Most Useful Packing and Moving Tips What Worked and What Didn’t
These are our most useful packing and moving tips! Some things worked and others not so much! A printable checklist is included for your convenience.
I’m sharing packing and moving tips while it is still painfully fresh in my mind from our recent move. In fact, as I type there are boxes waiting to be unpacked!
After living in the same home for seventeen years we made a big decision to move about 30 miles away to be closer to my husband’s job and our grandchildren.
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Moving was such a big deal for us I began with an extensive search for the best moving tips I could possibly find. In my dreams, ours was going to be such a well-organized move! At least that was the plan!
SAVE THE BEST MOVING TIPS
The first thing I did when we finally decided to sell our home was to create a secret board on Pinterest to save moving tips. Pinterest is such an easy way to save information.
MAKE A LIST
The very best packing tips I found came from moving companies. We used Good Guys Moving & Delivery and have absolutely no complaints. Our movers loved the system I used for identifying boxes so I’m really happy to share that one!
The next thing I did was make a list of items I would need to purchase for packing purposes. Print our free shopping list for moving supplies linked below.
I created two baskets as shown below. One for all the tape we used to color code our boxes and one for resealable storage bags, markers, tape measure, and such.
Essential items for packing include
- Packing Tape ( Duck HD Clear performed best)
- Packing Tape dispenser
- A couple of rolls of regular tape
- Magic Markers
- Screwdrivers (some things have to be taken apart for packing)
- Measuring Tape
- Reclosable storage bags (Quart and Gallon)
- Small carrying tray with a handle to hold all the supplies (Dollar store item)
- Plastic container for holding all the colored Duck Tape (Dollar store item)
- Duck Tape in various colors (one color for each room in the new house)
- One piece of white foam board
- Lots and lots of boxes for packing (we bought ours at Home Depot)
- Dish foam roll
- Bubble Wrap
- Packing paper
TOWELS, SHEETS & BLANKETS
In addition to the bubble wrap and packing paper, I used almost every towel, sheet, and blanket in the house to wrap breakable items. My husband and I began to believe that almost everything in our house was breakable!
BAKING DISHES AND GLASS BOWLS HACK
Big glass baking dishes can be safely tucked inside the folds of comforters for safe moving travels. I got as many as five baking dishes in one big box of comforters!
Sheets work great to wrap glass mixing bowls. Be sure to create somewhat of an accordion-style fold so you can set smaller bowls into larger ones.
SELLING YOUR HOUSE? Here is how we sold ours in ONE WEEK!
The Seller’s Complete Checklist (free printable)
10 Ways To Create Curb Appeal
15 Best Annual Flowers for Full Sun
Our Deck Makeover Project
THE MOVERS LOVED THE COLOR-CODED BOXES
The idea is to use one color of tape for each room in the house. Boxes are marked with tape for each room where they should go. The chart you create on the foam board is essential and should be placed in a prominent place where the boxes are being carried into the house.
Our Color Coded Box System worked like a charm! The movers loved it which made me feel great.
Use a foam board from the dollar store, as above to create the code then place it in a prominent place in the new home on a moving day. The foam board is more sturdy than the poster board which will keep curling up.
Place a strip of matching tape on each side of the packed boxes as seen below. I placed a piece on each corner and one on top so the movers wouldn’t need to search the box for the color. As they began to unload the truck, they quickly memorized which room to take the boxes to eliminate the need for anyone to direct traffic on moving day.
You do still need to write on the outside of the box what is inside for your own benefit to make unpacking easier.
WHY I RECOMMEND BUYING BOXES
We bought all of our boxes from Home Depot for several reasons.
- First, it was quite simply easier than hunting all over town for free boxes.
- Second, it made stacking boxes onto the moving truck much easier because we only used two sizes. We used small and medium boxes.
- The bigger the box, the heavier the box. Avoid being too heavy to save folks’ backs and attitudes on your moving day.
PACKING PLATES AND DISHES
Pack plates vertically using Dish Foam between each. Cushion the bottom of the box with a towel first. If you have space left, tuck in towels or washcloths.
Foam disposable plates do work as a cushion between dishes but you will need to purchase the better brand which is larger. The cheap foam plates are not thick or large enough to pad a full-size dinner plate which is the reason we wound up buying the dish foam roll.
Use packing paper to wrap glasses. Place them in the box vertically nestled close together to prevent movement. I stuffed decorative throw pillows on top of the glasses for more cushion.
THE EASIEST WAY TO PACK HANGING CLOTHES
One of the best moving tips ever is to use handle-tie 13-gallon trash bags to keep clothes bunched. We found that bunches of 10 fit well in each bag and were still manageable. This will also prevent smudges and stains from occurring on your clothes during the move. The best part is that you can still use the trash bags after the move!
WHAT DID NOT WORK FOR US
Buckets for Dishes is a no from me!
Stacking dishes in a bucket did not go well for us! I used foam plates as cushions between dishes which were stacked inside a 5-gallon bucket. Only dessert-size plates will even fit and there is no way to close the top or protect it from damage. The only thing which got broken in our entire move was a few dishes in this bucket!
The other thing which did not work for us was the trick to using toilet paper tubes for packing cords. We kept all cords with their respective item which made setting up electronics much easier in the new home. We also used a see-through storage bin with a lid for extension cords and such.
HOW TO SURVIVE YOUR FIRST FEW DAYS AFTER THE MOVE
Pack a suitcase as if you are going on vacation for a few days. Be sure to include your daily toiletry items as well as several changes in clothes and comfortable shoes.
