How to Pack for a Move: A Beginner’s Guide

Moving boxesPacking is no easy task, even for those who have taken on the arduous task before. Odds are, you’ll encounter more than your fair share of challenges along the way, even if you do everything the “right” way. This can be especially frustrating for those who aren’t sure what to expect going into their first big move on their own.

Luckily, there are a wide range of resources and materials available to help you plan ahead in more ways than one. Read below for our list of some of the most important key tips to know going into your packing, and keep in mind that getting a head start on your efforts is always a beneficial way to cut down on potential stress or complications down the road!

Kicking Things Off:

  • Assess all of the options you have on-hand: Did you research moving companies before choosing one? Depending on where you live, you might be able to find moving packages and services that suit your needs much better than others. 
  • Confirm your movers: It’s never an easy task to try and move on your own. Save yourself the trouble and recruit some help early on. You may even opt to call in some favors from your friends.
  • Put together a moving folder/binder: Before you start doing too much work, you’ll want to put together a basic folder to make sure that you have all of your needed paperwork and materials together. This will keep you from forgetting simple things at the last minute. 
  • Establish a moving budget: No matter who you are, you’ll only be able to spend a reasonable amount of your own money on your move. Plan your features and packages around your budget first and foremost.
  • Learn all you can about the new home: One of the easiest ways to slow yourself down will be to not have a solid understanding of where furniture will go in your new place. Planning on where things will eventually go will give you an edge. 
  • Know about your new community: What’s your new neighborhood like? It’s good to avoid having to find out the do’s and don’ts of your new community the hard way.

Necessary Preparations:

  • File any needed paperwork: Odds are, you’ll have at least a few bills, etc. that will require a change of address. Go down the list and make sure you have all of these covered. 
  • Update any subscriptions and memberships: In the event that you maintain any subscription or by the mail services, you’ll want to make sure that all of these are set to be updated in time for your move-in date. Most can be taken care of with a quick phone call.Don'r Reuse Boxes
  • Gather any packing supplies: Be it boxes or duct tape, you need to start gathering the packing supplies that you need sooner rather than later. Find out what supplies you will need, whether it be for the entire house or for one room, with the use of a packing calculator. This one step could save you money, time, and stress now and throughout the duration of your move.
  • Get rid of unneeded junk: Even if you’re moving into a larger space, moving is still the best time to get rid of clutter that you don’t use or need. 
  • Fix Things Up: If you have access to your new place, now would be a good time to begin making simple fixes so that you won’t have to bother with these on move-in day: burnt out lightbulbs, etc.
  • Keep track of your documents: You’re going to need access to a lot of relevant paperwork along the way to your new place (and after you’ve gotten settled in). Start compiling important moving-related paperwork now and you won’t be scrambling to find it later. 
  • Label your boxes by room: If you want to cut down on the volume of challenges you’ll have on-hand on the day of your move, you’ll want to label your boxes according to where they’ll need to be unloaded. You won’t want to be digging through random boxes in search of the contents of your kitchen, bathroom, etc. This can be one of the easiest ways to save yourself valuable hours.

The Bulk of your Packing:

  • Packing the tough places: Spare bedrooms and storage spaces can be some of the most difficult to pack, but if you power through them early on, you’ll be able to get the meat of your move over with in no time.
  • Packing lived-in spaces: Rooms such as the bedrooms and kitchen can provide a unique challenge when packing, as you might not know what to leave until moving day. Start packing things little by little, leaving only what you’ll really need.
  • Again, Keep a Personal Folder or Notebook: You should be jotting down basic details on the things/rooms you pack. You won’t want to forget whether or not you’ve already packed up some collectibles. It can even help to make a list of essentials you’ll need in the first few days.
  • Confirm Your Reservations: Is everything with your moving company tied together and ready to go? Be sure to double check that your move is a go.
  • Start throwing things out: Odds are, if it’s perishable or poisonous, it’s not coming with you on the road. Check with your movers to confirm what they’ll be able to ship, but assume that you’ll be getting rid of most liquids and foodstuffs.
  • Make plans for your moving day meals: Given that much of your kitchen contents will end up being disposed of, you’ll need to take extra care to plan for your meals when moving forward (at least until you get settled in at your new place). Similarly, it can be a good idea to plan your meals during your final week or two so that you’ll know what to expect when hustling to move out.
  • Decide where you’ll be staying: Are you sure that you’ll be able to hit the sack at your new place the night that you move in? In a lot of cases, it takes more time than you’d expect to get furniture and bedroom materials fully unpacked and set up, so you may want to look into booking a hotel or similar lodgings for your first night or two in your new city.
  • Perform a Packing Last-Call: After covering the major areas of your home, you’ll want to run through at least one more major clean sweep to pack up the less-remembered areas. We can almost guarantee there will be at least a few items that you forgot.
  • Separately Prep your Essentials: There are a number of key items that you’ll need once you’re on the road, and it usually won’t be possible to go digging through them on the spot. Keep all the things that you need on hand, including key documents, a go bag of clothing/snacks, and anything else you can think of. Movnig Boxes
  • Handle your Utilities: By now, your moving date should be confirmed, so you’ll have a good idea of when exactly your existing utilities need to be shut off, in addition to when you’ll need the utilities at your new place to be activated. This point might be worth additional care during the winter months, as water pipes and the like will sometimes need to run for a while before successfully functioning after having been shut off.
  • Disassemble appliances that use water: While somewhat self-explanatory, appliances such as your refrigerator will need to be turned off sooner rather than later. The water generated from the defrosting process will go everywhere if you don’t prepare for it, and that’s not something you (or your movers) will want to deal with.

The Home Stretch:

  • Do a Final Sweep: Make sure that absolutely everything is accounted for before you’re ready to hit the road. Are all your rooms completely cleaned out? Are your utilities shut off, and do you have all the needed documents on hand? What about your essentials for once you hit the road? If you’re triple-sure that everything is completely in order, you can look towards embarking on your journey with a semblance of peace of mind.