When you’re getting ready to move out, then you must surely realize that the most important task in your moving checklist will be the job of packing up your things for the forthcoming home move. Packing for a move is considered to be the most time-consuming – something that you must not forget throughout the pre-move preparation period.

Add the fact that the packing project is viewed by many as the most boring and monotonous task one will face when moving to a new home, and you will start to grasp the mammoth packing challenge ahead of you.

You shouldn’t worry too much though, for packing assistance is on its way. Take full advantage of this packing checklist, offering a room by room packing guide so that you will know exactly what items to pack in each room and how to pack those items. To make your life even easier, we begin our packing checklist with brief descriptions of the top 5 fundamental rules when packing for a move.

Yes, packing for a move just got easier, faster, and safer.

The fundamental rules of packing

You can find scores of packing tips online that may or may not prove to be useful for you, but you’re going to need more than just ordinary pieces of packing advice to finish the packing project with flying colors. First, you’re going to need to be familiar with the essential rules of packing so that you can then make the most of the room by room packing schedule.

Also known as the golden rules of packing for a move, make sure you:

#1. Start early (ASAP)

Remember that you only have a limited number of days to get ready to move out – 30 days if you’re really lucky. And during that preparation period, you will spend most of the days sorting out and packing up your things.

When to start packing for a move? This one is easy: start immediately. The very first packing rule is that you should initiate the packing process as early as humanly possible.

Do not leave packing for later – underestimating the time you need to pack up your stuff is one of the biggest packing mistakes you can make.

#2. Prepare packing supplies

Packing for a move is a step-by-step process that follows a solid logical progression: what the point of learning what items to pack first when moving if you still haven’t secured the necessary type and amount of packing supplies?

First of all, find strong cardboard boxes of various sizes. If you can afford to purchase those boxes brand new, then do it. But if you’re moving on a budget, then your best bet is to try to get them for free from friends or local businesses.

Then, make sure you have enough packing paper, bubble wrap, packing tape, and color markers to label your boxes properly.

#3. Pack only what you will need

Without a doubt, the biggest packing mistake you can make when packing up your house is to decide to pack absolutely everything you own and then move all of your belongings to the new home. There’s really no need to do that as many items will have become useless with time (out of fashion, obsolete, too worn out, or even broken) while others may have never been used until that point.

Save a staggering amount of time by packing only the things you will need and use in the foreseeable future. Also, lower your transportation costs by having fewer items to pack and transport. Speaking of win-win scenarios when moving home, this is the one!

Must-read: 12 ways to cut moving costs 

#4. Start from the toughest rooms to pack

Which rooms to pack first when moving house? This packing rule will give you the reasoning behind the recommended packing order – that is, why the bathroom should not be the very first room you pack.

Storage areas (garage, basement, attic, tool shed, spare rooms, closet) should be the places where to start packing for a move simply because they are the hardest room to sort and pack. Yes, you should tackle the toughest rooms to pack first before both your physical strength, energy and mental stamina get drained away with the approach of Moving day.

#5. Request packing assistance

The best way to pack for a move is to have someone help you out with that arduous task. Strictly speaking, packing an entire home was never meant to be a one-man job, and how could it be otherwise?

Just think of all the stuff you have accumulated through the years and you’ll know just what you have to do – reach out to your friends early and ask them for packing assistance. Your family members should also prove to be a great help as long as you manage to distribute the packing tasks in a way that will make sense.

In case you do happen to own special items that require professional packing, then the smart way is to contact experienced movers and request price quotes that include the extra service of packing.

Request a free moving and packing quote

Room by Room Packing Checklist

Hopefully, the 5 packing rules above will guide you through the packing project that is starting as soon as you finish consulting this very packing checklist. There isn’t any time to lose, and the better you understand that, the better off you will be a few days prior to Moving day when the only things left to pack are the essentials boxes.

Let the packing begin, right?

How to pack a moving box

A bit surprisingly, our room by room packing checklist starts with crucial information about how to pack a moving box. Now, before you argue that a cardboard box is not really a room, let’s just explain that as you enter each room in your home with the purpose of packing their respective content, you should already have a large number of packing boxes ready to be used.

Besides, knowing how to pack a moving box is mostly about maintaining a satisfactory level of packing safety. SAFETY – the crucial ingredient that you cannot and should not neglect, not even for a second.

  • Extra safety. Use quality packing tape to reinforce the bottom and sides of each cardboard box, even if that box is brand new.
  • Initial padding. Place a few sheet of clean packing paper on the inside bottom of each box to serve as a shock absorber. When packing fragile and breakable items, use bubble wrap instead of paper.
  • Weight distribution. ALWAYS use small to medium sized cardboard boxes for packing and transporting heavy items, and large containers for packing lightweight goods.
  • Final padding. Each box should be very well padded inside – soft fillers such as bubble wrap, paper and pieces of clothing work best – so that its content does not shift during transport.
  • Labeling. Don’t forget to label each and every moving box once you’ve filled and sealed it.

How to pack the garage & storage areas

Keep in mind that your storage areas are where you should begin packing for a move.

