Kristin’s Top 10 Packing Tips for a Successful Move + FREE printable

The following is a guest post from regular contributor, Kristin at The Gold Project.

Kristin's Top 10 Packing Tips for a Successful Move

Moving is not the most enjoyable activity in the entire world! I have actually been dreading it for over a month now. The packing process, the unpacking process, and the pure anxiety that I experience from worrying about things getting broken during the move are all exhausting. But, it must be done in this situation.

My husband and I are about to make a very unplanned and unexpected move. I am a planner, organizer, and scheduler. So, making a rushed move is way out of my element. But, I am trying to roll with it and not stress.

Through this rushed process of packing and preparing to move, I have learned a few tips for a successful move. Some I learned before I packed the first box and others, unfortunately, I learned after the fact. I am sharing them all with you today.

1. Check your local supermarkets for boxes.

Supermarkets are always getting goods shipped to them in boxes. The ones around my hometown will unload the boxes, break them down, and then dispose of them. In other words, they don’t use the shipping boxes.

Stop in and ask if they would give you some of their boxes and what days they break them down. It could save you a lot of money and stress.

I have one suggestion, though. Spray down the inside of the boxes with bug killer (for roaches, especially). You don’t want to be moving with bugs. That would not be a good way to start a new living situation. And, I wouldn’t recommend putting dishes or anything you eat off of in the sprayed down boxes.

2. Label each box with the contents inside.

There are several ways that you can do this. You can write the contents directly on the box or you can create a list that requires numbering or coding the boxes. I created the following printable to help with our move.

box contents checklist - free moving printable!

I plan on placing a large number on each box and listing the contents of the box on this sheet. If you have a whole room full of boxes and need one item, this method will make the search a lot faster.

3. Pack your boxes by room and label the outside with the room information.

This will help you and the person that just so happens to move the box from the vehicle to the house. Instead of sitting everything in one central location, your helpers can place the boxes in the specific rooms labeled on the boxes.

Pack boxes by room

4. It doesn’t have to be pretty!

Believe me, I love perfectly packaged boxes! You know, boxes where all of the contents are placed beautifully inside and the outside is just as pretty. But, when you are moving, no one really cares about the appearance of the box. And, sometimes, if the appearance isn’t so great that means your valuables are packed good.

It doesn't have to be pretty

5. Use extra linens to wrap and protect your valuables.

I have a confession to make… This is one of the tips I learned after the fact. I packed my two linens closets first. I wasn’t thinking! I knew I rarely used those items, so I could already pack them.

Then, once I got half of my kitchen boxed up and I ran out of newspaper, I realized I could’ve used those linens I had already packed.

So, don’t be like me. Use your extra towels, sheets, and blankets as padding in your boxes.


6. Reinforce the bottom of your boxes.

It doesn’t matter how perfect a box may appear at first sight. It can break! So, make sure you use some packing tape to reinforce the bottom of them.

I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t want my moving helpers to get upset at me because my large glass mixing bowl smashed their toe.

Reinforce Box Bottoms

7. Do not over-pack a box.

This goes with tip #6. Even though you reinforce the bottoms of the boxes doesn’t mean that the box won’t rip, especially if you have crammed your entire kitchen in one box.

While filling a box, make sure you check the weight. Just because it is only halfway full doesn’t mean you need to place more items in it. Make sure that it isn’t too heavy to lift and isn’t too heavy for the glue or adhesive tape to support.

8. Evaluate and re-evaluate.

This has been the reason it has taken me so long to pack. There are some items in my house that I have to think about. Do I want this item? Will someone else benefit from it more than me? Would I like to sell it or give it to Goodwill?

Moving is a great time to clean out your belongings. If you aren’t attached to some things, it is the perfect time to let them go.

Evaluate and re-evaluate

9. The items you need immediately should be packed in the moving vehicle last.

You know the whole saying, “Last in, first out?” That applies in this situation. I have made the mistake before, so this time I plan on doing it right.

10. Take your time and don’t stress!

It will all get done. Don’t be in such a rush that you hurt yourself or cause a huge argument between you and your loved ones. I say this because it is the advice I am currently using. I am a planner and moving quickly is something I do not handle very well. So, I am trying to stay calm and realize that everything will get done, even if it isn’t on my schedule.

Kristinprofilepic cropped

My name is Kristin and I am a high school career education teacher by day and a mommy/wife/blogger by night. I am married to my high school sweetheart and we have two loving children. We live in the bootheel of Missouri in a home that is always under construction. I get excitement out of finding new creative, functional, and cute ways to organize things! I also enjoy writing and documenting life as it happens. So, I put these three loves together and created The Gold Project. With the help of my husband, I am attempting to turn our house into a home. So, check out this special place of mine and take this journey with us!

Related post:

5 Essential Tips for an Organized Move



Filed under: Guest Bloggers, Kristin, Moving, Printables


16 Responses to Kristin’s Top 10 Packing Tips for a Successful Move + FREE printable

  1. 1
    Danielle says

    Love this post! Especially since my husband and I are talking about moving across the country at some point! I had been researching cross-country moves. Great tips! I totally agree with 6/7. I usually use the small size boxes for the kitchen and bookshelf. Heavy glass and heavy books. May need more than one but at least my valuables won’t break and whoever is moving boxes (not me 🙂 won’t break their back! Thanks for the post!

