1. Where to Start?
2. Packing Quick Tips
3. Packing Supplies
4. Packing the Moving Truck
5. Packing Major Appliances
6. Packing Electronics
7. Packing Pictures, Frames, Mirror
8. Packing Flatware and Plates
9. Packing the Essentials Box
10. All About Moving Boxes

1. Where to Start?

Be safe, smart and efficient! If you’re doing your own packing, make sure you give yourself plenty of time; at least six weeks before your move date and plan carefully. Careful planning and packing will save you time, money and a lot of hair pulling.

  • Decide what will move with you and what will stay behind. There may be items that you don’t need anymore or that aren’t worth moving or perhaps your move is temporary and certain unnecessary things can be put into storage. No matter what the answer is, decide beforehand what stays and what goes. If you have items already in storage, make sure you take a thorough inventory to ensure you’re not moving items you could do without.
  • Collect supplies. Try to estimate what you’ll need and make sure you have enough on hand. Start collecting boxes from your place of work, from friends or from stores. Or purchase moving kits or packing kits online or from moving companies.
  • Pack non-essentials. Start packing items you can do without. If you’re moving in the summer, pack all your winter clothes, sports equipment and heavy blankets.

Get Organized

  • Label boxes. While you’re packing boxes, make sure you label the top and sides of boxes with contents, location of contents in your house and if there are any special instructions, such as “fragile” or “open first”. This will assist the movers in putting the boxes in the correct room and will warn them of any fragile items. Also, by keeping a complete list of the contents on the outside of the box, you’ll save time digging through 10 boxes marked “kitchen” just to find the can opener.
  • Inventory list. When I’m packing, I tend to get a little anal. Maybe it’s the numerous times I was disorganized and swore I’d never have to dig through another box again; or maybe it was the time boxes were lost and I wasn’t sure what to claim for insurance. Whatever the reason, now, not only do I clearly label each box, but I number the boxes and keep a running inventory list that I check off when the movers are unloading them into my new place. This way, if a box goes missing, I can easily identify which number it is and what is contained within it. Again, insurance companies love this kind of detail.

Make Sure Your Stuff Arrives Safely

  • Properly label boxes with stickers that instruct the movers on how to handle the contents. Stickers can be bought at an office supply store or made on your own computer.
  • Clothes, towels, linens, pillows can be used to keep fragile safe. Just make sure you mark this on the box for when the box is unpacked. If the person who is unpacking the box is unaware that a crystal vase is wrapped inside a fleece blanket, they could easily unfurl the blanket sending the vase crashing to the floor. This has happened to me on more than one occasion!
  • Make sure you properly wrap all fragile items in several layers of bubble wrap and pack them on their edge (plates, mirrors, picture frames, etc). I strongly recommend bubble wrap. It’s inexpensive and will prevent dishes and other fragile from bumping against one another. I’ve used newspaper to separate plates and have had a few broken pieces as a result.
  • Tape any stray items together into a bundle. Ski poles, brooms, mops, lamp stands, etc… Can be taped into one package for easy carrying and storing.
  • When moving furniture, make sure you keep all parts together with the item itself. Screws, bolts and other small pieces can be put into a self-locking plastic bag (sandwich bag/freezer bag) then taped to the furniture itself. If you’re moving a table, unscrew the legs, tape the legs together then tape the parts bag to the underside of the table top. You can even tape the legs to the underside of the table top just to ensure that the legs don’t get scratched or dented in the move.
  • Wrap all stretchable furniture in protective padding. Table tops, coffee tables, headboards, etc… can all suffer from scratches and bruising during the move. Furniture padding can be rented from moving companies or storage facilities. I don’t recommend using your own linens to protect furniture; linens can be ripped and become stained during a move. In addition, furniture padding is just that – padding. It will better protect your belongings.
  • Disassemble all furniture. Any pieces that can come apart make sure you disassemble them. Desks are lighter without the drawers; the drawers are lighter without the contents, although I have moved desk drawers with their contents still inside them. The trick is to stuff linens on top of the contents then tape down the linens. This can be done if the drawers are stackable and can be placed in the nook beneath the desk when on the truck. You don’t want the contents spilling over the truck bed while on the move. See loading a truck for more tips and tricks.
  • Keep box weight at a minimum. To prevent injury to yourself, your family, friends or the movers, make sure your boxes are not too heavy to manage. Most boxes should weigh less than 50 pounds with an ideal weight being 40 pounds or less. If you have any overweight boxes, make sure you mark them clearly so that no one injures themselves on the job.
  • Check out packing your computer or moving plants for more packing tips and tricks.

