Pretty Terrific Packing Tips to Make Moving Easier

Pretty Teriffic Packing Tips

It’s moving season! Are you packing yourself or calling in the professionals?

We pack households for moves and since it’s that time of year, we wanted to give you some advice that should move make your move go smoothly.

To prepare for packing:

  • Pack a suitcase for an overnight vacation. Don’t forget a toothbrush, medications, pet food, wallet, cell phone, etc.
  • Use a clear plastic bag to throw the bedding in at the last minute. Don’t forget the dog or cat bed as well.
  • Run your dishwasher and empty it the night before packing so everything is ready to go in your kitchen.
  • Takedown all window treatments that you are moving so they can be packed.
  • If you want to use your cooler to move the contents of your refrigerator and freezer, put it aside.
  • You may want to pack your valuable jewelry and carry it yourself.
  • Create an inventory of your boxes as they are packed.

Things you should know:

  • Be aware that everything gets packed. Don’t leave anything out that you will need.
  • The contents of all drawers, including dressers and file cabinets, should be packed.
  • Pack any boxes smaller than a small moving box.
  • Pack all lamps that will fit in a closed box. If you need lamps, clocks, or landline phones, (etc) for your last evening keep an empty box and packing materials to pack these in the morning.
  • Pack computers, monitors and printers, if you don’t need them before the movers show up.
  • Bubble wrap and pack all artwork that is small enough to fit in a box.
  • Wrap glass table tops with bubble wrap.
  • Pack all liquids together (like shampoo, oil and vinegar, wine, laundry detergent) and clearly mark those boxes LIQUID so that you can carry those boxes in your car or (if you choose) point them out to the movers, so they can take special care with these items.
  • If you have extra suitcases, pack clothing in them.
  • Use any extra sheets and towels and pillows to wrap small lamps or other large breakables.
  • Pack hanging clothing on the hanger. If you choose not to use wardrobe boxes, use large boxes for hanging clothing and lay items in a box.
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There will be things that don’t fit in a box:

  • Large artwork
  • Plants
  • Food in the refrigerator and freezer
  • Large TVs and remotes
  • Large computer monitors
  • Anything that is too big to fit into a box (like floor lamps, vacuum cleaners, curtain rods, lawn equipment, etc.)

Take extra care when moving these items.

Label your boxes with the name of the room it’s going to in your new home. Also, label boxes with the contents or location of the contents.

Leave a couple of boxes open and any extra packing materials so you can pack last-minute items.

Check out these tips on simplifying your moving experience and another post from my colleague Sabrina Quairoli of Sabrina’s Organizing called How To Make A Moving Process Seamless.

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Janet Schiesl

Janet has been organizing since 2005. She is a Certified Professional Organizer and the owner of Basic Organization. She loves using her background as a space planner to challenge her clients to look at their space differently. She leads the team in large projects and works one-on-one with clients to help the process move quickly and comfortably. Call her crazy, but she loves to work with paper, to purge what is not needed and to create filing systems that work for each individual client. Janet is a Past President of the Washington DC Chapter of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) and was voted 2016 Organizer of the Year by the Washington DC Chapter of NAPO.


  1. Silas Knight on June 7, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    I have never liked moving, but you have some great tips here to make it easier. It’s smart to use extra clothing or towels as padding for glass objects, that would save room and money. We are looking to move pretty soon, so I will remember this, thanks!

    • Janet Schiesl on June 7, 2016 at 2:25 pm

      Thanks Silas. Good luck with your move. Planning is key. Worth the time to have a successful move.

      • Silas Knight on June 13, 2016 at 3:50 pm

        I definitely agree that it’s worth the time. Thank you for your help.

  2. Sean Philips on June 20, 2016 at 2:27 am

    Hi Janet, Your tips are very helpful and should be followed by everyone that needs guide and help with packing. As we all know that it’s very stressful thing packing for moving but every bit of helpful tips should be appreciated. I am surely going to share your post with my friends to spread all the helpful info you put out. Thanks for sharing with us!

    • Janet Schiesl on June 20, 2016 at 5:23 am

      Thanks Sean. Moving is a very stressful time for everyone. Every little tip can help lessen the stress.

  3. Sean Philips on June 20, 2016 at 6:19 am

    I agree with that!

  4. Robert Smith on July 2, 2016 at 1:07 am

    When you start packing before that use a box cutter to cut holes into the sides of
    cardboard packing boxes
    to create handles that will simplify lifting and carrying the boxes and be sure that you did not make holes too close to the top.

    • Janet Schiesl on July 2, 2016 at 7:24 am

      Thanks for the suggestion Robert. Some of the boxes we pack have handle holes in them already, which saves a lot of time. We don’t do the moving and our partner moving company, doesn’t mind if there are no handles, but this is a great idea if you are moving yourself. Having a handle to carry boxes is a great help.

  5. Sean Philips on August 8, 2016 at 2:47 am

    Hi Robert, If you hire a moving company, you’ll likely have a team of professionals movers and packers taking care of hauling goods and other oversized items. However, you might try to handle smaller tasks on your own, such as lifting boxes of heavy household goods, including books or dishware etc. Your tip is surely going to help to lift items like household goods, including books or dishware.