Also, pack another suitcase with bed linens for each bed so you won’t have to hunt for them on a move-in night when you are exhausted.
One more absolute must from my perspective is to pack a picnic basket with disposable plates, forks, etc. to use the first couple of days as the unpacking begins.
Depending on how far away you are moving, it is also helpful to plan simple meals for the first few days. During our first couple of days, I cooked spaghetti and several Crockpot meals and we made sandwiches.
Be sure to print the free moving supplies list and let us know any moving tips you have that others would benefit from!
Follow our HOMEMAKING TIPS & TRICKS Board on Pinterest
Whenever we move I always take one box and fill it with the coffee maker and coffee supplies, mugs, sugar etc. I hadn’t thought of packing a suitcase for clothes, which is just brilliant. I agree that buying boxes is better as they stack right, and I have a bunch of rubbermaid totes I keep (and share), to move really breakable items. Thank you for all the information. Love it.
Moving is always a hassle 😉 But it is definitely worth the effort. Recently, I helped to move my friend to a suburb of New York City from downtown. He had his own checklist to make sure he didn’t forget anything, as well as many different tokens that helped a lot, some of which he obviously looked at you 🙂 My friend was madly happy to move, because the proximity of nature and the lack of noise made his life better and calmer. Did anybody have the same experience of a successful move?
Hi – i can’t find the list to download and print. Can you send it to me?
Be sure you check the box that says ‘Moving Supplies Checklist’ Then check you email to confirm and then you will receive an email to print or download the list. https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/u5y9a6
Really this is a fabulous post for me to my new destination. To plan the whole household material pack needs some good ideas for that. Here I get some pre-planning to perform this purpose. Plenty of helping resources you share, thanks.
What size garbage bags did you use to bundle clothes? Tall kitchen 13 gallon?
Yes, Etta. 13 gallon trash bags is what we used and I carefully removed them and used them for our trash cans later.
Glasswares and breakables – resist the urge to pack them too tightly. Things need room to shift(the simple movement of vehicle moving down the road will shift things. When packed to tight, things tend to compact. I once had someone help me pack. I had many beautiful and expensive sea shells. Each got packed in paper napkins and placed in Tupperware containers then boxed (was supposed to help keep them safe) they compacted and had nowhere to shift to but up and that was not how science worked – I ended up with more broken shells than if I had put them in a plastic garbage bag and tied it and just moved them in the car itself with a fragile tag. And in the long move in an open air truck, my vacuum cleaner handle and table chair legs got blue (unremovable) marks on it from where the tarp blew apart and whipped the vacuum handle most of the 549 mile trip. Maybe I should’ve wrapped and taped my vacuum and chair legs. A quick cardboard box (cereal box even) wrap and tape would’ve done the job of items that stick up or hang out of a vehicle.
Tina, Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. Someone may benefit from those same situations.
Great tips! Sorry for the broken dishes. I think this bad experience will save much time and energy for other people who gonna read your article. Thank you!
Hi! I love that you used only small and medium size boxes. I’m curious what you did with the larger and bulkier items, such as large pictures or big vases that might not fit? I’m moving next week and didn’t want to buy large boxes but I have quite a few bulky items. Kristen
Hi Kristen. The larger pictures/art and such we wrapped well in bubble wrap or blankets and sheets and moved them in the car ourselves. We had the luxury of closing on our new home more than a week before we closed on the old one which allowed us to be able to move all of the delicate items ourselves.
Big Vases went into the medium boxes packed between comforters. I packed those boxes tight by adding throw pillows or bed pillows in the top. I put blanket on bottom, then vase wrapped in a comforter then pillow on top. It worked well because we didn’t have any breakage.
This was our first time using a moving company and we were very impressed with how well they wrapped everything, even furniture. I did learn a neat trick from them. The use cardboard to wrap around things then also wrap it with a blanket which is taped extremely well. I think the moving company may have more blankets than a hospital!
I’ve moved 8 times in the last decade and I still learned a new tip from you! I’ve never packed my glass bowls/bakeware in with my comforters. I feel like I wasted so much box space by just putting the blankets in a box by themselves lol. Our next move I will definitely use them. And I like your color coded system too!
Another thing I’ve learned when packing up things is to have an “unpack first” box for the kitchen and bathroom. That will include the must have items you’ll need when everything is unloaded from the moving truck. For me it includes the coffee pot and crock pot.
I think you should share your packing/moving tips! I’m sure you have some great ones! The blankets and baking dishes worked well not only to protect the glass dishes but also to keep one or more boxes from being overtly heavy.
Having them pack was a problem. They didn’t do a great job of sorting things and there were a few broken items, too. A few items were just missing. We had to file a claim and that was a pain. We packed anything that was truly special to us ourselves, so the losses were not a huge deal. If I ever move again, I’ll do all the packing though! This was the most clicked post from last week’s Brag About It Party. Laurie and I will both be featuring it tomorrow.
Great tips, Shirley! I haven’t moved in over 13 years, but prior to that I moved pretty often. I learned a few of these tricks along the way. Your color coding was a great idea. For our last move from San Diego to Charleston, my husband’s employer paid for packing and transporting. I would never, ever go that route again. Glad you had a smooth move!
Beverly I am guessing because they did the packing it was hard to find things? Is that why you wouldn’t do that again? I personally packed almost every single thing in our home. My hubby did a few things but I wanted to know where it all was and write on the box my own reminders. lol It worked. The only thing we had trouble finding was a single pair of my hubbys shoes which we both forgot was in an overnight bag! We were searching boxes in the dining room for those shoes, lol.