2. Packing Quick Tips

Use these quick tips to make your packing go a little smoother and faster and you’ll be surprised just how easy it is to get your home ready before the movers arrive.

Here are some packing tips that you may not have thought of before. This is a packing tip list that I’d like to keep adding to, so if you have a quick packing tip, e-mail me and I’ll add it to the list.

  • Gather packing supplies before you start. There’s nothing more frustrating, then having to stop half-way through a packing session in order to get more supplies.
  • Packed boxes should weigh less than 50 pounds.
  • Pack heavier items on the bottom.
  • Stuff socks, scarves, pillow cases and other small fabric items in holes and crevices in boxes – just make sure you keep pairs of socks together!
  • Make sure all boxes can close properly and be sealed so the tops are flat. If you over-pack a box, you risk damage to the contents.
  • Pack small items in small boxes and place them into a large box. Label all boxes, large or small. For more information on boxes, click here.
  • Small, loose items should be boxed or bagged and sealed securely before placing into a larger box.
  • If moving liquids either transfer them into a sealable container or make sure the lid is secured by taping it down, then put it into a waterproof bag, seal the bag then place it upright into a box. Clearly mark the box with arrows and “This End Up”. Also, check which items should not be packed – items that your mover will not move.
  • Keep an inventory list of each box and its contents. This will be necessary if a box goes missing and you need to make a claim.
  • Keep clothing in dresser drawers.
  • Keep a box labeled “Load last, unload first” for the essentials you’ll need when you arrive. Go here to read more about what to include in your essentials box.
  • Keep important records with you. Do not move them with the rest of your household goods. If you cannot take them with you in the car, then send them on ahead with a secure courier company.
  • Tape down anything that moves (except for the cat)!
  • Fill free spots with lighter linens. This can be done with your washer and dryer, and the vegetable crisper in the refrigerator.
  • As much as possible, keep items in their proper places. For example, when packing the silverware/flatware, keep it in it’s’ tray then tape bubble wrap around it to secure the contents. This is easier than sorting out all those pieces after your move.
  • Tape screws, bolts and other loose items to underside of furniture. Make sure you bag them first.
  • Keep tools you’ll need to reassemble furniture in a separate box that is clearly marked. I usually keep an all-purpose screwdriver in the glove compartment of our car for just such purposes. There’s nothing worse than arriving at your new home late at night, wanting to put the bed together and not knowing where the screwdriver is.
  • Do not use standard garbage bags! They rip and tear too easily. If you’re going to pack linens and clothing in garbage bags, purchase the thicker, heavy ones to ensure they don’t burst during the move. Or double up. Some moving companies don’t like you using garbage bags, so do so minimally. The great thing about garbage bags full of clothing is that they can be squished into nooks and holes that exist on the truck, thereby protecting furniture and using less space. Just limit how many you use.
  • Keep items from the same room together as much as possible. This will make it easier to sort the contents after you move.
  • Get everyone involved by making a task list, then dividing out the jobs that each person can do. Organizing your household will not only save you time and energy, but will make your whole family feel like part of this adventure.
  • Get started now! It’s never too late to plan, sort and start packing.

3. Packing Supplies

To make sure your household goods arrive at your new home without a scratch, start with purchasing the right packing supplies. This is an area where you can cut down on cost, if necessary; just remember that buying the right supplies from the beginning will save you time and energy.

When you move or relocate, to ensure your household goods arrive at your new destination without a scratch, start with a good packing list so you purchase the right packing and moving supplies. This is an area where you can cut down on moving costs if necessary, just keep in mind that doing so may increase labor time either when you are packing – having to double wrap items – or unpacking – newspaper results in dirty glassware. Your time is valuable and paying that little bit extra may also buy you peace of mind.

