11 practical packing and moving tips no one tells you

6 practical packing and moving tips

Relocating is tough. Packing and moving your entire household is an overwhelming and time-consuming task. Especially in the current times when everyone’s worried about their health and staying indoors. My husband and I are moving to the East Coast after calling sunny California our home for six years. Having to wrap up, pack up and move the entire house was not easy but in the end, I am able to share my unbeatable packing and moving tips that can make the whole process easier for anyone who is planning to relocate.

Even thinking about all the stuff that you need to wrap, put into boxes and ensure everything stays safe can be stressful let alone doing it! My biggest concern was my kitchen. My husband and I finalized and started planning our move three weeks before we booked our flights out of California. At first, I was very stressed and didn’t know where to start but proper planning helped me get there. With only one week to move, we are in very good shape and I feel confident that everything will go smoothly.

t I would suggest you pay attention to is planning. Let’s go into each of the steps involved in more detail.

Packing and moving tips that actually work –


This is by far the most important and probably the scariest of all the things you do when moving. Before you actually begin doing any physical work like sorting and packing, sit and plan your move. Create a list of things you’d need to do before you move to your phone/iPad/notebook. The idea is to have your list handy at all times so you can continue to add items to it as and when you remember them. The list should contain details like the move-out date of your current home, travel dates, any appointments you have during this time, etc.

Planning ahead will ensure that you don’t miss out on any important when you get busy with packing. What I found helpful was creating a checklist so I could keep ticking off things that I had done/completed. I would also suggest creating calendar notifications for all your meetings, appointments, tasks deadlines, etc. If you are selling some stuff before moving, create calendar notifications for the timeframe between which you can do showings/test drives (in case of your car), etc., so you know what to expect each day. This also helps plan your day better because you know your tasks for the day and can estimate the amount of time you might spend on each of them.

Create a list of items you have

This may sound a little over the top but trust me it is one of the most important steps to follow! One of my most important packing and moving tips is this rather than just jumping into packing head first! Go closet by closet, room by room, and just list down EVERYTHING you own. And by everything I mean everything. Have 6 different bed linen sets? Write them down separately. Have 10 sets of coffee mugs, note each one down separately. Create your own identification for each one the thing like coffee mugs with red dots or a bedsheet with blue flowers!

Creating a list of items will give you a clear idea of what you have. It will also help you segregate under different categories (more on that later.) This will also help you estimate whether you need professional packers and movers, how many boxes you might need, how long will it take to pack, etc. Using an excel sheet to list everything down is easier because you can easily checklist, remove, add items as and when you want as well as segregate them (next step) as well as share the list with your partner so he/she can add their stuff to it.

Start with a to-do list

Segregate – Throw/Giveaway/Sell/Take

Once you have a list, create a column and list down what category does the item fall into. For eg an Instant Pot can be categorized as a small kitchen appliance, etc. Also, create another column and note whether you want to discard it, donate it, sell it or take it with you. You might think that making lists is not getting any work done but the peace of mind it will give you will make all the physical work easier. Once you have segregated items, you will be able to again better estimate how much of the actual stuff you are taking.

It will help you start decluttering so you are only left with things you really need and have to take. Donation and selling items can pile up fast and may not be possible to give them away in just one day. The segregation will help you estimate how many items you need to sell and how much time will it take to do so. It will also help you plan your trips to the donation center to drop the items off. If you are wondering whether my packing and moving tips only involve lists, then no, we are getting to the physical work😂

Tackling the kitchen

The kitchen in my opinion is one of the toughest places to start with. You can’t randomly throw stuff, or start packing. You will need your kitchen till the very last day so it can get confusing to work on. One of my most important packing and moving tips is to meal plan. Meal planning will give you an idea of what groceries, ingredients, and even cookware you will need. It will help you wrap up items in your pantry. You will also be able to separate the cookware, serveware, etc. that you will use and the one that you will not use until you move.

You will not need 18 cups for coffee. You can manage in 6 maybe. So decide what you want to do with the rest. Do you want to take them, throw them, sell them, or donate them? Do this with all the items in the kitchen that you will not need in the next 2-3 weeks. As you see the shelves in your kitchen emptying, you will start to feel more confident and less overwhelmed!

Sending items where they need to go

Once you have the list ready, take each category one by one and work through it. Trust me, even throwing away stuff takes time!

