We recently just moved again, and I got to experience just how much time and energy packing can take.
We considered hiring movers to pack our house but, in the end, I wanted to save the money.
I also had to be strategic because I was going to pack during naps and nights for a few weeks. Meaning that while I was putting things in boxes, I needed our house to stay functional.
Here are my best house packing tips including when to start, what to buy and what order to pack so you have a packing plan.
This isn’t always possible, but it does help. I have found that if I space out, I do a much better job. I am less likely to get tired and just start throwing random things into boxes.
If you are strategic about the order you pack in, then you can start as early as you want and not feel like you are living without items.
Most of you know that to move you need boxes and tape. Boxes are not super expensive but are sometimes easy to get free. Check Facebook, Craigslist and local email lists to see if anyone is trying to get rid of moving boxes.
For our family of 4, we were able to pack the house using approximately 30 small boxes, 20 medium boxes and 10 large boxes.
I also bought 3 roles of tape and a packing tape dispenser. I wasn’t a fan of the the packing tape dispenser gun and to be honest, I probably would have just gotten normal packing tape roles instead. I had a hard time using the dispenser gun and I always had to find it instead of having to find one of the three roles of tape.
Lastly, make sure you have sharpie markers to label boxes. Grab a pack of different colors and use a different color for each room.
Use vacuum bags to compress items
In addition to those staples, I would grab a bunch of vacuum bags. These will help you be able to pack items more efficiently.
Use vacuum bags for
- Winter coats
I have read a lot of posts that say to use these items to pack fragile items, but I do not like doing that. The reason is because I like to keep my boxes organized. I don’t want to have to dig through my kitchen boxes to find my socks I used to pack the wine glasses. I would rather my clothing stays all together.
It also makes it a lot easier to unpack because each box goes to the room it is supposed to and I am not trying to unpack a box that has items from multiple rooms. So instead I bought packing paper for packing up the kitchen.
Use zip ties, rubber bands and zip lock bags to organize
We used these items to keep things together and organized. We used zip ties for cords so they didn’t get tangled.
We used zip lock bags for whenever we dissembled something to keep all of the pieces (like screws and bolts) together. We would label a small piece of paper and put it inside the bag so we knew what the parts when to.
Buy Paper Kitchen Items
One of the best house packing tips is to buy paper plates, cups and disposable silverware for when you pack up the kitchen. The kitchen will be one of the last things you tackle because you need it to be functional until the very end. once you do pack it, you can keep using the kitchen and the food in your fridge with disposable utensils.
Set up your space
The most crucial step to packing like a pro is to ensure you have organized your space for packing. What I mean by this is that you need to have cleared a space, room or wall to store the packed boxes. We cleared a space in the house and started there. We used the space to organize and pack.
Once we had enough boxes, we started to use the garage to store packed boxes. We cleared space and then kept the cars out. The advantage of using the garage was that the boxes were easy to load from there.
Additionally, you need to designate a space for your pitch pile and your give away pile. These two piles are important so that you can declutter as you go. The less you have to pack the better. Additionally, you don’t want to bring all of that with you to your new home.
Have a packing plan
The worst part of packing is knowing where to begin. It can easily become overwhelming. Additionally, you might not know what you can safely pack without needing it.
After a lot of thought, I finally had a plan and set off to start packing. Here is my packing order that worked really well to keep our house functional and relatively stress free all the way to the end.
Start with off seasonal items
Now that you have your supplies and have a plan on where boxes will go, you are ready to start packing boxes.
I think the easiest thing to pack first is off seasonal items. This can be anything from holiday storage to off season coats and clothing.
These items are not being used at all so you can truly back them up months before and not feel like you are living out of sorts.
Pack up anything in storage
The next items I would tackle are anything in storage. We have a lot of items in our basement that are in storage and in our attic. I took it all out and slowly went through it all. I was able to give away and purge so many items.
Remember to leave suitcases unpacked for your travel bags!
Pack part one of travel bags
At this point, I went through and set aside items for each person that they would need outside of clothing. I held off on packing the clothing portion until I packed that person’s room.
Items that I set aside are things like toothbrush, hair products, work, or school items. Really anything that I thought someone might need.
Pack coat and linen closet
I found the next easiest task was to pack up closets. This included all closets outside of bedroom closets so for us that was the linen closet and the coat closet. After that, I packed up the bathroom sink cabinets.
Pack up Bathrooms
Outside of a handful of items, we don’t really use the items stored in under the bathroom sinks on a daily basis. Also, by putting together part 1 of the travel bags first, I know the essentials are out.
Pack by Category
At this point, I packed a few items by category before I packed up by room. For instance, I packed all of the shoes together, which are scattered in various places. Other items that I packed by category were
- Arts and crafts
- Office supplies
- Cleaning supplies (I left a few essentials out to clean at the very end)
Basically, any item that is in multiple rooms, I consolidated and packed at the same time. While it is probably easier to just pack by room, I really recommend this step before packing by room. It made it so much easier to organize and declutter. Additionally, it was very easy once we moved to find items since they were packed all together.
Pack by Room
Now you want to pack by room. You won’t want to start this step until you are close to moving. I started this step a week before moving. I started with rooms we use the least. I made my way through the bedrooms first.
When I packed up the bedrooms, I made sure to take clothing out for the travel bags. I also did all of the laundry the day before. That way I could pack it all together and leave out exactly what they needed instead of guessing what was in the laundry.
After that, I made my way through the rest of the house leaving the playroom (to keep kids entertained) and kitchen for the very last.
When I finally did pack the playroom, I also packed a toy suitcase so they still had options for the last few days.
Pack the Kitchen
You want to save the kitchen until the very end because you need it. Once you pack the kitchen, you can keep eating as long as you bought paper plates, cups etc. So, I recommend based on experience to wait until the last few days to pack the kitchen.
Lastly pack outside items
Lastly we packed up all of the items in the yard. We then also packed up the items in the garage.
We had moved all of the garage items to one side so we could stack boxes on the other side.
I go back and forth on if it would have been easier to pack the garage first. We decided to wait because we used a lot of the items we stored in the garage on a daily basis.
I think after the fact, I would have done a part 1 pack of the garage when we cleared space to store the boxes. I could have packed items that we don’t use regularly. Then did a part 2 pack of the garage at the very end.
Keep Kids Entertained
By leaving the playroom and yard times until near the end, I was able to leave toys out for play. Once we were in the final stretch, I actually grabbed them a subscription box. I ordered them in advance and then kept them until the final packing day. We grabbed boxes from KiwiCo, a Koala Crate for our 2 year old and a Kiwi Crate for our 4 year old. These helped immensely for that final day since it is always exciting to get mail and they provided entertain for a good portion of the day.
Another way I entertained my older kid was to give her the job of labeling boxes. Since she is 4, I would write the word in dashes and have her trace the word. Both of them also liked drawing on the boxes and making fun pictures.
The other best tip I have is to try to pack as much as you can during nap, quiet time and after bedtime.
Packing A House
I hope that by sharing my experience and best house packing tips will help you in your move. It can be a daunting task but starting early and having a plan really helps.
Once you have space to store your packed boxes, start with items you don’t use often such as anything in storage and off-season items. Before packing up rooms, set aside items everyone will need while traveling.
Lastly, purchase paper plates and utensils so you can pack up the kitchen and still be able to eat.