urn down the stress a notch with these easy-to-follow packing tips and tricks! The day of your move is always hectic, so once you know you're moving, it’s never too early to start packing.
Seriously, more boxes than you think you’ll ever need! In 18 years, I can’t recall anyone ever telling me, "we had way too many empty boxes on moving day!". On almost every move, someone is posting on Facebook in the middle of the night with an SOS for spare moving boxes. Whether you're doing reusable rental bins or stalking Costco for spare fruit crates, it’s generally super easy to transport leftover boxes and super difficult to find extras at the last minute. Gathering moving supplies goes without saying; tape, sharpies, bubble wrap, extra blankets, but the big-ticket items is BOXES.
This sounds like common sense but the busier dates like the last day and the first day of the month fill up quickly. You don’t want to be stranded with an entire house packed up and no truck to ship it in.
Moving is the ideal time to lighten your load and get rid of things that you no longer need. As you're packing things up, think about whether you REALLY need those 3 spatulas, or whether one would do nicely.
Whether you're treating yourself to a hiring a cleaner or DIY-ing it, doing a deep clean as you pack will save you time and money on moving day. On move out day, keep your mops, buckets, broom, dishtowels, vacuum and all-purpose cleaners handy, to easily wipe up or vacuum up if things spill.
Everything is more fun with a friend! A chore like packing might sound monotonous but if you can enlist the help of a good friend, even if it's just for moral support, you might be surprised at how quickly your boxes are all packed and ready to go. Try tackling a specific area like wrapping all the collectibles from the hutch or boxing up all extra supplies in the pantry.
Hiring someone to watch the kids is well worth it compared to the cost of hiring movers to pack for you. Remember, anything that isn’t packed when the truck shows up will either be left behind or you'll be charged a premium to have them pack it up.
Friends, neighbours, relatives, the library. Who has loaned you things you need to return?
If you have a bunch of extra paint that match the current wall colours, don’t assume the new owners want these. Over time, the paint colour will change due to light exposure and the paint you were saving for touch-ups will no longer match. A good rule of thumb is after 12 months, discard paints. Snap a pic of the paint tags for future reference and take excess to the Return-It Depot or retailer where you purchased it. Most retailers such as Lowes offer free used paint can returns as a courtesy and will also take any other retailers' cans of used paints.
Pictures, prints, tapestries - whatever you have hanging on your walls can be wrapped and neatly set aside.
Just pack this in advance and be done with it. If you feel compelled to go through it, then go ahead, but if not, just dump it in a box. Your kitchen junk drawer is a commonly-forgotten place and it usually contains valuable things like twist-ties and takeout menus.
The less you have in the pantry the less you have to move, so avoid your Costco run and meal plan for your last week. Once you know what you need for that week, you’ll be free to pack whatever else is in the pantry.
Whether you're doing your own move-out cleaning, or treating yourself to a cleaner, doing the oven the week before will be one less thing on the to-do list. Most cleaners don’t do the oven anyhow, so this will give you a head start. Remember to leave the broiler pan that came with your oven as it’s sized for that particular oven. At the same time, empty the bottom drawer of your oven and pack it up - another common place where people forget stuff!
Put everything back in the fridge in totes so they can easily be taken out and moved in coolers or with gel packs on moving day.
The night before you move pack up your kitchen - all of it! This is the one room in the house where you can’t underestimate the amount of “stuff” that needs to be packed. From the china stashed at the very top back row of the cupboards to the champagne flutes you’ll need when you unbox everything in your new home. Don’t leave the kitchen till the last minute or you will be rushing around running low on packing materials and trying to transport breakables without enough bubble-wrap. For breakfast the next morning, have some easy peasy granola bars, fruit, or other no-dish items on hand, and voila, you're ahead of the game.
The most common places we find forgotten items is the lower drawer of the oven and the cupboard/area above the fridge. You might as well go ahead and pack up both of those now because what’s even in there anyway? Other common forgotten places are a dishwasher full of clean dishes and a dryer full of clean clothes.
For the week leading up to your move, pack your suitcase with all the outfits you’ll need for that week, then you can pack up anything else you won’t be wearing. If you're moving on a tight timeline, pack an overnight bag too - extra PJ’s, toothbrush and toiletries; that way, on Night #1 in your new home after you're completely exhausted from the move, you don’t have to hunt around for stuff to have a shower.
If you don’t already rotate your closet and drawers with the seasons, moving is a great time to start. Sort your wardrobe by season and pack anything that's out of season.
If your dresser drawers can come out, there is no reason to take the clothes out, unless your dresser is built-in and it will be staying behind for the new owners.
Rent or borrow some fancy stand rack boxes or just toss your already-on-hangers clothes in the backseat of your car. There's no need to remove your clothing from the hangers only to rehang them when you get to your new home.
Just like when you're on vacation and you bring home a suitcase of dirty laundry, moving is no different. Just toss the dirties in the hamper or toss it in a large reusable cloth/plastic bag and bring the whole hamper to the new house then put in a wash while you unpack. A lot of people have a superstition about bringing dirty laundry into the new house, but you are not obligated to wash all your clothes before you move. A bonus of not doing laundry right before you move is that there is less chance of being forgotten in the dryer!
Leave out only the towels you’ll use for the week, throw those in a bag after your last shower and take them dirty (just like coming home from swimming lessons. There is no shame in packing a bag of dirty towels and this allows you to box up your extra blankets, sheets, pillows, towels and bath mats - all that's left to do the morning of is toss the last few towels in a bag.
The week before you move gather up all the toiletries and pop them in reusable plastic totes or large zip lock bags. You’ll be able to easily transfer them to a box and save valuable time on moving day by packing your bathrooms in advance.
Holiday decorations, china cabinet items, chachkas, books, extra bedding, figurines, collectibles, backstock of non-perishables or paper products, toys the kids don’t play with often, tools you don’t need for moving, extra dishes that are not used every day, muffins tins, baking pans - the list goes on.
Don’t be left scrambling around looking for your kids' school lunch supplies - mark all your boxes clearly on all sides, especially if they contain a specialty item, like the Instant Pot.
Important documents, jewelry, sunglasses, designer handbags, special serving ware - these are things you should be responsible for yourself. Although most movers are insured and bonded, the last thing you need is to test out that policy, so prevent this catastrophe by taking your special items in your own vehicle.
Just straight up plan that you’re not going to have enough time and you’ll be running behind on the day of your move. Know that now, so you can relax and expect chaos!
Don’t forget to move your address too! Your ID, subscriptions, bills, all that. Check out our "39 places you’ll need to change your address" checklist to stay on top of changes and keep organized.
Moving is arguably one of the most wonderfully busy (read: stressful) times in your life, but it can be a lot easier if you are organized and start as early as possible. It just takes a few supplies (you probably already have them in your house!), and you'll be acting like Marie Kondo in no time :)