Moving a house is an extensive process. Each step can be refined and optimized for speed, effortlessness and money-saving. That is if you have the time and experience to perfect such a process. Since we are experienced home movers, we know the ins and outs of how to pack to move a house.
In this article, we will focus on the many tips to pack clothes for efficient moving. Since our wardrobes often make up the bulk of packing, it’s good to know the things we need to do before we begin packing our closet items, clothing packing strategies, hacks to move a lot of clothes on hangers, how to move a dresser and several other invaluable things.
So how exactly do you move clothes to a new home? Read on to find our cherry-picked tips, tricks and hacks.
Before you start packing clothes for moving, you will need to: assess and declutter your closet, get rid of the items you won’t be moving, sort your clothes into thematic piles for an easier move and prepare all necessary packing supplies for your garments. No guide on packing clothes for moving is complete without these few preparational steps.
Get rid of the garments you won’t be moving
Assessing and getting rid of clothes before moving is important not only because it can reduce your work dramatically, but because packing clothes can be costly and time-consuming—you want to avoid that if you’re moving an entire household. So, set aside some time to evaluate your wardrobe and when picking up each clothing item ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you still like it? If not, do you need it (do you have similar items from this group of clothing that you will be using instead)?
- Is it a timeless or a trendy piece of clothing?
- Have you worn the garment in the past year?
- Is it worn out or unwearable?
- Does it fit you?
Once you’re done clearing up your closets, discard the clothes you won’t be moving. You can give some of the clothing pieces to friends, family, neighbours or other people from your communities. Organising a yard sale, donating clothes to charity, and even selling some of the best items online, are all viable options to declutter clothes before moving. In fact, some of the charities can come and pick the garments from your address, so that will further ease your workload. Furthermore, if you choose to sell some of your old clothes, you can collect extra money to make up for some of your moving expenses.
As for the items that can no longer serve a purpose, use them as wrapping material when packing.
Sort out your wardrobe before packing
To make the packing of your clothes most efficient, you will need to sort out the huge pile of items into categories. This will also help you unpack and organise your wardrobe once you move to the new place. Before that, however, make sure to launder everything. It’s a bad idea to pack dirty with clean clothes, for obvious reasons. As a result, you also need to let your clothing dry completely before packing, as damp clothes can develop mildew that can spread and stink out your other garments.
The first clothing items to separate are seasonal clothes. So, if it’s summer, pack your winter pieces first. Then, proceed to separate the garments in other categories depending on your needs and preferences. Some options of grouping include:
- packing clothes by their colour – it makes it easier to reorganise your wardrobes once you move;
- packing clothes per person – if you have a big family, it’s sensible for each to pack their own clothes for the move. This will lighten the packing and unpacking tasks for everyone involved and will improve your organisation;
- packing clothes by type (pants, sweaters, t-shirts, etc.) – again, reorganising and finding things becomes a breeze once you unpack. This sort-out will also help you to evaluate the needed packing materials when you begin packing;
- packing clothes by purpose (everyday clothing, office outfits, sports clothes, etc.) – if you use this clothing packing method, you will find things faster, especially during the first weeks after you move;
- packing clothes by material (cotton items, wool clothes, silk clothing, etc.) – this clothes packing strategy is very helpful if your closet is already organised by material in order aid with your laundry;
- packing clothes by season – this packing tip for moving clothes allows you to take your time with unpacking when you’re done moving. Additionally, it prevents clutter, as you only need to organise the clothes in season, while the rest can be stored until you need them;
Prepare essential clothing
When you finally move, chances are that it will take you a couple of days or even weeks to unpack it all. That is why you’ll need to prepare a separate suitcase or box of essential clothes for the first days at your new home. The box with essential clothing can include:
- two outfits for each member of your family – for unpacking/around the house and for the office, school, or kindergarten;
- essential pairs of shoes for the duration of unpacking;
- pyjamas or clothes suitable for sleeping;
- bathrobes or bath towels.
What packing supplies for clothing to prepare?
You need specific materials to pack your clothes for moving depending on your budget and household size. However, general closet moving supplies include:
- Cardboard boxes – the most used item when packing clothes for moving. You can pack all your folded clothes into regular cardboard boxes. They don’t need to be fancy, so you can scavenge for free boxes from your local stores.
- Wardrobe boxes – we recommend packing expensive and luxury clothing items in wardrobe boxes, so make sure you have some of those as well.
- Suitcases – save up a bit of money on moving supplies by packing clothes in suitcases. They are suitable for many items but some uses are better than others, as you’ll read about below.
