What to Pack First When Moving

November 3, 2020

Moving day is fast approaching and you may be in a tizzy worrying about when you should start each phase of your relocation. It can be tough to sort it all out, unless you have a plan in place from the start. It’s wise to gather your thoughts, come up with a timeline, and follow it to a T so that when the move actually happens, you’ll be well prepared to handle anything that comes your way.

Keep in mind that packing is a process that requires foresight and patience. Too many people procrastinate, leaving the packing till the last minute. This results in lost or damaged belongings. In general, you should add more time for a long-distance move, but here is a guideline of what to pack first when moving.

First, Get Prepared

Before you put even one thing in a box, you have to come up with a plan to prepare for the move ahead. Create a packing calendar so you stay on track. Break down your move day by day, which will prevent that feeling of panic and being overwhelmed. Purchase or gather all your packing supplies well in advance, such as cardboard boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, packing peanuts and plastic wrap.

Create a detailed inventory of the items in your home. Don’t just tally a headcount of items you already have; take this opportunity to purge all non-essential items so you can save valuable space, time, money and effort. Divide your items into three categories: those that you plan to keep, those you want to sell or donate, and those that are destined for the trash bin. Now that you have de-cluttered, you can tackle the process of moving the essentials that made the cut.

Start Early, Start Strong

Your calendar will dictate your schedule, so check in with it often. You may want to start with minor items four weeks ahead of the move. This is when you should be packing non-essential things, saving the absolute daily necessities until later on in the packing game, suggests the American Moving and Storage Association.

4 weeks out:

  • Out-of-season items: Holiday decorations, clothing, etc.
  • Surplus items: Towels, linens, and office supplies you’re not using
  • Collectibles: Scrapbooks, figurines, coin collections, miniatures, art, etc.

3 weeks out:

  • Artwork and Decor: Framed pictures, heirlooms, souvenirs. Mark them fragile.
  • Entertainment Items: Books, records, CDs, DVDs, video games, consoles
  • Special Kitchenware: Fine china, crystal, pie pans, barbecue tools, and other kitchen items that don’t get routine use

2 weeks out:

  • Kids’ Games: Pack puzzles, stuffed animals, etc. that you haven’t already stashed away. Let your kids pick out a few toys that they may keep with them right up till moving day.
  • Jewelry: Keep a few pieces of your best jewelry with you, securing the rest in a jewelry box or sealable baggies.
  • Remainder of Linen Closet: Every person in the household should have a set of sheets and towels that are still in use. Pack the rest.

1 week out:

  • Electronics: Pack up all your phones, computers, tablets, etc. Do a second sweep to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.
  • Remainder of Kitchen Equipment: Pack up the rest of your kitchen, including cutlery, dishes, utensils, small appliances, gadgets, and drinking glasses. Don’t forget the junk drawer!
  • Laundry: You should keep enough clean clothes to make it to where you’re going. Don’t slow yourself down by trailing bags of dirty laundry.
  • Medicines and Bathroom Supplies: Pack up everything that isn’t vital, such as prescriptions, birth control pills, daily medications, etc. Compile a first aid kit that you can carry around.

1-2 days out:

  • Furniture and Appliances: This is the tough part, and you’ll need help. Leave this for your movers if you can. If not, be careful when moving furniture through doorways, narrow corridors and down stairs.
  • Curtains, Rugs, Furnishings: This is the “miscellaneous” category. Get them packed, rolled and sorted as best you can.
  • Toolbox: Keep a couple of basic tools within reach so you can assemble furniture and shelving at the new place.

Moving Day

  • Bed and Bedding: This is the time to transport your bed and sheets.
  • Remaining Toiletries and Medicines: Keep these on your person, as they are critical medications and toiletries you will need in the first day/night in the new digs.
  • Items for Kids and Pets (Including Snacks): Keep kids and pets in a routine with plenty of snacks and distractions.
  • Cleaning Supplies: You may have to clean up your place one final time before you leave.

Contact Moving Proz

Need help with the moving timeline? Contact us for a free quote, and we can take some of the burden off your shoulders.