  6. Ruckup USA on January 13, 2018 at 11:14 am

    Great short and informative tips, thanks!
    I would say that you better mark all the boxes, not just liquid. It helps you to be aware of how you can treat this or that package (e.g. there is a big difference between china or a teddy bear)

    • Janet Schiesl on January 13, 2018 at 11:47 am

      Oh yes, of course. Mark all boxes! The more you can identify what’s inside each box the smoother your unpacking will be. Nothing like opening a bunch of boxes to look for something important. We label each box with the room it is going to, the location in the room where it belongs and then the contents of the box. Thanks for pointing this out.

  7. Anthony Matthew on February 14, 2018 at 7:47 am

    I read your blog and get the valuable packing tips for moving. Packing task is very careful work. Important and soft stuff is very carefully packing and remember which box is important stuff. Interesting and useful information. Keep it up. This was an excellent article.
    Thanks for posting something worth reading. Great work.

    • Janet Schiesl on February 14, 2018 at 10:14 am

      Thanks Anthony. Moving season is gearing up so I’m glad that you could get some tips from the article.

  8. Janet Barclay on May 17, 2021 at 6:54 am

    I love packing, and it’s a good thing I do, because I always have to weed out a lot of stuff during the process. But I know that lots of people hate it or are unable to manage it, so it’s great that you offer this service.

    • Janet Schiesl on May 17, 2021 at 5:14 pm

      Thanks Janet. We enjoy packing too and do it in a little more organizing fashion than moving company packers do it. People seem to appreach that.

  9. Andi Willis on May 17, 2021 at 7:25 am

    I’ll be packing soon for a move halfway across the country so these are handy tips to have in my back pocket. I like the idea of packing like you are going on a short vacation. I would add to declutter BEFORE the movers arrive. We actually had a trash can with trash packed in a box by the movers the last time we moved.

    • Janet Schiesl on May 17, 2021 at 5:16 pm

      Ha Ha! Yes, regular packers pack everything even the trash. Downsizing is a good idea. Most people that we pack do a pretty good job of it before we pack them. I find it’s much easier to separate downsizing and packing into two separate projects.

  10. Diane N Quintana on May 17, 2021 at 8:49 am

    I just moved, Janet. Your tips are spot on. I had the movers pack for me because I am really bad at it. I don’t have the patience to do it correctly.

    • Janet Schiesl on May 17, 2021 at 5:17 pm

      Congratulations on your move Diane. I hope it went well and you are happy in your new home. Always delegate what you don’t like doing!

  11. Linda Samuels on May 17, 2021 at 8:51 am

    Moving can be so stressful. Actually, I don’t know anyone that says it isn’t. There are so many things to coordinate, and it disrupts the flow of your current life and routines. However, you shared excellent tips for creating both the mindset and strategies to take a stressful situation and make it less so. While moving isn’t a big part of the work I do, I have done a lot to help clients prepare for their moves. One of the most helpful things we do is create a room-by-room list (a checklist) of everything that needs to be done in that room. It helps them to focus, plan, and track their progress.

    • Janet Schiesl on May 17, 2021 at 5:20 pm

      Sounds like you do a lot of project management for your moving clients. That is great support because you are right, I also think moving is one of the most stressful things that happen in life.

  12. Amy on May 17, 2021 at 9:38 am

    Moving can be so much easier if it’s organized with a move plan. Your tip to pack a suitcase is spot on! I recommend packing for a 4-5 day trip so that the closet can be packed before staging the house for sale. Empty closets look bigger. Also, I suggest that clients pack a box of basic supplies (clearly marked) to help them start the process of unpacking. Paper towels, TP, trash bags, cleaning supplies, lightbulbs etc.

    Great post!

    • Janet Schiesl on May 17, 2021 at 5:21 pm

      Great tips Amy. We usually mark boxes “unpack first” but there is usually a lot of them. Having one with the essentials is a good idea.

  13. Julie Bestry on May 17, 2021 at 1:53 pm

    You’ve created a great plan of action.

    These are all great moving tips, though I think it’s missing an opportunity to use suitcases for clothes. Instead, I run upside-down trash bags down the length of a grouping of hanging clothes as if they were garment bags. Packing is no-muss, no-fuss and it eliminates lots of wasted time at both ends of the move. It may look tacky in transit, but there’s no folding and you can either lay the bags on the back seat of the car or hang them on a clothing rack in a U-Haul. (Can you tell I’m all about DIY moving? Until my last move, using a U-Haul, all my moves required me fitting everything I owned in the back of a 1987 Nissan Sentra!) I prefer to use rolling suitcases for things that require more padding or more help shifting than a traditional cardboard box.

    • Janet Schiesl on May 17, 2021 at 5:25 pm

      We’ve done the garbage bag packing too, but our movers prefer clothes in boxes to keep them clean. Our clients usually are transporting items like their computers and plants, so don’t have space in their car. Most don’t want to take the extra trips that would be necessary.

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