Moving? 20 Tips to Make Packing Easier

tips to make packing easier

The process of moving from one home to another is always stressful, but perhaps the worst part of the job is packing everything you own. It takes a lot of time and effort to make sure you have everything you need and nothing is left behind. You also have to worry about the fragile items and whether or not they were stored properly for the move. It’s a process that’s really draining emotionally, physically, and mentally.

Twenty Useful Packing Tips That Might Make It Easier


Prepare a checklist. To make sure you don’t miss anything, it’s a good idea to make a checklist. In fact, make a checklist for every room. This way, you’ll be able to figure out what you have and what you might need. (Some might even have checklists for every box.)

Packing Supplies

Have the right tools ready. Before you start packing, make sure you have the right tools and supplies. Packaging tape plus cardboard boxes and box cutters – these are the tools you need.

Make sure you don’t forget about the bubble wrap and other packing tools for fragile items.

Ask your local stores if they have boxes that you could have for free for moving. In our city the local liquor stores are happy to let us take as many boxes as we want.

As well, if you are hiring a moving company many times they will have a deal where you can rent moving boxes from them (brand new or used) and then return them after you have finished unpacking. We did this for our last move and it saved us a lot of money and a lot of time.

Get Organized

Organize your items. You can’t stuff a mop in with your clothes, right? Keep the things in your home in the right boxes so you don’t end up with a mess on your hands.

This is Fragile

Provide special care for fragile items. You’ll have to make a special effort to keep your fragile items safe. Use packing peanuts, bubble wrap, and newspapers to make sure your fragile items are safe from any harm.


Find a waterproof container for books and documents. You should consider using a plastic container for documents and books so they’re safe and dry.

You don’t want to have to deal with water damage in case some accident happens along the way.

As well, if you move on a rainy or snowy day and the box is left outside for a bit the plastic waterproof container will protect your valuable documents.


Separate dangerous or hazardous materials. Keep your cleaning materials and other potentially dangerous items in a separate box.

If you have any home fire extinguishers or BBQ propane tanks, make sure to transport those in your own vehicle.

First Night

Have a “first night” box prepared. You won’t finish unpacking in a day, and it’s going to be a chore to hunt through all your boxes to find your plates and toiletries. Prepare a box of essentials that will contain all the items you might need on your first night in your new home.

Something to Wear

Prepare a bag of clothes for your first couple of days. Have an overnight bag ready, too, to make sure you have clothes for your first couple of days.

You don’t have to stash a lot. Just clothes for a couple of days should be enough while you’re working on unpacking.


Check insurance coverage for moving. The moving company usually has its own insurance policies. Clarify this with them ahead of time.

Stop Doing Laundry! (think I could do that Corina?)

Don’t pack wet or damp clothes. If you really need to do laundry just prior to your move make sure that everything is dried thoroughly and ready to be packed.


Be mindful of weight per box. Don’t stuff too much into one box. It’s going to be difficult to carry and a chore to handle. You might even strain your back.

When filling boxes, be mindful of how heavy it gets, especially when you pack your books.

What is It?

label moving boxesLabel the boxes. Mark the boxes clearly so you know what the contents are. This makes it a lot easier to unpack.

Plus, if you have fragile content, write FRAGILE with big bold letters.

Where Does it Go?

Mark the destination room for each box.

Apart from labeling the boxes for their contents, write down the room they belong in.

Bottom Heavy

Put heavy items at the bottom of the box. This isn’t exactly new, but you’ll be shocked by how many people keep throwing items into a box without considering the best way to pack.

Always put the heavier items down first then the lighter ones on top.

Important Stuff

Keep important documents with you. Don’t pack your documents like passports and deeds into the boxes. Keep them in a folder and in a shoulder bag that you will take with you when you drive to your new home.

Dishes and Glasses

Don’t use newspaper without tissue first. Newspapers might transfer ink, so wrap your items like dishes and glasses in tissue first before wrapping with newspapers.

Have a Garage Sale – right DC?

Sell what you don’t need. If you need to get rid of the things you no longer want, hold a garage sale before you move. It makes packing easier and it makes moving less expensive because you are not paying to move stuff you no longer use.

We All Procrastinate

Don’t procrastinate. Get going and make sure to do some packing each day before you move.

Do any difficult stuff first and always remember all of your closets and storage areas.

Do you have a garage or a shed? Make sure to allocate time to pack the items in those areas properly.

Many years ago when I was moving across country I thought I had packed everything but as we were doing our last minute checks and heading to the front door of our townhouse I discovered that I had completely forgotten to pack our winter coats and boots in our front hall closet. Oooopppss.

Packing Your Clothes

packing your clothesIf you are doing the move yourself then use suitcases for clothes. It’s a good idea to use suitcases for your clothes instead of boxes, unless you have too many.

Another suggestion, if you are using a moving company, is to ask them if you can borrow wardrobe boxes to pack all of your clothes into.

These are the coolest things on the planet.

Ask for at least 2 per person. They make packing and unpacking your closet so quick and easy. Put shoes in the bottom of the box and hang the rest of your clothes on the rods provided with the wardrobe boxes.


Keep valuables in a safe place. Just as with the documents, you want to keep your valuables with you at all times during the move.

