Packing Tips

As your moving date nears, you will find yourself overwhelmed with things to do to ensure a successful move. One of those tasks is packing. If you plan to move everything in your present house to your new house (rather than give things away, sell them or leave them behind), start packing early. You have a lot of work ahead of you. The tips below offer general guidelines for packing your belongings and specific ideas for packing tricky items like china and your home computer. Using these packing suggestions will help ensure a safe move for your family and all your belongings.

Before you Begin
Take pictures of the home you live in now, especially the things you like. If you like the way your kitchen cabinets are organized, open the doors and take pictures. If you like the way your family photos are arranged on the end table, take a picture. Maybe you like the way you have your shoes organized. Snap a photo. Take pictures of each room capturing the overall look and the large furniture pieces inside. These photos will help you organize your new digs. You’ll be able to arrange things in your new home the way you liked them in your old home (or arrange them in a totally different manner if you didn’t like the way things were before.) You will have something to look back at when you think a furniture item is missing or something isn’t quite right in one of the kids’ rooms. Keep your photos handy on your moving day. They will offer a visual reference for the movers as to what furniture pieces belong in each room should there be any doubt. It might sound silly at first, but the photos will help with the unpacking and organizing process in your new home.

General Packing Tips

  • Begin by developing a packing plan. Start weeks or even a couple months before your scheduled moving date.
  • Hire a moving company and follow their packing guidelines.
  • Collect packing items such as boxes, box cutters, packing tape, tape dispensers, rope, markers, scissors, bubble wrap or cushioning material, old blankets, and clean newsprint paper. (Most moving companies have many of these items available for clients.)
  • Make an inventory list of all the boxes you pack, the room it should be delivered to and the contents inside. This will be necessary if a box goes missing and you need to make a claim with the moving company or replace essential items right away.
  • Begin with items you do not use often like seasonal items and holiday decorations.
  • Pack only boxes you can carry and never exceed the maximum weight set forth by the moving company.
  • Clearly label each box with the room in which it belongs and its contents. If the box contains items you will need right away, mark it accordingly with “Essential Items” or “Open First.”
  • Do not pack flammable or non-allowable items. (The moving company will provide a non-allowables list, which usually includes items such as fertilizer, fireworks, gasoline, charcoal lighter, nail polish and pesticides.)
  • Pack all cartons tightly using generous amounts of paper inside providing a good cushion on the top and bottom of the carton.
  • Make sure all boxes close properly and are tightly sealed so the tops are flat. (If you over-pack a box, you risk damaging the contents inside.)
  • Pack heavier items on the bottom.
  • Pack breakable and non-breakable items separately.
  • Place loose bolts, screws and other hardware in resealable bags and tape them to the bottom side of furniture pieces so you will know where they are when it comes time to reassemble the furniture.
  • Tape down anything that moves or may move during transit.
    Pack items that belong in the same room together when possible.
  • Fill in gaps with small linens such as hand towels.
  • Use socks, scarves and washcloths in small cracks and crevices or use them to cushion breakables.
  • Fill the washer and dryer with soft, yet bulky items, like throw pillows or comforters.
  • Get the kids involved. Have them tape down lids on board games and jigsaw puzzles. Let them use their stuffed animals for cushioning in boxes that are packed with their belongings.

Item Specific Tips
The following tips are item specific and will help you determine the best way to safely pack and move these fragile and special items to your new home.


  • Leave folded clothing in dresser drawers.
  • Clothing pieces hanging in closets should be left on the hangers and hung in clothing storage boxes provided by the moving company.

Electronics and Computers

  • If possible, pack in original boxes or wrap with bubble wrap, foam sheeting or another cushioned packing material and place in a sturdy box. Be sure to fill all empty space with packing material and tightly seal the carton securing what is inside.
  • Use plenty of cushioning on smaller parts such as the computer mouse or speakers.
  • Mark the box as “Fragile” and indicate which side is up.
  • Check with your moving company to find out about any other safety precautions when packing a computer.


  • Wrap each piece of china with clean newsprint.
  • Bundle wrapped plates, bowls, etc. in groups of two or three by wrapping the group of dishes in another protective layer of newsprint.
  • Cushion the bottom of the box with packing material.
  • Place bundled dishes in the box with a layer of cushioning between each bundle.
  • Place large dishes on bottom with a second layer of smaller dish bundles or shallow bowls on top.
  • Fill any empty spaces with packing material.
  • Place a layer of cushioning on the top of the box before securely sealing it.


  • Pack in original boxes if possible.
  • Place original boxes in a larger carton.
  • If individual shoeboxes are not available, wrap shoes in pairs and place in a larger box.

Picture Frames

  • Individually wrap small picture frames with bubble wrap or foam sheeting.
  • Pack in small boxes standing each frame on end. Don’t lay frames flat in a box.

Glass, Mirrors and Large Picture Frames

  • Wrap with a generous layer of cushioning such as bubble wrap, foam sheeting or a blanket.
  • Slide into a large, flat packing box (available from most moving companies) and tightly seal the box.
  • Stand on end. Do not lay flat.

Lampshades and Bases

  • Wrap each lampshade with a protective layer of clean newsprint.
  • Nest smaller lampshades within larger ones being sure to separate them by a layer of paper, and place them in a box large enough to accommodate the largest lampshade.
  • Fill open spaces with soft clean linens or packing material.
  • Wrap lamp bases with foam sheets, bubble wrap or clean newsprint preventing scratching and other damage.

Pack for Unpacking and your First Night
The most important part of the moving experience is the person or group of people that is/are actually moving. In this case it is you and your family, and it is necessary to pack accordingly. This list of tips will help you pack and be prepared for your first day and night in your new home.

  • Create a moving and unpacking kit using a plastic storage container. Include all the tools you may need right way such as a hammer, drill, screwdriver, nails, tape measure, scissors and flashlights.
  • Keep the inventory list of boxes and their contents (that you made when packing) handy.
  • Pack an overnight back for each member of the family. Be sure to include an extra pair of comfortable shoes and a change of clothes.
  • Include any toiletries you may need, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, toilet paper, basic first aid items, etc.
  • Pack prescription medications.
  • Pack a cooler of drinks and simple food supplies or plan on fast food.
  • Pack food and other supplies for pets that won’t be at a kennel or other safe place.
  • Have credit cards and cash handy, but in a safe place.

Preparing to move can be just as daunting as the building process. These helpful packing tips will help ease the stress of preparing to move from your old home into your new dream home, so you can begin enjoying it as soon as possible.

For more information, read Planning Your Move.

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