Assuming you have decided which household goods will be moved, identify the items that will require specialized packing, based on fragility, awkward shapes or larger pieces that will be difficult to move. Once these items have been identified, take some measurements and notes, make a list, and then go shopping.

Packing supplies can be purchased at a local moving retailer, a mail service store, or an office supply outlet; however, for the best choice and most variety, go online. By taking the time to surf the Internet, you can compare prices and find specialty items that may be difficult to purchase at a local retail shop. Be aware that some packing suppliers deal with large companies, so you will need to make sure you are able to purchase smaller quantities.

To save money, boxes are available from grocery stores or liquor/ wine stores. Give the store manager a few weeks notice so he or she can put aside what you need. Also, find out when the store receives large shipments and ask what time they will finish unloading. Remember that it is more difficult to securely pack items in retail boxes as they tend to be larger and more cumbersome.

Another way to save money and time, and to ensure you have all the basic supplies required to pack up your household, check out complete Moving Kits and Packing Kits. Moving Kits and Packing Kits can be purchased for particular rooms or for entire households. Do a comparison on total cost if items were purchased separately and watch out for any seasonal sales. As an example of what would be included for a 5-6 room home (up to 2800 square feet):

  • 20 Small Moving Box
  • 11 Medium Moving Box
  • 10 Large Moving Box
  • 4 X-Large Moving Box
  • 5 Heavy Duty Box
  • 6 Wardrobe Box
  • 1 Electronics Box
  • 2 Unprinted News wrap
  • 1 Bubble Wrap – 150 ft. Roll
  • 1 Permanent Box Marker
  • 7 Box Sealing Tape – Clear

Specialty Boxes

For most people the above list will suffice. For specialty items such as large mirrors, framed artwork, computers and printers, you made need to purchase supplies outside of the kit.

Specialty boxes are available for purchase. Artwork and mirror boxes are stronger and shaped to fit, and most come with – or with an option to purchase – frame protectors. Frame protectors can be secured to the corners of the item to prevent damage during the move. Purchasing corrugated cardboard may help protect glass surfaces and keep items separated while in transit.

Lamp boxes, guitar boxes, mattress and crib boxes are some of the specialty packing supplies available online. For most people, these boxes are not necessary. Not so for file boxes. Arriving at a new destination with nothing but empty file folders and papers strewn on the bottom of a box, can take days to sort and organize. File boxes are a simple tool to keep your documents sorted and sealed even after moving houses. File boxes can be purchased at any office supply store.


Most of the items listed below are “nice to have”. Most people on the move are able to manage with a pair of household scissors instead of a box cutter, markers instead of pre-printed labels and newspaper instead of packing peanuts; however, the more organized you are, the faster and easier the move. If you purchase items for the sole purpose of moving, it is easier to set aside a packing materials’ box so all your supplies are within reach. Scissors and markers can quickly disappear when a project is due at school.

One item highly recommended when it comes to packing is a tape dispenser. A tape dispenser will save you time, frustration and your teeth! Purchase one, and after the move, keep it in the kitchen drawer. You will find it indispensable.

Packing Wrap, Cushioning, Protection

  • Brown Paper or Plain Newsprint: To prevent having to wash items after you’ve moved, use plain newsprint or brown paper to wrap items. Never use newsprint to wrap items with sensitive surfaces, such as lamps shades.
  • Foam: provides extra protection
  • Stretch Wrap: protects surfaces and keeps awkward items, such as ski poles, together
  • Inflatable bags: inflate to fill empty spaces
  • Peanuts: foam pieces that fill empty spaces


  • Custom printed: printed to suit your needs, i.e., ‘Fragile’ or ‘Kitchen’ or ‘This End Up’
  • Pre-printed: already printed to fulfill common requirements
  • Blank: various sizes prepared on a single sheet that can be printed right from your own computer; cheaper and versatile


  • Box cutter: sharp utility blade to slice open difficult materials
  • Mattress covers: soft foam covers to protect mattress from punctures and rips
  • Markers: range in abilities and price, including markers that write on difficult surfaces such as glass and plastic

4. Packing the Moving Truck

You’ve booked your moving truck and packed your belongings, now it’s time to think about moving day. If you’re like my husband, then you’ll want to plan how the truck should be loaded. I have to admit, I’m not the most patient mover. I tend to want to just get it done; hopefully, my husband will never read this since I’m about to admit that advance planning on how to load the truck is a good idea. But that’s between you and me…

If you want to be really detailed and organized, do a walk-through of your house and note the order in which items are loaded. Make a list and group similar sized boxes together. This will make moving day go a lot smoother and faster.

