How to Pack For a Move
Cindy had been planning her big move for months and she had left no stone unturned. She knew exactly what city she was moving to and what apartment she was moving in—the papers were already signed and dated and the security deposit already submitted.
She knew exactly what position she was taking in Austin, Texas. In fact, she had already accepted it, and she was in the middle of writing out a resignation letter to send to her current boss to quit the job she had hated since the day she started it.
You see, Cindy had planned every single aspect of her big move, but she had overlooked one minor detail—packing. If there was one thing Cindy despised more than her soon to be old job, it was packing. Cindy hated packing.
Maybe you hate packing too. Who doesn’t? Keep reading and we’ll walk you through how to pack for a move, step by step.
Humans tend to have a bad habit of procrastination—especially when it comes to packing. How many times have you waited until the very last day to pack your bags for a big vacation? Or, perhaps, the very last hour.
People naturally avoid the things they don’t want to do—going to the gym, studying for a difficult exam or having that tough conversation. When we don’t want to do something or when something gives us anxiety, we put it off until the very last minute.
Believe it or not, so many people struggle with procrastination when it comes to packing because they suffer from packing anxiety. What is packing anxiety, you ask? Simply, it’s an extreme worry and concern over the process of packing for a trip or a big move.
Understandably so. After all, there are so many unanswered questions that surround packing—it’s difficult to know where to even begin.
In this article, we are going to teach you how to pack and how to make moving easier. That way, you can enjoy the exciting process of moving and not get too caught up in all the nitty-gritty details.
Packing For a Move: What First?
The better you prepare for your upcoming move, the easier it will be. Many people dive right into the packing process without planning beforehand. While this is tempting, it almost always ends in a tornado of disorder and frustration.
So, before you start packing, we suggest that you do a few things first. You should start by transferring your information—this includes your utilities and your address.
- Transfer Your Utilities.
Call your utility companies and pay off any outstanding balances. If you are moving to a new destination in your city, just have your utilities transferred to this new location—things like garbage, electricity, gas, water, etc.
- Change Your Address.
Changing your address is easy and we have made it even easier for you—simply follow this link and the site’s directions to change your address. The United States Postal Service oversees all address changes. Or, if you want one service that can handle all of your address change needs in one place, check out Updater.
Once you have changed your address and transferred your utilities, you can now start packing.
But, before you do, it may not be a bad idea to get your hands on some cheap (or even free) moving supplies. That’s right, we’re talking boxes. Scoring free moving supplies is all about looking in the right places. Do you have any big box stores or grocery stores near you? If so, they receive hundreds of boxes every week. Swing by and ask if you can take a few dozen or so off their hands.
As for packing tape, we recommend that you spend a little extra money to get some good quality tape that is sturdy and durable. The last thing you need in the midst of a chaotic move is boxes falling apart and your belongings bouncing around the moving truck.
How to Pack
In this section, we are going to show you how to make moving easier. We have broken it down into 7 easy-to-follow steps.
Please keep in mind, while we recommend this process, there is no “perfect” way to pack. So do what is most comfortable for you. These are just the steps we have found are the easiest for the customers we’ve worked with in the past.
How to Make Moving Easier: 7 Easy-to-Follow Steps
- Sell everything you haven’t used in the past year.
For most people, this can be the hardest part of the entire moving process—parting with their belongings. But, if you haven’t worn a pair of shoes in the past 365 days, are you ever going to wear them? Many Americans struggle with holding on to possessions they haven’t used in years and it costs them both space and money. A big move is a perfect opportunity to get rid of those things you never use while putting some extra cash in your pocket. Check out Craigslist or LetGo to sell some of your used belongings online. Or, visit your local consignment store.
- Donate everything you can’t sell or don’t want to sell.
When you choose to let go of your old belongings, you are not only making it easier for yourself, you are making it easier for someone else, too. A pair of shoes that you never wear could become someone else’s favorite belonging. If you don’t want to sell the things you don’t use anymore, why not just give them away to someone who is less fortunate?
- Organize all of your belongings into specific categories and pack accordingly.
This is a relatively simple step. Kitchen supplies should be packed with kitchen supplies. Cleaning supplies should be packed with cleaning supplies. Books should be packed with books. So on and so forth. When you start mixing and matching your belongings you’re going to run into some trouble. While right up front, throwing everything you own into a box may be easier, it makes it more difficult to unpack. Your future self will thank your past self if you take the time to pack thoughtfully.
- Label your boxes like a master box labeler.
Invest in a fat Sharpie and label each and every box you pack. It might be tempting to leave this step out, but we promise it’s worth your time. Let’s say you have three boxes full of kitchen supplies, label them–– Kitchen #1: Pots & Pans, Kitchen #2: Cutlery and Silverware, Kitchen #3: [fill in the blank]. When you are moving into your new place, this will make it easier for your movers to take your boxes to exactly where they need to be.
- Take care of all the little things.
