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12 Packing & Moving Tips: Pack Your Home Like a Pro

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12 Packing & Moving Tips Hip2Save

Are you planning for an upcoming move across town or across the country? If so, check out these 12 tips to get you and your family packing and moving like a pro! My family has moved five times in the last 8 years, and so today I’m sharing some of my favorite tips with you.

Yard Sale Hip2Save

TIP #1: Have a yard sale or garage sale and get rid of unused or unwanted items. This is my favorite way to purge items that I no longer need. And at the end, I donate the things that don’t sell. The less items you have to move, the easier and less expensive the move will be! I have to keep telling myself this as I tend to hold onto my kids’ stuff. 🙂

Use a different color duct tape to identify each room's boxes

Tip #2: Assign a different color duct tape to each room so the boxes are easier to identify.  Throughout this last move, I really focused on being more organized – the colored duct tape can be a great timesaver during the unloading process as you can quickly identify into which room each box should be placed.

1st Day Essentials Bin for Moving Hip2Save

Tip #3: Pack a clear “First Day Essentials” bin filled with the things you’ll need most as soon as you arrive at your new home. As an example, I filled this bin with trash bags, box cutters, scissors, disinfectant wipes, paper towels, toilet paper, paper plates, paper cups, disposable silverware, hand soap and dish soap. I also fit my Keurig and K cups in here for coffee the first morning (coffee is an essential for me 🙂 ). I made sure to place this bin in in my car so there was no chance of it getting lost amongst the boxes.

Wrap your silverware trays in paper and tape or plastic wrap

Tip #4: Use plastic wrap or paper and tape to wrap silverware trays. This keeps all your flatware together and makes unpacking a breeze!

Put smaller kitchen and bathroom drawers items in large Ziploc Bags

Tip #5: Use large Ziploc bags to keep kitchen and bathroom drawer things together. It’s so much easier to unpack when all the small drawer items are together!

Use larger items to store smaller items inside

Tip #6: Pack spices in a large slow cooker or pot to save space. This tip can really be applied towards any large item like baskets, trash cans, etc. Fill up their empty space with smaller items.

Dish pack partitions for glasses Hip2Save

Tip #7: Use cardboard dish pack partitions to pack breakables.  They are perfect to insert inside moving boxes and protect glass cups and dishes from breaking. Find these at your local U-Haul, Staples.com. or even sometimes on Craigslist.

Plastic Wrap Toy Bins for Packing Hip2Save

Tip #8: If you already have items organized in bins like these toys, just use plastic wrap to secure them before packing. Then you don’t have to reorganize when you unpack.

Tape all the lids to cleaners and pantry items shut to avoid spills Hip2Save
Tip #9: Tape off all items that can spill like shampoo, cleaners, cooking oils, etc.

Use a garbage bag for hanging clothes Hip2Save
Tip #10: Use a trash bag to quickly pack hanging clothing. I used this method to pack my kid’s clothes and they were a breeze to unpack.

Stretch Wrap Hip2Save

Tip #11: Get to know stretch wrap – it is by far one of my favorite packing tools! Stretch Wrap is a giant plastic wrap that allows you to group things together like garden tools, or a stack of smaller boxes. Of course, you can also use it to wrap blankets over your furniture.

Buy and sell your moving boxes on Craigslist
Tip #12: Buy and re-sell boxes and packing material on Craigslist.
There are many places to buy new boxes like U-Haul, and Home Depot. Before you purchase new boxes, I encourage you to try collecting as many boxes as you can by asking friends to save boxes and asking stores if they have excess boxes that they need to dispose of. Then try looking on websites like Craigslist for free or inexpensive moving boxes and material. Don’t forget to break down and resell boxes and packing materials after your move.

Do you have any favorite moving tips or ideas that have been helpful to you? Share with us in the comments!

Written by Lina for Hip2Save. Lina is a proud mom of 2 small kids who loves photography, all holidays, cooking, thrift store makeovers, bargain shopping, and DIY makeovers. Her goal is to create a beautiful life and stylish home on a dime!

Join The Discussion

Comments 295

  1. Marge

    This is #12 move for us (coming up in three weeks), all have been with moving companies and even with them doing the heavy lifting…I have learned a lot along the way. The ziploc bag thing is my favorite…great to keep small things from getting lost in all the wrapping movers use. It also gives me a chance to toss out the miscellaneous junk! And I also use my big tupperware containers for the small pantry stuff including spices. I also label almost ALL my stuff…so and example is if I have CD’s and video equipment in my living room now and it is going to a basement at the new house…I put a big tag on it all saying: “Video Euipment/CD’s-Basement” . When the movers come and we do our walk through before they begin, then they know exactly how to label my boxes. When I get to the new place I label rooms so there is no question when the box comes through the door where they need to put it. Ahhh….moving! Such fun times!