  • Move the largest and heaviest items first. This includes appliances such as the stove, washing machine, refrigerator and dishwasher, and any other item that takes more than two people to move. These items should be loaded on the truck before anything else and kept against the far wall closest to the cab. Keep the items in their upright positions and make sure you balance the truck by placing heavy objects on opposite sides.
  • Use furniture padding to protect wood surfaces and corners. Padding can be rented from the truck rental agent and is worth the little extra it costs. Using padded protection also makes it easier to slide heavier pieces onto the truck.

  • Move longer items such as box springs, mattresses, long mirrors, headboards, sofas and table-tops on to the truck next. Place these items against the longest walls of the truck which will keep them upright and will save space. Make sure you use mattress covers to spare your bed and sofa from rips and tears and make moving a lot easier.
  • Dissemble bed frames and tape pieces together. Do the same for longer items such as skis and poles. When you roll-up your carpets, place these items inside, and then tape your carpet closed. Place the carpet on the floor of the truck.
  • Next, start loading the largest and heaviest boxes. Place the boxes on top of the appliances and furniture and make sure you fill any cavities beneath tables, under desks, and on chair seats.
  • Transfer lighter boxes, stacking them on the heavier boxes, making sure the lightest boxes are on top.
  • Place fragile items or awkward shaped items on last, ensuring that they will not move around during transport.

Moving Tips

For a safe move and to ensure none of your friends get injured while helping you move, observe these tips:

  • Your truck should be large enough to accommodate 10-15% more than what you own. This is just to ensure you’re going to have enough room. Too much room is better than too little
  • Rent various sizes of dollies and make sure they have straps that lock in place. When pulling the dolly up the truck ramp, make sure you go backwards and have someone follow behind to make sure nothing slips. Don’t overload the dolly. It’s better to make more trips than to risk injury.
  • Remove drawers and contents of drawers before moving desks and cabinets and dressers. Once these items are loaded on the truck, replace the drawers so they aren’t damaged while the truck is in transit. This will also save space.
  • When loading bikes, remove the front wheel and let down the handlebars. Removing the front wheel will ensure that the bike remains in place.
  • Use pillows, towels and sofa cushions for padding. Place around fragile items for extra protection.

So, after reading this, you’re going to sit down and plan your move. If you do, you’ll save yourself countless arguments about what should be loaded on the truck next. You’ll save time and your friends will thank you for it.

5. Packing Major Appliances

Moving companies will insist that all major appliances are prepared before they arrive and most offer a professional service that will prepare major appliances for you for a fee. While it may seem pretty simple to prepare your appliances for moving, if it isn’t done correctly, you may find units not working when they arrive at the new destination. If you decide to prepare them yourself, follow this step-by-step guide so they’re ready to go when you are.

Difficulty: Average
Time Required: As required.

Here’s How:

  • For all major appliances, contact the dealer for specific move instructions or refer to the owner’s manual if you have a copy. If you don’t, go to Appliance411.com, a great place to find or order an owner’s manual.
  • The refrigerator should be unplugged at least 24 hours prior to the move. Dispose of all perishables. Once the freezer unit has defrosted, thoroughly clean and dry all surfaces and removable containers to prevent mildew and odors from forming. Remove all racks or secure them so they don’t shift during the move. If your unit has an ice maker, disconnect the waterline and make sure it’s completely drained.
  • The stove should be thoroughly cleaned inside and out with the racks removed or securely fastened. If you have a gas stove, make sure the gas is turned off before you start disconnecting the line and be very careful. Gas lines can be fragile and need special handling. If you’re unsure, call your gas company and ask for help. Tape down the knobs and elements to ensure no parts are lost during the move.
  • Dishwasher units need to be emptied and the utensil holder/rack removed and packed separately. Tape the door closed.
  • Washer and dryer units need special handling. It’s a good idea to consult the owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer. Remove all hoses and pack separately in a box. Fill the empty spaces in the box with packing popcorn or cushioning objects (towels/pillows). For the washer, you’ll need to secure the drum. Again, consult the manual for thorough instructions.
  • For all appliances, unplug each unit and secure the plug to the back using packing tape. Don’t let cords dangle or come loose.
  • For all appliances, if you choose, pack lightweight, unbreakable items in empty caverns, such as in the refrigerator crisper or the oven. Blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, chair cushions or clothing can be stored and moved this way. Simply protect the items by wrapping them in a plastic garbage bag.
  • Tape all doors and lids shut.

