Moving a house, especially for the first time, is an intimidating and overwhelming task. There is so much to think about, do and organize, and it always seems like we don’t have the time. Packing your belongings comes with certain risks, time, and money constraints, which is why we decided to share some expert house packing tips in hope to alleviate at least some of the worry for you. We’ve also created a downloadable pdf packing checklist, so go on and grab it for printing.

When to start packing for a move

It all depends on the number of items that need to be moved. Ideally, you need to begin preparations at least a couple of months before the move.
Generally speaking, you can pack a large house in two months if you fill up one box a day. And if you live in a small house or a flat, you will be able to pack it all in a single month. This isn’t a rule but guidance, so you need to evaluate your own time.

Packing hacks, tips & tricks to save time, money, effort and space:

If you have the time, donate, sell or give away things you no longer need. This will cut a good chunk from the cost of moving and will pour some well-needed money back into your wallet.

What packing materials are needed

When looking to purchase packing boxes, make sure you opt for good quality, sturdy carton boxes in a wide variety of sizes.
If you plan to reuse old ones instead, check if they can hold the weight and remove or cover any old labels to avoid confusion later on. To prevent mishaps during Moving day, secure the sides and bottom of each box with scotch tape. Wonder where to find free moving boxes? Simply ask your local shops or retailers for their empty ones.

The actual number of boxes that you will need varies from household to household, but these are the types of crates that you must look for:

  • small, medium and large boxes;
  • heavy duty moving boxes;
  • wardrobe boxes;
  • mirror boxes and/or telescopic cardboard boxes.

As for the rest of the packing materials, you will need:

  • good quality packing tape;
  • bubble wrap;
  • packing paper or old newspapers;
  • stretch wrap;
  • plastic bags or rubbish bags;
  • a marker;
  • colourful labels;
  • styrofoam.

You can also search for convenient house moving kits online as they contain a pre-calculated number of packing supplies, depending on the size of the household. Alternatively, you can schedule a professional packing service by moving professionals – they have everything needed for reliable packing and can complete the task quickly. Not only that, but the items packed by the moving company are usually fully-insured against loss or damage.

Where to start packing for a house move

Many wonder what room should they pack first when moving. There isn’t a perfect house packing timeline, as it is an individual process but, generally speaking, it’s best if you start top to bottom and pack room by room. So, if you have an attic, that’s your first target. Then, following that order of packing, you will move downwards, to the bottom floors of your house. End the packing process in the rooms that you occupy on the daily.

Packing hacks, tips & tricks to save time, money, effort and space:

If you have space, designate one of the rooms as a packing station. This way, the packing chaos will be relatively contained to a single area and you won’t have to manoeuvre through mountains of boxes on a day-to-day basis.

It’s a good idea to focus your very first efforts on items you aren’t currently using, for obvious reasons. These can be stored seasonal clothes, Christmas lights and decoration or even gardening tools. This way you will also scavenge through your old clothes and papers and reuse some of those as gap fillers for your moving boxes to achieve a better hold.

How to properly label the moving boxes

Most people only label the boxes according to the rooms they are supposed to go to. But this is rarely sufficient. Make sure to also mark the upside area and put the labels on the side and not on the top. Make sure that boxes containing fragile stuff are properly labelled. Same goes with boxes that contain other hazardous belongings such as chemicals, knives and other sensitive products and materials. To make unpacking quicker, colour-code your moving boxes with different coloured stickers according to the room they will go to.
Of course, don’t forget to label your box of essentials, otherwise, you risk to lose it in the moving chaos.

House packing checklist – room by room packing for moving

Download our easy to follow checklist for packing your household belongings, and stay organized and on top of things. The packing tips listed below provide additional advice to further ease your efforts.

Packing the Bedroom

1. Packing your clothes

The biggest packing task in any bedroom is the wardrobe. To keep clothes sorted well, you can order special wardrobe boxes that allow you to simply move your hanging clothes into the box. However, if you want to save money and time while packing, you can encase your clothes along with the hangers in bin bags and skip all unnecessary steps. Tie up the bag on the bottom side to prevent it from slipping off.
Here’s a little traveller’s trick for packing clothes from shelves: simply roll them up before placing them into the moving box. This saves time and valuable box space and you also get the added benefit of unwrinkled clothes.
Pack your dresser drawers as they are. Instead of emptying the drawers, it’s cheaper and more time-efficient to take them out of the dresser and wrap them with stretch wrap.

