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Stressing Over How to Pack for a Move? Moving Experts Have You Covered With These Strategies 

Moving isn't nearly as scary with these tips and tricks!

Whether you’re about to start a new chapter in your life or just pondering a potential relocation, packing up all your belongings to move can be daunting. This is completely common and normal, because it can absolutely be hectic, emotional, time- and energy-consuming to pack up your home, but one thing that can help simplify the process is having a plan for how to pack for a move before you get started. We asked moving and storage solution experts for their most important tips for anyone considering or gearing up to pack for a move.

How to pack for a move

We’ve all looked around our home before packing and thought: “Where do I even start?” The short answer is to declutter, but that itself is a multifaceted venture.

1. Decide which space you’ll start in

You should start with whichever rooms contain items you don’t use often, says the team at UniMovers. This includes seasonal decorations that are in your attic or basement, guest bedroom items, storage closet contents, and items stored in the shed or garage. This approach is effective because first packing these infrequently used items that are not day-to-day necessities allows you to continue functioning comfortably in your current space without disruption until your move, the pros explain.

2. Sort your belongings into which can go and which will move with you

Experts say the first thing you should do is go through each room in your home and decide which items really need to come with you to your new space. In each room, categorize products into keep, donate, sell, and discard piles, suggests Meaghan Kessman of Meaghan Kessman Home Organization. The hardest part about this is usually deciding which belongings you can part with.

“Reducing the weight of the load will reduce the cost of the move,” says Libby Wood, Certified Senior Move Manager and the owner of senior move management company Senior Settlers. “Use the rule of 25: If an item can be replaced for under $25 in less than 25 minutes, is it worth moving?”

3. Pick which items to pack first

Now that you know which things you’ll be taking with you, it’s time to decide which of those things are being packed away first. Consider starting with delicate, expensive, or sentimental items, suggests Sarah Nelson, owner of Less is More Organizing Services, Inc. These items will need more care when handled, she explains, so it will take more time to pack them securely. Doing this when you have more energy to spare for packing is preferable to doing it at the end when you might end up cutting corners to simply get things done.

4. Pack your things safely

Carefully packing delicate items in a box
FreshSplash/Getty

Keeping your belongings safe and in their original condition is arguably the most important part of packing to move. Experts agree that a variety of sizes is best so items big and small fit properly.

  • Choose the right containers

“Lightweight, bulky items like blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals can be efficiently moved in big boxes or plastic bags, while heavy stuff like books will be much easier to handle in small boxes,” says Nick Valentino, VP of Market Operations of moving service Bellhop. “Wardrobe boxes are absolutely worth the space they take up when packing hanging clothes, and plastic totes are ideal for moving cleaners, paints, chemicals, and food.”

Kessman also recommends investing in double-walled cardboard boxes for added durability. And, for items that need extra protection from moisture or dust, plastic bins with secure lids are ideal, she says.

Similarly, the folks at UniMovers recommend double-walled corrugated boxes and plastic totes. When packed correctly, these sturdy boxes offer excellent protection for your belongings and are easy to stack in your moving vehicle, maximizing space and stability, they explain. Plastic totes are also sturdy, can fit many items and can be repurposed for future storage needs after your move, and the transparency lets you see the contents without needing to label the outside.

  • Pack to protect

Use bubble wrap, packing paper, or even old towels to cushion delicate items, experts advise, and fill empty spaces in boxes with packing peanuts or crumpled paper to prevent movement. The boxes should be taped thoroughly to keep them from opening in transit or while being carried. To keep dishes, glassware and stemware safe, they should go in specialty boxes that have separators and sleeves to keep them from moving or breaking.

  • Label those boxes

You’ll also want to ensure every box is labeled with its contents, destination in the new place, and which side should go up. This will make things smoother and simpler for you and the movers helping you.

  • Store the boxes in the right place while they wait to be moved

“It’s also key to keep your packed items in climate-controlled conditions,” notes Valentino. “Your garage may have plenty of space, but it’s also subject to temperature swings and may allow moisture and pests to get at your belongings.”

How to pack for a move with minimal stress

Woman smiling surrounded by moving boxes
AaronAmat/Getty

Yes, it’s possible to keep your move hassle-free enough to make it manageable. Here are a few of Kessman’s tips that can help:

  • Visualize your progress and plans. Creating a physical checklist broken down into categories and deadlines and mark things off as you go through the process.
  • Pack an essentials box with items you’ll need immediately upon arrival, like toiletries, a change of clothes, basic kitchen items, medications, important documents, and phone chargers.
  • While packing to move, try to maintain as much of your normal routine as possible and keep up with healthy habits including exercising, eating healthy meals and getting enough sleep to manage stress levels.
  • Keep your perspective as positive as you can by focusing on the exciting aspects of moving, like creating a new space and new beginnings. This mindset can help alleviate anxiety and keep you motivated.

Visit the links below for more helpful ways to keep your home more organized!

Pro Organizer’s Top Tips For Styling, Organizing + Saving Space in Your Dream Home Office

How to Organize Cords to Save Space + the Genius Hacks Clutter Experts Use in Their Own Homes

Garage Storage Ideas: Pro Organizers Share Their 9 Easy Tricks That Keep Things Tidy

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