Moving 101: Follow a Packing Checklist

Moving 101: Follow a Packing Checklist

Level: Beginner

It’s said that moving is one of the most stressful events in our lives. It’s an exciting but daunting task with one eye on the future and one set on getting there. It doesn’t have to be intimidating though. As long as you prepare in advance and take it step by step, you’ll find yourself in your new home with minimal fuss.

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    • Step 1: Create a Budget

      Determine how much you need to spend on your move. Consider packing supply costs (boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, etc.), professional moving companies or truck rental costs, food or other sundries, etc. Start a file or folder to keep all of your notes and important moving documents together and readily accessible.

    • Step 2: Reserve Equipment/Movers

      Schedule your truck / equipment or mover reservations at least a couple of months before your expected moving date. You don’t want to wait too long and risk having fewer options at your disposal when it’s time to move.

      Helpful Tip

      If you need to keep items in a storage unit before, after or during the move, reserve a storage unit now. You may find you have items that won’t fit in your new home. Storing these types of items allows you some flexibility in how to deal with them at a later date.

      If you’re enlisting friends or family to help instead of using movers, reach out now to make sure they will be available, and to decrease the likelihood of no-shows on moving day.

      A couple of weeks before the move confirm your truck rental and/or mover reservations again just to be sure.

    • Step 3: Purge Items

      Donate or throw out items that will not be going to your new home. Before putting the first thing in a box, you should start the moving process by getting rid of what you don’t need. Go through the attic, basement, closets, drawers, cabinets and crawlspaces to see what you no longer use. The less stuff you have to move, the easier it is to organize, pack and move it.

      Helpful Tips

      When sorting through items, start a “donate” box in which to throw clothes and other items that don’t fit or haven’t been worn or used for at least a year.

    • Step 4: Start Packing
      Packaging tapeStorage totes

      If you start packing weeks before the move, you’ll save yourself from unnecessary stress and make the process more organized and efficient. Take your time. Start with items you have stored in closets, the attic or basement, or otherwise use less often than other items. Do one room at a time until you’ve packed everything in the house. Leave essential bedroom, bathroom and kitchen items unpacked until you’re close to moving day so that you avoid packing something that you might need before the move.

      Here a few more tips to make packing for your move that much easier.


      • Pack clothes in suitcases and other luggage to leave boxes available for other items.
      • Keep old blankets, pillows and towels handy to use as extra padding for the move.
      • Measure your furniture and other large items, and write the measurements down so that you know for sure you can squeeze through a corner door or other tight space, if needed. This will also help you choose a properly sized truck. You will be surprised at how much space furniture takes up when stacked together.
      • Keep a box of essentials handy with items such as a change of clothes, soap and shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, bedding and towels. This will prevent you from having to dig through boxes to find what you may need.


      • Collect or purchase a supply of moving boxes as early as possible. Be sure that the boxes are sturdy and sealable. Securely tape them shut.
      • Use wardrobe boxes to move hanging clothes.
      • Remember to label boxes by room or color-code them. Try not to combine items from different rooms.
      • Storage totes are a great solution to use instead of cardboard boxes. Although pricier, they are sturdier and sealable.
      • Put heavy items, such as a book or record collection, in small boxes to keep their weight down. Heavy boxes are harder to move and the boxes might fall apart from the weight. Also, put heavy items in boxes first, before lighter items.
      • Avoid using too many boxes without tops. Boxes without tops can make stacking more difficult and you may risk damage to items inside.

      Breakable Items:

      • Pack dishware on its side in the box (padded with packing paper or bubble wrap) to better protect it during the move.
      • Wrap glassware and china individually in packing paper before boxing.
      • Consider transporting electronics and other fragile items in your personal vehicle, to avoid the risk of potential damage from being packed in the moving truck. You can also consult your moving company on how to pack fragile items, such as electronics, artwork and other prized possessions. The moving company may have special cartons or transportation methods for these items.
    • Step 5: Transfer Services / Change Address

      Transfer all services to your new address ahead of time to ensure that you won’t have an interruption of services at your new home. Call your utilities, phone, cable/internet providers and post office to switch service delivery to your new address.

    • Step 6: Move

      On the day of the move, remember to get enough sleep the night before and be sure to eat a good breakfast. You’ll need the energy. Keep plenty of snacks and water on hand. Pick up your truck. If you have hired movers (or enlisted friends), make sure everything is ready for them. Arrange ahead of time for someone to watch pets or children during the move, unless your children are old enough to help. A move can be traumatizing at first for pets. Having them out of the way during the move can make it less stressful for them and you. You can introduce them to their new home after the commotion of the move.

      Alright! Now you’ve got a plan for making your move go smoothly with fewer headaches. Enjoy your new home!

  • Here’s what you’ll need to complete this project successfully.

    Before you begin, use the shopping list below to uncheck the tools you already have to complete this project.

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