The best packing tips when moving house

At first, the home moving process can look rather daunting – it’s not only overly expensive but the mere thought of having to entrust your valuable possessions to complete strangers is enough to send shivers down your spine.

Add the arduous task of packing up your home for a move and you’ll finally understand why moving to another home is often considered to be one of life’s most stressful events.

The good news is that the task of packing for a move doesn’t have to be complicated at all. Once you see the logic behind it, the pieces will begin to fit almost seamlessly and the relocation picture will become clearer and clearer as you approach Moving day.

The following top 20 packing tips and tricks will help you understand the logic of packing a home for moving: what to pack, when to pack it, and of course – how to pack it all.

Take full control of your packing task by following these top 20 packing tips of all time:

  1. CHOOSE between DIY or packers
  2. PACK by yourself to save money
  3. CREATE a packing checklist
  4. START packing early
  5. HAVE a packing strategy
  6. PACK in the correct order
  7. KNOW what to pack last
  8. ASK friends to help you pack
  9. FIND good packing materials
  10. GET free moving boxes
  11. CHOOSE the right boxes
  12. INVENTORY your home
  13. GET rid of unwanted items
  14. DO NOT PACK forbidden items
  15. PACK an essentials box
  16. PACK quickly
  17. PACK safely
  18. Label your boxes
  19. STAY motivated when packing
  20. AVOID bad packing mistakes

1. Do what’s best for you: DIY or packers?

Professional packing services may be the best option when you’re moving long distance across the country and you want the best protection for your valuable possessions. Professional packers won’t get the job done for free, of course, but they have been trained to work fast and know what it takes to achieve a good level of safety.

If you own antique furniture, a piano, a pool table, or anything else that is really expensive, then it’s better to rely on experienced professionals who offer proper insurance as well.

Time is also a crucial factor when deciding whether to pack up your things by yourself or whether to rely on experienced packers. As a rule of thumb, if you have at least 4 weeks for the packing task, then you should be fine doing it on your own. If not, you’d better trust the pros.

2. Pack by yourself to save money

One of the best packing tips when moving house is to spot anas seize the opportunity to save money on your move. The single decision to pack on your own can easily save you hundreds of dollars. After all, why should you pay somebody else to do something when you can take care of it yourself?

If you’re moving only a short distance, have reliable friends willing to give you a hand, and don’t own any items that require special packing skills, then yes, you should try to pack up your home by yourself and save money in the process. You’re going to need more time for packing too, as you can never be as quick and efficient as a pro packer. Or maybe you can.

It should feel great to be able to save money during an already expensive move but you have to understand your limits because property damage due to improper packing will cancel out any savings you may have predicted when parking by yourself.

13 ways to save money when moving home

Packing checklist

A personalized checklist will keep you focused and will save you many hours of precious time.

3. Create a packing checklist

So, let’s assume that you’ve made up your mind to tackle the packing job without professional assistance. What do you need the most? You need good packing tips for moving, of course.

And possibly the best packing advice for moving you can ever get is to organize your time with the help of a PACKING CHECKLIST. Stop wasting precious time wondering where to start packing or which items to pack up first. Your personalized packing timeline will “tell” you what you should do next and how much time you get to complete each task in order to stay on schedule.

The idea of following a packing timeline is all about NOT wasting precious time during the most time-consuming job of them all. As you mark each mini packing task as DONE, you’ll be able to gauge the packing progress you’ve made and will feel less stressed out.

Packing timeline for moving (Packing checklist)

4. Start the packing process early

No, you don’t need to wake up too early in the morning. Rather, the idea here is that you should begin to pack up your things (pre-packing) as early as your household becomes only a matter of time.

Here’s one of the most efficient packing tips for moving: you can’t start packing too early.

Stop wondering when to start packing for a move and start right now. It won’t be long before you realize why packing is the most dreaded task in anyone’s moving checklist.

The job of packing for a move is often underestimated in terms of complexity and duration, and that can easily lead to a number of headaches as Moving day approaches. The main problem of delaying the start of packing is that you may not manage to complete it prior to the move-out date, thus creating more problems for yourself.

5. Devise a smart packing strategy

Throwing random stuff into random boxes just won’t work and that’s exactly why you need to have a good packing strategy before you start filling up those boxes. The thing is that as long as you pack in a logical, systematic, and organized way, you should be able to tackle the packing job without too much drama.

Speaking of clever packing tips for moving, the recommended tactic is to use the ROOM-BY-ROOM packing strategy. In practice, packing only one room at one given time will let you focus your entire attention on a specific area in your home, thus eliminating the possibility of leaving behind something that you wish to move with you.

Sometimes packing up your things by CATEGORY is the more logical option – for example, packing all the books in the house regardless of the rooms they are in. Packing by category can help you concentrate on one particular packing technique, thus considerably speeding up the process.

6. Keep packing in the correct order

How to pack a garage for moving

Still think packing your garage is a breeze?

The best packing tips for moving will not only show you how to pack your things in the best possible way, but also how to start up the packing process in the first place so that you get a good head-start in your race with time.

