Moving Organization

Planning Your Move: Packing

Moving takes time, and if you’re doing your own packing — which most people will — make sure you give yourself plenty of it. Plan to start at least six weeks before your move date. And plan is the key word. Planning well ahead and staying as coordinated and organized as possible will be a lifesaver.

Packing many or all of your items yourself can also help you save money on the total cost of your move. So be sure to utilize these tips and tools for properly and safely packing your goods.

Create an Inventory

Knowing what you have — and where it belongs — is critical to a stress-free move. Using our inventory list will make packing and labeling boxes a breeze. Plus, if you decide to use a moving service, it will be easier to make sure all your belongings arrive at your new home.

Have a Packing Plan

Packing a house can be overwhelming. So make a plan and try to pack one room at-a-time. Start by taking the room’s inventory and roughly planning which items will be packed together. Complete an entire box, and then move to the next so you don’t find yourself barricaded in a room littered with partially full boxes. Packing and storing the boxes by room will help keep you organized and help with unpacking efforts in the future.

Small in Large, Large in Small

It’s just science, really. When you’re packing boxes, pack the small items in the large boxes and the large items in the small boxes. Books, however, are an exception. If you put too many of them in a large box, the weight is going to be unmanageable. Also, pack heavier items at the bottom of the box and lighter items toward the top of the box. And remember: If you’re straining to pick up a box, it probably contains too much. Not only could you get hurt lifting, the box could break and damage your things.

Boxes made specifically for moving and storage work best. We offer movers free shipping on minimum online moving supplies orders. Check out the Moving and Storage Specials section of this site for details.

Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute

Take a look around you. There’s more there than you realize. So don’t wait until the week before you move to start packing your things. You can probably even pack some items a couple of months before a move and not miss them. For example, out-of-season clothes, holiday items, your good china and books you’ve already read and don’t plan to open again in the next two months. If you don’t want a pile of boxes in your house for weeks, rent a storage space to store them before and during the move.

Label Your Boxes

Imagine how tedious it would be to go through every single box when you arrive at your new place, trying to figure out what’s inside and which room to place it in. Here’s a better idea: label each box as you pack it, both by the room and with a general description of its contents. The label should be on the sides of the box, not on the top, so it’s visible when stacked. Be sure to update your Home Inventory Worksheet to help keep an accurate record of your packed and
stored belongings.

Pack Clothes in Wardrobe Boxes

It’s a big box with a rack inside for hanging clothes on hangers. And an excellent timesaving invention for clothes packing — no need to take your clothes off the hangers, fold them and throw them in the box. Just move them right from your closet to the rack in the box. You can even box your clothes by season or person. Then when you arrive at your new home, just unload the clothes from the box. New closets, instantly organized.

Don’t Stack Plates

Another trick. Don’t pack plates flat on top of each other in a box. They’re actually less likely to break if they’re standing on edge inside the box. But still wrap each plate in newspaper and include plenty of stuffing on the bottoms, sides and corners of the box.

And generally speaking, when you’re packing glass items, you should pack the largest, sturdier glass items on the bottom of the box and the smaller, more delicate glass items on the top of the box. And label these “fragile” or “glass” so you and the movers know. Specially designed boxes for crystal, china and other values are a great time saver.

Leave Stuff in Drawers

To save boxes and the trouble of moving items from a drawer to a box and back again, simply take the drawers out of chests and desks. If not too full and or containing anything breakable, just take it as is, with tape stretched across the top of the drawer to hold the components in place. Be sure to use masking tape — it won’t take the paint off of the furniture, as long as it’s removed promptly. Take it off as soon as you move the drawers into your new place.

Pack Boxes by the Room

For the sake of your sanity during unpacking, pack similar items together. For example, if you’re packing up the contents of your medicine cabinet, don’t throw kitchen utensils into that box.

Use Legit Boxes

It’s tempting to skimp on boxes, visiting your local grocery store to grab its spare ones. But those boxes aren’t designed for moving and may compromise your valuables. Even many inexpensive boxes will fail during transport. Spending just a couple bucks on the proper quality boxes will save hours of frustration and help your items arrive safely. One-stop shopping tip: we offer many of the supplies you’ll need right online. Visit Moving & Storage Specials for savings.

Pack Your Boxes Right

For a sturdier box, tape the seam on the bottom and run another piece of tape perpendicular to that seam. Pad the bottom of the box with newspaper and stuff the sides with extra paper to really make the bottom solid, and wrap fragile items individually with paper. Washcloths and towels also make excellent stuffing. It’s best to fill boxes to the brim to keep them from collapsing. And when you’ve filled the box to capacity, tape it shut and label it with its contents and your name. Be sure that you label the sides of the box, not just the top, so the label is always visible. Remember to mark it fragile if necessary and update your Home Inventory Worksheet.

About the author

The Storage Queens

We know a thing or two about moving. Together, we share the best tips in organizing, storage, navigating your city, and more!

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  • Packing is honestly the worst bit about moving for sure! The only real advice I’d give you about it is to make sure that you’ve got real sturdy packing boxes with you. It’ll be a nightmare if you’re done packing only to lift the box full of your things and the bottom gives way! That’s happened to me countless times to remember…

  • That is why I highly recommend plastic boxes with a cover which would seal your belongings securely. Plastic is sturdy, hence it is reliable and will not give way or break easily. Furthermore, it is waterproof so you are safe in case it rains.