Pack like a pro: make moving into your new home a breeze

Pack like a pro: make moving into your new home a breeze

Better packing is the key to a smooth, organized move. Here’s a convenient timeline to help you pack up your home with ease.

Moving to a new home is overwhelming—and packing is one of the most stressful parts of the process. Whether you’re moving down the street or across the country, here is a convenient timeline you can follow in the months, weeks, and days leading up to your move to help it go smoothly.

Months before you move

If you have advance notice, use the extra time to start packing early. Packing a box or two a day for a few months is easier than trying to pack your entire home in a week.

Start by packing items you rarely use first, such as the extra blankets in the guest bedroom or pantry appliances. But don’t get too carried away or you’ll end up digging through your packed boxes for items you need.

As you pack, keep a box nearby for items you want to donate or throw away. There’s no sense moving things you don’t need or use—and what better time to de-clutter than when you’re already sorting through everything. 

Food can be difficult to move, so you’ll want to start whittling down what’s in your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. Create a meal plan to get rid of as many heavy cans, bulky boxes, and frozen items as possible.

It may be tempting to throw food out rather than move it, but the cost of replacing food—especially condiments and spices—can add up fast. If you have excess food, donate what you can to your local food pantry.

Weeks before you move

Time to focus! The amount of work it’ll take to pack depends on factors such as your home size, the number of things you own, and how much help you’ll have. It’s always best to start sooner rather than later.

Start by packing the items you use the least, such as toiletries or out-of-season clothing. Everyday essentials should be the last items you pack.

Pro tip: For clothing and toiletries, pretend you’re packing for a two-week trip. Set those items aside and pack up everything else. Do the same in your kitchen; create a meal plan and pack all the utensils, appliances, and food you won’t need for those meals.

Days before you move

Buy disposable goods such as plates, napkins, and tableware so you can pack your dishes. Disposable goods will also come in handy during the first few days in your new place.

Plan to have a few spare boxes for last-minute items. The last bit of packing tends to take up more time and more space than you think. And extra boxes will come in handy if you find that you’ve forgotten to pack a cabinet or closet.

Pack cleaning supplies last. No matter what type of home you’re leaving behind, it should be clean. But if you’re hiring a cleaning crew, you may be able to pack your cleaning supplies earlier.  

Pro Tip: When you pack up your electronics, keep power supplies, remotes, cords, and cables with the device they belong to.

On moving day

If you haven’t hired a moving crew, you’ll need to come up with a packing strategy for whatever moving vehicle you choose to use. For example, be sure to pack larger and heavier items first. And make sure every item is secure. Use blankets, sheets, or moving pads to separate furniture and appliances; even the slightest friction can damage your furniture. 

Pro tip: Keep your essentials close. Clearly mark the boxes that hold your everyday essentials and pack them last so they’re easy to reach when you arrive at your new home. Keep items like toiletries, medicine, and a few outfit changes close at hand.

Extra packing tips

Label everything. Labeling your boxes with their contents and the room they go in is the number one way to stay organized during your move. Many of the methods you use to organize your home can also be used for packing.

Save money, go green. Bubble wrap and foam are expensive and bad for the environment, so put your towels and linens to good use. They serve as great cushions for furniture and breakable items—and they’re free!

Don’t waste time boxing up clothes. Leave your clothes on their hangers and keep your dresser drawers full. Transport your closet using wardrobe boxes or a hanging rod in your car. You can also use large garbage bags as garment bags. Keeping your dresser drawers packed will also save you time and space—carry the drawers separately to the moving vehicle and then slide them back into the dresser. Secure drawers in your dresser with tape or bungee cords.   

Lighten your load. Remember that you (or someone else) must carry the boxes after you pack them, so keep them as light as possible. Pro tip: Pack your rolling luggage with heavy items such as books.

Think smarter. Pack boxes strategically. Make sure the items in each box travel well together and find ways to fill open spaces. For example, don’t pack cleaning supplies with pantry items. And save space by packing spices inside coffee mugs or stuffing socks inside shoes.

Give yourself a break. Plan to finish your packing a day or two before you move. Last-minute items can add up, so give yourself a cushion.

Double-check. Walk through and check every space before you walk out the door for the last time—especially closets and cabinets. Some of the most common items people leave behind when they move include:

  • Chargers and routers
  • Dishes in the dishwasher
  • Hidden money or jewelry
  • Pets (no joke!)
  • Medicine
  • Outdoor plants and yard decor
  • Washing machines and dryers.


Moving into a new home is exciting, so don’t let the stress of packing put a damper on the experience. Use these packing tips to save time and money, and help the packing and unpacking process go smoothly.

Once the hard work is done, put your feet up and enjoy your new place!