Which rooms to pack first?

Begin sorting and wrapping up the things located in the storage areas of your home – basement, attic, garage, spare rooms, and closets. Storage rooms can be really challenging to sort and pack due to the overwhelming number of various items stored in them.

Next, you’re recommended to tackle the kitchen and the living room because those rooms can be tough to pack up as well.

The idea here is that you should always start packing from the premises that are the most difficult ones to sort and pack. Why? As your energy and motivation start to wane, you’ll be left with rooms that are relatively easier to pack up, which can be a huge bonus for you.

What to pack first when moving?

7. Know what to pack last

When packing for a move, it’s important to observe the principle of tackling the hardest rooms to pack first and move to the premises that are much easier to sort and pack. Also, think about how often you use a specific room before you begin to pack it up because the occupation frequency should also play a role in your decision which rooms to pack last of all.

Generally speaking, the last rooms to pack should be the ones you use very frequently – that is, on a daily basis. So, without a doubt, your bathroom should be the very last room you pack up, possibly the night before a morning move.

Similarly, the bedroom should also be one of the last places you pack for moving – after all, you would love to be able to sleep in your own bed until the day of the move itself.

What to pack last when moving

8. Ask friends for packing assistance

Ask yourself this: can you pack up your entire home without any help, without even the timely assistance from your closest friends?

A detailed home inventory will enable you to get a better idea of how many things you plan to move to the new home, including some stuff you may have even forgotten about.

Not surprisingly, one of the most helpful packing tips for moving is to get help from friends you can count on. The chances are that you won’t manage it entirely on your own, so it’s time to throw a packing party and invite your best pals to help you out with promises for drinks, snacks, fun, and maybe even some meaningful Thank You gifts.

Good advice: Make sure you reach out to your friends as early as you can to minimize the disruption of their own plans. Imagine how you would feel if one of your pals asked you to help them move in the last possible moment.

How to ask friends to help you move

9. Get hold of good packing materials

You can’t start packing for a move without the necessary packing supplies, can you?

What’s more, you’re going to need to secure packing materials of good quality, not just whatever supplies come your way. After all, your cherished possessions are supposed to survive the relocation journey in one piece.

White packing paper (soft), brown Kraft paper (hard), Bubble wrap, a few rolls of packing tape, a set of color markers, blankets or other pieces of old clothing, and newspapers (padding materials do matter).

Oh, and let’s not forget the most essential packing element of them all: packing boxes made of durable corrugated cardboard. LOTS of cardboard boxes!

And the best part is that you should be able to find most of those packing materials FOR FREE!

Where to find free packing materials

Free moving boxes

It looks like our advice on where to get free moving boxes has worked well for you.

10. Get free moving boxes

When it comes to good packing tips for moving, here’s one that is better than most: you can get cardboard boxes for free.

The only thing you’ll lose is some time to secure those free cardboard boxes, but if time is not pressing you, then you should really take this packing advice seriously.

First of all, check with your friends whether they have any cardboard boxes they won’t need anymore. Secondly, check with local businesses such as supermarkets, grocery stores, home electronics stores, bookstores, and so on – most of them get frequent shipments of goods and are required to recycle any cardboard boxes they won’t need.

Free moving boxes? Wait, where’s the catch?

11. Choose the right boxes

It’s nice to get your hands on free moving boxes but you shouldn’t accept just any cardboard boxes that you can find. Bear in mind that you’re about to place your prized possessions into those moving containers so you’d better make sure they are

  • CLEAN. Inspect the boxes to determine whether they are clean enough to transport your stuff. NEVER take any boxes that may have been infested.
  • DRY. Wet areas can weaken the cardboard and consequently compromise the safety of the entire move. Reject any cardboard containers with apparent or suspected water damage.
  • STRONG. Take only sturdy moving boxes that have flaps that close well.

Packing for a move can be a unique life experience, especially for first-time movers. Here’s a piece of packing advice that you may find extremely useful: use small to medium boxes for heavy items and large boxes for lightweight things.

That packing advice may sound a bit counterproductive but it’s one of the critical safety tips when packing a house for moving.

12. Inventory your home

Having followed our helpful packing tips so far, now you will have the necessary packing supplies to get the job done properly. The next challenge in your packing checklist is to decide what items you will pack and move, and what items you will get rid of prior to Moving day.

To help you make a good decision, you’re going to need a detailed house inventory. Sort out your things by going from room to room and mark their current condition, so that you can later assess whether or not you need to move those items at all.

The bad news is that it can take quite a lot of time to inventory an entire house. The good news is that there are free moving apps such as MoveAdvisor that will let you do a complete home inventory in mere minutes.

How to make a home inventory

13. Get rid of unwanted items

Looking for the best tips when packing for a move?

Here’s one: don’t pack and move items that you probably won’t ever use again. Try to be ruthless about this one, for it’s your money that is a risk here.

Moving experts are unanimous that if you haven’t used any items in more than a year, then you should seriously consider getting rid of them. It’s simple, really: any extra baggage you want to take with you will increase the transportation costs as the total shipment weight will go up as well.

