The Only Guide to Packing Your Kitchen You’ll Ever Need

empty kitchen

Every kitchen contains a multitude of items that you’ll need to move. You’ll need to use different techniques to keep your cutlery, food, appliances, flatware, and other items safe and secure. I’ve thought about what you need to know and condensed everything down into this simple step-by-step guide. Together, we’ll make packing your kitchen quick and easy.

Run Down Your Food

None of us like waste, so before you move, it’s a great idea to minimize the amount of food you’ll need to throw away.

  1. Start by listing all your perishable food items and look up recipes to use them up. All Recipes and Supercook are both great resources.
  2. Minimize your grocery trips and keep new food purchases to a minimum. Only buy essential items you’ll use before your move.
  3. I find it’s a great idea to check out locations of grocery stores near your new home so you can shop easily once you’ve moved.
  4. Arrange everything in your fridge and freezer so it will be easy to find, use, or pack.

Sort Your Kitchen into Essential and Nonessential Items

There’s a secret to a well-planned kitchen move: plan and pack as much as you can a week or so before your relocation. You don’t want to be short of the essentials, so separate out the things you’ll need up until you move:

  • Plates, bowls, cups, glasses, and cutlery for everyone for two meals each
  • Non-fridge / freezer food that you’ll use up to the move
  • One or two saucepans
  • One or two sharp knives
  • Cleaning materials and tools, dishwasher soap, and dish soap
  • A couple of dishcloths, oven mitts, and dish towels
  • Coffee maker and toaster

Get the Right Packing Supplies and Materials

Gather together all your packing materials—I’ve always needed more than I thought I would. For a kitchen move, I recommend boxes, tape, packing chips, packing paper, cardboard separators for glasses and cups, bubble wrap, cardboard, and permanent markers. If you still have the original packing for your appliances, make sure that’s on hand too.

General tips for packing your kitchen

Green Check Mark

Secure the bottom of any boxes with a good amount of tape. You’ll want to tape across the middle seam, across the two side seams, and for heavy boxes you’ll want to double up on the tape.

Green Check Mark

If a box is going to have breakable or fragile items in it, line the bottom of the box with cushioning —that could be bubble wrap, packing chips, packing paper, or anything else that will protect your items.

Green Check Mark

Don’t let breakable items rub up against the inner walls of the box—put some cushioning between the items and the cardboard.

Green Check Mark

Wrap individual items in packing paper to protect them.

Green Check Mark

Nest together like-sized items such as flatware and bowls.

Green Check Mark

Use your dish towels to wrap fragile items.

Green Check Mark

Pack small items inside food storage containers.

Green Check Mark

Fill in any empty spaces in the box with packing chips, packing paper, or bubble wrap after you’ve packed the items.

Green Check Mark

Clearly mark any boxes with breakable items with “Fragile.”

Green Check Mark

Don’t pack boxes that are too heavy to lift or move around easily.

Green Check Mark

Clearly label all of your boxes so you know what to unpack first.

Start Packing Your Non-Essential Items

Now that you know what you will need in the last week, we can pack everything else.

  • Take any furniture apart and secure the fixtures in a sandwich bag that you’ve labelled and securely attached to the furniture.
  • Pack all of your cans, dry goods, jars, boxed foods, and bagged goods.
  • Cans: Be careful not to overpack boxes as they can get very heavy. Instead, just put in a bottom layer of cans and then pack lighter items on top.
  • Boxed, bagged, and dry goods: Make sure you don’t pack anything heavy in the boxes with these goods, as they may get damaged and split open.
  • Jars: Wrap individual jars in packing paper and use packing chips to protect them.

Sort your cutlery into various types. If you still have the original cutlery chest, pack the items in that and put a layer of plastic wrap or stretch wrap over the top to stop the items moving around. If you don’t have the chest, put an elastic band around bundles of your cutlery. Wrap the bundles in packing paper and put them in a shoe box. furniture apart and secure the fixtures in a sandwich bag that you’ve labelled and securely attached to the furniture.