- Travel/duffel bags – another convenient option to further reduce the cost of packing materials for clothes. When preparing clothing items to pack in a travel bag, make sure to roll instead of folding them, as this will utilise more space.
- Vacuum/compression bags – it’s great if you already have some of those around, but don’t feel compelled to purchase them if your budget is tight – there are other ways to pack many clothes at once.
- Garment bags – again, these are a bit extra, so you don’t spend extra money to purchase some, but definitely do use the garment bags if you happen to have them from a previous move.
- Packing paper
- Hat boxes
- Plastic storage containers
- Large garbage bags
- Shoe boxes
- Plastic wrap
Labeling your clothes for moving
No matter what you use to pack your garments in – boxes, bags, suitcases and so on, don’t forget to thoroughly label everything. This will ease your unpacking efforts tenfold. You can label clothes by season, by the name of the person whose clothing is, by what room the clothes will go.
What to pack clothes in when moving
It is safe to say that if you are looking for efficient ways to pack your clothes for moving, then you probably have a lot to pack, or simply wish to avoid as much hassle as possible. Our moving clothes hacks will win you some very much desired time, save effort and even money! Here are the most essential clothing packing methods for moving that you need to know:
Packing clothes in wardrobe boxes
As professional packers, we know that the special wardrobe boxes designed for the very purpose of moving clothes will save you the most time and effort. It’s super easy to transfer all clothing items with hangers from your closet to the moving box. The downside of this packing method is that these types of boxes are pricey. We suggest that you invest in a couple of wardrobe boxes if you have special clothing such as a wedding dress, formal suits, luxury numbers and other sensitive clothing that you want to be well protected during the move.
Packing clothes in dresser drawers
Our favourite packing hack is moving clothes along with the dresser. You kill two huge birds with this single stone and save up on lots of effort and packing supplies. All you need to do is to ensure that the dresser is not too heavy for the movers to pick it up. After that, simply secure the drawers by wrapping the dresser in stretch foil and taping it for safety. In this case, you save money on closet moving supplies, as everything is already neatly organized within the dresser. Moreover, your clothes remain folded, so you needn’t spend time on unpacking and organising things anew.
Packing clothes for moving in suitcases
We often get asked if movers move suitcases and the answer is yes! Your suitcases will come in handy when you move closet items, and not only then. Use a suitcase to pack those types of clothes that you don’t mind folding – coats, scarves, pants, etc. Alternatively, you can also pack shoes as there’s plenty of space to cram many pairs and minimise the usage of shoeboxes, which are bulkier and fit a single pair. The best use of the suitcase, however, is for packing your books. So if you have an extensive library, better save your suitcases for that.
Packing clothes in cardboard boxes
It’s no wonder that most people prefer normal boxes to move their closets. Since they are easy to find, low cost, and sometimes even free, we advise that you get your hands on a bunch of them at your local grocery stores, book stores, and even ask about online, in local forums or Facebook groups. Further in this guide, we will discuss the best way of packing clothing items in cardboard boxes.
Packing clothes in travel bags for a move
IKEA bags, vacuum bags, duffel bags and other bulkier handbags can store a variety of clothing items when moving. Here again, you can pack stuff you don’t mind to get creased. The bags are a great option because you probably have some laying around your house, so they’re completely free. You can also cram clothes to the brim, to minimize the usage of more expensive packing materials such as moving boxes. When you have filled a bag, simply secure it with tape to further protect the clothing items and the bag from ripping apart.
And since the air gets sucked out of the vacuum bags, they are perfect if you want to optimise for space when moving.
The best way to pack clothes to save space when moving
People often wonder should you roll or should you fold clothes for the most compact way to pack non-hanging clothes. Folding clothes that aren’t on hangers is a mystery to many but not to the professional mover and packer. And this is an important question to answer because you want your clothes to be packed neatly and safely for the duration of your move, and for the period after, before you unpack. Moreover, if you look online, you’ll find an overwhelming amount of ways to fold any type of clothing in any type of way, so our task here is to show you only the ways that are relevant and effective for moving clothes to a new home. Here are two clothes packing methods for moving, and when and how to use them:
Traditional flat-folding – this well-known method to fold clothes for moving is effective and simple. To fold a pair of pants, lie them down on a flat surface and remove any wrinkles. Then fold it vertically, with one leg over the other and smooth the wrinkles again. Finish up by folding the pair in thirds and smoothing to make it as flat as possible. To fold a blouse or shirt, flat it on the floor or a table and fold one side of the shirt with the sleeve towards the middle. Smooth any wrinkles and proceed to do the same with the other side. In the end, simply fold the shirt in half and remove the wrinkles for a flat finish.
