Moving Soon? Here’s How to Pack for a Move like a Pro

Let us show you how to pack for a move like a pro. Image: Erda Estremera

For many of us, it feels like a herculean task to pack for a move — and for good reason. There are many different details to consider, not to mention the effort involved in lugging heavy boxes around. However, with a little forethought and planning, this process doesn’t have to feel overwhelming.

If you need a little guidance on how to pack for a move, you’re in the right place. Here are five tips to help you tackle this project like a pro.

Put together a schedule that works for you and stick to it. Image: Estée Janssens

Schedule your time appropriately

Let’s be honest: The biggest hurdle most of us face when beginning to pack for a move is leaving it all to the last minute. Packing up belongings is a big task, and it’s easy to procrastinate. And we usually regret the decision.

Luckily, it doesn’t have to be this way. The first step to packing like a pro is making sure you schedule your time appropriately — and well in advance of moving day — so that you don’t feel overwhelmed having to take care of everything at once. By breaking the process down into simple steps and scheduling a time to complete each one, you can tackle this process with ease.

The first thing to break out is your calendar. Take a realistic assessment of the amount of available free time you have before your moving day, then designate times for decluttering, packing up each room of your home (try to limit yourself to one or two rooms at a time), cleaning and a final pack-up for any last-minute items.

Get rid of excess clutter before you pack. Image: Brooke Lark

Declutter first

After you have your schedule set, the next step is decluttering your current space. Save yourself some extra packing down the road: Lighten the workload by taking the time to get rid of these items before you begin putting things in boxes.

When decluttering your home, we recommend the “three pile method.” Sort items that you intend to keep into one pile, items that are suitable for donation into another pile and items that need to be thrown away into a third pile. That way, you’ll have a clear plan of action for every item.

If you can, schedule your donation pick-up for the same day you intend to declutter. This holds you accountable for finishing the task. Try to take care of your trash on the same day, as well. You’ll feel more accomplished knowing that a huge chunk of your work is finished, and you’ll truly be able to move forward to the next step.

Label your boxes to keep them organized. Image: Jon Tyson

Create a label system

Staying organized is critical when beginning to pack for a move. Before you start the process, make sure you have a system in place that allows you to sort out what’s what when you arrive at your new home. The easiest way to do that is by creating a label system that helps you know, with just a glance, what’s in each box.

When labeling, be as specific as possible. Instead of just labeling a box “kitchen,” you may want to write “kitchen: pots and pans.” Write your label on multiple sides of the box, so that no matter how it’s positioned, you’ll know which items are inside.

Some people like to take labeling a step further by writing a list of each individual item contained within a box. You can do this on paper and stick it in the top of the box or keep a digital master list. Whichever method you choose, it saves you the hassle of rooting through boxes to find the particular item you’re looking for.

Pack up one room at a time. Image: Breather

Go room-by-room

Once you’re ready to start packing, we recommend undertaking the task room by room. Doing so not only helps you break up the process into more manageable steps, it also helps you keep your boxes organized. Start your packing in less-used spaces, such as the dining room and formal living area. Then work your way up to your kitchen and bedroom as it gets closer to the big day.

Everyone has their own methods of packing. However, here are a few general reminders to help you stay organized:

  • Try to pack similar items together, rather than having each box become a catch-all
  • Use soft items as padding in between more breakable pieces
  • Pack heavier items in smaller boxes to keep boxes from becoming unmanageable
  • Secure each box tightly with packing tape
Fill an overnight bag full of irreplaceable items. Image: Erol Ahmed

Pack an overnight bag with important items

No one wants to think about it, but sometimes, despite our best efforts, a move can go awry and items can get lost in the shuffle. In order to make sure nothing irreplaceable gets lost, we recommend packing a separate overnight bag with important items and keeping it with you, rather than placing it on a moving truck.

The items you choose to include will be unique to you, but here are a few suggestions:

  • Clothes for a few days, plus toiletries
  • Laptops and other work-related items
  • Family photos
  • Important documents (passports, birth certificates, deeds, etc.)
  • Expensive jewelry

Have you moved recently? If so, do you have any packing tips to share? Put them in the comments below!