There are a few facets of moving that simply can’t be avoided—and packing up your stuff is one of them. While very few people consider packing to be an enjoyable activity (especially if they haven't hired help in advance), it doesn’t have to be an entirely awful process either. We’ve got you covered with tips and tricks for how to make packing easier.
How to Make Packing Easier
5 tips to make packing for your move easier
1. Sort, declutter, and get rid of what you don’t need
One easy way to save money on your move is to go through your items and donate or get rid of anything you don’t need. This means your load will be lighter—and if you’re DIYing your move, that’s fewer boxes you’ll have to haul. You’ll also need fewer boxes, and packing will take less time.
Start by selling, donating, or recycling usable items that you don’t want or need. Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace are good places to sell your stuff, and some local Goodwills will come to your house to pick up large items for donation.
If your trash pile ends up full of larger items like that ratty old sofa you’ve had since college or the fridge that finally gave up the ghost, you might need help clearing off your curb. Our favorite junk removal companies can lend a hand, or you can look into renting a dumpster for DIY trash removal.
2. Get the right supplies
Having everything you need to get you through the packing process will save you from having to skimp on tape when it starts to run low or from running to the store for supplies right when you’ve hit your stride.
Here are a few items you’ll definitely want to have on hand:
- Packing paper and/or bubble wrap
- Sharpies or thick markers
Pro tip: heavier things like books go in smaller boxes, while lighter items like comforters belong in larger boxes. Plan your supply list accordingly.
Need help deciding which boxes to get (and how many)? Check out our Where to Buy Moving Boxes guide.
3. Stay organized
Because packing isn’t the most exciting activity, there’s an ever-present temptation to just toss things in boxes and get it over with as quickly as possible.
However, if you take a bit of extra time—jumbo Sharpie in hand—to keep your stuff organized at the outset, unpacking on the other end will be much more pleasant (and you won’t have to tear through everything to find your precious French press that you accidentally packed when coffee time rolls around).
How to take an inventory
The inventory system is a simple way to add some method to the madness. It’ll help you manage what’s been packed in each box, know where the box needs to go in the new house, and determine whether the contents are fragile. You can also use it to keep track of valuable items and to label your boxes.
We have a whole guide to the inventory system, but here’s a quick summary:
- Make a spreadsheet or download a home inventory app on your smartphone.
- Number your boxes.
- On the inventory sheet, note the rooms the boxes are coming from, the rooms they’re going to, the contents of each box, whether the items are fragile, and whether the items are valuable.
- Clearly label the sides and top of the boxes with the name of the room they’re going to, the contents of the box, and whether they are fragile.
4. Use packing hacks
The great thing about packing is that you aren’t the first person to go through it—nor will you be the last. We’ve compiled some of our favorite packing hacks from our moving experiences:
- Keep clothes on hangers and pack them into open garbage bags to keep them clean.
- Put plastic wrap over the openings of all liquids before putting the top on to minimize spills.
- Keep all of your daily necessities packed in a separate bag that you’ll carry with you.
- Label your boxes on the sides, not the top, so you can read ‘em when they’re stacked.
- Put the right amount of packing supplies in each room so you’re not walking back and forth as you pack.
- Put newspapers, old clothes, and packing materials to protect fragile objects in each room.
- Number the boxes according to the inventory system.
5. Recruit your friends
Invite a friend or two over to help you pack, put on a great playlist, and treat them to dinner afterward. You’ll probably enjoy yourself more if you have company, and you’ll have to spend less of your own time on this task.
Here are a few tips to minimize procrastination and maximize efficiency:
- Set a deadline or specific time to wrap up the packing process.
- Make sure people aren’t duplicating efforts. Assign only one person to each room, and give them specific tasks to complete.
- Visit each person every hour or two, bring refreshments, and make sure they have everything they need.
If you follow these tips and put in a little extra effort up front, the unpacking process is likely to be short, sweet, and headache-free.
Need more tips? Check out our top picks for packing: