How to Pack for Moving House - Tips From the Removal Experts
Updated: Oct 5
Moving house should be a really exciting time. Perhaps you’re finally moving out of your parent's home and in with your partner or some friends. Or perhaps you’re moving to make room for an ever-growing family. Whatever your reason, moving house often signifies a new start. But let’s be honest, sometimes this promising new chapter is overshadowed by the fact you know you’ve got to pack up everything you own into boxes. As a result, you stress and worry about packing instead of looking forward to the future.
That’s where we come in. At Saint Removals, we have a combined 10 years of experience in the removal industry, so there isn’t much we haven’t packed. From glassware to grand pianos - we really have seen it all. As removal experts, we’d love to share some of our packing wisdom with you. That’s why we’ve created this guide on how to pack for moving, it’s designed to make your packing process a total breeze. And if it doesn’t, well, you know who to call.
So, let’s get started, shall we?
Packing for moving house; before
The key to a smooth sailing packing journey lies in how well you prepare. In fact, your preparation and organisation skills have the power to make or break the entire process. Though it may seem tempting to just throw everything haphazardly into boxes a few days before you move, trust us, that’s not the way to go about it and you’ll only hate yourself for it on the other side. In the next few sections, we’ll outline how you can prepare to pack for moving house.
Make sure you have everything you need
When it comes to packing for moving, there are some essential items you’ll need. Not sure what these are? Don’t worry, our handy checklist below includes everything you need to get going.
Cardboard boxes - from small to large, you’ll need every size of cardboard box there is. Make sure they're all usable though, the last thing you need is everything falling out the bottom when you go to pick one up.
Heavy-duty boxes - some household possessions are just too heavy for cardboard boxes so you’ll need some sturdier ones in the mix too.
Wardrobe boxes - because no one wants screwed-up suits or shirts, right?
Suitcases - for a hassle-free way of transporting your clothes.
Protective materials - bubble wrap, styrofoam or old newspapers are ideal for making sure those fragile items come to no harm.
Stretch wrap - for making sure your furniture isn’t marked or scratched during any part of the moving process.
Markers or labels - labelling each box by room and contents is a godsend on the other side.
Top tip: The more specific you can make your labels the better. For instance, instead of labelling a box as ‘kitchen’, label it ‘kitchen - pots and pans. You’ll be surprised just how much time this will save you.
When it comes to sourcing these items, if you don’t already have some of them lying around the house then we strongly recommend asking your friends and family if they do. A lot of people will have cardboard boxes and protective materials especially, going spare either from recent deliveries or house moves of their own. So it’s definitely worth asking around before going out and buying everything new.
Not only can this help you cut the cost at an already expensive time but is a more environmentally friendly option too. However, if you can’t source these items second-hand you’ll be able to get hold of them easily at your local hardware store or online.
Because we’re so kind, we’ve also got a bit of a bonus tip for you here. When packing for moving, you’re likely to come across some items and pieces of furniture that need taking down. To do this, you’ll need a screwdriver, an allen key or a hammer, amongst others tools. Plus, some of your possessions might be a little dusty if they’ve been in the attic, under the bed, or haven’t been used in a while. As a result, they’ll no doubt need a clean or wipe down before you take them to your new place.
So why not prepare for this? Make up a box containing all the tools you’ll need as well as some cleaning products and wipes. If you're packing a really dusty room, you could even put a mask and some overalls in there too. You can then take your box around with you as you pack.
Start packing early
We’ve carried out a lot of removal jobs, and in that time we've spoken to a lot of people about their packing process. One topic that comes up time and time again is how time-consuming packing for moving really is. And people always seem to underestimate it too.
Don’t let this be you - start packing early. You might think it won’t take you very long, but we promise you, it takes a lot longer than you think. Plus, you’ll often have to clean your house before leaving it - either to get your deposit back or for a seamless handover. Again, this often takes longer than you’d think too, and you’ll want the house empty before you start on the cleaning.
So just how early should you start?
Well, it largely depends on the size of your home and how much stuff you have. If you live in a large house, then perhaps as early as two months. If you live in a smaller house or a flat, then a month to a few weeks will probably be ok.
