How to Pack Like a Pro: 12 Tips from Our Top Professional Movers

Did you know that there are over 300,000 items in the average American household? That’s a lot of stuff to pack up before move day. Don’t panic. Below, we’re sharing with you our top 12 tips the professionals use while packing that will make your move quick and easy. 

  1. Gather good materials

The first step to packing up all your earthly belongings is to gather your materials. Here are a few must-haves for a fast and efficient move:

  • Sturdy moving boxes: You’ll need about 50 for a 2-bedroom house
  • 2 or more rolls of packing tape: Pick a strong kind like Scotch Tough Grip Moving Packaging tape
  • A permanent marker: To label boxes
  • Heavy-duty trash bags: For both trash and packing
  • Scissors
  • A box cutter
  • Bubble wrap and packing paper
  • Painter’s tape: For grouping together loose items, adding labels to bubble-wrapped items, and holding drawers closed
  • Moving blankets
  • Stretch wrap for furniture

While this list will help you cover your bases, you may want to add to it. Tack on whatever else you think you’ll personally want to use, like cleaning supplies, cute labels, or specialty boxes, and get to gathering. 

  1. Set aside your necessities

Before you start tearing through closets and emptying the attic, pull together a list of essentials you’ll need in the first week at your new place. These essentials might include:

  • Clothing and toiletries for each member of the household
  • Phones, computers, and chargers
  • Bedding
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Cooking tools, kitchen appliances, dishes, and utensils
  • Paper products, like plates, cups, paper towels, and toilet paper
  • Medications, supplements, and first aid
  • Important documents needed for closing, like forms of ID and previous tax returns
  • Pet supplies, like food, bed, bowls, blanket, and bone

Gather these essential first-week items, pack them separately, and mark their boxes so that they’re easy to access right after you move in. 

  1. Work your way room by room

When you take a step back and look at all the work that needs to be done while moving, it can become too overwhelming. To keep up a good pace and a positive attitude, pack your home one room at a time. Start with the rooms you use the least and work your way to the frequently used rooms. Your packing order could look something like this: 

  • Attic
  • Garage
  • Basement
  • Storage closets
  • Guest bedrooms
  • Extra bathrooms
  • Dining room
  • Living room
  • Used bedrooms
  • Used bathrooms
  • Kitchen

Tackle one room at a time, and you’ll see how quickly you can get the job done. 

  1. Label as you go

There’s no need to buy a bunch of scrapbook materials to pack. All you need is a thick marker and a swift system. After each box is filled, write on its exterior what room it belongs in, give it a number (you’ll see why below), and note whether it contains fragile contents. 

Labeling can be as simple as that, but it will save you a lot of headaches later (especially if you need to go digging for an item later on in the move). If you want to get fancy, you can use a different colored marker to show which box goes in which room. 

  1. Snap pictures of box contents

Few people pack for a move without having to go back and dig through a box to find an item they needed before move day. Keep the unboxing to a minimum by keeping track of which items went in which box. 

After you’ve packed and labeled your boxes, take a quick picture of the box and its contents. Be sure to get the label number in the picture so that you can recognize the box after it’s taped up. This trick can be especially helpful and allow you to keep track of all your belongings if you’re packing in advance, storing your items in a storage unit, or have a large house to pack up. 

  1. Take pictures before tear-down

You might be racing against the clock while packing, but by spending a few extra seconds now, you can save yourself hours later on. When you’re about to pack up your tv, Ikea furniture, or anything with a specific set-up, take a picture of the plugs or assembly. 

After move day, you’ll be thanking your past self for these pictures. Set up will be far easier and quicker when you can reference your picture and easily know where to plug the yellow chord or where to place that wooden peg. 

  1. Leave drawers full and clothes hung

There’s no need to unload your dresser drawers into a box or take your clothes off their hangers. Save yourself several hours by leaving your clothes where they are. When moving day comes, simply remove your drawers from the dresser and carry them out one at a time. Then insert them back into the dresser once it’s in the truck. 

Your hung clothes can make an easy transfer as well. They can quickly be packed into a garment box, garment bags, or even covered with large trash bags to keep them clean during the move. 

  1. Use small boxes for heavy items

If you’re hiring professional packers to help, they’ll guide you on how to pair specific items with specific box sizes. As a good rule of thumb, however, if you have heavy items to pack, use smaller boxes. For example, if you’re packing books, it’s better to use four small boxes than two large ones.

When heavy, smaller boxes are much easier and safer to carry. They also can offer more support and resist a busting open halfway to the moving truck. 

  1. Use big boxes for light and bulky items

While it’s best to use smaller boxes for heavier items, lighter, bulkier items can be quickly packed in large boxes. Items like pillows, comforters, paintings, winter coats, and blankets belong in your biggest boxes for easiest transport. 

Every now and then, lift the box you’re packing and see how heavy it’s getting. While some bedding is feather-light, warmer winter bedding can carry a few pounds. Make sure you only fill your large boxes to the point where you can lift them without strain, and avoid injury later on. 

  1. Use your own pillows, blankets, towels, and t-shirts

You may want to save a few of those blankets and pillows for later packing. Rather than buying more moving blankets and bubble wrap, use what you already have on hand.

If you have throw blankets you don’t mind getting a bit dirty, use them as moving blankets. Place pillows between pictures or mirrors. Wrap breakables in sweaters and coats. Cover small furniture with bath towels. Just make sure your fragile items are carefully protected, whether you’re wrapping them in a t-shirt or packing paper. 

  1. Pack heaviest to lightest

Weight distribution matters while packing. A top-heavy box will topple over more easily. Your items will also more likely become damaged and crushed during transport if they’re packed with heavy items on top. 

Each of your boxes should be packed with its heaviest items on the bottom and with an optional layer of lighter items on top. If you’d like, you can protect the bottom layer with some bubble wrap. Before sealing up your box, consider adding more packing peanuts to add cushion in case items shift during your move. 

  1. Don’t skimp on the tape

Don’t be shy with your tape. It’s better to buy an extra roll, use it up, and keep your boxes intact during your entire move than to use your tape sparingly and end up with broken dishes. 

Make sure your boxes don’t bust open by securely taping each one. Use heavy-duty packing tape (resist the urge to buy a cheaper but weaker brand), and use it liberally. Tape each seam, making sure that your tape doesn’t twist or wrinkle so that it covers as much surface area as possible. 

Pass the Reigns to the Professionals

With these 12 tips, you’ll be packed and ready for your movers to load up. But before you hand over all your belongings to the movers, make sure they’ll do the job right. Take a few seconds and send us your moving details. Then, we’ll pair you with the top professional movers in your city that you can trust. 

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