What You Need:

  • Hot water and household cleanser
  • Cleaning gloves
  • Packing Tape

6. Packing Electronics

Use this easy to follow step-by-step guide to pack all your electronics, including how to properly label the plugs and wires to ensure you can set-up the equipment when you get to your new home.

This step-by-step is rated at an average difficulty level to reflect the time and patience required to properly label the plugs and wires to ensure you can set-up the equipment when you get to your new home.

Difficulty: Average
Time Required: No set time.

Here’s How:

  • Refer to the manufactures’ guide or user’s guide for special moving instructions. If you no longer have a user’s guide, visit the manufacturer’s website for an online version or to request a copy. Go to Moving a Computer for details on packing this type of equipment.
  • If any piece of equipment has a toner or ink cartridge, remove it and store it in a sealable bag. Pack the bag in the same box with the piece of equipment that it was removed from. Also remove all CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes or other media from equipment. Pack media separately and carefully to prevent damage. Note: Some computer manufacturers recommend leaving a floppy disk in the A-drive to prevent drive damage.
  • If you have the original packaging, including box, use that to pack the equipment. If you don’t, purchase electronic specialty boxes from a moving company or directly from the manufacturer. The manufacturer can provide you with a “return kit” at no or little cost.
  • If specialty boxes or return kits are not available, use a double-walled box slightly larger than the piece of equipment you’re moving.
  • Purchase colored labels large enough to write on but small enough to secure to equipment connection ports. Colored, round sticky circles are the labels of choice.
  • Before disconnecting any wires or plugs, mark the wire or cable and the port you’re removing it from with the colored labels. Colors code the ports and cables so you can reconnect them later. If you run out of different colors, you can also write a number on the label that will match the port and the cable.
  • For extra protection, write down detailed step-by-step instructions on how you’re dismantling the equipment so you can refer to it later when assembling it. Keep this instruction guide in the box with the equipment.
  • Once you have the wires or cables disconnected, use twist ties to carefully secure the cables so they don’t unravel. Place the cables and wires into a sealable bag (I use Ziploc baggies) and tape it to the piece of equipment.
  • When packing electronics, you should always use antistatic packing bubbles or popcorn. Never use materials that will conduct electricity. This could damage your electronics during handling.
  • Remove all parts that can be disconnected Wrap each piece separately in antistatic bubble wrap and secure ends with tape.
  • Use a thick layer of antistatic packing popcorn or bubble wrap to line the bottom of the box.
  • Place the largest piece of equipment on the bottom. Fill holes with antistatic packing material. Place smaller protected items on top.
  • Fill all remaining spaces with antistatic packing material. Make sure nothing rattles or will shift during the move.
  • Seal the box with packing tape and mark it “Fragile” and indicate which end is up. Indicate the contents and which room it belongs in.
  • Note: CDs and software can not tolerate high temperatures. If you have sensitive media, you may want to carry it with you as opposed to moving it on the truck. Speak to your movers about this issue before you ship it.

What You Need:

  • Manufacturer’s Guide
  • Original Box or Return Kit ; or
  • Double-walled Box
  • Antistatic Packing Popcorn or Bubbles
  • Small Color-coded Labels
  • Marker
  • Packing Tape
  • Twist Ties
  • Sealable Bags (Freezer or Sandwich Bags)

7. Packing Pictures, Frames and Mirrors

How do you pack pictures and frames without chipping corners or breaking glass? Find out in this easy step-by-step guide. You’ll be sure to have all your artwork and photos arrive in one piece.