  • Priority packing. Do not leave your garage or tool shed, attic, and basement for last because they contain too many useful, useless or forgotten items to sort and pack.
  • Initial sorting. Make sure you sort out the things found in your storage areas. Get rid of anything that you won’t ever use again to save packing time and transportation costs.
  • Non-allowables. Storage areas often contain items that are forbidden for transport due to their hazardous nature. Anything that is corrosive, flammable or explosive should be properly disposed of prior to moving day.
  • Power tools. Detach any removable parts from power tools and pack them in their original boxes, or boxes with similar dimensions. Use sheets of bubble wrap or bath towels to protect and pad any power tools you own.
  • Hand tools. Pack hand tools into their respective tool boxes, or group them together and place them into sturdy medium-sized cardboard boxes.
  • Yard tools. Bundle all garden tools with long handles, tie them up with rope and wrap them in blankets. Attach bubble wrap around sharp-edged tools for extra protection.

How to pack the kitchen

Keep in mind that kitchens are rather difficult to pack up because of the extraordinary number of kitchen items found in them – appliances, utensils, plates, glasses, cups, bowls, pans and so on. The real packing challenge comes when you need to pack all the fragile and breakable things in your kitchen.

  • Kitchen plates. How to pack plates for a move? Use at least two sheets of packing paper or one sheet of bubble wrap to wrap each individual plate. You can also stack kitchen dishes separated by Styrofoam plates and then wrap them up in paper and bubble wrap.
  • Glasses. How to pack glasses for moving? Use soft packing paper to protect each breakable glass. Pay special attention when packing stemware as the stems are extremely fragile – use pieces of bubble wrap for extra protection. Arrange carefully your kitchen glasses in the box and make sure nothing is shifting inside.
  • Open blades. Many kitchen utensils (mostly knives) have open blades or sharp ends that may easily damage the box or other items if not properly protected. Cover any such dangerous parts with pieces of thick bubble wrap.
  • Small kitchen appliances. Your toaster, mixer, blender, and coffee maker will be best protected in their original packages. If you don’t keep those boxes, get similar ones and use extra padding.

Read also: 10 tips for moving to a new state

How to pack the bedroom

You will face a different set of packing challenges the moment you move the packing action to your bedroom.

  • Clothes. How to pack clothes for moving? The good news is that they are not breakable. Still, be sure to sort out and group your clothes, and get rid of the ones you won’t ever wear again. Use special wardrobe boxes to hang your more expensive and designer clothes. Yes, suitcases are meant to keep clothes inside but you’d be better off keeping those for your books (see below).
  • Bedroom furniture. How to pack furniture when moving? Here comes the tricky part – packing furniture pieces with blankets is fairly straightforward, but it’s the disassemble part that will give you trouble. First, decide whether it’s worth it to transport your bed, wardrobe, dresser, or nightstand. If yes, see if you can disassemble the large furniture yourself or you’ll have to ask experts to do it for you. Keep any small parts in Ziploc bags. Remember that furniture disassembly can be risky, so get in touch with furniture movers if you’re not sure what to do.
  • Books. How to pack books for moving? It’s a fact – books become very heavy when packed together. Use strong cardboard boxes and keep each container under 40 lbs. Suitcases are ideal for packing books, especially the ones with wheels on the bottom. NEVER arrange books with their spines facing the ceiling to prevent damage to their bindings.

How to pack the living room

Your packing checklist for moving takes to the living room with yet another set of packing tasks to tackle.

  • Electronics. How to pack electronics? The secret to packing electronics for moving is to use the original packaging that your electronic devices came in. If not, then you should use sturdy cardboard boxes slightly larger than the pieces of electronic equipment you’re trying to protect – TV, computer, printer, scanner, stereo system, game console, and so on. Take a photo of the way the cables are wired up before disconnecting them, or label each cable individually for easier re-connection after the move. Use plenty of bubble wrap and blankets to wrap your electronic devices and make sure you fill in any spaces inside the boxes with padding and filling materials.
  • Paintings and pictures. How to pack pictures when moving? Use soft packing paper and wrap each individual piece of framed art like you would wrap up a present. Use your packing tape to make a big X along the glass area of the pictures and paintings that have protective layers of glass. Get special picture boxes from your local moving company and use plenty of padding inside those containers before you place your fragile items inside them. Label the boxes with FRAGILE and HANDLE WITH CAUTION markings.

How to pack the bathroom

The final room you should pack is the bathroom because you will be using many of the bathroom items up until Moving day itself. How to pack your bathroom?

  • Initial sorting. Dispose of any bathroom items that are past their expiration dates. Also, you can easily get rid of the ones are almost finished up to save time and space, or maybe even towels, curtains and floor mats that are too old to be of any good use to you. Keep in mind that some bathroom goods will be forbidden for transport due to their hazardous nature – make sure you dispose of them too.
  • Bathroom items. Pack opened bathroom toiletries in Ziploc bags to prevent bad spills or leaks on the road, keep the unopened ones in their toiletry bags. Any fragile items should be wrapped in bubble wrap or bath towels for extra protection. Bath towels will make excellent fillers or pads when packing fragile items, so feel free to use that to your advantage.

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Kyle is a relocation professional and an ex-moving coordinator for a major US moving company. He has experience in handling relocations from start to the very end with the end consumer in mind. Now, Kyle Jenkins is dedicated to share his knowledge with as many people as possible to help them experience a better moving experience.
You can contact Kyle at info@moveadvisor.com