You have your moving date. So, when should you start packing to move? 

In this blog, we’re going to cover how many weeks before your move you should pack your things in boxes, as well as a few other steps to get ready. 

We hope it helps make the moving experience a little smoother!

Family finalizing their move with box preparation | Bellhop

When should you start packing to move?

A common question movers get is, “When should you start packing to move?” And that’s a great question! 

As a general rule, it’s best to pack three weeks or so before your move date after you’ve taken the time to declutter. That way, you’re not scrambling at the eleventh hour to pack up every bedroom and bathroom.

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Of course, if you have years and years of items stored in your home and are packing multiple rooms, you may need more time than someone packing up an apartment. So, consider how large your home is, and think realistically about how long it’s going to take to pack. Then, plan accordingly. 
The Bottom Line: While how far in advance you should start packing to move can vary based on the size of your move, three weeks is usually sufficient.

How to start packing to move

Are you wondering, “Where do I start when packing to move?” If so, we recommend creating a packing checklist. Here’s what to add:

  • Buy packing supplies and equipment. The type of packing supplies you’ll need depends on what you’re moving. For instance, do you have a lot of glassware and breakables? If so, box dividers, packing paper, and newspapers are your friends. Moving a lot of electronics? It’s worth investing in some bubble wrap, plastic bags, twist ties, and PVC tape. Some other general packing supplies you may want to add to your shopping list include tape, box cutters, markers, labels in different colors, dollies, and heavy-duty moving boxes (especially if you plan to move a lot of heavy items – which should always go on the bottom of a box, by the way).
  • Declutter each room. You can either sell or donate what you don’t want. If you choose to sell your items, you could put that money toward other moving costs. (Although, it can take longer to sell items vs. donating, so bear this in mind.) If you decide to donate your items instead, you can get them out of your house in as little as an hour. You can donate to a local homeless shelter, animal shelter, Goodwill, or other organizations. You can also ask a friend first before donating if you think they’d find the item handy. 
  • Start packing three weeks before your move. A date when you should start packing is helpful so that you stay on target and don’t lose track of time. It’s okay if you don’t start that exact day. However, try to pack two to three weeks before your move at least so that you can get everything done in time for moving day, and you’re not left tossing stuff into boxes at the last minute or donating items you actually want and use. 
  • Disassemble furniture. Won’t need that game room sectional couch by the time you move? It’s time to take it apart while you have the time. The same applies to any extra bed frames, office furniture, and recliners that you won’t be using before moving day. Once you get a week to a few days from your moving date, you can work on taking apart the rest of the furniture. Unless you have a few air mattresses lying around, you probably want to at least keep your mattress out until you move so that you have a place to sleep. 
  • Pack a suitcase or bag with a week’s worth of clothes and essentials. Clothes take up a surprising amount of room on a moving truck. Depending on your location, you probably have two to four seasons of clothing, which means that some of it can be packed up weeks before your move while others you might need up until moving day. Do yourself a favor, and pack seven days of clothes and essential items so that you can pack everything else up. That will save you time and stress, and help you stay organized. 
  • Pack an overnight bag. Even if you have seven days of clothing set aside, don’t forget your overnight bag. That should include any important documents, laptops, iPads, cell phones (and chargers), medication, toiletries, one to two outfits, and undergarments. That ensures that you don’t have to sort through a huge suitcase but can instead turn to a simple backpack or carry-on for everything you need for a day. 

Pack the kitchen. It’s usually recommended to pack your kitchen last. While you can pack up kitchen appliances, pantry items, dishes, and utensils you won’t need before your move, you usually want to save a handful of plates and essential items so that you don’t have to go out to eat for every meal before an already-expensive move.

The Better Way to Move
Two people organizing boxes together on the couch | Bellhop

How to pack for a move in one day

If your moving date sneaks up on you, and you don’t have three weeks to pack, it is possible to pack in a day. (Of course, this depends on how many helpers you have, what you’re moving, and whether you have a moving truck.)

Here are some packing tips to help things go faster:

  • Do one room at a time. Better yet, if you have enough helpers, have each person box up one to two rooms. Heavy items should also go at the bottom of a box and lighter items on the top. Use bubble wrap and packing paper for any breakable items, and don’t forget to label the boxes as fragile so that you know to be careful with them during the move. Soon enough, everything will be in boxes and ready to go to the moving truck. 
  • Put someone on declutter duty. Have a trusted family member go through and collect items to donate while everyone else is packing. That will help things go much faster. You can also take care of this early in the day before packing if you only have one day to get everything done. 
  • Write down what’s in each box on the outside. Use a different colored label for each room’s moving boxes so that they know where to unload them in your new house or apartment. Also, jotting down what’s in the box can make it easier to figure out where everything needs to go. 

What should I do 2 weeks before moving?

At this point, you should have your packing supplies and have gotten rid of any unwanted items. Now, it’s time to pack up your closets (we’re looking at you, out-of-season clothes), garage, guest bedrooms, and any other room with items you won’t need again before your move.

Should you pack a month before moving?

For the average home, three weeks is all you need to pack. However, you can create a strategy for packing a month or more before moving. To start, go through each room in your house with a box. Toss in any items that you no longer have a use for or that you haven’t used in at least six months. 

This could be anything from trinkets, clothes, and office supplies to kitchen appliances. Also, larger items like desks and bed frames aren’t off limits. You’d be surprised how much the average person accumulates and how much easier it is to clean once you’ve decluttered. 

After you’ve sold or donated unwanted items, then it’s time to clean. To do so, you may need cleaning supplies, scrubbers, a duster, a vacuum, and a steam cleaner. Straighten up the room first, and start cleaning once you have everything in order to save yourself time at the end of your move.

Friends place protective covering on chairs as they get ready to move | Bellhop

Need a hand with your move?

Two hands are better than one! Now that you know when you should start packing to move, consider hiring movers like your friends at Bellhop. Our experienced local and long-distance movers can help you move to multiple cities and states across the U.S., taking care of all the loading, unloading, and delivery from point A to B. Additionally, here’s an article with a few tips on comparing moving company quotes that you may find useful.
Find movers near you today.

Nick Valentino