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Indefinite

Here’s How:

  • Select a box that is bigger than the picture you need to pack.
  • Keep the box flat or if the box has already been put together, break it apart.
  • Tape one end of the box securely with packing tape.
  • Place the picture in its frame flat on an oversized piece of bubble wrap.
  • Wrap the picture in the bubble wrap as you would if you were wrapping it to give as a present. Secure the wrapping with packing tape.
  • Slide the picture into the opening of the box. Seal the end securely with packing tape.
  • Mark the outside of the box, on sides, “Fragile” and its location; living room, bedroom, kitchen, etc…
  • When packing the box on the truck, keep the packed picture on its side, not flat. The picture will absorb pressure easier on its edge than when flat.


  • If you want additional protection for the corners of your picture frames, you can purchase specialized cardboard protectors just for this purpose.
  • Stack series of packed pictures on their edges inside a wardrobe box. Make sure they’re secure by packing objects around them.
  • On the moving truck, pack pictures on their edges and in a place where they won’t fall over. Wedge them between heavy objects that will not shift during the move.

What You Need:

  • Appropriate size box
  • Bubble wrap
  • Packing Tape
  • Marker
  • Pictures in their frames

8. Packing Flatware and Plates

Follow this easy step-by-step guide to packing plates and flatware to ensure your favorite pieces arrive at their new home without chips or cracks.

An easy step-by-step guide to packing plates and flatware to ensure they arrive at their destination in one piece.

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Indefinite

Here’s How:

  • Choose a medium size box and line it with an extra large sheet of bubble wrap. Make sure the bubble wrap is large enough that it spills outside the box and completely covers the inside including the bottom.
  • Place a stack of plain newsprint on the table. The sheets should be large enough to accommodate the plates or object you need to pack.
  • Place the first plate in the center of the top sheet and fold one corner of the sheet over the plate until it’s completely covered.
  • Take the next plate and place it on top of the first plate. Wrap the remaining three corners of the plain newsprint sheet over the second plate.
  • Secure the newsprint with packing tape.
  • Place the two plates in the box on their side. Plates should never be packed flat. If the box encounters any kind of force, plates on their edge can sustain a lot more pressure.
  • Continue wrapping and placing the plates in the box until the box it tightly packed.
  • Fold in the edges of the bubble wrap so the plates are covered and protected. If there is room remaining in the box, place linens or towels on top of the plates before sealing the box.
  • Mark the box “Fragile”, lists the items on the outside and their location: “Kitchen” or “Dining Room”.


  • Place heavier items on the bottom; lighter items on top.
  • If you don’t have bubble wrap, use linens or towels as cushioning.
  • The box you use shouldn’t be too big. Remember, the maximum weight should be 50 lbs.

What You Need:

  • Medium size box
  • Sheets of plain newsprint
  • Packing tape
  • Bubble wrap
  • Marker
  • Dinner plates, butter plates, serving plates or saucers

9. Packing the Essentials Box

Everyone should prepare an essentials box, a box full of items you’ll need for your last few nights before you move and/or the first few nights in your new home.

Question: What Should I Include in My Essentials Box?

Before moving or relocating, everyone should prepare an essentials box, a box full of items you’ll need for your last few nights before you move and/or the first few nights in your new home.

Answer: This should actually be the last box you pack before you move, but it’s a good idea, while you’re going through the cupboards, drawers and shelves, to identify what you’ll need for the first few hours/days in your new home. This box will be the first box you open and should include items that will enable you to provide small meals, clean, deal with small emergencies and possibly entertain you while you unpack the rest of your home or in case the movers are delayed.

Some people opt for packing an essentials box for every room in their house. I tend to pack one box that can travel with me.

  • Toilet Paper (Thanks to reader, Laura, for this essential item!)
  • Dish soap
  • Dishtowel and dishcloth
  • All-purpose cleaner (unopened)
  • Instant coffee
  • Toaster or small toaster oven
  • Jar of pasta sauce and pasta (or some easy food item for one dinner and lunch)
  • Unopened small jar of jam/peanut butter
  • Snacks
  • Beverages
  • Pet food and dishes
  • Radio
  • Mug, plate, fork, knife, spoon for each member of the family
  • All-purpose cutting knife
  • Scissors or craft knife (to open the rest of your boxes)
  • Small emergency kit
  • Flashlight/candles/matches
  • Shower curtain (nothing worse than forgetting this one!)
  • Shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothbrush, floss, and paste
  • A change of clothing and towel for each member of the family.
  • Garbage bags
  • Portable tool kit
  • Important records such as medical records, passports, leases, financial information, etc.

