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Close Up Of Senior Couple Downsizing In Retirement Boxes Ready For Move Into New Home

How To Make Packing Easier: 11 Tips for a Stress-Free Move

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Default Author Icon Written by Shane Sentelle Updated 05/06/2024

Packing for a move can be overwhelming. However, you can substantially lower the stress of the experience by planning ahead. Creating a checklist is a great first step. We’ve researched packing strategies and identified a number of tips and tricks to make the process easier. With your belongings securely packed, you’ll have less to worry about on moving day.

1. Declutter and Downsize

Downsizing will prevent you from moving things to your new home that you’ll eventually toss, and it will make packing faster.

Take the following steps to declutter:

  1. Use one of your house’s smallest rooms, such as your home office or a hallway closet, as a decluttering space. 
  2. Sort items into three piles—keep, give away, and toss. The things you plan to keep go into one pile. Gently used items that you don’t need go into a second pile. Items in poor condition go into a third pile.  
  3. Pack the items in the keep pile that you don’t plan on using before moving day.
  4. Give your gently used items to a charity, a place of worship, or a donation center. You can also sell them.
  5. Throw out the items you can’t donate and don’t want to keep. Hire a junk removal company if necessary.

2. Get the Right Supplies

Invest in quality packing supplies to protect your belongings. Check sites such as Amazon for the items below, or pick some up from your local hardware store. You may have to rent equipment like blankets and dollies from a moving truck company

  • Boxes: Get moving boxes that are sturdy and durable to protect your items during transport.
  • Bubble wrap or packing paper: Wrap your delicate items in bubble wrap or packing paper to keep them safe.
  • Furniture dollies: Place your heavy or oversized belongings on dollies to make them easier to move during loading and unloading. 
  • Labels and markers: Be prepared to label each box, bin, or bag you pack.
  • Moving blankets: Wrap your furniture in moving blankets to protect it during transport.
  • Packing or masking tape: Use tape to close boxes and to secure your moving blankets to your furniture.
  • Plastic bags: Use sealable plastic bags to keep your smaller items organized and accessible.
  • Plastic bins: Consider putting fragile, delicate, or particularly important items in clear, stackable plastic bins for better protection and easy location.
  • Scissors or box cutters: These will be especially helpful while you’re unpacking.
  • Stretch wrap: Use stretchy plastic wrap to protect your couch or other furniture pieces from rips, dents, and scratches.
  • Vacuum-sealed storage bags: You can reduce the bulk of clothes, linens, and towels by packing them in storage bags and vacuuming the air out.

3. Keep an Inventory of Your Possessions

Use a color-coded inventory system to help you stay organized. Assign each room a different color and label corresponding items with the same color. Create a list of your belongings, note the rooms to which they belong, and assign colors using paper and pen or an electronic document.

Don’t be afraid to get very specific with your labeling. If you’re using cardboard boxes, you may want to simply write a list of the contents on the outside of the box with a Sharpie or similar marker. Don’t rely on memory to tell where your items are packed.

4. Pack Efficiently

The packing techniques below can save you time while you prepare for your move. 

  • Conserve space by packing plates vertically.
  • Fill empty spaces in boxes with paper towels, packing paper, and other fillers to ensure items don’t shift during transport.
  • Pack the items you don’t need early.
  • Use suitcases and duffel bags as packing containers. Wheeled suitcases can make transporting heavy items easier.
  • Place your heavy and fragile items in small boxes. Pack clothes and non-fragile belongings, such as pots and pans, in large boxes. 
  • Use packing tape to ensure your containers are closed securely.

5. Empty and Disassemble Furniture Before Wrapping

Empty each piece of furniture, remove any drawers, and use tools to disassemble legs and other removable parts. You can save a great deal of space in a moving truck by placing headboards, table tops, and other furniture items on their sides against a wall. Keep any disassembled pieces together with tape, rubber bands, and stretch wrap. Place hardware in a small plastic bag and tape it to its corresponding item after disassembling it. Label each bag in case it gets detached during the move.

6. Use Drawers as Packing Containers

If your dresser drawers aren’t too heavy, don’t empty them. Simply remove them from the dresser, wrap them in plastic wrap, and transport the contents that way.

7. Take Pictures of Electronics Wiring

You can take pictures of your television, cable box, and electronic hookups before detaching them. Refer to those photos as a guide to help you reconnect everything once you’ve moved. Take out any batteries or cartridges. Pack electronics either in their original packaging or cushioned with bubble wrap. Label cords and put them in sealable plastic bags to protect them from moisture.

8. Leave Fitted Sheets on Mattresses

Keep your fitted sheets on your mattresses to protect them while they’re in the moving truck. You won’t have to buy mattress covers, which will save you money. Remove and wash your fitted sheets upon arriving at your new place.

9. Cover Hanging Clothes With Garbage Bags

One way to protect your hanging clothes is with wardrobe boxes. However, these do cost substantially more than regular boxes. To save money, you can cover hanging clothes in trash bags. Group your clothing on hangers and secure the hanger hooks with rubber bands before adding your protective material. 

10. Pack Completely Before Moving Day

Waiting until the last minute to pack can lead to an unorganized and overwhelming move. Make sure all your items are packed before moving day, even if you have to quickly pack your house in the days leading up to it. You could lose money if you wait, as many professional movers charge by the hour. The last things you should pack are cleaning and packing supplies.

11. Pack a Moving Bag

Don’t forget to pack a suitcase with all your essential items, such as a change of clothes, pajamas, valuables, toiletries, toilet paper, towels, and sheets. This will make arriving at your new place much easier. Include a first-aid kit in case you get any cuts or bruises during your move.

Our Conclusion

Moving day will go much more smoothly if you follow our packing tips. We recommend you start early, declutter your home, and invest in the supplies that are best for your move. Consider hiring professional packers if you’re short on time or have trouble staying organized. 

FAQ About Easier Packing

How can I make packing less painful?

You can make packing less painful by sorting your belongings and throwing out or donating what you don’t need or want before you start. Invest in quality packing materials so that your possessions are protected, and label each box with the room where it belongs.

What is the hardest room to pack when moving?

The hardest room to pack when moving is the kitchen because it has so many breakable and fragile items. Take care when packing plates, glasses, and other delicate items. Wrap them in bubble wrap, packing paper, or another protective covering.

How can I speed up my packing to move?

You can speed up packing to move by decluttering and discarding the items you don’t need, creating a moving checklist to stay organized, and asking friends and family to help you pack.

What should I pack first when moving?

When moving, you should first pack the items you don’t use very often, such as the things you keep in the attic or storage space. You can also pack your artwork, off-season clothing, and books. 

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