Packing for a Move

Nothing spells stress like the thoughts that swirl around your mind when you’re faced with loading up all your earthly belongings and transporting them to a new residence. Will you remember everything? What if a precious antique breaks because you didn’t protect it enough? How long will it take you to find that coffeemaker at the new place so you can start your mornings right? So many worries.

The secret to lowering your anxiety level is planning. When you have a process in place, you can focus on that instead of what could possibly go wrong. You can use the following tips to make your own checklist or print out this article and put it where you’ll see it every day while you’re getting ready for your move.

Purge and Remove

To lessen the hassles, start removing unwanted and unneeded items from your home as soon as you know you’re going to relocate. By beginning early you also give yourself time to sell the more valuable household goods you don’t want to take with you, giving your income a little boost. Gather three types of containers for the following categories: sell, donate and discard. Be brutal with your screening so what remains to move are only the items you love.

Check to see if all your furniture fits into your new space. There’s the old-school way of measuring the rooms and the individual pieces, or there’s an app for that. MagicPlan (iOS) and Floor Plan Creator (Android) both conjure up a virtual floorplan so you can locate your furniture to see if it works in the space.

Good sites for selling unwanted items include,,,, and for used electronics. If you don’t know where to take your donated items or you’d like them picked up, has a fairly comprehensive list of charitable organizations and consignment stores.

Don’t attempt to move any flammable, corrosive or explosive materials. Call your local recycling service or local Environmental Protection Agency and ask how to properly dispose of these dangerous goods. Now that you’ve pared down your belongings, it’s time to start packing.

Gather Your Supplies

If you have everything you need to pack correctly all in one place, the chore will go faster. Should you need to run to the store to pick up tape or markers in the middle of loading boxes, chances are you’ll get sidetracked, and the task will take much longer than it should. Professional movers have most of the items you’ll need.

The basic necessities include:

  • New cardboard boxes in a variety of sizes (To estimate the number of each-size box needed you can visit
  • Cardboard separators for glasses (called cell dividers) and dishware
  • Bubble wrap
  • Tissue paper
  • White packing paper or plain newsprint
  • Box cutter, in case you have to retrieve an item you packed
  • Packaging tape
  • Colored markers
  • Scissors

Try to corral your supplies into a tote or bucket and return everything to that container when you’ve finished your packing for the day.

Work Room-By-Room

What belongs in the bedroom should stay in the bedroom. That holds true for every room in the house. You don’t want to mix household goods from different rooms in the same box. Try to be methodical and organized so as to create as little chaos as possible in your new home.

Here are some tips on how to pack items you typically find in each room.

As long as they aren’t too heavy, dressers and bureaus in the bedroom don’t need to be packed. Moving them as is saves time and effort. In fact, if you have any empty drawers, put your sheets and pillowcases in them. Hanging clothes go into wardrobe containers, large upright boxes with hanger bars that accommodate hanging clothes, and remain suspended during the move.

Pack books and other reading material in small boxes so no box weighs more than 30 pounds. Fill any unused space with crumpled newsprint.

Don’t move empty suitcases. Place clothing and shoes you’ll need for the next two weeks inside them.

In the bathroom, keep separate any items used on a daily basis and box them last. Place other toiletries in small cartons, with any subject to leaking sealed in a zip-type plastic bag. Bath towels and washcloths go in large trash bags. Sort hair products and cosmetics into toiletry bags and then into a box.

If you haven’t purged and tossed unneeded goods, the kitchen will be the most difficult to pack. Create an essentials box with what you’ll need so you can eat and drink for the first two days in your new place. Include that coffee maker, coffee, cups, plates, cutlery, glasses, a can opener and whatever else you absolutely can’t do without. Now’s the time to use the cardboard dividers for the breakables.

With glassware, stuff the interior with several sheets of crumpled tissue paper until there’s no space left. Then turn the glass on its side and role in several more sheets of tissue paper. Wrap in a piece of plain newsprint and press the edges until the paper molds to the shape of the glass. Cell dividers placed in packing boxes come in handy for stemware and other glasses.

Nest your pots and pans three at a time if possible, then wrap the trio in newsprint. Cover glass lids in bubble wrap. Other types of lids only need a covering of newsprint. Package small appliances, with the appropriate cords, in a layer of paper and tape it closed.

Use blankets and beach towels as padding around artwork, lamps and other accessories from the living room.

Label Everything

You can purchase premade labels color-coded for each room in the house from The set even comes with tape that specifies “Open First.” Or you can use plain old colored markers. But you’ll also need to know what’s inside those boxes.

Techies can do that with smartphone apps. Moving Day for the iPhone lets you create barcodes on your phone, print them and then tape to the appropriate box. When unpacking all you have to do is scan the barcode with your phone to find out what’s inside. An identical app for the Android phone is BoxMeUp.

Beyond standard labeling, you should include your name, contact information, and the address for your new home. Occasionally your mover might have a mix up and deliver 1 or more of your boxes to the wrong location. If this were to happen, you’d want the recipient of your belongings to have a way to contact you. This type of mix up is rare with most reputable movers and usually only occurs during a long distance move, but it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your personal belongings

Keep a To-Go Box

Transport personal items yourself. Important documents like wills, passports, insurance documents, Social Security cards, etc. need to go with you in your vehicle. You should include that box of essentials from the bathroom and any medications family members take. Remember Fido and Puff, too. They’ll need food, water, a leash and any medicines they take.

Last, but not least, try to retain your sense of humor.

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