When to Start Packing for a Move?

Moving home is a big project that can take you weeks, and even months to finish. So, do you know when to start packing for a move? The answer is, as soon as you know you are relocating. It is not just the packing itself – that comes in the end – it is the whole process and preparations that will take you a lot of time. If you prepare well enough, the actual packaging will be a breeze.

man sitting on the floor overlay
November 8, 2019 Posted in Moving Tips

When to Start Packing for a Move and Where to Begin

Begin organizing for the move months in advance. Plan and prepare well to make it easier on yourself later on. You have a whole process with many systematic steps ahead of you. You have to make organized checklists, such as a list of things you should do before moving, a home inventory list, a packing checklist, a new apartment shopping list, etc. As you can see, this is a long process, but if you approach it meticulously, there will be no room for mistakes. This is also a good time to organize auto transport if you need one.

woman ready for the move
Make priorities and organize them beforehand.

Make an Inventory Checklist Weeks Before You Move

First of all, if you don’t have a home inventory list, this is the perfect time to make one. Organize your belongings into categories, such as appliances, electronics, kitchenware, clothes, etc. You can also do it room by room. It is not a bad idea to take a photo inventory for insurance purposes. Don’t forget to add the things that you have lent to someone or the items that are in a storage unit. After you have a clear picture of the things that you own, decide what you need to pack, what is the excess, and what you need to buy for your new apartment.

making a list
All those checklists will pay off.

Get Moving Supplies Weeks in Advance

When you know how many things you have to pack, it is much easier to get the right amount of supplies. A good rule is to get some extra materials for a backup. You have an option to buy used boxes and save some money that way, but no one can guarantee how sturdy and safe they are. If you decide to hire movers for professional packing services and packing supplies, you should notify them about the quantity and volume of your things.

Either way, you should acquire:

  • Boxes
  • Packaging paper, bubble wrap, packaging peanuts, and other padding materials
  • Duct tape
  • Labels
  • Shrinkwrap
  • Custom crates for oversized items
  • Custom crates for valuable items and art
packing materials
Gather packaging materials.


When making your inventory list, make a separate category for the things you don’t need. This is important because you don’t want to spend more on packaging materials and the transportation of those things. After you decide what is excess, you have a few options to deal with it. You can donate clothes and other items to one of the many non-profits that will redistribute to those in need. You also have an option to organize a sale and earn some money, or to dispose of them entirely. If you opt for the last, try to follow the rules and regulations for recycling and disposal. Decluttering is especially important if you are downsizing and moving from a house into an apartment, for example.

choosing stuff for the move
Do something good with your excess.

Pack Items for Storage

In the end, you may be left with some things that you want to keep but can’t fit into your new home. In this case, your best solution is renting a storage unit from your movers. This way you will have a place for them until you decide what to do or make enough room in your new home.

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How to Organize the Process

You should handle your belongings in stages and room by room. Start with the non-essential things and furniture and leave the things you need every day for the last. If you get your materials on time, you can add what you lack later on, without a fuss.

When to Pack Boxes

Start to pack actively a few weeks before you move. Get your bulky and oversized things first and disassemble everything that is not going in one piece. Gather your clothes and seasonal items, your appliances, your kitchenware, and pack fragile items according to your daily needs. The last day before you move, you shouldn’t have much left to deal with.

man holding boxes
Make a system that will work for you.

How to Organize Your Boxes Systematically

The easiest way is to do it is room by room. This is how you can systematically pack, load your boxes into a truck and unload and unpack on your new premises. Try to make a list of their contents as you fill them. Correct labeling is not only an organizational hack, but it should also serve as a guide for handling your delicate belongings.

You’re Only Halfway Done When You Pack

Packing is the second stage of the whole relocation process. After it, you are left with transportation and unpacking. You have two options here: getting moving services from movers or organizing it yourself. If you decide to do it on your own, don’t forget to count in the vehicle insurance, gas prices, and manual labor for the heavy lifting. If you are shipping your vehicle, load it on a carrier if you didn’t take care of it earlier. When looking for a shipping company, get a reliable auto transport quote. Depending on the distance and shipping arrangements, it can take up to two weeks for your vehicle to reach the destination, and that is why you should organize it timely.

Organize auto shipping on time.

How to Organize Things for Transport the Day Before You Move

You can make the whole process of loading boxes a lot faster if you organize them. Separate fragile things and valuables on one side. They should have a separate space in the vehicle. As for the rest of them, put them in the center of the room, ready to be loaded on the truck. The more information about the contents of the box you write down, the easier it will be to organize them in the truck.

What to Leave for the Moving Day

You should handle your plants when the moving day comes. They will probably go with you in the car, but they need to be in your home for as long as possible. If you are moving with your pets, they will go last in the carrier, when you have to leave and lock up.

a baby and a dog sitting together
Make the long trip comfortable for all of you.

Don’t Forget This

You should have your overnight bag for the road, especially if it takes more than a day. Take extra clothes, shoes, something warm, medicine, food, snacks, soft drinks, your favorite music, and some entertainment for the road. If your pet is traveling with you, prepare an extra bag with their necessities.

Blake Shaw

Bostonian and residential moving and packing expert. Blake Shaw enjoys bar-hopping, music, and writing insightful content.



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