Extensive List of Tips to Help You Pack and Move Like a Pro (2023)

The last time we moved, we had 2 weeks between move-in day and our daughter Krista’s birthday party. The moving truck was scheduled at 8am on March 4th, and by March 18th guests would be showing up for her party at 1:45. No pressure. 14 days to get moved, unpacked, the house clean, organized and decorated. No problem! By March 7th – a mere 3 days later, the house was completely moved and unpacked.

How did we do it?! With these favorite moving tips I’m about to share with you! I’m basically a pro now. Kevin and I realized that this time last year when we celebrated K’s birthday, it was two houses ago. I guess you could say we move a lot.

1. Pack pillows in trash bags.

Each standard kitchen sized trash bag can hold 2 regular pillows or 3 throw pillows. These are great to use as cushion between furniture! Plus, they’ll greatly reduce your back and forth time between the house and the truck.

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2. Color code & number your rooms.

I grabbed these inexpensive colored tapes from Amazon and started color-coordinating my rooms. I’d pack up a box, seal it, then add the colored tape to each visible side of the box so it was easy to see which room the box belonged in. It might sound over the top, but it helped TREMENDOUSLY when it was time to bring the boxes into the new house from the truck. I could easily stand on the sidelines and direct boxes to their appropriate room. I also numbered the rooms and boxes to ensure I wasn’t missing anything at the new house. So when box 804 went missing from the Kitchen, I immediately knew to walk around to the other rooms to locate it.

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3. Keep a box with your tape, scissors, and key handy

I used a shoebox and wrote on the sides which room coordinated with which color, and any time I needed to wrap up a box, it was easy to spot the packing supplies. Having the key written on the outside of the box really helped me too since I didn’t have to reference my sheet each time.

4. Don’t purchase boxes if you can get them for free

Post on the Facebook marketplace, garage sale groups, or Next Door app that you’re looking for moving boxes, and you’ll get plenty of them for free. If for some reason you still need more, hit up your local liquor store (for boxes… not liquid courage. Well, maybe that too.). They always have plenty extra, and they’re sturdy because they’re built for heavy bottles.

5. Hire a moving company to get your stuff from the old house to the new house

We’ve used Groupon to find great deals on our movers the last few moves we’ve made. I spent $200 to move our stuff this last time (3 professional movers for 3 hours!) – those are great savings! I tend to wait until there’s a 20% off code at Groupon and then make the purchase and schedule the movers. *Don’t forget to use Ebates, which gives you cash back on your online purchases.*

6. Use unprinted newspaper paper for breakables

We ordered this cheap paper to use for wrapping our fragile items, and there was so much that we’ve been able to stretch it 3+ moves (and counting!). It doesn’t leave print residue like normal newspaper, and it’s half the price of official packing paper!

7. Pack plates with styrofoam plates between

This method is SO easy. It requires very little time and absorbs the impact from the truck hitting bumps or anything else that could shift the box. PLUS, you can use the styrofoam plates before and after the move to minimize dirty dishes as you transition houses. Total win!

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8. Pack hanging clothes in trash bags.

Wrap your clothes hanging in closets in a trashbag and tie the top of the bag over the hangers before carrying them over to the car. This saves you SO. MUCH. TIME. since you have eliminated the need to take off the hanger, fold, pack, unpack, unfold, and rehang. All you have to do is hang the bag up in the new closet and rip the bag off. Easy-peasy.

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9. Have new furniture delivered to the new house.

If you’re planning on getting new furniture pieces in your new home, have the furniture store deliver it straight to the new house! We sold our bedroom set and had someone pick it up from the old house before we moved. Then we had the new one delivered directly to the new house. It saved us time and effort – I highly recommend it!

10. Pack a first night box.

Pack sheets, towels, toiletries, toilet paper, and Lysol wipes in a first night box. Anything you’d need for your first night in your new home, pack it in this box! The last thing you want is the headache of searching for that one item you just can’t find anywhere! All of the essentials should be in that one box, transported in your car directly to your next house, for easy locating your first night in your new home.

11. Pack in waves to avoid burnout.

If you avoid packing the entire house at one time, you’ll actually get through it faster. Instead of packing the entire house in one concerted effort, choose to focus on different rooms in phases. You’ll be mixing things up enough to stay focused and not get stuck in a less-productive rut.

12. Moving a TV…

Each time we’ve moved houses, we’ve been stuck with the same conundrum. We don’t have the TV box! And movers will not move a TV without the original box. So what do we do? We grab the comforter off of our bed and wrap the TV in it. Then we put the TV on the floorboard of the backseat when we drive our car over to the new home. The screen is protected by the bedspread, we are wholly responsibly for the TV, and we have a convenient way of getting our comforter to the new house! Win-win-win!