Obviously, this won’t involve packing up furniture or everyday essentials like your toaster and kettle. However, you can start to pack up those trinkets and decorative pieces, as well as items from rooms you might not use very often, such as the attic or a spare room.
Declutter and donate
Moving house presents you with the perfect opportunity to get rid of anything you don’t want or need anymore. Going through the entire contents of your home can unearth possessions you didn’t even know you still had. So before packing properly, have a quick scan in every room; check under the beds, the back of the wardrobes and the top of cupboards for anything you don’t use.
Once you’ve gathered up any unwanted items you’ve got lots of options. You can give them to friends or family, donate them to charity or put them up for sale on sites like eBay or Depop. Alternatively, if you're a dab hand at DIY you might even be able to upcycle it and then sell it or make new use of it yourself.
Just make sure that everything you take with you to your new home you do actually want. There’s no point taking up valuable packing space with stuff you’ll only get rid of later. And, it’s a lot better to have a clear out pre-packing for moving than it is post.
When you're packing for moving house it can be really handy to make some lists. They can be as detailed or as brief as you like, but you’ll find them really useful for staying on top of everything.
For example, you can have a checklist for each room that details how far along the packing process you are, which items you’ve prepared and which you haven’t, etc. Even for the organised, packing for moving can present a logistical nightmare and lists can help your move go ahead without a hiccup.
Packing for moving house; during
By now you should have everything you need to start the process. You’re ready to start reaping the rewards of your preparation and should hopefully be feeling a lot less stressed about it all too. So now it’s time to start actually packing for moving house. The next few sections of our guide will offer you some stellar advice on how you can go about doing this.
Pack room by room
Packing room by room is one of the most efficient (and logical) ways to pack a house for moving. But it often gets overlooked. Packing your house one room at a time is a sure-fire way of keeping all your belongings together and organised. It keeps you on track and motivated too - you can literally see your packing decrease right before your very eyes.
If you really want to double down here, we also recommend packing by item. For example, instead of putting items at random into a box labelled ‘bedroom’, create a box, especially for one particular item such as bedroom books. Obviously, this won’t always work, because you might put softer items, such as bedding, in with more delicate items, such as vases, to protect them. But generally speaking, you should try to categorise items together where possible.
Plus, there are no limits on specific you can be with your labelling. It’s absolutely fine to write - ‘bedroom - books/duvets/candles’. The more specific the better, for both us and you. Not only will this help us load our fleet, as we’ll know if a box can be stacked on top of another, but we’ll also know which room to put the box in at your new place.
Don’t overpack or exceed weight limits
Whether it's cardboard boxes or suitcases, be careful not to overdo it when you're packing for moving. Cases and boxes that don’t close are a pain to transport, stack or store. They can also give way, causing your items to fall out and potentially break or smash.
That’s not to mention the injury that heavy boxes can cause to the person having to pick them up. Regardless if that's yourself, a family member, or a removal worker, you definitely don’t want anyone getting hurt during your moving process. To avoid this, always make sure you can close boxes and cases easily, and try to stick within a safe weight limit of around 30 pounds (lbs).
Start with the heavier items first
Let’s take your bedroom as an example, it doesn’t make sense to pack the cushions into the box first, does it? Instead, we recommend starting with heavier items. This way, you can make sure nothing gets crushed and the weight of the box is evenly distributed.
Put your valuables and documents in a safe place
Ok, ok, so we know we said earlier you should be packing room by room. Well, there is perhaps one exception to this and that’s your valuables and important documents.
We strongly suggest going around the house and collecting valuables like your jewellery, cash or car keys, as well as important documents such as passports and birth certificates, etc. You can then put these in a box and take it to a family member or put it in storage. Then it’s out of the way and you don’t have to wake up in a hot sweat in the night wondering where your passport is.
See - when we said we’ve got you covered, we really meant it!
Adopt a smart packing process
What is smart packing we hear you ask? Well, it’s basically taking a logistical approach to packing boxes. Think of packing a box a bit like a game of Tetris. You have all these items in front of you, and you want to make them fit into the box as compactly and neatly as possible.
