How to Pack for a Move [Video]
The Travelers Umbrella logo appears in the center of the screen. Text, how to pack for a move.
An animation of several houses along a neighborhood street lined with trees.
SPEAKER: Moving day can be an exciting time for your family. But if you haven't planned ahead, the task of packing can be overwhelming. Here are three tips for a smooth packing process.
An animation of a living room area that features a large area rug with a swirled design in the center of the room, a sofa with accent pillows and a laptop on it, a floor lamp, a bookcase, and framed wall art.
Step one, pare down your belongings. Moving more than you need is a waste of time and money.
An animation of sofa accent pillows in a moving box.
Organize your things into four categories-- trash or recycle, sell, donate or give away, and pack.
The screen is split into four boxes. The words trash or recycle next to a trash can in top left box. The words donate or give away next to a box that has a label on it that reads, donation in the bottom left box. The word sell next to a framed picture with a tag on it that reads, for sale, $150 in the top right box. The word pack next to three packed moving boxes in the bottom right box.
Packed moving boxes and rolls of packing tape on the area rug in the center of a living room area. An animation of a clipboard marked, Inventory, with a list of furniture.
Step two, pack to keep track. Create an inventory while you pack to track items and help estimate moving costs. Make sure to note the condition and value, as well as the room where they'll go in your new home. Step three, label everything. Use color-coded tape to quickly identify boxes.
Packed moving boxes with labels on them that read, 1, books, living room and 3, blankets, master bedroom.
Label the tops and sides by number, category, and room. And create an open first box with key items that you'll need on day one. Make it an easy transition from one home to the next.
An animation of a moving truck with Text, Moving, as it drives down a neighborhood street past a row of houses.
The Travelers Umbrella logo.
Visit travelers.com for tips on more of life's challenges.
Logo, Travelers. Text, Visit travelers.com. Copyright 2018, The Travelers Indemnity Company. All rights reserved. Travelers and the Travelers Umbrella logo are registered trademarks of the Travelers Indemnity Company in the U.S. and other countries.
Anyone who has moved likely can tell you a tale or two about boxes packed at the last minute, perhaps when the moving truck was already parked out front: boxes where the contents of a cabinet got swept up in one fell swoop, never to be opened again, a perfect pre-move time capsule. Don’t let this happen to you!
Having a good packing system is your friend when it comes to a move. If you follow a three-step process, you’ll eliminate what you don’t need, organize what you choose to keep and then label it so that you can find it when you arrive at your new home. Our packing tips for moving:
Step 1: Pare Down Your Belongings
Moving more than you need wastes both time and money. You may be forced to pay to dispose of furniture that’s a poor fit at your new home, when with a bit of advance planning, you can sell it before you move. Be honest with yourself about what should make it onto the moving truck.
Organize your possessions into four categories:
- Trash/Recycle. Start by weeding out all of the things that you clearly don’t need, such as old toiletries, broken appliances, piles of newspapers and magazines, stained clothing unfit to donate and outdated electronics.
- Sell. From old sporting equipment to a spare sofa, there may be a market for your unwanted items. Allow time to post them for sale, find a buyer and arrange for timely pick up.
- Donate or give away. Ask family and friends if they are interested in taking extra items, or contact a non-profit. Some will arrange to pick up furniture and other household items in good condition.
- Pack. These are things that you can’t live without. Think useful, valuable or sentimental. Remember that the single best moving tip is to reduce the amount of things you have to move. That takes time, so get started early and stay committed to being organized.
Once you have divided your items into these categories, act quickly before you change your mind.
Step 2: Organize Your Items
Create an inventory to track the items that you will move. This will help you estimate the moving cost with the moving company and keep track of items during your move, including documenting lost or damaged items. Your inventory can include the condition and value of items, as well as the room where they will go in your new home.
Organize items by areas of the house, their material and the frequency of their use. Pack decorative wall hangings and items that are rarely used first, with other similar items that are used in the same room. As you pack, remember that household items, including socks and t-shirts, can also make for handy, and free, packing materials to help keep dishes and other breakables safe.
As you pack, number each box and track the numbers on your spreadsheet, so you know that the coffee maker is in “Kitchen – Box 11,” not just in one of a dozen boxes labeled “Kitchen.” You can download moving apps on your smartphone to guide you through building an inventory and creating bar codes that you can print out and place on boxes help keep track of your items.
Travelers wants to help you protect the things that matter to you. We offer a wide breadth of products so you can be covered at home and on the road.
Step 3: Label Everything
Gather your packing supplies, including boxes, packing tape, scissors, newspaper, markers and labels. Consider using color-coded electrical tape to help you quickly identify boxes. Label the tops and sides of boxes by number, category and room in your new home. Clearly mark boxes containing breakable items as “FRAGILE.” Label boxes that should be opened right away and others that can wait until you are more settled.
It’s helpful to create an “open first” box with key items that you’ll need first, such as a change of clothes, tools and a first aid kit. Also set aside a moving documents folder, with the contract for the moving truck, tip for the movers, and any other paperwork you might need on moving day. That way, when the moving truck pulls up out front, you’ll be ready to roll.
Following a process that helps you be organized for your move can help ensure a smoother experience as you transition from one home to the next.
More Tools & Resources
Cut down on clutter to appeal to potential home buyers. Learn how to declutter your home for sale with these 5 steps.
When moving from an apartment to a house, consider some of these homeowner to-do's.