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13. Getting lamps to the new house…

Instead of disassembling and packing lamps in boxes, I put them on the floorboard of the passenger seat of each of our cars. They stay safe and sound with little movement, and it rids me of tedious reassembling at the new house. Plus, instant extra light sources for that first night in your new home!

14. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

There’s no way I could have moved into my last home as quickly as I did without the help of our family. Grandma and GiGi (my mother-in-law and grandma-in-law) took over K’s room and unpacked her toys, hung up décor, and made her bed for her. She had been at Mommy’s house for most of the day, but when she got home that first night, she was SO excited to see her entire room was already done. My sister-in-law was also extraordinarily instrumental in getting everything unpacked and organized in those crucial first few days.

15. Finally, Ihighly recommend using the Moving Van app.

This free app is uh-maz-ing. Seriously. I was able to number my boxes and add in which items were in each box. So when I moved to the new house and needed to know where the window cleaner was, I could search the app and find out it was in box 412, go to the 4– room and locate box 412. It saved us so much time and heartache when we really needed to find things. You can label your boxes whatever you desire. A couple of moves back, I used a lot of totes, so my labels were “Pink tote” and “Gray tote with green tape.”

Bonus Tip: Don’t Forget to Update Your Address… EVERYWHERE!

In the last 5 years, I have had 7 addresses. I’ve had to update my address many more times than anyone else I know, SO my loss is your gain! I’ve typed up my own address change checklist and put it in a pretty format just for you! I’m all about efficiency and working smarter, not harder. Therefore, let’s avoid reinventing the wheel and help each other out!

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Best of luck with your move and CONGRATULATIONS on your new home!

Here’s to hoping the 7th house sticks for me 😉


Extensive List of Tips to Help You Pack and Move Like a Pro (7)


What is the most efficient way to pack for a move? ›

General moving and packing tips
  1. Start with items you won't need right away. ...
  2. Pack similar items together. ...
  3. Keep essentials packed separately for quick access. ...
  4. Label each box by its contents and room. ...
  5. Color code boxes by each room. ...
  6. Allow yourself plenty of time to pack. ...
  7. Load furniture, appliances and larger items first.

What do professional movers pack first? ›

Professional movers move the heaviest and largest items first. This usually means large pieces of furniture and heavy appliances. After the heavy items are on the truck, movers will then load the moving boxes and remaining items.

How do I get motivated to pack to move? ›

How to Motivate Yourself to Pack
  1. Divide and Conquer: Keep, Sell, Trash. Devise a plan for what you're going to do with items you decided not to pack. ...
  2. Organize by Room. Develop a way to label your packing material on a per-room basis. ...
  3. Enjoy Hands-Free, Non-Sedentary Distractions. ...
  4. Reward Yourself.

How do you pack for a smooth move? ›

10 Tips to Make Your Move Smooth and Simple
  1. Tip 1: Pack an Overnight Bag. ...
  2. Tip 2: Wrap Your Breakables in Clothes Instead of Bubble Wrap or Newspaper. ...
  3. Tip 3: If You Don't Need It, Don't Move It. ...
  4. Tip 4: Check Your Measurements. ...
  5. Tip 5: Pack by Category, Not by Room. ...
  6. Tip 6: Pack From Least to Most Essential.
Nov 21, 2019

What should you not pack when moving? ›

What NOT to Pack When Moving
  1. Beauty Products. Nail polish. Nail polish remover. Aerosols (think hair spray or deodorants)
  2. Cleaning. Cleaning solvents. Ammonia. ...
  3. Garden Chemicals. Fertilizer. Poisons (such as weed killer) ...
  4. Garage Chemicals. Car Batteries. Motor Oil. ...
  5. Miscellaneous Household Items. Fluorescent light bulbs. Lamp oils.
Mar 8, 2022

What is the 5 4 3 2 1 packing method? ›

Do the clothing countdown: If you need a mantra to help streamline your wardrobe, use the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 rule for a weeklong trip: Limit yourself to no more than five sets of socks and underwear, four tops, three bottoms, two pairs of shoes and one hat. The list should be adjusted to suit your needs.

How do you pack and make everything fit? ›

Maximize space for accessories and undergarments

Stuff smaller items inside it and clothing around it to keep its shape. Hair tools, brushes and belts can fit around the edges of the suitcase and between clothes. This is also where compression cubes come in.