Just the thought of moving makes some people cry. I guess it depends on how much stuff you have accumulated over the years. My least favorite room to pack is the kitchen.

What is your least favorite room to pack when you move from one place to another? 


    • DC @ Young Adult Money

      DC @ Young Adult Money 05/30/2013 7:17 a.m. #

      :) Thanks for the shoutout! I can't believe our garage sale is just a couple days away...I was labeling clothes last night and was seeing things I haven't worn in 5+ years! Definitely will be nice to get rid of some of that stuff.

      I love these tips! Our last move was from an apartment to a house, which I think is both more and less difficult. More because you have to navigate around everyone else who is living there, as well as stairs to deal with. Less because...we had a lot less stuff! You don't need as much when you are living in an apartment.

      I would also add: figure out who is going to help you move and what company you are hiring in advance. Probably part of the whole "be organized" aspect of moving, but it's stressful as it is so having a lot of help can go a LONG way.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 05/30/2013 3:48 p.m. #

        Thank you & you're welcome! I just noticed that we have a community garage sale coming up on June 22nd. Not sure if we will do it or not.

        You are so right about hiring a company in advance. The best ones are typically booked up well in advance especially around the end\first of the month.

    • John S @ Frugal Rules

      John S @ Frugal Rules 05/30/2013 8:15 a.m. #

      These are some great tips Sicorra! I HATE packing, but my inner planning geek comes out and use many of these. I always label our boxes so we can put them in whatever room they belong in and that first night bag is vital.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 05/30/2013 3:49 p.m. #

        Thanks John! Labeling the boxes just makes things so much easier, doesn't it? I personally haven't tried the first night bag idea, but I will in the future.

    • Victor Sosa

      Victor Sosa 05/30/2013 12:11 p.m. #

      Over the course of my first career, I moved 5 times in 12 years....all your points are spot on. Great stuff!

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 05/30/2013 3:51 p.m. #

        Thanks for stopping by! I think once a person moves that often they develop a few good tricks of their own to make things easier for themselves.

    • Corina Ramos

      Corina Ramos 05/30/2013 12:16 p.m. #

      OMG I needed this post when I moved...LOL :)

      I start out organized. I get my boxes for every room and start labeling them. I use newspaper to wrap the plates and other knick knacks but then as time goes on, girl I'm just putting them all in whichever box because "it's all going to the same house" like my husband says LOL.

      I never thought about having insurance when moving but it makes sense, especially for protecting valuables.

      And what a better time than before moving time to have a garage sale to take less stuff with us...

      Loved this post Sicorra! Hope all is well my friend. We need to catch up soon!

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 05/30/2013 3:53 p.m. #

        Thanks Corina! A person can get tired of packing pretty quickly, can't they? And all good intentions get thrown by the wayside because we just want it done and over with. We had insurance last time we moved and the mover dropped something pretty valuable but in all our hurry we forgot to file a claim for it :-(

    • Shannon @ The Heavy Purse

      Shannon @ The Heavy Purse 05/31/2013 noon #

      Great tips, Sicorra. A first night box and a bag with something to wear are great tips. Moving is exhausting and it's highly unlikely you'll be able to move and unpack within a day, so make it a bit easier for yourself! It's been awhile since my last move and hopefully I won't have to deal with one for awhile.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 05/31/2013 3:08 p.m. #

        Thanks Shannon! That is true that you will unlikely get it all done and unpacked in a day, unless of course you are a true minimalist :-)

    • Rony mikal

      Rony mikal 06/04/2013 12:24 a.m. #

      WOW! these tips are really helpful while moving to another place.
      I will definitely consider your post during my shift.
      keep posting.

    • KK @ Student Debt Survivor

      KK @ Student Debt Survivor 06/04/2013 6:56 a.m. #

      Great tips. I definitely wish I'd had a first night box when we moved last year. We were in our new place with boxes everywhere and I couldn't find anything I needed (including scissors to cut the tape on the boxes to find the things I needed). Poor planning on my part.

    • SuburbanFinance

      SuburbanFinance 06/04/2013 6:03 p.m. #

      I hate moving, but I always do most of these things when I have to move because it does make it so much easier.

    • femmefrugality

      femmefrugality 06/04/2013 9:18 p.m. #

      One thing I always do is use clothes to pack fragiles when appropriate! Cuts down on waste and how many boxes I have to transport.

    • Jaha Knight

      Jaha Knight 06/05/2013 7:54 a.m. #

      I am packing the rest of my things today in preparation for a move! I should have packed that first night box that you mention here! I have already packed most of everything up though so it's too late. But should I move again (cross my fingers that it's no time soon) I will definitely keep that first night box in mind!

    • Adan

      Adan 06/08/2013 3:53 a.m. #

      Awesome Tips! Remember always pack the unit heaviest to lightest, this helps to protect your belongings from crushing or shifting.

    • Evie tracy

      Evie tracy 06/21/2013 2:10 a.m. #

      My husband and I are about to move into a house together, so the stress is definitely on the rise. These tips sound like they're going to be really helpful- it's always nice to hear from someone who went through it. We're currently looking at moving companies for all the bigger stuff.

    • Andy Nolan

      Andy Nolan 07/01/2013 9:38 a.m. #

      Having a garage sale is the best way to get rid of the items you don't want to take with you and offset your moving costs. Great article!


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