    • Jennifer Whittle

      I’m a Preacher’s Kid…lol. So I moved around a lot until I was married (too many to count) and then after my divorce(3 times). With our last move we were moving cross the country (WOW 😀 ) to CA. We used a moving company OMGosh not a good idea, a least it wasn’t for my family. We were told one thing and other things happened. Was to be just our, mine and my family’s stuff but ended up our’s plus two other family’s things. Lots of our stuff which were labeled ( I also do the colored tape for each room..life saver btw) were not in the right room or missing all together which were also labeled. Sigh. When choosing a moving company use someone that you know or that someone else you know and trust have used. Also ask the questions ” Will ALL my boxes get to my new house? Will the marked boxes be put in to the assigned rooms? What is your policy on ‘Lost’ things and what is done? Has this ever happened? The guys (ladies) moving the boxes have they had any complainants? Has the company ever had complainants? What were they?” Also any more questions you can think of write them down and make sure the moving company knows you have documented this. Of coarse I do know that there are lots of people who have used moving companies with no problems. This is JUST what happened with my family. We didn’t know anything about what to do or how it is done with using a moving company. I can safely say if we ever do again we know how to do it right. I hope this helps 😀 Happy and Safe Moving to you all

  2. Teri Welsh

    I number the boxes within each room with a corresponding index of what items are in each box. It sure saves a lot of time locating a specific item quuckly before you unpack. Just have a pad of paper you can jot down things as you pack them. This is especially helpful if you need to store them for a length of time before you unpack them. Months later, you can still locate a specific item without unpacking a lot of boxes searching.

    • Isabelle

      I also number the boxes and note what’s inside. So easy to find THE right box.
      Also, last time I moved was the week my kid went back to school so I prepared a box with his school items and put it apart to not have to look after them among my 50+ boxes.
      Be sure to include in your first day box, your clothes for the next morning, not to mention your daily routine items (toothbrush, make up etc…). It saves a lot of time.

  3. Jenna

    Lots of local business will give you their boxes for free! One of my personal favorites is book stores because their boxes tend to be very sturdy.

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Smart idea!

    • susan bloom

      And liquor stores have those wonderful boxes with the dividers for wine bottles and such… and they are also very sturdy boxes.

  4. Teri Welsh

    Remember that cardboard boxes, especially used ones, should not be kept any longer than you have to keep them. You may be moving more than you planned on, as most bugs lay eggs in corrogated boxes.

  5. Lisa

    Very good tips!

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Thanks for reading Lisa!

  6. Misha

    I find that blue pai terse tape is my best friend for those things you need to tape shut or closed like my standing wood jewelry box but packing tape might melt in heat and stick to wood and ruin it but the blue tape peels off nice and easy every time.

  7. Cindy

    I have a small notebook. I have numbered each box, as well as color cordinated each one acording to room it will go in. I have written what each box holds by putting the number first, then contents. That way, when I’m looking for something specific, I can go to my notebook, look it up and see not only the number of the box, but also the color to look for.

  8. Tonia

    When you get to the new place the first thing you should do is make the bed. By the time you’re done for the day you won’t have the energy to do it and having a nice place to sleep will make all the difference in the world.

    • Luz

      Thanks, Tonia! I am definitely going to remember this!

    • Jennifer Whittle

      Also if you have kids do their room(s) first. LOL of coarse after you get the “Day One Box” box put together. By doing the kids room first they are out of the way and can be playing in “Their space.” I found that this was very handy. (Thanks Mom)

      • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

        That’s a smart idea! Thanks for sharing 😀👍

    • Angela R

      Hang your shower curtain and find towels. You’ll want a nice shower before going to bed after a long day of work. The last thing you want to do is work on this when you’re tired!

  9. Kellie

    Use styrofoam plates between your dishes!!! Super easy and saves your dishes. Also, you can use the extras to eat from while your dishes are packed!!

    • Jennifer Whittle

      I like this idea. Thanks 😀 But I wonder, since I don’t use Styrofoam ( I hope I spelled that right if not Sorry) I wonder if paper plates would also work? Any thoughts

      • susan bloom

        Styrofoam is cushiony, so probably much better than paper.

    • Sloane Woods

      Styrofoam is soooo bad for the environment. Paper works fine just takes mor elbow grease.

  10. Eileen

    I always use my dish towels to pack kitchen breakable. $ave$.
    Also pack bed sheets in 1st day essentials so you can makeup beds first.