You may not be ready to pack your Essentials Box yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start making a list of items to include. The rule of thumb is to include all essentials that you’ll need for at least 24 hours. Presumably, there’s a grocery or convenience store nearby, but just in case, you should have some food stuff on hand that you can quickly prepare for your family.

After you’ve prepared your Essentials Box, take it with you in the car or in the cab of the moving van if you’re moving yourself. Again, this will be the last box packed, and the first one you open!

10. All about Moving Boxes

Moving boxes are generally the same weight and quality as ordinary shipping boxes, unless you purchase some made from thicker cardboard that allows for heavier packing. So, the question most people have is, should I purchase moving boxes or find some slightly-used from grocery stores or friends who’ve just recently moved.

The answer is usually found in a combination of need and cost. For expensive, fragile or sentimental items that you don’t want damaged, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and purchase new moving boxes.

So, when choosing to purchase moving boxes, keep these tips in mind:

Buy small moving boxes. The rule of thumb is that each box should not weigh more than 50 lbs. Even if you’ve hired movers, remember that you may have to move the boxes yourself, from one room to another, so make sure you’re able to lift them yourself. Some boxes, such as wardrobe or electronic boxes may naturally be heavier. Just try to keep the number of boxes over 50 pounds to a minimum.

Type of boxes you may need and what they’re used for:

  • 1.5 cubic foot moving box which is 16 x 12½ x 12½ inches – the box used the most and can safely carry up to 60 lbs. Again, keep weight under 50 lbs. This box is great for books, for packing kitchen items, dishes, fragile and small appliances, lamps or shades.
  • 3.0 cubic foot moving box which is 18 x 18 x 16 and can safely carry up to 65 lbs. Great for clothing, pots and pans and electronics.
  • 4.5 cubic foot moving box which is 18 x 18 x 24 and can safely carry up to 65 lbs. Great for larger lamps, linens and larger kitchen appliances.
  • 6.0 cubic foot moving box which is 22 x 22 x 21 ½ and can carry up to 70 lbs, but a word of caution: Do not overstuff this box as it can become very heavy. Use this box for pillows, toys, large blankets and couch/chair cushions.
  • 6.1 cubic foot moving box which is 24 x 18 x 24. This box is a rectangular shape and may work better for blankets and comforters and cushions. Use it for objects that do not fit properly into the 6.0 cubic boxes.
  • Hanging wardrobe boxes come in various sizes (small, medium and large) with each having a metal bar and shaped just like a wardrobe. They are great for hanging closet items that you can’t pack flat. Just remember that they are heavy and take up a lot of room. If you can pack clothes flat, this will save you some money. Some movers use these boxes to move chandeliers or delicate wind chimes that are better to move hanging than flat.
  • Lay down Wardrobe Box, which are approximately 32 x 19 7/8 x 9. This resembles a dresser drawer and is great for packing clothing that you prefer to only fold once. Just remember not to over pack this box as it cannot withstand heavy items.
  • Picture and/or Mirror Boxes: All mirror boxes can be telescoped, meaning that two can be put together to get a longer fit. When fitting two boxes together, make sure you use a strong filament tape to secure them together and to handle the additional weight. Mirror boxes are designed to handle framed pictures, artwork and mirrors. Bubble wrap is recommended for all framed items.
  • Dish packs: Great for packing glasses, cups or liquor/wine bottles. Just make sure you don’t over pack them. Check the weight to ensure they are still manageable. Over packing dish packs can result in dropped boxes and shattered items.
  • Mattress boxes: These boxes aren’t necessary as most movers will wrap your mattress in plastic bags which are much cheaper to purchase. However, boxes will keep your mattress from being punctured or if it’s being stored for a while, it’ll protect it better from outside forces. Mattress boxes come in many sizes from cribs to twin to king-size.