    • 1.1
      Kristin @ The O.C.D. Life says

      Thank you so much! I am so happy that you found it helpful. Good luck with your cross country move too. 🙂

  2. 2
    CS says

    Thanks, Kristin 🙂 Just wanted to add a tip that has helped us when we moved — almost too many times to count, including 4 cross country moves, not always with a home or job to move to!

    Pack a survival bag. It should include everything you need to take a shower and get cleaned up including soap and towels if you are staying in your new home the first night, sleepwear, a couple of changes of comfortable clothes each that you can go out in, a flashlight, scissors to open a box, phone and laptop chargers, meds, etc. The type of move determined what other things went into the survival bag or box.

    I have OCD too, so I get how difficult this can be. Whatever happens will be ok. Don’t forget to breathe!

    • 2.1
      Kristin @ The O.C.D. Life says

      What a great tip and one that I will jot down for future reference. That is definitely something I do not have, but should have.

      Thank you so much for your information and sweet comments. 🙂

  3. 3
    Margotgn says

    We used printer paper boxes – well reinforced. The size is especially good for heavy items (books, glass, etc). They are all the same size so pack in the van, truck, trunk efficiently.

    • 3.1
      Kristin @ The O.C.D. Life says

      Those boxes are really nice. I would’ve loved to use those if I had some available. And, my OCD brain would’ve loved that they would have been the same size. I am having issues with everything not being equal at the moment.

  4. 4
    Marilea Reinke says

    In moving there are a couple of things I found helpful….#1 I went through the house and packed everything hanging on walls #2 all the knick knacks got packed. Pots and pans were one of the last things packed so I wrapped them in clean bathroom towels and placed them in my empty clothes baskets. I went through and cleaned all the dresser drawers and then left the items in the drawers neatly. Yes, if moving across the country or several miles you do need your over night items handy as well as any medicines or first aid items in a carry on.

    • 4.1
      Kristin @ The O.C.D. Life says

      I have a funny story about pots and pans. Crazy me thought I wasn’t going to use those this week. Yeah! Didn’t work out so well. I had to fix my kiddos some macaroni for lunch one day and had to go through all the boxes to find the pots I had packed. Not so smart on my end! LOL

  5. 5
    Alex says

    Another somewhat over-the-top labeling idea that I came up with during a move was to color code the boxes by room. I use 4×6 cards folded in half and on each half write the room in large letters and then use a highlighter to color code it by room (you need a lot of different colors!). I wrote the basic contents of the box on the card as well and then taped it so that one half of the label was on the top of the box and the second hung down over the side so it was visible on the side of the box. When we were moving in, I put color coded signs up by each room’s entrance so our helpers could easily identify which boxes went in which room. You can also put another color-coded sign on a wall if you want the boxes all stacked in one corner. For example, “KITCHEN” (highlighted in blue) with “mixer, toaster …” written below. It makes it very easy to know what’s in each box, even when they’re stacked!

  6. 6
    Jayana says

    I’ve moved a lot and one thing that’s saved me a ton of time if printing out several sheets of labels for each room. That way I can stick a label on each side and the top of each box instead of writing “kitchen” five times for one box. Then the box number and contents list can be written once on the top, or sides. (Bonus: make five labels for each box number and print those out too!)

  7. 7
    Looby says

    Despite going on vacation for 2 weeks just before my last move it was the best one I had done.
    We invested in renting plastic moving boxes from a company called frog boxes, they were large and sturdy and clean, came with sticky labels. They also provided a wardrobe box which I will never move without again, so nice to keep all your clothes upright on their hangers. Because we had to return them we got everything unpacked within 5 days of the move!
    Finally I always pack a carry on case with 2-3 days of clothes, toiletries and medication and a roll of tp, easy access to essentials.

  8. 8
    Sarah says

    Being a renter moving for us generally means a very fast move with only 2 or 3 months notice. We pretty much have it down to a science and I could probably have an entire website devoted to it! I loved all the tips you shared and I would add these.
    1. Put all of your most important papers/documents in one box that you take with you in your vehicle. That way you will be sure to not lose your most recent tax returns, banking info, health insurance, etc.
    2. When in doubt, DON’T throw it out! Moving is always somewhat stressful and emotional and in the thick of doing things quickly you might go a little too crazy with purging. I’m all for purging, but if you have to move fast then just pack it now and then you can take your time purging and sorting as you unpack in your new home.
    3. The LAST items to go into the moving truck should be your beds and bed linens, so they can be the first things you set up at the new house. If you have friends or family helping you, ask a couple to be responsible for getting the beds set up and made right away. That way when it’s all said and done you and the kids can just flop into bed to sleep!
    4. In my experience the best place to get moving boxes is the liquor store. Although they may be on the smaller size, their boxes are always very sturdy and thick, making them perfect for fragile items, books, dishes, and smaller toys.

  9. 9
    Gwen says

    Kristin, you are my life saver! I’m just starting with the packing process because we’re moving in just 2 weeks, so this is just what I was looking for! Thanks for sharing!


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