What to Pack First When Moving
Are you changing apartments or moving into a new house? When faced with bringing your belongings from your old place to your new ones, you might be wondering where to start when packing to move. We understand; it can all feel overwhelming at first—so many things to pack and so little time!
But moving doesn’t have to be mysterious. If you take our quiz below to see if your packing instincts are up to par, you can see where you need to improve.
Keep in mind that there’s always room for improvement when it comes to packing. That’s why we’ve created this in-depth guide to help you figure out where to start when packing to move. We cover what to pack first and what to pack last when moving, so all your ducks are in a row come moving day.
Follow along to discover our recommendations on what order to pack your house.
Stock Up on Supplies
If you’re wondering where to start when packing to move, we recommend gathering all your essential packing supplies first. This involves stocking up on everything you might need for the move, such as cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, packing peanuts, furniture covers, scissors, and markers to label your boxes. Also consider carts and moving straps.
Knowing you have all your supplies ready will make it much easier on you when you’re ready to start packing—one less thing you have to worry about down the road.
Before going to town with the cardboard boxes and packing tape, take a step back and inventory your home. The best way to do this is to go room by room, making a list of all your belongings.
Dig into the back of your closets and open up those drawers to discover everything you’ve got. As you work, set aside items that no longer serve you—create a pile to toss and a pile to donate.
For example, if you forgot about that pair of boots you got on vacation or haven’t used that board game in years, it might be time to find them new homes. It’s pointless to pack up items you have no intention of using on the other end, and getting rid of them now means fewer things to pack up in the long run and more room for the things near and dear to you.
Now that you’ve created a moving checklist of the items you plan to bring with you, you can figure out what things to pack first when moving. A better idea of what you’re packing can help you determine if you need to grab any additional packing supplies.
Clean Items Before Packing Them
Once you’ve determined your list of things to pack when moving, this is your opportunity to clean everything. If you clean your items first, they’ll be in tip-top shape and ready to go when you unpack them in your new location.
Begin by dusting and wiping down all your belongings to remove any dirt, dust, and grime. For stubborn marks, use a rag with some gentle soap and water. If you notice any stains on clothing or linen, be sure to throw them in the washing machine because they can cause mold and mildew if left untreated.
After cleaning your belongings, make sure they’re completely dry before you pack them away.
Pinpoint Less-Frequently Used Items
This might sound obvious, but it’s an important tip. When it comes to determining what to pack first when moving, start with the items you don’t plan to use for a while—anything that isn’t essential.
Think about seasonal items and belongings you don’t plan on using in the near future. This includes those collectibles in your attic that you haven’t touched in three years, the holiday decorations you took down last month, and the weedwhacker you won’t need until next spring.
Other items to pack first might include:
- Seasonal clothing. Depending on the time of year, this might include swimsuits and sun hats or winter parkas and mittens
- Recreational gear, from snow skis and mountain bikes to camping gear and roller skates
- Landscaping and gardening tools, such as lawnmowers to sprinklers
- Decor, such as artwork, framed photos, and knickknacks
- Books and photo albums
- Spare bedding, towels, and linen
- Appliances like the ice cream maker and fondue pot
- Items you plan to place in storage
If you’re wondering what room you should pack first when moving, start with the least-used room. For you, that might mean the attic, game room, garage, or guest bedroom. If you’re not using that space often, you’re likely not using the items within it anytime soon.
Remember, when taking inventory of these areas, be sure to recycle, donate, or throw away items that you haven’t thought about or used in a while.
Other items to consider packing first:
- Decorative dining sets for entertaining like fine china and antique silverware.
- Your entertainment collection, from your DVDs to your record collection.
- Recreational games, board games, and video game consoles, such as your foosball table, pool table, PlayStation, and chessboard.
- Equipment from your garage, including air compressors, tool bench, and ladders.
- Patio furniture like sun umbrellas, chaise lounges, and deck chairs.
- Collectibles, from your baseball card collection to your vintage dolls.
Determine Your Essentials
Now that you’ve determined what you should pack first when moving, let’s move on to the opposite end of the spectrum and focus on what to pack last when moving.
The items that you pack up last with be those that you’ll be using down to the very wire. What will you need in the last few days or weeks in your home? Maybe you can’t go a morning without firing up your coffee machine, or perhaps you need your Kindle to fall asleep every night. Those items go in the last-to-pack pile.
To keep from scrambling around to find your essentials while on your packing spree, set aside one or two boxes for everything you’re still using. This way, you know exactly where you can find your hairdryer or toothbrush in the weeks and days leading up to moving day.
When determining your essentials, you may want to consider where you’ll stay once your place is all packed up. For example, your essentials may differ if you’re in a hotel for a few days versus an empty apartment without any furniture.
While each person is unique, here are some essential belongings you might consider packing last:
- Toiletries, such as toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, conditioner, and body wash
- Makeup bag with everyday cosmetics
- Electronics like laptops, cellphones, and tablets (along with their chargers)
- Change of clothes (don’t forget a comfortable, suitable outfit for moving day)
- Pet food
- Pillows and clean sheets
One caveat to this “essentials” rule is if you have certain valuables, such as family heirlooms or expensive jewelry you don’t want to lose in the mix of things. You can add these special items to your essentials list and keep them with you at all times.
Move On to Everything In Between
With a better understanding of your non-essential and essential items, you can now begin packing up the rest of your items, from the least used to the most used. When it comes to the order to pack things for moving, don’t make it too complicated.
Label Your Boxes
Now that you have a better idea of what to pack first when moving, remember to label your boxes. This will help you separate what needs to go first and what needs to go last. How you decide to go about labeling your boxes is up to you.
You might decide to affix a description of what’s inside to help keep track of all your items. For instance, if you jumped the gun and packed up your frying pan and spatula too soon, you can easily head over to the box labeled “kitchen utensils” and find exactly what you need. Or, you might only label those boxes you plan to pack last as “essentials,” so they don’t get packed away by mistake.
But if you’re really feeling organized, you could create a numbering system, signifying when each box should get packed. For instance, you might number your guest room and game room boxes with the number “1,” since they’ll get packed up first, while the stuff you pack later might get a “2” or “3,” to suggest a later load.
There is no right or wrong way to label your boxes—just go with whatever method is most convenient for you.
Find Out More About Stor-It
Don’t allow yourself to get stressed out about moving day. We’re here to make sense of it all for you. As long as you follow our tips and tricks, you’ll find that packing up your items is much easier than you think.
After all, here at Stor-It, we know all the ins and outs of moving and storing your items. We are Idaho’s longest and largest storage facility. We’re here to help you when it comes to moving day. Whether you’re wondering how to pack boxes or looking for a storage unit near you, we have you covered. Contact us today!