How To Pack For A Move? The Smart Guide to Packing

Packing doesn’t have to be a pain. There are so many ways to pack for a move, from packing room by room to packing based on the category of the item. Someone in a small one bedroom apartment may pack differently than someone packing an entire two-storey home. Deciding on the smartest way to pack can be overwhelming, so here are a bunch of tips to help you pack your place like a pro and make sure your things (and your sanity) get to your new place in the same condition they left in.


Getting Started

To get started, go through your home or apartment room by room and make a checklist of every type of item you need to pack for each room. This will help you stay organized, better track your belongings from one house to the next, and ensure you don’t forget anything important!

To get even more organized we recommend the following smart packing tips:

  1. Gather items you don’t plan to keep. You can then organize this based on items you plan to donate, sell, or throw away (if they can’t be donated).
    1. The Salvation Army and Goodwill have always had incredibly convenient drop off locations for our customers.
  2. Categorize items and pack similar items together — based on a room by room basis or just like items with like. Choose what works best for you!
  3. Clean up and clear out garbage after you’re done organizing.
  4. Label everything! Label on the side of each box rather than on the top so that boxes in stacks can be identified. If a box is packed in a manner that requires it to be always kept in an upright position, draw arrows on each side indicating which end must always be kept up.
  5. Have a box for essential first night and day items. This includes an overnight bag (fresh clothes and toiletries) as well as cleaning supplies, tools, and first day kitchen supplies (paper plates, cutlery, etc).
  6. Get the right packing supplies. This includes the right sized boxes, packing paper or bubble wrap, tape, scissors, etc.
  7. Don’t overpack your boxes! Whether you’re moving yourself or hiring professional movers, it’s important to make sure someone can safely carry the box to avoid dropping fragile items — avoid loading more than 50 pounds into one box.

Start Packing!

We’ve put together a list of common household items that everyone should include in their packing checklist along with tips on the best way to pack them.


How to pack clothes

There are two different types of clothes you’ll need to pack, clothes folded in your wardrobe, and clothing hanging in your closet. The easiest way to pack clothes from your wardrobe is using wardrobe boxes (they’re the best choice if they’re going into long term storage). For hanging clothes, a cheaper option and easier option is to get some contractor trash bags, poke a whole through the top, and place the hangers through the hole. Then you can tie the trash bag around the bottom to keep the group of clothes clean and orderly. Sometimes a zip tie around the hangers works well too.

How to pack jewelry & accessories

Jewelry and accessories are notorious for getting lost, tangled, or both! Here are some helpful tips to pack jewelry to ensure it’s safe and orderly arrival at your new home:

  1. Use pill boxes, tackle boxes, or other small plastic organization boxes found at your local craft store. These small containers help keep small bracelets, charms, and earrings from getting lost or tangled between each other.
  2. Use small foam blocks, buttons, or other puncturable material to keep earrings without backings from getting separated.
  3. Always wrap jewelry and accessories separately with tissue paper or packing paper. This ensures nothing gets tangled or discoloured during the move. For example, fine silvers may become darkened if it sits too close to copper or fake metals.
  4. Use a jewelry roll or professional case for high end jewelry and accessories. Don’t let your expensive watch get damaged because all that’s protecting it is some newspaper in a small box!
  5. Consider using straws to help keep necklaces from getting tangled. Run one side of the chain through the straw and close the clasp.


How to pack pictures

Some say artwork can really make a room your own! Avoid damaging your pictures or paintings with the following tips:

  1. Protect all pictures with some type of protective padding, bubble wrap, or packing paper.
  2. Place expensive paintings in boxes, specifically special picture/tv boxes which can be found at most moving supply stores and some home improvement stores.
  3. If you hire professional movers, make sure they pad all large paintings on the day of the move — pictures can be padded and packed ahead of time.

How to pack books

Heavy readers beware! It can be easy to grab a big box and fit as many books as you can in one box, but this makes it difficult to carry and can cause accidents. We always recommend packing them tightly on end (the way you would place them on a bookshelf). If you have multiple rows of books, make sure the rows have the spines of the book facing each other. This way, books won’t shift back and forth inside a box when you’re trying to carry it, this can lead to lack of balance — we’ve all learned the hard way before Einstein Moving came to be! As well, smaller boxes are easier to carry, ensuring almost anyone will be able to lift it without injury.


How to pack electronics

Electronics can be expensive so it’s important to pack everything carefully to avoid any costly damages. Use the following tips to pack your electronics:

  1. All cables should be removed and taped to the objects they were removed from. This will help to avoid losing important cables that require setting up your high definition television — don’t want to miss a game!
  2. Tighten all transit screws! They should be placed in original boxes when available and packed carefully in strong boxes if not.
  3. Take pictures of your entire set up before you pack so it’s easier to set up after you unpack — label if necessary.
  4. Include extra padding for items like your television. Wrap tv screens with a blanket and secure it with packing tape, this will ease your mind in case a box is bumped or dropped.

How to pack rugs and draperies

Usually the best part of moving into a new home is that feeling of everything being clean and ready to decorate. That being said, our best tip for packing rugs and draperies is to have them cleaned before moving and to leave them in their wrappings for the move.


How to pack toiletries and medicines

Our number one rule for packing toiletries and medicines is to always pack them in a leak proof container or bad (e.g. ziploc bag). We’ve all been there, when your shampoo bottle leaks in your suitcase and your new jacket has become stained for the remainder of your trip. Well the same thing goes for moving, things leak! They always do, so make sure to keep them sealed.