Make the most of the box, if there’s a gap in the box, find an item that fits it rather than just grabbing another one. Utilising your space like this will mean less work for everyone. Plus, packing your items compactly will also reduce the risk of items rattling around in transit.
Wrap items in protective material
We know this one probably goes without saying, but we’ll mention it anyway. Delicate items such as glassware, vases or picture frames should always be wrapped up. Never put them in loose. You can use professional protective materials to do this, such as bubble wrap or styrofoam. Alternatively, you can also use things like duvet covers, throws and cushions.
It’s worth mentioning here that it’s not just those delicate items that will benefit from being wrapped in plastic or cushioned. It’s generally good practice to protect most items in some way. This prevents them from bashing against each other and leaving marks or scratches during the move.
Don’t forget about the electrics!
When packing for moving, it’s easy to forget about the finer details. Don’t forget to go round your house and turn off and unplug all your electric appliances. For example, your dishwasher, oven and washing machine will all need to be switched off and unplugging.
In regard to packing cables, we strongly suggest winding them up neatly and labelling them. The last thing you want is a huge tangle of wires to wrestle with on the other side. Not to mention the days spent trying to work out which wire goes with which appliance.
How to pack for moving; after
This is a short but sweet section because by this point you’ve done all the hard work and heavy lifting (literally). However, we do have one very crucial bit of advice that will make life on the other side smooth sailing.
Pack a box of essentials
Packing your life into boxes means there's a lot of stuff you won’t be able to access for days, possible even weeks. But some stuff is obviously essential. You’re still going to need to eat, get dressed and go to work whilst moving house, so make sure you have everything you need to do this.
We suggest setting aside:
Essential toiletries like toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, etc.
Clean clothes for work and leisure, as well as nightwear.
Vital but basic kitchen appliances like plates, cutlery, pots, pans and a kettle (no one should be expected to go without their morning cuppa)!
You might want to think about getting some tinned food or ready meals in too (though we’re sure no one would blame you for opting for takeaways).
Bedding and towels
If you have young children or pets, you should also set aside their food, toys and general supplies. The box of essentials we mentioned earlier containing tools and cleaning appliances will come in really handy on this side too.
This way you don’t need to go rifling through all your boxes in a mad panic because you can’t find your toothbrush or wash your hair. Instead, you can set up a functional space in one of the rooms of your new home and carry on living a life as close to normal until you get everything sorted.
Tips for packing when moving
We’ve covered a lot of ground in this guide, so we’ll leave you with some of our top takeaways!
Invest in quality moving materials - make sure your boxes are sturdy enough, your tape strong enough and your labels sticky enough! Even if you’re sourcing these second-hand, they need to be up to a certain standard.
Pack a little and often - after all, Rome wasn’t built in a day. If you're doing your own packing for moving you have the freedom of doing it on your own timeline. Start early and pack for an hour to two each day rather than in one big chunk.
Get specific with your labelling - ok we know we’ve mentioned this a few times, but we can’t stress enough how important your labelling is. Not just in terms of room, but contents and weight too. Add ‘delicate’, ‘no not bend’ and ‘heavy’ to your boxes too. This way everything arrives in the condition it left in.
Let Saint Removals take care of all your packing needs...
Of course, there is another option when it comes to packing for moving. And that’s - don’t! Leave it to the experts instead.
If the thought of organising, sorting and packing everything you’ve ever owned neatly into colour-coded boxes fills you with dread, then why not let us take care of it. We do this day in, day out - it’s our bread and butter, and we’d gladly take this out of your hands.
When you employ the help of a professional removal company such as ourselves, you don’t have to worry about a single item being scratched, damaged or misplaced. We use industry-standard protective materials to ensure your items come to no harm, and we promise to treat your belonging as if they were our own.
Don’t worry though, we 100% practice what we preach and make sure that we reuse a lot of our removal materials, especially our cardboard boxes, wherever we can.
We offer a range of removal services that you can mix and match to suit your needs. Just need a hand with the heavy lifting - sorted. Need the full works - we’ve got you. So, what are you waiting for? Get in touch with us today and let’s get started!