5 Packing Tips for Your Next Move

woman with boxes and clipboard preparing for a move
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 15-50
What You'll Need
Exacto knife
What You'll Need
Exacto knife

Playing Tetris with your moving truck should be the hardest part of moving—not the packing. With more than a dozen moves under our belt, we've got a few tried and true tips that make moving a little less stressful.

1. Go Eco Friendly

Make moving a little more eco friendly (and cheaper) by recycling and reusing things in your own home. Instead of heading to the store for bubble wrap, use clothes, socks, old fabric, or even kitchen towels and hot pads to give boxes and breakables a little extra padding. Even things like pillows and stuffed animals can make a good buffer in a bumpy move.

These items won't get damaged and will just need a simple wash when you get to the new place. You can also use old paper scraps, magazines, and newspapers lying around your house to achieve the same goal.

2. The Purge

two piles of clothes, one labeled discard, the other labeled keep

About a month before the big move, give your house a deep clean that results in you donating old items you don't use anymore. You can use the Marie Kondo cleaning method to declutter and destash. No one wants to pack up items that they're never going to use again.

Two weeks after the first decluttering session, go through everything again. If it feels overwhelming, tackle it room by room. Set a day aside for the kitchen, then one for bedrooms, one for closets, etc. This makes ridding your space of old, unused, or unwanted items more manageable.

Don't be afraid to keep a Goodwill pile while you pack too. If it's not worth the effort to trek across the country, it's probably not worth packing.

3. Boxing Day

a man pushes a woman in a big box

Before you break out the wallet to buy boxes, go by local stores near closing time and ask for any boxes that they are planning to throw out or recycle. Grocery stores, liquor stores, book stores, and even big-box stores will often have a pile you can pick from.

You can post on local yardsale pages or even search Craigslist to find people giving away old moving boxes for free. If that doesn't work, and you have to buy a new box or two, head to a big-box store before you shell out the cash to buy boxes from a moving company. Stores like Walmart or Home Depot sell boxes at a much lower price.

4. Handle With Care

If your boxes don't come with handles, cut some. Especially if you're lugging a box of books (which you should probably put in a suitcase with wheels for easier transfer) you're going to want handles. Before you pack your boxes take an Exacto Knife and cut an upside-down triangle, with the flat side facing toward the top the box, into the box.

Cut the triangle large enough that your hands can easily fit but not so large that it weakens the box significantly. If you need to, draw the triangle on the box before you cut—but it's not an exact science. Find a shape that works for you and cut away.

5. Label Maker

label maker on blank background

Get organized with lots of labels. At the very minimum, it's essential that you label all of your boxes with the room they came from and a brief description of the contents. This helps keep you organized when you're hauling boxes into your new home.

If you want to level up your label game, go full color-coded. Use colored labels on all of your boxes to help you quickly sort them by room. Print a layout of the new place with colored label stickers in each room on the map. Hand everyone a map and ensure that boxes get to the right room the first time.

Moving can be stressful, but when you look at it as an opportunity to DIY a whole new space, things seems a little more exciting. After you get settled in your new home, give your bathroom an upgrade with a Japanese Soaking Tub or show your kitchen some love by knocking out the uppers and adding open shelving. The house is your oyster.