Packing for a Move

Taking a few steps as you go about packing for a move can make both the packing and the unpacking easier.


If you sort items before you pack them, you won’t end up moving things you don’t need. For items that aren’t trash, you might either have a yard sale or find a charity that will accept them so that they can be used by someone who needs them.


Clean items before packing for a move so that they don’t spread dirt, and that everything arrives fresh and ready to use. When you reach your new location, you’ll be glad you did.

home institute 1 To Pack or Not to Pack

If you are moving to take a new job, your move may be handled by a moving company. If the choice is available regardless of what kind of move you're making, consider what, if anything, you will pack, and what should be left in the hands of professional movers. Items like grand pianos, valuable antiques or artwork, and anything very fragile may benefit from the expertise and care that an experienced worker brings.

Friends can also be a help when packing for a move. In order not to waste their time, make sure you have things organized prior to helpers arriving. It is usually a good idea to have snacks and drinks, if not a meal, available for buddies that show up to help.

What to Leave Out

What you leave out of the packing is important, too. This is because the things that you will need either until the moving van arrives, and/or on the trip as you drive the moving van or separately in a car, should be carefully planned and set aside so they don’t get packed in with everything else. Be sure to include the following:

    • Clothing, from underwear to outerwear
    • Medical and Toiletry items, including prescriptions, eyewear, first-aid kit, shaving cream and razor, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and shampoo, etc.
    • Children’s schoolwork, comfort toys, and things to entertain them
    • Bedding and Towels
    • Picnic basket for easy food service
    • Special supplies needed for pets
    • A landline phone and cellphones
    • Checkbook, credit cards and important documents

as well as any other items particular to your family and circumstances.

Included here should be items packed for what-if scenarios:

    • Suppose your trip to your new home is delayed by a day or more?
    • Suppose the moving van arrives late?
    • Suppose the phone service, electricity, gas, etc. has not been switched on, as requested?

If you pack for what might easily go wrong, you’re more likely to cope easily with an awkward situation.


Supplies—When packing for a move, you will need boxes, tape, labels, indelible markers, bubble wrap and other packing material, large trash bags, a tool kit, and ziptop bags (for storing furniture hardware). Moving companies have special boxes available for special packing needs like wardrobe boxes for clothing that must hang on hangers, and boxes especially designed for china. If you have saved the original boxes for items such as computers, electronics, etc., this can be the best way to move those items.

Decisions—Decide ahead of time where items will go in the new house. Where this item is now does not always tell you where it will be in the new location. Depending on the housing configuration and space in each location, items that were stored in one room may move to another, and items that were in a closet may move into a room, or vice versa.

Because a number of changes may take place, you may wish to do some planning on paper before you begin packing. For example, if you will no longer have a closet in a particular location or are gaining a closet, how are you going to accommodate this change? Thinking it through first will help things go more easily when you unpack.

Labeling—Careful labeling that is well thought out may help smooth the unpacking stage. Some people list all the major items in a box. Some people simply label the box with the room location. In some cases both “to” and “from” labels may be helpful for identifying contents and giving priority without having to detail all the contents. For example, “From Boys’ Room; To Mike’s Room” or “From Pantry Cupboard; To Kitchen Over-Fridge Cupboard” may tell you what you need to know.

Inventory—Keep an inventory that tells how many boxes of what kind go in each room. Some people, when packing for a move, number all the boxes in sequence and keep notes on which boxes hold items of particular importance. This will help you keep track of everything.

Written by Mary Elizabeth