24 Packing Hacks to Make Moving So Much Easier

Here are the best packing ideas you need to know for your next move!

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Top 24 best packing hacks for moving header with photo of woman surrounded by packed boxes

This post will show you the best packing hacks for moving.

Are you planning on moving soon? If so, you may be already dreading the packing you have to do. Packing for a move can be stressful because there are so many things that you need to make sure that you bring with you. You also have to have all the right packing supplies and something to move all of your boxes in. It’s a lot.

{Related post: The Ultimate Moving Day To-Do List}

If you have never moved before, this is probably even more stressful because you may not know where to start and looking at all of the things that you have to pack may seem too overwhelming.

But, don’t worry because there are many things you can do to make packing for your next move a lot easier on yourself.

First, the Basic Steps to Packing for a Move

First, let’s do a quick overview of the packing and moving process. There are a few key steps that you should follow when moving.

The first step is preparation.

Preparation for moving involves making sure you have all the supplies you need and planning how to move all of your belongings. (Will you move solo? Will family or friends help? Will you need to rent a U-Haul? Etc.) Then, you need to schedule a packing day. Depending on how much stuff you need to pack, you may need more than one day to pack, but keeping yourself on a deadline will help you to get it done faster.

On packing day, there are also some things you should know. There are certain techniques that you can use to make your packing more efficient, such as the Russian doll technique and the “open first” box (which I will talk about later).

Lastly, you have your moving day, and then your unpacking day where you empty out all of your boxes, put all of your items away and throw out or recycle your packing materials.

Now let’s get to the detailed tips. If you want to learn more details about specific packing hacks you can use to make your life easier, check out these 24 packing ideas for your next move!

Preparing For Your Move

1. Buy packing supplies

Of course, you will need packing supplies for your move. This means you will need a ton of moving boxes and plenty of tape to be able to fit all of your belongings.

If you are unsure where you can purchase these items, Amazon sells packs of cardboard boxes that are perfect for moving as well as packing tape that will make sure to keep your items secure.

If you prefer not to purchase new boxes, you could always use boxes you have from packages you have received, and/or reuse boxes from a friend who has moved recently. (Ask around!) This is a great way to save some money when packing and to recycle old boxes.

2. Go through your items

Woman holding a bunch of moving boxes

This is where being proactive counts. When you only have a couple weeks left before moving out, you might be tempted to just throw everything into a box and deal with it later. 

Newsflash: you won’t deal with it later. That’s why I still have clothes hanging in my closet that I said I would never wear again two years ago. 

Have furniture you no longer need? Get on your university’s buy/sell page, post it on Craigslist, have a garage sale, donate it–get it out of your apartment. Same goes for old clothes, things you never use, etc. Purge it now — don’t move a mess to your new place!

3. Sort your items

Giant stack of packed moving boxes

Another key part of preparing for packing day is sorting your items. The most important items to sort are the fragile ones because you will want to make sure that you know to pack them safely.

Also, sorting your items will make it easier for you to know how you should pack them and where the items need to go.

4. Plan how you will move your items

Woman labeling her moving boxes

One other thing you have to keep in mind is how you will move your items. Do you want to have to carry out every single box one at a time? (Probably not.) This is especially essential if you have multiple boxes or items to move.

You will want to plan out the most efficient way to move all of your belongings. I would recommend either hiring a moving company or asking for help from friends. You can also rent dollies and hand-trucks from U-Haul to help you move more boxes per trip.

5. Plan how you will travel with your items

Photo of a U-haul truck

You also need to figure out how you will travel with all your items. If you are moving to a new home with some furniture, your car most likely won’t be able to fit all your belongings, so I would recommend getting a U-Haul to save you the trouble.

How to Pack for a Move

6. Make a list of your items

On packing day, a quick hack to make moving a little bit easier is to make a list of your items, so that you ensure everything is packed and ready to go. Yes, this takes time, but it will make you 10x more organized.

This will also make your life easier when you are unpacking your items.

7. Label your boxes

This is an absolute must when it comes to packing (and I’ve seen so many people skip this step, at their own peril). Do not neglect to label your boxes! Labeling your boxes will allow you to be able to know what is in every box without having to rummage through them.

It will also make keeping track of your items a lot easier and you will be able to mark off everything on your packing list.

8. Have an “Open First” Box

Woman with an open first box of essentials on moving day

This is one of my favorite packing hacks for moving. The idea is to have a box that you label “open first” with all of your most essential items inside.

Inside this box, include a few plates and utensils, basic clothes (jeans, a few t-shirts, a dress, shorts, leggings), things you need daily like glasses or medicine, toilet paper, a towel, essential toiletries, your phone charger, and your wallet/phone. 

9. Pack by location

Woman packing box for living room

Don’t worry about putting unlike objects together in boxes, unless there’s a serious fear of breakage. Instead, pack by location in your apartment.

