Packing Tips for Moving

Woman standing in room full of moving boxes.

If you’re looking for tips for packing and moving, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll walk through some packing hacks for moving that can take a challenging task and streamline it, so that you’ll be settled in your new home in no time. If you need a clear, step-by-step moving checklist, you can find ours here.

How long before a move should I start packing?

It obviously depends on how much stuff you have, but, in general, a good rule of thumb is that you should start packing at least three weeks before your actual move date. This gives you time to pack in stages, making sure you’re doing it in the most efficient and convenient way possible.

What is the most efficient way to pack for a move?

There’s no one perfect way to pack for a move, but here are a few strategies to keep in mind to make it go smoothly:

  1. Pack your least-used items before anything else. Things that you don’t interact with on a daily basis should be some of the first things you pack because it won’t matter if you’re a little bit less organized about it. Make sure these boxes go in your moving truck last so that they’ll be placed first in your new house — that means they’ll be at the bottom of a stack of boxes, with more useful and important items on top.
  2. Keep your clothes in the dresser and wardrobe. Don’t worry about removing all your clothes from your dressers and wardrobes. They’ll stay safely in place — and, more importantly, clean — if you keep them where they are. This tip cuts down on both packing and unpacking time.
  3. Establish a label system that works for you. A color-coded system works well. Choose a color for each room of your new house, and use it to label the boxes that should end up in those rooms. Make sure you label each box on the top and on at least two sides to make sure the labels are visible.
  4. Prep your donate and throw-away boxes. Get a head start on decluttering by making sure you’ve set up boxes for donations and throw-away items. Ideally, you’ll declutter before you start packing, but it’s good practice to continue getting rid of things as you finish up the job.

In what order should you pack to move?

Pack the least-used spaces and most-difficult-to pack spaces, first. That means you should start with spaces like the garage and save rooms like bedrooms and bathrooms for last.

That same principle — least-used, and most-difficult-to-pack — also applies to which items you should pack. Make sure nonessential items are packed first. A nonessential item is anything you can live without for the amount of time you expect it will take you to fully unpack.

We recommend that you start by packing up pieces of art and other decorative items and then moving on to clothes and shoes and extra bedding. From there, it’s safe to tackle books and other media, kitchen appliances, and, finally, board games and other toys.

What should I pack first in the bedroom when moving?

The general rule still applies to bedrooms. You’ll want to pack up your least-used items first — that means accessories and articles of clothing that you don’t wear too frequently. In terms of larger items, it’s a good idea to start by packing up or moving your larger pieces of furniture. This might include your bed frame and mattress or a wardrobe or dresser. Clothes you wear often can stay in the dresser to cut down on packing time.

What should you not pack when moving?

As mentioned, decluttering is an important first step in moving. Throwing out things you don’t really need will help cut down on packing time and moving costs. Here’s a list of common things you should avoid packing if you can:

  1. Clothes. Donate or sell any clothes you don’t wear frequently enough or items that are old or worn-out.
  2. Books and movies. Books and movies can take up a lot of space fast, so weeding through them early on is a great idea. Go ahead and sell or donate any unused electronics, like old laptops, while you’re at it.
  3. Bathroom items. Most items in your bathroom — like shampoos, conditioners, generic medicines, and brushes — can probably be thrown out and replaced when you get to your new home.
  4. Furniture. Any old pieces of furniture — including old mattresses and bedding — that aren’t actually being used are an easy thing to get rid of. Plus, if you host a yard sale, you can probably make a few dollars selling them, which can help with the overall costs of moving.
  5. Documents. Obviously, you’ll want to hold on to your major documents that are difficult to replace, including birth certificates and marriage certificates, but most other paperwork is fair game. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and give up sorting through your documents, but it’ll be worth it if you’re able to leave behind a pile of old paperwork.

How long does it take to pack up a 3-bedroom house?

If your schedule is busy, it’s a good idea to give yourself a week to pack up a three-bedroom house. If you’ve got the time to commit several hours a day to packing, however, it will usually take three to five days, on average, to pack up a 3-bedroom house.

How do you pack a house to move fast?

If you’re packing a house for a last-minute move, the rules are a little bit different. Stick to these tips, and things will go quicker:

  1. Declutter. As with any move, you’ll want to get rid of as many things as possible so the quantity and weight of your times won’t drag you down. If you’re packing for a last-minute move, lean into this step and really make an effort to cut down on what you’ll need to pack.
  2. Focus on the essentials. Fill a small suitcase with absolute essentials — items like your toiletries and essential clothes — that you’ll need once you’re at your new home. If you plan and execute this step well, it will allow you to skip the time-consuming sorting stage and move straight to packing things up.
  3. Hire movers. There are plenty of neat tricks to make packing easier, from keeping your clothes in the dresser to taking advantage of bedding as padding, but the simplest thing you can do to get your packing done fast is to hire a team of professional movers to do it for you.

How do you pack a messy house?

There are two things you need to do to pack a messy house: organize and declutter. First, you’ll organize your house as best as you can, setting it up so it looks as close to your ideal as possible. Once you’ve organized your house, it’ll be easier to declutter it. Make three piles — a keep pile, a throw-away pile, and a donate pile — and start separating your items, clothing, and furniture into these groups. It might take some time, but once you’re finished you’ll have a better handle on packing.

Having a plan makes it easier

By following these tips, moving day will be less of a hassle, and you’ll avoid the dreaded last-minute scramble to get everything packed up and moved out.