10 Essential Packing Hacks for Moving

young woman using laptop and going over packing checklist

Packing is one of the most dreaded chores associated with moving. With all that gathering, labeling, and organizing, it’s no wonder so many of us leave packing to the last minute! Thankfully, there are many ways to make the moving process efficient and stress-free; here are our 10 essential packing hacks:

Hack 1: Start Early and Make an Inventory

The earlier you can start packing, the less you’ll have to do when moving day arrives. How soon should you start? Mark a date that’s six weeks away from your move and use the first three weeks to take an inventory of your belongings. This may be time-consuming, but by starting early you will have all the time you need.

Depending on how long your inventory takes, the first or second three weeks provides you with a great opportunity to get rid of anything you no longer wear, use, or want. You may find that this alone reduces the stress associated with packing!

While you’re at it, ensure you have enough essential packing items, such as garbage bags, masking tape, or packing tape.

Hack 2: Use Clear Plastic Bins for Essentials

When you’re packing, cardboard boxes and plastic bins both have their purpose; but when it comes to packing your essentials, choose clear plastic bins. They will allow you to instantly know what’s inside and eliminate the need to open multiple boxes to search for what you need.

Consider packing a clear bin for the kitchen and bathroom, along with a box of tools, paper towels, and cleaning supplies you’ll need once you’re moved in. Although these are only a few boxes, you will be surprised at how much frustration they save you.

Hack 3: Color Code by Room

Color coding your moving boxes can make packing much more efficient. It will also make it much easier to transport your boxes where they need to go when you arrive.

Assign a color to each room in your new home and print corresponding labels. You can also use a marker to color a corner of each box.

Hack 4: Use Clothing to Wrap Fragile Items

Paper and bubble wrap are two effective ways to keep your breakables safe. If you don’t have either of these, or the time to buy them, clothing and other textiles work just as well.

Use shirts and towels to protect larger items like vases and artwork. These can also be used for packing dishes; simply place a small towel or shirt between each dish or layer a long towel between dishes.

Socks can be ideal for protecting glasses; roll up a pair to place inside, and then use another sock to place the glass completely inside. Socks are also great for keeping jewelry and other small or important pieces from migrating during moving; just tie the top of the sock into a knot.

Hack 5: Vacuum Seal Off-Season Clothes

Vacuum bags are an amazing invention that can protect your off-season clothing and save tons of space in your moving vehicle to boot.

Place all of next season’s clothing into the bag and fill to the line. Unscrew the cap on the side of the bag, turn your vacuum cleaner on, and place the hose over the bag’s side opening. Allow the vacuum cleaner to suck as much air out of the bag as possible before removing the hose and screwing the cap back on.

When you finally arrive at your new home, your vacuum-sealed clothing can simply be placed in your closet or storage area until you’re ready to wear it.

Hack 6: Utilize Luggage and Duffel Bags

Everyone has run out of boxes and bins during packing. Instead of having to go and buy moving supplies, gather up your duffel bags and luggage and pack your belongings in them.

Virtually anything can go in your bags and luggage. If you have smaller items that you don’t want moving around and getting broken in a larger box, put them in a duffel bag. You can pack your regular clothing into duffel bags and luggage or reserve these for items that can’t be placed in drawers, such as hats, towels, scarves, pillowcases, gloves, and sheets.

Hack 7: Load Boxes Based on Weight, Not Size

Packing your boxes with heavy items on the bottom will prevent them from moving around during travel.

Whether you’re doing it yourself or hiring professionals,  placing packed boxes properly will make a significant difference to the balance of the moving vehicle. Load heavier boxes toward the front of the moving truck, placing your lighter boxes on top.

Hack 8: Take Pictures of Electronics Setups

two young women packing boxes in an apartment getting ready to move

When you’re busy packing, moving, and unpacking, reassembling your electronics may not be a top priority. If it’s been a while since you did this, knowing what your electronics looked like prior to your move will be a huge help.

Be sure to take pictures of the back of each component and label each photo so that you know which component you are looking at. Another way to keep track is to tape your photo to its corresponding component.

Audio receivers should have a picture of the back and front so that equalizer and other settings can be quickly restored if they’re moved out of place.

Hack 9: Create an “Open First” Box

An “open first” box is a great way to save time searching and provide you with everything you’ll need on the first day in your new home at the same time.

Some items to consider placing in this box include a change of clothing, toilet paper, soap, toothbrush, shampoo, coffee, tea, a kettle, and enough dishes for everyone who’ll be there on your first day.

You don’t have to pile everything into one box; but if you’re using more than one, be sure to label them.

Hack 10: Double-Check All Containers and Furniture for Unused Space

Dressers, laundry bins, and storage bins are all examples of places that can hold various items. Use these to hold clothing, shoes, pet food, and anything else you may have run out of packing room for.

Fill empty containers with small items or essentials like cutlery, pasta, and herb and spice jars. Ensuring you use all the space available to you will make packing easier. This is especially true of dressers; leave clothing inside and remove and stack the drawers between boxes for incredibly simple unpacking, every time!

Avoid Last-Minute Moving Mistakes

back end of a moving truck with packed boxes both in and out of the truck

Color coding and vacuum bags will certainly make life much easier, and identifying opportunities to use space in bags, luggage, and pieces of furniture will save you from having to run while you’re on a packing roll.

Your “open first” box will be a real lifesaver on your first day, allowing you to access what you need to prepare for unpacking and organizing in your new home.

A great packing experience is possible when you start packing early and stay organized.

Are you ready to make your next move a breeze? Don’t forget to bookmark these 10 essential packing tips for moving and share them with friends and family who are on the move too! Samba Moving can help you with your moving checklist. Call 212-756-1263.