Don’t forget to keep essential toiletries and medicines in an overnight bag so that they’re accessible to you on your first night. There’s nothing worse than having to look for your toothbrush and toothpaste across 5 boxes when it’s late and you just want to go to sleep.

How to pack a washer and dryer

It’s not often we see people moving their washers and dryers but it does happen! If you have a front loading washer try and find the shipping bolts (bolts that go into the back and keep the drum stable while in transit). If you’re hiring professional movers, have them ready to hand off.

We also recommend checking to see if the plug you have currently matches the one at your new place. if not, a new one can be purchased at any home improvement store. Consider replacing old dryer hoses during the move as well (also can be purchased at a home improvement store). There’s no better time for a fresh dryer hose!


How to pack bedding and mattresses

The first thing you should do when packing bedding (sheets, pillows, comforters, etc) is to decide if you can use it as padding, or if it’s too high quality and should be packed separately. The bedding that can be used to protect the other items you’re moving can be set aside and used where needed and your other bedding should be wrapped in plastic bags or packing paper if you don’t have access to plastic bags, this will help protect your good sheets from dirt, dust, and other allergens when moving.

Don’t forget to clean your bedding before you move! For extra precaution when using bedding as padding is to line the boxes with clean packing paper to help protect them from dust or dirt.

When packing your bedding into boxes you’ll want to make sure you press down so you can compress the bedding to make enough room for other sheets, blankets, or comforters to be added to a box. It’s easy to end up with a lot of wasted space when you don’t compress things.

How to pack dishes

We follow eight steps when packing dishes to ensure they won’t break:

  1. Step One: Set up a workstation at a large table, counter top, or kitchen island. Place your paper, bubble wrap, and dishes on the table with plenty of room to move around.
  2. Step Two: Assemble your boxes correctly and stabilize the bottom really well. You don’t want to pick the box up just to have the bottom fall out on you! Some recommend using dish barrels that are just more heavy-duty cardboard boxes. They are a good option but more expensive and not really necessary if you use all the tips here.
  3. Step Three: Put down a layer of bubble wrap or crumpled paper at the bottom of each box.
  4. Step Four: Always start with your heavier items and make sure to wrap each one individually. Try and crumple the paper around the dish or glass rather than simply wrapping it.
  5. Step Five: Make sure to place dishes side by side vertically in the box (on their own edge). Stacking on top of each other is a common mistake and will put too much pressure on the dishes increasing the chances they will break. The same is true for stemware. Stack them on the bottom or top rather than laying them horizontal.
  6. Step Six: If you’re moving in Austin, or any other city in Texas with a lot of hills, make sure to fill each box to the top! If you have to, fill extra space with more paper or bubble wrap. Do not leave room for the dishes to move around.
  7. Step Seven: Place a divider of soft material between separate levels of stacked items when and if you can.
  8. Step Eight: For especially delicate china or other items, it is a good idea to wrap them in bubble wrap first then an additional layer of wrapping paper.

Take note – using newspaper is usually fine except for glass items or porcelain dishes. The newspaper print can come off on the dishes and sometimes cause a permanent stain!

Bonus tip – when finished, lightly (very lightly) shake the finished box. If you can hear any clinking noises you did not provide enough padding!


Additional Packing Tips

  1. Use strong boxes and containers that can be secured tightly. Sometimes it’s a good idea to purchase special boxes for dishes, wardrobe and other special items.
  2. Heavy items such as books, record albums, canned food, etc. should be put in smaller boxes. Some items such as large pictures, mirrors, glass tops and shelves, clocks and mattresses may require special boxes.
  3. Taping the bottom of boxes before filling them prevents the contents from spilling out the bottom during the move.
  4. In each box the heavier items should be placed at the bottom and the lighter items on top to prevent damage.
  5. To correctly fill boxes, fill all boxes to the top without overfilling. Boxes with items sticking over the top cannot be properly closed or stacked; cartons that are under filled tend to crush when stacked. Always make sure each box is filled totally to the top before closing. A small space at the top can be filled with paper, a towel, a blanket or other similar items.
  6. Seal boxes with tape. Boxes should be closed-top and sealed with tape to prevent damage and make stacking easier.
  7. Pre-stack your boxes. Time will be saved on your move if you arrange boxes in stacks of similar sized boxes four to five feet high (dolly height). This enables the boxes to be easily dollied from the house to the truck.

Some friendly reminders…

Don’t forget to measure and dissemble large furniture before moving day (unless you hire professional movers to do this for you)! This helps placement and moving in and out of your new place.

Dispose of recycled corrosive, toxic, or flammable items before moving. This also includes draining any items that have fuel like bbqs.

Pets! Don’t forget about your furry little (or big) family member. Include pet food, toys, bedding, and other necessary pet items in your overnight stuff.

Particle board furniture (a type of furniture that consists of particleboard panels that are made from wood by-products, primarily sawdust, mixed with plastic resin glues and pressed into large sheets). This type of furniture does not stand up particularly well to the rigors of moving. While we do our best to move particle board furniture without damage, the inherent weakness of its design causes problems. Therefore, we, along with most movers cannot be responsible for damages to particle board furniture in excess of the TXDOT guidelines. Please see TXDOT’s “Your Rights and Responsibilities When Moving In Texas”.

All items packed by the owner are moved at the owners risk. We cannot be responsible for damages to items packed in boxes by the owner in excess of the TXDOT guidelines — Please see TXDOT’s “Your Rights and Responsibilities When Moving In Texas”.

Looking to hire professional movers or packers?

Contact us if your move is more than you care to handle, we’re here to help!

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