  11. TK

    i go to a loca wine store and pick up wine boxes tp pack kitchen items like sauce bottles, cups and other fragile items. wine boxes come with inserts that protect fragile items. i also use socks and underwear to provide added protective layer to stack things like cups inside the box.

  12. Sandy

    We are moving in 6 weeks so I appreciate the great ideas. I do have a first day tote with paper plates, cups, toilet paper, etc. Coffee pot EXCELLENT idea! I will be copying your colored tape idea.

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Great! Good luck and thanks for stopping in 😀👍

  13. Tammy Evans

    I have used towels and wash clothes and even clothing to pack breakables.

  14. Anita Reimer

    When we moved, long haul, we got our boxes from a water bottle company free of charge. They just recycled them and were more then happy to save for us. We did have to go 3 times a week to pick up which was fine. It was great to have all the same size boxes to pack in the moving truck. They have since done 3 other moves for family and friends and were great as the ones we got were double lined.

  15. Barb

    There are lots of good tips here but keep in mind whether it is a local or cross country move. We have moved many times and any out of state moves have rules for the drivers of the moving company. No liquids, plants, foods allowed. So before you try to save space check your contract. Also note that I have found it cheaper in cases to purchase new items than pay by the weight per pound. For example, getting new storage cubes for my crafts was cheaper with a coupon at the craft store than paying the moving company to move them. Sold my cubes and put it towards new ones at the new house.

  16. Sandrea

    Check for the local delivery restaurants in your new area a couple of weeks before you move. Make sure you have them mail you their menus. Most will. More than likely you will be too tired to cook and having not to try and figure out what’s available to eat is a life saver.

  17. SandiW

    The colored tape works great, especially now that all the different colors and patterns available at the local dollar stores. I use that idea for the past 20 years or so. But I also put a strip of the tape on the door way of each room so that anyone helping can very easily look at the box and find the same color tape on the door or door jam. No reading needed, color is all that needs to be processed.

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Great idea!

  18. Kathy Collins (@collins_kathyc)

    Awesome! I like that you included photos. Sometimes it’s difficult to imagine how to pack thing right unless you see it. Thus, you post could be a real find for people, who are preparing to move to another place.
    By the way, I found one more good article https://rentberry.com/blog/moving-in-out-checklist. It has recommendations how to make the process of moving less stressful. I like the idea with to-do list.

  19. Carson Jaxson

    First of all, i would like to say very good article. We are right that we should start packing things earlier and we also should think ahead that what we will need. Very valuable and caring information you provide to your articles. Thanks for such post and keep it up.

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Thanks Carson!

  20. Yilliang Peng

    Thanks for the advice on how to pack like a pro! My wife and I are planning on moving this summer and we have some pretty big things that we need to package up and ship over. With that being said, I think that we will just hire a shipping company send them for us — possibly an industrial sized shipping company. Thanks again!

  21. Neiss

    Great moving tips!! What really helped me out was furnishr.com. They helped me design my new home and the delivered and set everything up for me. Made my life less stressful and it was inexpensive compared to doing it all myself.

  22. geetha

    Out of topic, i am looking for queen boxer, where to get at low cost, i have no idea. can anyone suggest

  23. Packers5th.in

    If you plan before the actual day of shifting then your moves will be so smooth and easy.so planned before get the movers and packers to doorsteps and get ready for the shift.

  24. Alice Jones

    Thank you for giving all this tips about packing up the home like a pro. I was looking through your blog post, but I didn’t notice any mention of shipping crates. I imagine that using shipping crates would help save some stress when it comes to packing.

  25. Natalie Powell

    Some good tips here, thanks for the sharing.

  26. Jack Titchener

    Thanks for the awesome moving tips! My wife and are newly weds and about to make our first official move so this really helps! Thanks again for the article and the packaging pictures!

  27. Pamela Irvin

    When we were preparing a huge move and downsizing 13 years ago, I chose to shred all the paper docs we were going to toss and ended up using the shred as filler for “packing balls” made from plastic grocery bags. This eliminated the need for expensive packing wrap. Styro plates/bowls were a huge help, too. We ended up sharing our packing materials with friends! I think those packing balls made two or three moves within three years.

  28. Harish

    Thanks for the tips for making a move smooth. You’re right, it can be frustrating, and there never seems to be enough time in the day. However, your cleaning checklist and “what goes where” checklist are two really good ideas. I will have to try those out next time I move.