Attempt to sell, at a garage sale or online, all the things you’ve decided to leave behind.

Clutter unwanted: Get rid of stuff when moving

14. Do not pack items forbidden for transport

Speaking of useful packing tips, this is the perfect time to advise you that you should NOT invest any efforts into packing a number of household items simply because they are forbidden for transport. In other words, professional movers won’t move them for you.

Each moving company has their own list of non-allowables that they hand out to their customers way before Moving day, so make sure you have that list from the very start. Generally speaking, items not to pack when moving include hazardous items (flammable, corrosive or explosive items), perishables (food and plants), pets, and irreplaceable items.

Follow the link below to access the full list of items forbidden for transport. Keep in mind that the moving company you’ve chosen as your relocation partner should provide you with their own version of the non-allowables list.

What not to pack when moving

Prepare an essentials box

Don’t forget to prepare an essentials box (or boxes) before your movers load your things into their moving van.

15. Prepare an essentials box

Most of the time, you’re going to need a number of good packing tips and tricks to turn the period of packing up your home into a smooth, quick, and stress-free experience. And one proven way to avoid unpleasant surprises is to prepare an essentials box.

As the name suggests, an essentials box contains things of absolute necessity that you will need while your regular household items are in transit. Make sure you pack up necessities such as toiletries, prescription medication, important documents, a change of clothes for each family member, basic kitchen items, basic tools, and so on.

Don’t forget to pack such an open-first box the day before Moving day, and more importantly – to never hand it by mistake to your movers.

How to pack an essentials box

16. Pack quickly when moving home

You need to remember that packing is the most time-consuming task in your packing checklist, so you’d better pay attention to some good tips for packing quickly.

You don’t want to greet Moving days with dozens of boxes still to pack, do you?

  • Start packing immediately after you know you’re moving for sure.
  • Have the necessary packing materials ready.
  • Get rid of all unnecessary items prior to packing.
  • Do not pack items that are forbidden for transportation.
  • Where to start packing? Start packing from the rooms you use the least frequently such as storage areas – your garage, basement, attic, garden shed, etc.
  • Adhere to your packing timeline as strictly as you can.
  • One of the best packing tips for a quick move? It’s better to pack a little every day (effective!) than to try to pack up your entire home in one giant effort (impossible!).

How to pack quickly when moving

17. Pack safely when moving house

Safety is a big concern during the packing process – after all, the idea is to make sure your valuable possessions remain well-protected during the relocation trip.

As far as safety goes, the best packing tips for moving house are:

  • Always double tape the bottoms of cardboard boxes, even if they are brand new.
  • Don’t skimp on packing supplies when packing fragile items – wrap them up in several sheets of Bubble wrap and use plenty of padding materials to immobilize them in the boxes.
  • Do not make boxes heavier than you can handle them – that’s especially true when packing books for moving. The reasonable weight limit is about 40 pounds per box.
  • If you own any specialty items that require professional packing skills, do not hesitate to contact experienced moving experts. Otherwise, you will be risking not only the well-being of your belongings but your own safety as well.

Safety tips when moving house

How to label moving boxes

Be proactive! Label your moving boxes to avoid confusion and lost time.

18. Label your packed boxes

One of the most overlooked packing tips for moving cross country is to label your boxes properly. Do not make the mistake of thinking you’ll remember what’s inside each container just by the look of it. If you do, you’re likely to lose valuable time after the move when you get down to unpacking those same boxes.

What’s more, your movers won’t know which room to deliver the boxes to if they are not labeled correctly, and that will lead to further confusion and extra wasted time.

Take your favorite marker and write the contents, destination room, and any handling instructions you think may help. Also, you can choose to use colored codes or a numerical labeling system to make the unpacking process much easier after the move.

How to label moving boxes like a pro

19. Stay motivated when packing

It’s important to be able to stay motivated during a seemingly endless packing process. And one excellent trick to do just that is to view the home packing project not as one never-ending task but as many mini packing tasks.

It’s mostly psychological – it’s hard to stay motivated to pack when you can’t see the end of it. But the moment you break the entire packing process into easy-to-achieve packing tasks, you’ll be able to see the immediate results of your actions and that will only motivate you to keep going.

Here’s a quick example: packing the living room does seem like a lot of work. However, packing all the books from the living room will bring you an instant sense of satisfaction from a job well done.

How to motivate yourself to pack for moving

20. Avoid common packing mistakes

Sometimes it’s possible that even the best packing tips for moving you just read may not be enough to keep you away from some of the worst packing mistakes you can possibly make. Packing mistakes can be really bad because they will often cost you time you don’t have, money you’d like to have, and nerves you’d like to spare.

And speaking of mistakes when packing for a move, maybe the worst of them all is to think you can manage the packing process when it’s obvious that you won’t be able to do it without professional assistance. Factors such as too little time, too valuable items, and too little packing experience should help you reach the best decision under the presented circumstances.

Is it time for professional packers?

Common packing mistakes to avoid