  • Put any sharp knives into their holders or wrap the blades in cardboard.
  • Pack other utensils together in the same box, securing similar items with elastic bands.
  • Make sure your utensils won’t get bent or broken by wrapping and packing them carefully on top of any heavy items.

Tricks for Packing Kitchen Items

As you prepare your boxes, follow the general packing guidelines of reinforcing the seams with tape and making sure you don’t pack too much weight into any box. If you’re worried about boxing up some trickier kitchen items, here are some tips that can make the move easier:


Put plates in boxes vertically; they’ll be less likely to break that way.

Pots, pans, and ovenware

Tape lids on saucepans and cookware.

Cups and glasses

Get some cell-packs or cardboard dividers—these are sectioned pieces of cardboard that will go inside a packing box to keep your cups and glasses separate and protected. Put especially fragile items like champagne flutes in their own box like a shoebox and move them yourself.

Small kitchen appliances

Remove sharp blades and put them in blade guards or wrap them in cardboard. If you still have the original box for your appliances, repack them in those.

Cleaning materials and chemicals

Unscrew lids of chemicals, place a bag over the neck, and screw the cap back on. Tape the cap shut and put the chemicals in a larger, sealed plastic bag. Pack chemicals in a box by themselves.

Now that you have all of your non-essentials packed, it’s time to look at what you’ll need to do up to moving day.

Final Steps for Packing Your Kitchen

Moving your large appliances

  1. Read the instruction manual on how to unplug and disconnect your appliances safely.
  2. Get the right tools to let you uninstall items. At a minimum, you’ll need a flathead and cross-head screwdriver, and canvas straps will come in handy for dragging items. Don’t forget to protect your floor!
  3. Read your owner’s manual to see if there are other tools you’ll need and get them ahead of time.
  4. If you’re not sure what you’re doing, it’s essential you call in a professional, whether it be a plumber, gas engineer, or electrician. The last thing you want is a flood or a gas leak just before moving day.


Getting large appliances into the moving truck

  1. If you have large and heavy appliances to move, make sure you use the right equipment like a hand truck or sack truck to make loading and unloading easier.
  2. Learn how to lift and move heavy items safely without injuring yourself.
  3. It’s almost always better to let professional movers get your appliances into the truck.


Finish up your food and clean out your fridge and freezer

  1. Eat as much perishable food as you can in the final couple of weeks.
  2. Get takeout or eat out over the last day or two if needed.
  3. A couple of days before leaving, go through all of the food in your fridge and freezer and throw away any items that are past their “use by” date.
  4. Just before you move, pack the perishable foods from your fridge and freezer. Use ice packs and cool bags to keep everything at the right temperature.
  5. Clearly label the boxes.
  6. Now’s the time to defrost your freezer and clean out your fridge.

Tips and Advice

  • Keep some snacks available for hungry tummies!
  • Pack kitchen boxes and items onto the moving truck last—they’ll be one of the first things you unpack.
  • When you’ve moved in, make sure the first things you get installed are your fridge and freezer so you can re-chill your perishable food.
  • Make sure all of your boxes are very clearly labelled, both with contents and with “Kitchen” so the movers know where to put them.

If you take the time to plan, packing your kitchen can be a painless experience! Read through this guide a couple of times before you start packing, print it out, and use it to make your packing easier and more efficient. And enjoy your new kitchen.

About Paul Maplesden

Paul Maplesden
Paul Maplesden is a freelance writer specializing in business, finance, and technology. When he’s not writing, he enjoys Earl Grey tea, hats, and the mountains of Western North Carolina.
  • Vikas Godara

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  • Ken Hwan

    I really appreciate your tip to try and wrap your more fragile dishes individually to protect them! My wife and I have been thinking of getting a new house, and we are concerned that we won’t be able to take the china that my grandmother left for us. After reading your article, I will be sure to wrap all of them individually!