2. Bedroom furniture

The most annoying part of packing your bedroom for moving house is clearing up your drawers from all the trinkets. We suggest that you skip that and follow the abovementioned tip of wrapping them up along with their contents. Unpacking later will be a breeze!
You then need to disassembly your furniture and remember to store all bolts and screws in separate, labelled bags.

3. Packing your mattress

Having a comfortable bed to sleep during the first night in your new home or flat is key. So is packing your mattress properly. Sure, you can always wrap it in stretch wrap, but know that there’s a more cost-effective way to pack your mattress for moving – encase it in a couple of old fitting sheets and forget about it.

Packing the Living Room

1. Packing the furniture

Every inch of your moving van is literal money, which is why you need to dismantle all furniture before you pack and load it for moving. Bear in mind that there is a high risk to scratch your floors when disassembling book stands, cabinets, dining tables and other living room furniture. To protect the floors, lay an old sheet or blanket before you start taking furniture apart.

Packing tips, tricks & hacks to save time, money, effort and space:

Put your suitcases to good use – pack heavy items inside as the wheels will help you carry them out easily. Put stuff that isn’t so easy to transport in moving boxes – books, small training equipment, and heavy serving dishes.

2. Protecting the TV

A few are those of us who actually save the original boxes in which their electronics has been purchased. Those are the best moving boxes because they are made to help transport the item safely. If you aren’t amongst those lucky people, simply wrap your TV and other electronics tightly in bubble wrap and secure with tape.

Packing hacks, tips & tricks to save time, money, effort and space:

Take pictures of the backs of your electronic items to help you remember where all the wires go.

3. Moving your houseplants

You probably won’t want to leave your potted plants behind. However, you must know that not all moving companies can transport them, so make sure to ask yours about it. Either way, if you want to move your plants, you will need to place them in separate moving boxes or plastic containers and stuff the edges with old clothes or other soft material to ensure that each pot is well supported.

Packing the Kitchen

1. Safely packing knives

If your knives come within a protective block, then you are in luck. However, if you have to pack your knives, make sure you double-wrap them in paper and stack them with the blades facing the same direction. A quicker way to pack knives is to put them inside an oven mitt.
Instead of emptying your utensil organizer and packing utensils separately, save time by wrapping the entire thing in a plastic wrap and storing it in a moving box.

2. How to pack glassware for moving house

You can either wrap the glasses in bubble wrap or use clean socks to protect the glass. Put one of the socks inside and wrap the entire glass with the other. Make sure to reinforce the moving box with some extra tape and place the glasses with the widest part facing down. Don’t forget to label the box as “fragile”.

Packing tricks, tips & hacks to save time, money, effort and space:

Use small boxes for heavier stuff and big boxes for lightweight items. This will help not only with the organisation but will also prevent boxes from breaking, ease the carrying and loading, and save you some pain. Additionally, when packing heavy items, be sure to evenly distribute them across the base and not pile them up on one of the sides, or in the centre of the box.

3. Pots and pans

It’s easy to stack all your pots and pans but we advise that you put a protective layer of either bubble wrap, styrofoam sheet or a table cloth between the items that have a non-stick coating. This will prevent your cookware from unwanted scratching during the move.
Similarly, handle plates but place them vertically, and make sure to not overload your boxes.

4. Electrical appliances

People frequently forget to disconnect their electrical appliances, but make no mistake – your movers won’t do that for you on the Moving day. And if you don’t take care of the task, you may need to postpone your relocation altogether. You can either disconnect your washing machine and dishwasher from the water line yourself, or you can call for professional help. Either way, you need to detach all appliances at least two days before the move to give your freezer enough time to defrost. Then, you need to ensure that electrical appliances are clean and dry before you tape them shut.

Packing tips, hacks & tricks to save time, money, effort and space:

Use roll tubes (such as those from toilet paper) to pack appliance wiring and cables. For device wiring, fold the cable, place it in the tube and stick it to the body of the appliance. As for individual cables such as chargers, headphones and such, pack them one by one in tubes, secure them with tape and label as needed.