Say you have a bookshelf, for example. Chances are you will still want everything on that bookshelf to stay together in your new place. So instead of moving the nail polishes on the shelf to your cosmetics box, your favorite novels into a books box, and your lamp to a box called “lighting,” consider putting it all in one box labeled “bookshelf.”

Now you don’t have to run around unpacking things from different places!

10. Use space saver bags

Space saver bags are the holy grail of packing supplies. They can be used for a ton of household items like kitchen and bath towels, bedding, clothes, etc., and they pack super flat once you remove the air from the bag.

They will save you so much space and are a great way to make your packing more efficient. If you want to use these for your next move, check out these affordable space saver bags from Amazon!

11. Use the Russian doll technique

You may not have heard of this packing hack for moving, but it’s my favorite. It is called the Russian doll technique. Think of a Russian nesting doll and you’ll get it — it basically means that you make your packing the most efficient by using your items to store other items inside.

For example, if you have a suitcase you want to bring with you, don’t just leave it empty, pack some of your other belongings in there as well. Then put balled up socks inside your shoes, pack your Tupperware full of kitchen items, etc. You’re moving it anyway, so put it to work!

Same goes for duffel bags, laundry baskets, backpacks, etc. 

12. Use tissue paper

If you are looking for ways to save money while packing, using tissue paper is a great way to do it! Tissue paper is inexpensive and is the perfect way to wrap all of your fragile items when you are packing.

13. Use your household items

You can also use your household items as a way to make sure you are packing your items away safely when you move.

For example, you can wrap items in towels or blankets to keep them from breaking. Again, these are things you’re bringing anyway, so use them to help make your life easier.

14. Be wary of liquids

Toiletries all labeled and lined up

Life has a way of causing every liquid you packed to spontaneously explode during move-out. I’ll never forget helping my roommate sophomore year unpack, only to realize a bottle of lotion had been crushed and was now dripping onto my legs while I carried an extremely heavy box. Ugh.

This is a good time to decide which shower items are necessities, and to finish off any beverages you can before moving. If you do pack liquids, either keep them in waterproof cases or wrap them in saran wrap and tape it down. 

15. Don’t throw small items in big bags

Woman packing clothes in a suitcase

I’ve lost at least several pieces of jewelry throughout the years while moving. 

Usually I have the majority of small items organized into pouches and cases. But every now and again, I’ll be moving my bed and will find a necklace underneath. Or my roommate will remind me of a hair clip I lent her that she never gave back. This leaves me with small, lonely items while the rest of their kind has been packed. 

If you’re in this situation, do not just throw these items into the top of the box, your suitcase, or in a garbage bag and assume you’ll sort them out later. They will fall out. They will fall through. Instead, keep a separate pouch handy for any “last-minutes” that you want to protect.  

16. Stick to your deadline

Also, be careful not to fall behind on your packing by giving yourself a deadline. I know that packing can be incredibly boring, but you will feel so much better once its done!

Setting myself a deadline is one of my go-to packing hacks for moving, because if I don’t do it, I will end up scrambling at the last minute.

Moving Day

17. Prepare your vehicle

Once moving day is here, you will need to make sure your car, U-Haul or other vehicle is ready for your belongings.

So, make sure that it is empty and in the proper place to make sure moving your items is easy.

Pro tip for U-Hauls: Arrive a little early in the morning for pick-up as sometimes the truck you reserved won’t be available and you need to give yourself time to arrange a Plan B.

18. Load the biggest items first

When moving your items, you should consider getting the big items out of the way first because they take up the most space and they are the most annoying to move. Once these items are moved, your day will go a lot easier.

Don’t be that person who saves the huge dresser for last and has nowhere to put it!

19. Save the fragile items for last

Also, consider packing fragile and important items last, so you don’t risk losing them or breaking them while you are moving.

Therefore, you will be able to better remember exactly where you placed them when start unpacking. And always put your “open me first” box where it’s easily accessible!

20. Stay Hydrated

One thing you may not have thought of for how important it is to stay hydrated on moving day. Moving can take a lot of work and energy, so it is essential that you drink enough water throughout your day to keep yourself feeling your best.

Unpacking Day

21. Sort your boxes

When it is time to unpack, sorting your boxes by their labels will make unpacking so much easier. Ideally, sort them as you move them into your new space, so you won’t have to do this later.

This will make sure that you know exactly what you need to unpack and when you need to unpack it.

22. Unpack fragile items first

When unpacking, I recommend doing the fragile or other important items first, so that you make sure that they get safely where they belong in your new home.

23. Keep a trash can nearby

You will most likely have a ton of packing materials that will need to be thrown away when you are unpacking your boxes, so make sure that you have a trash bag or trash can near you to make the clean-up process a whole lot easier.

24. Break down your boxes

Also, make sure to break down all of your moving boxes as you unpack to save you time later. After breaking them down you could recycle them or even save them for future use.

What are your go-to packing hacks for moving?

Which hacks do you think will work the best? Which ones do you think will make your life easier?

All photos: Pexels and Unsplash

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