How to Pack for a Move: A Checklist by Room

Getting ready to move into a new home can bring feelings of excitement and happiness; but packing can be stressful. Figuring out where to begin, knowing what to pack and which room to start with can be overwhelming. Starting with a week-by-week packing checklist can make this process less stressful and helps answer the question of how to pack for a move.

Before packing, make sure you have the correct moving supplies

Before you begin packing, consider making a packing checklist to stay organized. As you prepare for the big day, the following items can quickly become packing essentials for a move.

  1. Boxes.These are the biggest priority when it comes to packing. Having a variety of sizes for items in your home can make organizing easier.
  2. Tape. Having a strong adhesive to seal boxes, secure bubble wrap around fragile items and ensure your home goods are put away safely.
  3. Utility knife/scissors. Utility knives can cut a variety of things. The ability to make a clean cut to tape and other materials can lessen any frustration when assembling things.
  4. Permanent marker. Labeling boxes is important. You don’t want to lose track of what was packed in which box. Use permanent markers to label boxes so you can sort them by room and easily prioritize unpacking.
  5. Plastic bags. These can be handy with smaller items such as silverware, and helpful with storing non-perishable food items.
  6. Blankets. Blankets can be used for additional padding of mirrors and other breakable items.
  7. Bubble wrap and/or newspaper. Like using blankets, bubble wrap or newspaper can be helpful when packing kitchen items such as mugs and dishes.
  8. Handcart. Using a handcart can help with lifting heavy items and boxes. Utilizing this will lessen the chance of physical injury from lifting heavy boxes.

General moving and packing tips

Organization and planning are essential when you pack for a move. Consider creating a schedule for your move and organize items by room, common function or use. The following tips can help you get started.

  • Start with items you won’t need right away. Start by packing items you don’t use often so you don’t find yourself living out of boxes and repacking.
  • Pack similar items together. Stay organized by packing similar items together based on room or use.
  • Keep essentials packed separately for quick access. No one wants to go digging through boxes to find necessary items. Packing things such as first aid or flashlights in the same box could eliminate frustration.
  • Label each box by its contents and room. Labeling boxes with contents and room will simplify unpacking. Boxes can be unloaded directly into the correct rooms.
  • Color code boxes by each room. Having a color system for each room can ensure organization when it comes to packing.
  • Allow yourself plenty of time to pack. It’s usually best to give yourself a little more time than you think to organize and pack. Creating a packing schedule for a move is a great way to make sure you give yourself enough time.
  • Load furniture, appliances and larger items first. This leaves more room for the smaller items towards the door to the truck, making it easier to unload.

Packing a home office

Your home office can include a lot of important items and documents. How you choose to pack your electronics, paperwork, and other stationery is essential.

  • Avoid packing boxes too heavily.
  • Consider color-coding wires for electronics when disassembling them.
  • Keep all important documents in a secure box and close to you.
  • Take a photo of electronics before you disassemble them, so you can properly put them back together once you’ve moved.

Packing outdoor furniture and garage items

  • With a lot of focus put on items within the home, make sure you consider how to pack any outdoor furniture and items in your garage as well.
  • Remove any charcoal, burnt wood, or propane tanks from grills, fire pits, and heaters before moving.
  • Clean furniture and break it down to allow for easy moving.
  • Keep your toolbox or tools you may need for moving aside and pack those last.
  • Cover any sharp tools with cardboard, towels or within their original carrying case for safety.
  • Recycle light bulbs that you no longer use

Packing a kitchen or pantry

  • The kitchen is a place where your loved ones gather. When it comes to packing everything in preparation for a move, it may seem easiest to place as much as you can into a box to speed up the process. But taking care of your energy-saving kitchen appliances by packing them properly, along with the other tips below, could save you a headache.
  • Donate as many food items as you can and dispose of any open packages to avoid spills/messes.
  • Make sure all kitchen appliances (coffee maker, toaster, blender, etc.) are emptied and clean before packing. Wrap their cords in a plastic bag and place them inside the appliance.
  • Pack appliances in their original boxes if you have them.
  • All breakable items should be in a box labeled “FRAGILE”.
  • Use bubble wrap to stack smaller dishes and prevent them from breaking during the trip.

Packing a kitchen or pantry

Breakable items may take more attention to detail when it comes to packing your dining room.

  • Utilize kitchen towels, newspaper, cardboard pieces and/or linens to line boxes and serve as bumpers for plates and china.
  • Roll rugs up and secure them with plastic ties or rope.

Packing a living or family room

From your smart TV to mirrors and family photos, the following tips can help with packing a living or family room.

  • Remove light bulbs and shades from lamps and chandeliers and wrap each separately.
  • Keep any irreplaceable photos or videos with you during your move – hot or humid climates can affect photo paper.
  • Use blankets and towels to wrap mirrors and paintings. For mirrors or large framed pictures, place an ‘X’ made of masking tape over the glass in order to minimize spilled glass in the case of a break.
  • If you have the original packing/boxes, use those to repack any electronics, such as televisions.

Packing a bedroom

When figuring out how to pack up a bedroom, the following pointers will get you started and keep you organized throughout your moving process.

  • Leave hanging clothes on hangers and place them directly in boxes or moving containers.
  • Keep valuable possessions such as jewelry in a secure case or box. Keep these with you and not in the moving truck.
  • Thread thin necklaces through drinking straws or toilet paper rolls to keep them from getting tangled and use buttons to keep your earring together.
  • Place loose items in luggage or suitcases for quick packing.
  • Shoes can be packed in original boxes if available, or within larger boxes.
  • Protect mattresses and furniture with old sheets and blankets for the move.
  • Put all bedding and pillows in trash bags to keep dust out and place them in labeled moving boxes.

Packing a bathroom

The bathroom can be a place that’s neglected when it comes to packing. The following tips can be a good place to start.

  • Try to pack your bathroom necessities last.
  • Make sure all toiletries are closed and won’t leak in plastic bags.
  • Pack any medications separately and label the box accordingly.


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