  • Items to be thrown

Check the items you are throwing. Your county will have different disposal rules for different items so you would need to be mindful of that. For small items, you may be able to throw them in a dumpster. For bigger items like furniture, etc. that you may want to discard, you will have to check with your local curbside pickup on how and where to throw it. For electronics,

  • Selling

On your excel sheet where you segregate what items you are donating, what you are selling, etc., create a separate tab for the items you are planning to sell. List down the prices for each item you want to sell for. Then decide on the platforms you will sell those items – Facebook Marketplace, Offer Up, Craigslist, are a few options. One by one go through each item, click pictures of those items in good sunlight and begin to create the listings. Keep a track of what gets sold and what doesn’t and how much it finally sells for. This will also help you keep a track of your moving budget since you will be spending money on packing and moving.

  • Donation

Check out all the items you are donating and then call your local donation center to see if they accept those items. Also, pack the items to see how many boxes/bags you have. A lot of donation centers do home pick-ups if you are donating large stuff. Doing these checks will save you a lot of trouble. You neither want to make multiple trips to the center in order to donate all your stuff nor reach a donation center only to realize they don’t accept half of the things. Better prepared than sorry, right?

Packers and movers or self-packing

Once you have an estimate on how many items you are taking with you, you can decide whether you want to take professional help or pack them yourself. Since we aren’t taking any furniture (everything was sold on Facebook Marketplace,) we decided to pack on our own. But if you are planning to take everything, you might need to hire packers.

Once your move is finalized, start getting quotes from different packers and movers. We did this step and realized that the cost of moving all our stuff would be far more than buying all the furniture once we get to the East Coast. This could be because of the distance of moving stuff from one end of America to the other. If your move is a shorter distance, you may decide to go with packing and moving company.

Look for unconventional options also

If you decide against hiring professional packers and movers, doesn’t mean you have to do it all on your own. If you are moving by car or Uhaul, it’s a different thing but if you are moving farther away, you can look for options that can ship your boxes to you. UPS offers this service and so does FedEx. There are many start-ups also that do doorstep pick up and delivery for your stuff.

Call them up to get quotes and understand how this works. Most of the shipping companies have predefined box sizes and prices attached to them so do your research. Also, remember the shipping price changes due to demand, depends on what day you ship and when you want your stuff to reach you so keep in mind that flexibility would be important.

Packing your stuff

Once you have decluttered your space by either selling, throwing, or donating the items you don’t want anymore, you will be left with only the items you are going to take! Invest in quality boxes. Check with your moving company or shipping company on the size of the boxes they allow and buy accordingly. Make sure the boxes are sturdy and durable so your items do not get damaged in transit. Buy bubble wrap as well for breakable items.

Pick one cupboard or one category for a day and pack it. You will NOT be able to pack everything in one go so don’t try. Break it down into smaller categories and do it. My husband and I pack for 2 hours every day. That is it. Every day before dinner, we take out two hours to pack our stuff. And so far, it’s looking good.

Label your boxes

Label each box

One thing I have learned from experience as well as by observing my mom is that labeling helps. Even if you don’t want to create very fancy labels, just take a sharpie and on each box or bubble wrap, just scribble what item is inside before you put them inside the final shipping carton. These labels will come in handy when you are unpacking. You will know what to unpack when and how to handle the item.

On the shipping carton as well, make a clear note of the items that are fragile, or if the box needs to be handled a certain way. You can also buy that can be stuck to the boxes so the shipping company knows that those boxes need to be handled with care. Create a list of boxes you have and what

Pack an essentials bag separately

Once you have moved, it is highly unlikely that you will need ALL OF YOUR STUFF immediately. What you will need, however, are your personal items, a few things from the kitchen, your clothes for a couple of days, your documents, etc. so pack them separately to take them with you. What we did was create a list of things we use daily from morning to evening and then marking out the non-essential items. This way we were able to figure out the absolute essentials and pack them.

Packing these items separately will save you a lot of mental trouble. You won’t need to open all your boxes or go into panic mode if your boxes won’t be coming for the next few days. You will know exactly what you have with you and if you need to purchase something.

Keep the last day for resting

Ideally, you should be all packed and left with an empty home on the day before your last day. The rush of packing and moving is tiring and hits you at the last minute. Keeping a day to just relax and soak in the feelings of moving is very important. Plan your packing and moving in a way that you don’t have anything left for the last day.

Go eat at your favorite restaurant, meet your friends one more time or just go for a walk to soak in the surroundings. For us, we’ve called California our home for 6 years so it is going to be very bittersweet. While I am meeting my friends, colleagues, etc., I have kept the last day to myself and I plan to just relax, go eat at my fav diner and soak in the open California skyline!

I hope my packing and moving tips come in handy to you. Good luck with your move! Don’t forget to pin this post.

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I will be putting more moving and packing tips in the coming days so if you want them delivered right to your mailbox, sign up for the weekly newsletter below. Don’t forget to share this post with anyone you know who is relocating!


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