The ranger roll method – So, this is one of the most-used methods to pack and move clothes. It is widely applied by soldiers and travellers, as it maximises space and prevents the clothes from forming wrinkles. And, as we’ve said a couple of times, when moving a house, space costs money, so you’ll definitely save some with this packing technique for clothing items. The only downside is that it’s a bit more time -consuming than the flat-folding.
This folding method works for any type of clothing – shirts, pants, socks, jackets, and even underwear! To fold a shirt, lay it flat on a surface and smooth the wrinkles. Next, take a few inches of material on the bottom of the shirt and flip it inside out, and then, fold the sleeves towards the middle. Then, move the shirt with the top towards you, to start rolling. Make sure to roll the shirt as tightly as possible until you reach the end. Notice the pouch that has formed at the end— pull it over the roll to secure everything in place.
We also recommend that you watch this video to see the ranger roll clothes packing technique in action for many types of garments.
The most efficient way to pack clothes on hangers
One of the most effortless ways to move your wardrobe is to pack the clothes with their hangers. Doing that allows you to pack and move lots of clothes at once for the fraction of the time and price! You can use garbage bags or plastic wrap for the purpose.
Here’s how to pack clothes on hangers in garbage bags:
- Organise your wardrobe first, as you will pack batches of clothes as is;
- Take a garbage bag and make a hole on the bottom, wide enough for the hanger’s hook to pass through;
- Grab a bunch of hangers with clothes from the wardrobe and put them through the hole you just made;
- Tie the bottom of the garbage bag to protect the clothing;
- Tie the hangers together to prevent them from separating and ripping the bag – you can do that with a bit of packing tape;
- As an optional step, to ensure that the bags won’t slip and separate during the move, you can also tape them together.
Here’s how to pack clothes on hangers in plastic wrap:
Spread the plastic wrap on a flat surface and start placing hangers of clothes on top of each other. Once the pile gets big enough (but not too big), press it down as best you can to save space. Seal the clothes with the wrap. Enfold your creation in the plastic wrap at least two times to encase the garments well.
Since this clothing packing hack is so cheap, it’s very enticing for those who need to move a huge amount of garments, such as a big family. However, you should know that both, the garbage bags and the plastic sheet, provide little protection during the move, as they can rip off easily. Moreover, there’s no support provided for the clothes to remain uncreased. So, you will definitely have some additional work of ironing out all clothes once you move.
What is the best way to pack shoes for moving?
It’s optimal to pack shoes separately from other clothing. This will make unpacking easier and will prevent spreading the dirt from your shoes to the rest of the stuff. Put some paper or socks in the pairs that have a good shape, such as boots and heels – this will help them keep their form during the move and will prevent shoe creases.
Additionally, when packing shoes, ensure to wrap each pair in a plastic bag or packing paper before putting it in a moving box or bag. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to put the heaviest pairs of shoes first and then follow with the rest while alternating the direction in which you place them. Old shoe boxes are also quite good to have around for when you’re moving— make sure to utilise them instead of disposing of them.
Packing handbags and accessories when moving
You can easily pack jewellery and accessories in smaller boxes, in the small pockets of backpacks, in your handbags or even in socks to keep them the precious pieces separated and well protected.
Preserving the condition of your handbags and especially luxury ones, when moving is a totally different matter. These items should be handled with care if you want to prevent damage. That’s why it’s advisable to wrap your handbags in packing paper and transport them in cardboard boxes or suitcases. Of course, you can still use them for packing purposes and put your jewellery or other things such as socks, underwear, small towels, etc. in there. This will help to keep the shape of the handbag and will provide you with additional storage room.
It’s best to pack hats in separate boxes, preferably their original ones, if you happen to have them. They will protect the hats from folding and creasing.
General packing tips and tricks
- Always place heavier clothing items at the bottom of the box and the lighter ones – at the top. Ensure that the boxes, crates, or any other packing container isn’t too heavy to lift and that they won’t burst during transit;
- For clothes that will be packed for a long time, such as those that will go directly in the attic of your new house or in a storage room, make sure to pack insect repellent sachets inside the boxes to prevent insects from looking for a refuge amongst your precious garments;
- Make sure to double-tape and even use a plastic wrap to encase the heaviest boxes of clothes. This will prevent them from tearing during the move.
And that’s about it! Now you have all the most essential tips on packing clothes for moving and can get to the task with confidence, knowing that you won’t expend time, effort, and money where you don’t need to. Happy packing!