How do you pack when you have too much stuff? ›

Too Much Stuff, Not Enough Space? Try the 4-Box Technique
  1. Step 1: Gather and label boxes. ...
  2. Step 2: Declutter one area at time. ...
  3. Step 3: Ask yourself rational questions about each item. ...
  4. Step 4: Empty the four boxes and repeat. ...
  5. 4 Clutter Solutions for the Most Common Clutter Problems.
Mar 3, 2020

What do movers load first boxes or furniture? ›

Load your heaviest items first. Whether you're a DIY or professional mover, this usually means furniture goes in before boxes, unless you have large, heavy boxed items such as a TV or a floor mirror. Place dressers, chairs, appliances, couches and other large items against the back wall. Make sure they remain upright.

How many days in advance should you start packing for a move? ›

You should start the process of planning your move about two months out from your move-in date, begin packing about 2-3 weeks before you move in, and be finished a few days to a week before.

What will Packers not pack? ›

Most moving companies have a policy that they will not move foods, liquids, flammable items, or hazardous materials.

How can I make my packing less stressful? ›

5 Tips for Stress-Free Packing and Moving
  1. Create a To-Do List and Timeline. ...
  2. Give Yourself Enough Time. ...
  3. Finish Unpacking ASAP. ...
  4. Take Breaks and Reward Yourself. ...
  5. Stay Healthy. ...
  6. Keep in Touch With Friends and Family. ...
  7. Explore Your New City or Neighborhood. ...
  8. Keep Your Home Clean.
Mar 29, 2023

How do I stop packing anxiety? ›

You've got this!
  1. Travel Packing Tip #1: Write out a List.
  2. Travel Packing Tip #2: Travel Compression Bags vs. ...
  3. Travel Packing Tip #3: Start Early.
  4. Travel Packing Tip #4: Use Pinterest for Inspiration.
  5. Travel Packing Tip #5: Check the Weather.
  6. Travel Packing Tip #6: Pack for Activities.
  7. Travel Packing Tip #7: Pack Layers.

How do I overcome packing anxiety? ›

The Best Methods for Coping With Packing Anxiety
  1. Create a list and develop a routine. Packing efficiently takes practice. ...
  2. Pack for one week max. Save. ...
  3. If you think you might need it, you don't need it. The key word here is “might.” “Might” does not equate to “need.”
  4. It's always possible to buy what you do forget.
Jan 17, 2017

What should be boxed when moving? ›

Small and Heavy

Heavy items like books, CDs, and canned goods are best for small boxes. Books should be packed flat, with the largest and heaviest books at the bottom. Once you've filled the box with books, use plenty of packing paper to fill the gaps.

What do you leave behind when moving? ›

15 Items to Leave Behind When Moving
  • Clothing. Go through and declutter every item in your closet before packing them up. ...
  • Books. Books take up a lot of space and can be very heavy to transport. ...
  • Papers. ...
  • Old Furniture. ...
  • Bathroom Items. ...
  • Food. ...
  • Garage Items. ...
  • Appliances.
Jan 29, 2020

Should you empty drawers when moving? ›

Please empty your desk and dresser drawers before moving day. It's natural to think that your drawers are technically like “boxes” themselves, but moving heavy furniture is hard enough when it's empty, so imagine how much heavier a dresser is when the drawers are full!

What is the rule of packing? ›

This may seem an ambitiously small suitcase, but the golden rule of packing is to always take half the clothes you were planning to bring (and twice the money).

What is the best shape for packing? ›

Hexagons are the most scientifically efficient packing shape, as bee honeycomb proves.

What is the rule of threes packing? ›

The 3:1 rule: Pack three tops for every pair of pants or skirt. Think lightweight and layers. T-shirts, tank tops and cardigans can pile in much easier and are lighter than jumpers and hefty jackets.

Is it better to roll or fold clothes in a suitcase? ›

Rolling your clothes in your suitcase will generally save space. This is because it squeezes air from between folds and means the most of available space is used. If done correctly, rolling can also ensure less wrinkles in your clothes.

What is extreme decluttering? ›

Compulsive decluttering is a pattern of behavior that is characterized by an excessive desire to discard objects from one's home and living areas. Another term for this behavior is obsessive compulsive spartanism. The homes of compulsive declutterers are often empty.

What is the 20 20 rule for decluttering? ›

When struggling to make decluttering decisions, the 20/20 rule says you should consider letting go of an item if: You can replace it for less than $20. And you can replace it in less than 20 minutes.

How do you start packing when overwhelmed? ›

How Can I Pack for a Move Without Getting Overwhelmed?
  1. Don't procrastinate! ...
  2. Before packing anything, place a large trash bag in each room of your house or apartment. ...
  3. Now, go through each room (one at a time!) and create a charity/give-away pile. ...
  4. Get boxes and packaging tape.
Oct 5, 2011

Do you tip movers when they load? ›

Do you tip movers when they load or unload? You should tip movers when they finish their work, which typically means tipping when they unload. The same people will likely handle the loading and unloading for local moves. In that case, you could tip the movers when they unload.

