Packing and Moving Your Home

Kitchen and Household

If you are hiring a professional moving company to do your packing as well as your move, many of tips outlined below are not necessarily relevant. If you are packing and moving yourself, here are a few tips to help you prepare. (Packing & Moving Part 2 will discuss readying your household appliances for your move and will be relevant for people hiring a professional mover as well.)

professional mover packing china

In my opinion the keys to a successful do-it-yourself move are organization and communication.


The more things you can pre-plan and execute in advance of moving day, the better.

Kids and Pets

If you have very small children and you can arrange for them to go stay with someone for a couple of days this is much easier than having to divide your time between keeping your kids out of harm’s way and trying to move. It is safer and less stressful for everyone if you have somewhere for them to go. If you don’t have someone that can take them that long then take advantage of whatever babysitting may be available to you – even if for just a few hours. Depending on the situation and the pet, it may also be a good idea to have someone pet sit if you have a lot of people going in and out to load/unload. If you think you may have a tough time keeping tabs on your cat or dog, see if someone can help you.

Packing Supplies

Packing supplies such as cube boxes, wardrobe boxes, packing paper and bubble wrap are often more economical in the long run than random boxes and newspaper. Random box sizes are awkward and more time consuming to load and newspaper leaves messy black marks which you then have to clean up. Proper supplies are not very expensive; you can even check on Kijiji, Craig’s List or a U-Haul box exchange. Sometimes people drop their used boxes off at moving companies which give them out on a first-come-first-served basis. You can rent moving pads, but remember that bedding can double as corner protectors and padding for furniture as well.


You can pack up storage rooms/basement, the garage/shed, spare room all well before moving day. (Leave out a couple of coolers if you think you will need them for items from your refrigerator or freezer.) Then get to work on unnecessary or seldom used items from the rest of the rooms, all the while taking stalk of your stuff to see if there is anything you need to sell or give away. As moving day approaches you should have everything packed except the essentials. If you are moving a long distance, it is wise to be sure CDs and DVDs aren’t packed to go in the moving truck. It can get hot enough to warp discs and cause aerosols to explode. Keep hazardous materials, plants and liquids off of your moving truck.

The Necessities Box

You can’t pack this box in advance of your move, but you can at least make a check list so that everything you want gets packed in here. This will be the last thing out and the first thing in and should go in the cab of your moving truck or your own personal vehicle. You don’t want this to get loaded with the rest of the boxes! (Pack such things as coffee and filters, coffee pot, mugs, cutlery, paper plates, granola/protein bars, microwaveable dish/medium saucepan, multipurpose cleaner with rags or J clothes, dishtowel, dishcloth, paper towel, toilet paper, multi-head screw driver, pliers, bottle of water, tape, marker, scissors, salt and pepper, matches, note pad, sandwich baggies, shower curtain, bath towel, toiletry bags, Ibuprofren /Acitaminophen…) And along with the Necessities Box, be sure to have a couple of cases of water so you and your help, if you are fortunate to have some, can stay hydrated. You don’t want people digging cups out of boxes that have been packed and taped shut.

The Kitchen

Use up as many things from your freezer and pantry in the days leading up to your move as you can. Be creative rather than going grocery shopping. If you eat it, you don’t have to pack it and move it! Pack up small appliances that you won’t need, cook books, stemware and non-essentials from your pantry in advance. Not that I am for environmental irresponsibility, but just this once, maybe use paper plates and cups the day before the move so that you can pack up all the dishes. There is some good information online from moving companies about how to pack breakables.


Most people are exhausted by the end of moving day and don’t need to be searching for parts to put the beds together. Be sure all of the tools needed to reassemble beds are in the Necessities Box. Put screws and bolts into a baggie and tape it to a piece of bed frame.

Art and Electronics

The pros recommend packing your art in mirror boxes designed for flat and fragile pieces. If you don’t have the original boxes for your electronics, moving companies have specialty boxes for that type of thing as well as well.


If you can, sketch a layout of the new place and be sure each room has a name. As you are packing your boxes, be sure to label them with the destination room and the box’s general contents, for example, “Jake’s Room – Toy Box”. Write the room names on a piece of paper to be taped over the door of the room so that anyone helping you unload knows which room is which. It is a good idea to map out where you want all large pieces of furniture on your sketch and post it so that people helping you know where to place furniture. Preparing your appliances for a move is a significant undertaking.

There are some excellent tips on moving company websites as well; I would highly recommend reading through them and taking some notes. The more organized you can be, the more smoothly things should go come moving day.

“Packing & Moving Part” 2 will address what to do to get your stove (oven/range) and dishwasher ready to move, Part 3 will cover the fridge and freezer, and Part 4 will conclude with the washer and dryer.  If you have some unique moving tips to share here, your input is always welcome.

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