February 19, 2024
Mover demonstrating packing tips for moving: packing books in small boxes.

Let’s face it: packing for a move isn’t how most people would choose to spend their time. It can be stressful and tedious. And, since you have to pull everything out of every closet, cabinet, and drawer, the process can cause your home to feel messy—at least until you get everything packed up into your moving boxes.

Additionally, packing isn’t as easy as it seems. Packing boxes with fragile and delicate items is an art form that requires time, patience, and the right packing materials. In fact, careful packing is the best way to ensure a smooth, quick, and cost-effective move. Most of the population aren’t professional packers, so we’ve put together this guide with our favorite packing tips for moving.

1. Plan your pack—and start early 

One of the best packing tips for moving is to be as organized as possible. If you have a one-bedroom or two-bedroom home, start packing at least two weeks before your moving date. If you have a larger home, give yourself even more time to prepare and pack everything before your professional movers arrive on your move day.

Organization is crucial throughout the packing process. Start by writing down the rooms and areas you’ll need to pack up. Don’t forget your attic, basement, and garage!

Then, find items you can pack early that you won’t miss between packing and your move date. This includes extra bed linens, clothes that are out of season, and knickknacks you can live without for a couple weeks. During this process you’ll find things you no longer need or want, so consider getting rid of them instead of packing and moving them.

2. Declutter your home

As you take a sharp eye to your living area and its nooks and crannies, you’ll likely rediscover items you haven’t seen in a while. And if you can live without something, why move it to your new place?

This is a great opportunity to declutter your home, which can be a rejuvenating process. You get to say goodbye to some old and unused items to make more space in the home you’re moving into. And because your forgotten stuff could be someone else’s treasure, you don’t have to just throw it away. Here are some packing tips for moving to remove unwanted clutter before you move:

  • Hold a yard sale or a garage sale to put some extra money in your pocket.
  • Invite your friends and family over and let them have their pick of the items you don’t want to bring to your new home.
  • Donate to your favorite local causes.
  • Call a junk removal company to haul away whatever is left—especially if it’s too large and heavy to move on your own.

And voila! You’ve decluttered your space and can focus on carefully packing up the items you want to bring to your new home.

3. Gather your packing supplies

Once you’ve removed all the items you don’t want to schlep to your new dwelling, it’s time to start gathering your packing supplies.

The first step is to use what you already have. Suitcases, duffle bags, and plastic bins make great containers, and you can wrap delicate items inside your towels, bed linens, and clothing. Just stay away from filling up trash bags or contractor bags, as those can be mistaken for garbage on your moving day.

Next, hook yourself up with some ecofriendly packing supplies. Materials like cardboard, packing tape, and bubble wrap create a lot of waste. Fortunately, you can rent reusable moving bins and wrap your fragile pieces in recyclable paper for an easy and environmentally friendly move.

Most moves involve at least a couple of cardboard boxes—and that’s ok! Instead of running to your local big box store to purchase new materials, look around for free moving boxes which you can then learn to pack like a professional.

4. Learn to pack like a pro  

You can hire professional packers to safely wrap and box your beloved possessions. However, here are a few pro packing tips for moving if you’re going the DIY route:

  • Watch the box size. The bigger the box, the more lightweight its contents should be. Large boxes are great for comforters and pillows, medium boxes work well for lamps, and small boxes are perfect for heavy books.
  • Fill the voids. Once you place items inside each box, add additional packing paper, towels, or clothing to fill up empty areas. This helps prevent items from rattling around inside the boxes and getting damaged.
  • Label your heart out. Label the sides and top of each box with the contents and room destination to make your life easier when you unpack at your new home.

Spending time during packing can save you time and money during your move, so be patient and pack the right way.

5. Understand what your moving company can and cannot move

One of the most important packing tips for moving to keep in mind is that even the best movers in Chicago are prohibited from handling certain items.

The State of Illinois prohibits moving companies from packing and moving items like currency, medication, firearms, flammable items, jewelry, and valuable papers and documents such as your passport and vehicle title. Pack those into a box or folder and keep them with you when you move to your new home.

6. Make packing a family affair

When you start packing for your move, let the family help. If you’re moving with children, involve them in the process. Give them some boxes and let them pack up their own clothes and stuffed animals. Their packing job might not be perfect, but at least they’re participating!

You can even create small benefits or contests to get the kids excited about the pack and move. Maybe they get a little extra screen time if they fill up a couple of boxes, or whoever packs up their room the best gets to pick the night’s takeout dinner. Be creative and let the entire family have some fun while you focus on even more packing tips for moving.

7. Empty out your cabinets and drawers

It’s easy to forget about items that are hidden inside cabinets and drawers. Be sure to empty out your furniture (and those gorgeous built-ins that Chicago is known for). This is another great chance to declutter stuff that’s been hidden away for a few years, and is one of the safety-based packing tips for moving!

In addition to presenting an opportunity to clear out old and unwanted items, removing the contents from your dressers, China cabinets, and other furnishings is safer for both the movers and the piece of furniture itself. If contents are left inside, the piece’s weight can shift unexpectedly. This can be a safety hazard for the movers and cause damage to both the piece and its contents.

8. Eat your perishable food

Food probably isn’t as easily forgotten about as random items stuffed into a drawer. However, it’s important to get through as much of your perishable food as possible before your move day, and one of the more fun packing tips for moving.

Sure, you can pack a cooler to pack up some refrigerated and frozen food when moving—but you likely can’t fit the entire contents of your fridge into your personal vehicle. So have a dinner party or just pig out by yourself!

9. Pack your cleaning supplies last

Before you officially move out of your home, you’ll likely do one last cleaning job. Once the boxes are packed up, you’ll want easy access to your cleaning supplies.

The vacuum, broom, dustpan, rags, and cleaning solutions should be among the last things you pack so you can give your old home a nice clean to prepare it for the new residents.

10. Pack some first-night essentials

As you get closer to your move date and cross more tasks off of your moving checklist, think about what essential items you’ll need the first night in your new home. These include:

  • Toiletries like toothbrushes, toothpaste, and hand soap
  • Linens to make everyone’s bed for a great first night’s sleep
  • Pajamas for each member of the family
  • Snacks and water bottles to stay energized and hydrated throughout the move

Stash these items inside a bag or a box or two, and label it clearly so you know to unpack it first. It’ll make your move, first night, and the next morning much easier!

One of the most important packing tips for moving: Hire professional packers!

Following these packing tips for moving can help you have a great moving experience. However, if you want a hand packing for moving, the best professional packers in Chicago are here to help! We’re happy to handle packing up your entire home—or, if you prefer, just a room or two in case you can’t face packing all the dining ware in your kitchen or the books in your living room.

Contact us today for a free estimate! 

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