There are a lot of little things that people tend to overlook when they are in the midst of packing for a big move. For example—don’t purchase any groceries for a week or so leading up to the big move. If so, you are going to be throwing away a lot of food that won’t survive the trip. Also, remember to defrost your fridge a few days before skipping town. Otherwise, you will have a wet watery mess to clean up on your ride over. Remember to put all of your toiletries in Ziplocs or bags—you don’t want to unpack your boxes and be surprised with cleaning up a gooey shampoo explosion.
- Book a moving company—Bellhops—*cough cough*
While we are of course being facetious, we do recommend you move with a professional moving company, whether or not that is with us. While your cousin’s friend’s brother’s truck is great, there is an art to getting your belongings from point A to point B in one solid piece. While it may be cheaper at first to move on your own, in the long run, it could cost you more money than you realize. How many pick-up trucks will it take you to move? How many gallons of gas is that? What happens if one of your possessions gets damaged or your flat screen gets cracked? The bottom line, you’re better off safe than sorry—work with a professional moving company and you won’t regret it.
- Pack well in advance.
Earlier we discussed how we as humans tend to be horrible procrastinators. We push off what we don’t want to do until the very last second. Most moving stress stems from individuals not being prepared for a move. We recommend you start packing at least 3 weeks prior to your move. Just force yourself to do 30 minutes of packing a night, that way you can slowly chip away at it.
What to Pack First When Moving
Okay, you might be saying. That’s great. You gave me a nice seven step list. But where do I start? I have a whole house full of stuff here! And believe us, we get it (we are in the moving business, after all). Standing there, looking around at your books, your TV, your clothes, your pots and pans—it’s overwhelming. So when you’re packing to move, where to start?
Here, we’re a big fan of the “lowest hanging fruit” principle. The lowest hanging fruit principle states that, essentially, when you have a long, complicated course of action in front of you (like packing up everything you own), start with the easy, straightforward stuff first. This is a simple way to avoid getting overwhelmed.
But how do you identify which tasks are the easiest? First, make a list of each room in your house. Think about packing your house room by room. If you think about packing everything in the whole house at once, we guarantee you’ll get stressed out. Instead, think about each room, and then break down the stuff that’s in each room into smaller categories. For example, the categories in your living room might include the following: books, entertainment equipment and accessories, decorations, and furniture.
Once you have your list of rooms and the categories of stuff in each room, find the smallest, simplest category. Begin there. When you’re working on this task, it may be tempting to try to work on other tasks at the same time. Or, maybe you’ll get stressed out and start thinking about everything else you have to do. If that’s the case, we have a motto for you: task at hand. Repeat it to yourself over and over. You can only pack your whole house by working on one task at a time, and that task will get done a lot faster if you focus all your energy on it. One thing at a time. Task at hand. Task at hand.
How to Pack Moving Boxes
We wanted to dedicate an entire section to packing moving boxes because it’s important for a stress-free move. The first piece of advice we will give when it comes to packing moving boxes is this: pack heavy belongings in smaller boxes (ideally boxes that have handles). It is much easier to pick up a small 50-pound box than a large one. Large boxes tend to be awkward to carry and difficult to pack in a moving truck.
Our next piece of advice when it comes to packing moving boxes is this: never risk it. If you have a valuable item that you are worried about damaging, don’t give it a second thought—protect it. Put bubble wrap, blankets or packing paper around it to protect it from the hustle and bustle. And, quick side note: pack your dishes vertically, it reduces the risk of them breaking.
Lastly, don’t try to over-stuff moving boxes. Cramming and overloading boxes with belongings can lead to damaged items and increase the risk of the box ripping. 25 items in a box are much easier to move than 25 items scrambled all over the grass.
Best Way to Pack a Moving Truck
If you decide to let Bellhops handle your next move, you won’t have to worry about this section, being that our team will take care of this for you. But, if you choose to go solo, here are a few things we recommend.
When you are packing a moving truck, always pack your heaviest items near the front of the moving truck or farthest away from the doors. This reduces the risk of them crushing your other belongings or falling out when it’s time to unload.
Place your mattresses and box springs on the left side of the moving truck and your couches and furniture on the right. This will give you the optimal amount of room to fit your other belongings in.
Place your heavy boxes near the back of the moving truck or near the doors and be careful not to stack them too high. Again, you don’t want them to fall out of the truck when you open the doors.
You Have Everything You Need to Start Packing
Awesome. Now you should have a good idea of how to pack for a move. You’ll be ready to move before you know it!
We are going to leave you with one final piece of advice that we mentioned once earlier—start packing two, three or even four weeks in advance. We can’t over-stress how important it is to pack earlier rather than later. The most stressful part of a move is scrambling around last minute to get everything that needs to be taken care of—taken care of.
As long as you have your boxes packed and ready, the toughest part of your move is over. Unpacking is the easy and exciting part—setting up your new life in a brand new home.