Packing the Bathroom

Packing your bathroom is pretty straight forward except for two things:

  1. Make sure to dispose of out-of-date products and declutter your cosmetics, medicine and cleaning detergents. The fewer liquids you have to transport, the better. If you want the moving company to carry the bottles of cleaners, you will need to ensure that all are well-sealed and will not leak during transit. Pack them in plastic bags to protect the rest of your belongings and the moving van from spillages.
  2. You can either pack your towels and linens in moving boxes or use them for wrapping purposes. However, be sure to leave enough towels for your box of essentials, for they will come handy during the first days after the move.

Packing the Garden shed & Garage

Usually, things stored in the garage are somewhat ready to be transported, but as with the bathroom, there are a few caveats to packing things up in your garden shed and garage:

  1. All tools need to be emptied and fully cleaned before the moving day. The sharp tools must be packed in a labelled moving box or a solid toolbox. Pack the tools you have used to disassemble your furniture separately and mark the box – you will need them at your new home.
  2. Moving companies are permitted to transport fertilizers and other hazardous substances, so either dispose of those beforehand or give them to a friend or neighbour. You can recycle half-used buckets of paint or give them to charity.
  3. We’ve discussed plants before. You will most likely have to transport them yourself, so make sure that they are packed accordingly. Garden ornaments must be cleaned well before packing, otherwise, the movers might refuse to transport them.

How to safely pack valuables to move house

1. Packing important documents

Prepare your valuable papers such as birth certificates, drivers license, bank and credit card details, etc. well in advance. Although you may not need those during your moving day, they will likely become necessary once you start settling in your new house. So, instead of piling them in a box and letting the movers handle this precious cargo, carefully place them in a document binder and inside your suitcase, or at least in a clearly labelled box and load it in your car.

2. Antiques

Moving antiques requires extra specialist protection and, in some cases, additional insurance that can cover the monetary value of the item in question. You should consult with your moving company about their recommendations. Ask if the object can be covered by the general removals transit insurance or you need separate insurance for greater protection.

3. Jewellery

When packing jewellery for moving, you need to ensure a good separation between pieces, as jewellery can get tangled easily. However, it’s still best if you store all of your jewellery in one box. You can wrap individual pieces in paper or even transport them in socks, but put those socks in a single, labelled box or bag. One thing is certain – you will need to carry them yourself.

Packing hacks, tips & tricks to save time, money, effort and space:

You can use egg cartons to keep your jewellery separated and protected.

The box of essentials

Not all have the luxury of moving during the weekend and the extra time to unpack their belongings. This is why a box of essentials is important to have around. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • two sets of clothes – for unpacking and the office, if needed
  • toiletries and toilet paper
  • device chargers
  • several towels
  • bedding
  • snacks
  • bottle of water
  • baby supplies and food
  • pet supplies and food
  • some plates, utensils and kitchen cloths
  • pencil and paper
  • medications
  • first aid kit
  • toolbox
If you will be moving home with children, you must prepare things such as toys or books to keep them occupied, as well as the clothes they might need during the first day after your relocation. Don’t forget about the pets, if you have any, and pack their food, some toys and comfort items, to help them cope with the change.
Additionally, you can prepare a couple of things for the packing day itself – tea, coffee, snacks, mugs, and a kettle. This way you can quickly grab a drink or snack to keep yourself energized while packing.

Dont’s of packing for moving house

  • If you plan on using the services of a moving company, know that most are permitted to transport hazardous goods of any nature. So, items like batteries, cleaners containing bleach, paint boxes, pesticides, fluorescent tubes, etc. will not be moved by the company – you will need to transport those yourself or hire a firm that has the needed certifications. Of course, the latter will drastically increase the costs of your move.
  • Do not make a priority list for packing – unless you have months before you move, it will be a time-waster. All things will be packed anyway, so making a list is just a way for some people to avoid doing the job.
  • If you’re short on time, don’t declutter before packing because, in the end, you might find yourself with less time than you thought. Packing always takes longer than anticipated, so keep that in mind. Instead, clear clutter and dispose of old stuff during the actual packing process. Separate the items you wish to pass to others and donate things when you have a spare hour.
  • We know it’s hard but try not to reminisce when packing. Your time is extra valuable now, so you can enjoy all the memories once you have moved.
  • Do not exceed the limit of 30 pounds per moving box. If you do, you risk getting an injury and depleting your energy quickly when moving them around. Moreover, a box may not be able to withstand the weight and burst, spilling all your belongings and result in damage.

And that’s about it! With this complete guide on packing your household, you can be sure that you will stay on top of things. And once you’re done, it’s time for a well-deserved rest in your new place.