up toward the other rooms.
  • Completely pack a room before moving to the next one. There are a couple of reasons for this tip. One, finishing an entire room can give you a boost of satisfaction, and motivation to push forward. Additionally, this method prevents you from putting off all your hard-to-pack items for the last minute.
  • Reserve extra caution for fragile items. For breakable items, such as dishes, you’ll want to use some extra bubble wrap and packing paper, and carefully wrap each item individually. Place these items into boxes marked as fragiles, reminding you and your moving team to handle them with a delicate touch.
  • Use towels and blankets as packing filler. Linens and even smaller clothing items can be placed into boxes for a little bit of extra padding. This will help you save money on packing supplies, and it may also result in fewer total boxes.
  • Continue to downsize. The deeper you get into your packing process, the more you’ll start to wish you had fewer items to worry about. Don’t hesitate to make decluttering an ongoing process. As you come upon items and decide they’re really not worth moving, offer them to your friends or family members. Consider donating them. Or, just toss them out if they’re not useful anymore.
  • Pack for your new home. As you place items into boxes, you’ll want to label the box with the name of the room where those items belong. Remember to pack for the floorplan of your new home, not the old one; in other words, label boxes for where they are going, not where they were in the old place.
  • Create a separate box for your essentials. There are certain items that you’ll need during your first week in the new house… potentially even the first day. Think toilet paper. Think a shower curtain. Think hand soaps. Make sure you create a separate box for these essentials, and that you keep that box easily accessible throughout your move.
  • Put your suitcases to good use. Not only will this help you cut down on boxes, but if your suitcase has wheels, it can make it easier to transport heavier items.



With these moving packing tips, you should be ready to roll up your sleeves and start prepping for relocation… hopefully with as little stress as possible.


Learn More About Moving House


Knowing how to pack for a move is an important part of the relocation process… but of course, there’s a lot more to learn about listing and selling your home, choosing a new piece of property, applying for a mortgage, and beyond.


At, we’re happy to offer guidance on these topics and more. The best way to learn more is to keep tabs on our blog, where we publish regular pieces that advise home sellers and home buyers alike. Discover more real estate tips and strategies by visiting the blog.