How do you stack boxes for movers? ›

Put the heaviest moving boxes on the bottom

Plus, keeping heavier boxes on the bottom will make it so that you can do less heavy lifting. If you place heavy boxes on top of lighter ones, the light boxes will inevitably crush under pressure.

Is it faster for movers to pack or unpack? ›

Tempting as it may be to put off unpacking boxes, just dive in and take it one box at a time. Unpacking goes faster than packing.

What should I pack first in my bedroom when moving? ›

When packing and moving the bedroom, start by sorting and packing the least used bedrooms first, such as guest rooms or spare rooms. These rooms, once packed, can also act as a place to store packed boxes and dismantled furniture.

How long before you go away should you pack? ›

Two weeks will give you enough time to test out lip colors, launder your sweats, or order that cozy new sweater. If you need to stop thinking about this situation for a while, a two-week packing strategy gives you space to do that.

What should I do before the movers come? ›

You can best prepare your house for moving by doing the following:
  1. Donate or sell items you don't plan to move.
  2. Pack or hire packing help.
  3. Make a plan for high value items.
  4. Disconnect your appliances.
  5. Remove any artwork or shelving from walls.
  6. Dispose of hazardous materials.
  7. Clean each room and dust your furniture.
Aug 5, 2022

Will movers move toiletries? ›

Yes, but not all of them. Ideally, you should move as few liquids as possible. They're usually heavy, unwieldy and pose a higher risk for accidents or spills than other transportable items. Most moving companies will move most liquids, though different companies may have different rules.

Do Packers pack your clothes? ›

Generally speaking, the answer is yes, at least for most full-service moving companies. As an add-on service, movers can, in fact, come to your home and assist you with the process of packing, and this does include your clothes.

How long should you give yourself to pack for a move? ›

As a starting point, plan on spending one day packing for every room of your home. For example, if you live in a studio apartment, it should take you one day to pack your belongings. If you live in a two-bedroom home, assume it will take you at least three days, depending on the size of the rooms.

How can I make moving less stressful? ›

Tips & Tricks to Make Moving Less Stressful
  1. Make a Plan. The key to staying organized during your move is to make a plan before you get started. ...
  2. Use a Labeling System. ...
  3. Start Packing Ahead of Time. ...
  4. Ask For Help. ...
  5. Focus on One Room at a Time. ...
  6. Hire Professional Movers. ...
  7. Pack an Overnight Bag.
Dec 18, 2020

How do you pack and move in one day? ›

How to pack for a move in one day
  1. Recruit as many helpers as possible. ...
  2. Start as early as possible. ...
  3. Pack your essentials and your most valuable items first. ...
  4. Skip the sorting. ...
  5. Leave things in drawers. ...
  6. Use wardrobe boxes. ...
  7. Use suitcases, hampers, and other containers you have at home. ...
  8. Pack soft items in trash bags.
May 19, 2022

How long should it take to pack a 3 bedroom house? ›

3-5 days

How do you pack a messy house to move? ›

Sort out your things into 4 piles

The best way to pack a messy home for moving is to sort out your belongings into 3 separate categories: 1) things you'll keep, 2) things you'll sell, 3) things you'll gift to friends or donate to charity, and 4) things you'll recycle. KEEP.

What are the 3 most stressful things in life? ›

According to the research, the top ten most stressful events in our lives today are:
  • The death of a family member or friend.
  • Financial challenges.
  • Issues at work.
  • Change in a relationship.
  • Divorce.
  • Exams & studying.
  • Buying a house.
  • Reading/watching the news.
Oct 31, 2022

What day is the best day to move house? ›

Sunday is the cheapest day to move house, followed by Wednesday and then Saturday. Tuesday is the most expensive day to move house. If you're choosing your moving date primarily for financial reasons, then Sunday is the best day to move house for you.

How do you declutter before moving day? ›

How to Declutter Before Moving? A Professional Organizer Weighs In
  1. 11 Pro Tips To Help You Declutter Before Moving. ...
  2. Get motivated. ...
  3. Don't procrastinate — start early. ...
  4. Start with the rooms and things you use the least. ...
  5. Pack with pride. ...
  6. Don't linger on old memories. ...
  7. Use the power of piles. ...
  8. Involve your kids with their things.
Jan 19, 2023

How much money should you have saved before you move out? ›

You should generally save between $6,000 and $12,000 before moving out. You'll need this money to find a place to live inside, purchase furniture, cover moving expenses, and pay other bills. You'll also want to have enough money saved up for an emergency fund before moving out.


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