Top 10 Moving and Packing Tips
Post updated August 19, 2022
Moving is a big job that can take weeks, or even months, to prepare for. We’ve helped thousands of people move over the years, and what we’ve found is that the more organized you are for your move, the better it will go!
Check out the list of our top 10 moving and packing tips below to help make your move go smoothly, and be sure to download and print our Ultimate Moving Check List as a guide to planning your move.
Here are our Top 10 Moving and Packing Tips:
- Make a List
- Have Plenty of Supplies
- De-Clutter & Stage Your Home
- Colour Coordinate Packing Boxes
- Keep Things Together
- Pack Ahead
- Use Your Luggage
- Consolidate Cleaning Supplies
- Keep Important Papers With You
- Personalize Packing Boxes
1. Make a List
Write everything down! You’ll thank yourself later. Before you pack even one box, create a simple record-keeping system.
Create a list of numbers with a space to write the contents, or have a spiral-bound notebook or tablet for the job. Place a number on EVERY box you pack and list the contents on your list. Don’t put the list down unless it’s in a place you’ll call “Packing Central”. This is where you’ll find your labels, marking pens, box tape, and other supplies.
When describing the box contents, be specific: “A-D files” is better than “files”, and use “tulip dishes” rather than “misc. kitchen”. There are some great moving apps available now that can help with organizing your move – check out this post: Top 8 Moving Apps for Before, During and After Your Move.
2. Have Plenty of Supplies
You’ll need A LOT of boxes, probably more than you think, and having enough boxes will make your life easier! Have about 10 boxes set aside to use for last minute items on moving day, such as bedding, clothing, and cleaning supplies.
Need help finding packing boxes? Check out this post: Where To Buy Moving Boxes (And Get Them For Free)
You’ll also need strong plastic packing tape to close up the boxes securely. Use unprinted newsprint (newspaper can stain your items), packing paper, or bubble wrap to protect and cushion household goods. Again, you’ll probably need more supplies than you think, so get extra to ensure packing goes smoothly.
3. De-Clutter & Stage Your Home
Renting a BigSteelBox for storage while your home is for sale is a great idea. Realtors and Stagers often encourage their clients to de-clutter and stage their homes when they are for sale to make it easier for buyers to envision themselves living in the home. In most cases, properties sell faster when they have been staged, and a well-staged home can even increase its value! Learn more about decluttering and staging while your home is for sale.
4. Colour Coordinate Packing Boxes
In your new home, put a matching sticker on the door to each room. It’s also helpful to post a big sign on the wall in the room where you want boxes stacked, (“Boxes here please”) to keep them out of furniture and traffic areas.
5. Keep Things Together
Insist on keeping things together when you or the movers are packing boxes. Keep bookends with books, light bulbs with lamps, and extension cords with appliances. Small, loose parts can be attached to the item they belong to with tape or placed in small envelopes – to keep picture hooks with pictures, shelf brackets with a bookcase, a special wrench and bolts with the wall unit.
Keep larger corresponding items (such as a cable TV cord) in re-sealable bags, and tape these to the underside or back of the item. As a backup, have a “Parts Box” open on the kitchen counter and fill it with cables, cords, parts, pieces, brackets, or nails that are removed from any items of furniture. Keep this box with you, or mark it well with a rainbow of coloured stickers so it can be easily located on move-in day.
6. Pack Ahead
If it’s summer, get your winter clothes boxed up and out of the way. Box up your shampoo and extra toothpaste and live out of a travel cosmetic case for the last week or two. Pare down cooking utensils and food supplies to bare essentials. Wastebaskets can also be packed (put things in them!) while you switch to using plastic grocery bags (hang them on a cabinet door or door handle to collect trash).
7. Use Your Luggage
Fill luggage and duffle bags with clothing, sheets, towels, and paper goods. Even for local moves you’ll be able to quickly spot your navy suitcase holding your favourite sweaters, whereas “Box #19” might remain elusive for days.
8. Consolidate Cleaning Supplies
If you must clean your old place after moving out, put together a kit of basic cleaning supplies and rags. Clean anything possible ahead of time (the inside of kitchen cupboards, the oven, windows, etc.), and if possible, vacuum each room as you empty it.
9. Keep Important Papers With You
Your list of “important” papers might include birth certificates, school records, mover estimates, new job contacts, utility company numbers, recent bank records, current bills, phone lists, closing papers, realtor info, maps, and more. Keep them with you!
10. Personalize & Label Packing Boxes
Use brightly coloured storage tote boxes, one for each person. Let each family member fill theirs with items they’ll want access to right away in the new home – a set of sheets, a towel, a couple of extension cords, a phone, nightlights, address book, pens and paper, keys, and travel cosmetic case, and so on.
Tips for Packing a BigSteelBox
When you’re packing a moving container, it’s important to keep the container balanced for weight, and the load should be uniform in height. This will help to avoid any shifting that may occur during transport.
Because you have more time to pack a BigSteelBox, you can load all the items you don’t need on a daily basis beforehand. This works out well when you’re unpacking, because the items you’ll need right away will have been the last things you packed in the container, so they’ll be the first things to come out!