  29. Derek Dewitt

    My wife and I are planning to move to a new house soon but we aren’t sure where to start when it comes to packing. I like that you suggest using different colored tape for each room so you can keep track of the boxes easier. I think organization now can save us a lot of hassle later so we’ll have to try this. Thanks for the tips! http://www.movingservices4u.com/moving-supplies-mokena.php

  30. Aashi

    Moving is usually stressful so I appreciate the tips you gave for making it an easier. For residential moving I think I’ll leave it to professionals next time around that should make things go much quicker. Thanks for the moving tips!
    http://www.packersandmoversmadhapur.in

  31. Deb Pearl

    My family has to move soon and we really need to get ready! I have never packed and moved this much stuff so I am a little overwhelmed and would love some tips! I didn’t think about marking boxes for each room with duct tape! That is a great idea! Then we don’t have to unpack everything just to figure out what box goes where. All of these are great tips! Thank you so much! http://cophermovers.com/services/

  32. Sarah Harris

    Very valuable info, The most im portant is to make sure that all of our valuables stay safe and undamaged during the relocation effort. last minute movers

  33. Derek Dewitt

    My wife and I are getting ready to move to a new house, so we’ve been looking for tips to make it a bit easier. I like that you suggest having a garage sale to get rid of items you no longer need, then donating the rest. This would be a great time to declutter so the move is easier and we have more room for new stuff. Thanks for sharing! https://tcbmovingequipment.com/product/m-111-aa-815-magline-hand-truck/

  34. Griffin Zander

    A moving company can often make or break your entire moving experience, so it’s important to get it right. The more effort you put into finding a reputable company with excellent customer service ahead of time, the less hassle you’ll have on moving day. Your packing and moving tips are very nice and valuable. Thanks for sharing the great information. Good Luck!

    https://9kilo.com/

  35. Arthur DeMarco

    Thanks for the tip to buy and sell your packing materials on Craigslist or a similar site, no one ever uses all the packing materials they buy for the move. It’s also really annoying to store or get new cardboard boxes. This tip kills two birds with one stone, you save money and space no matter if you’re buying or selling. https://mammothmoving.com/services/long-distance-movers/

  36. Kim Mauldin-Realtor #soldbykim

    If you know you are going to list your home in the next 3 months, go ahead and choose your Realtor, sign your paperwork and ask your realtor for boxes and packing material. We have buyers that once they have moved in, are generally looking to get rid of all of that as they unpack. I also provide my sellers with some new boxes and bubble wrap to help get them started.

    • Lina D

      That’s a great tip! Thanks

  37. Braden Andy

    Moving and packing is really stressful work. You share pacing ideas is really useful. I read your blog and i am happy with your blog. I am glad to find it. There are so many developers working on this part but this is one of the best innovative post ever. Thanks for such post.

    https://9kilo.com/

  38. Renee

    The empty boxes from your privately-owned local liquor stores are fantastic for moving glassware, knick-knacks, etc., because of the perforations. Many stores place the empty boxes outside the store or call to check. Can also remove the perforations for storing of other items. Also, they are sturdy. Check the box for what size bottles were stored in the box, i.e., 750 ml, 1.75L, etc. for width of perforations and pack accordingly. Can always re-tape bottoms of box for extra security. Work in the promotions industry and have used/re-used these boxes many times.

  39. Derek Dewitt

    I am moving to a new house in a few weeks, so thanks for these packing tips. I like your point about using a trash bag to quickly pack hanging clothes. I’ll be sure to try this out so I don’t need to fold them all.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Thanks Derek! Good luck with your move 👍

  40. Eva Crowley

    We’ve been married 13 years and this upcoming move will be our 10th! Some of the moves were professionally done and some we’ve done ourselves . After spending lots of money on moving boxes and scrounging for them at grocery stores, liquor stores, and schools for the nice paper boxes I have found the perfect cost saving source. Pharmacies receive medications etc. I have found that regardless of where you look, the plastic bottles come from the same company and the boxes are the same size. While not kitchen packs or larger boxes, I am thrilled the sizes are consistent! Mine are 12″ x 12″ x 14″. I have found that assorted sizes often get “stuffed into” some narrow space and arrive crushed.
    These pharmacy boxes will be great to stack, easy to fill, and most importantly – not too heavy or cumbersome to lift and carry. Thanks for all the great packing, moving, and organizing TIPS! So very helpful. You can teach an old dog new tricks!!! 🤓

  41. Jezie Singh

    Find a house moving package with a variety of boxes in different shapes and sizes suitable for an assortment of things you need to pack. This saves a bit of money and now you’ve got a wide size range of boxes. Also, consider the type of boxes you will be using for example recyclable cardboard boxes or reusable packing containers.

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