12 Packing and Moving Tips to Save TIME & MONEY

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Moving soon?🚚

Just the thought of packing and moving makes most of us exhausted, including me! It’s definitely a stressful and overwhelming time. We’ve moved our family frequently for my husband’s job and each time it gets a tiny bit smoother.

Here are some helpful tips to make it less of a hassle:

1.) Make a Plan and Moving Timeline.

This seems like common sense, but the further ahead you can start purging unwanted items and packing, the easier things will be on moving day. Instead of leaving all the packing for last minute, set a goal of x amount of moving boxes packed per day before moving. Make checklists for all the small details like setting up new utilities and change of address forms.

Here’s a great basic free printable checklist to consider.

2.) Check out liquor/wine stores for free boxes!

Often times these boxes are very sturdy and have separators already, which are great for packing glassware.

3.) Defrost, clean, and dry your fridge/freezer at least a day before you move.

Placing towels on the floor around the bottom with help soak up any dripping water. To help minimize food waste start using the odds and ends of your fridge in your meal planning a couple weeks before moving.

4.) Cover the tops of liquid bottles with plastic baggies or packing tape to avoid leaking.

This strategy works well for packing pantry food items, and bathroom toiletries that are opened as well, to avoid spills inside moving boxes.*

*If using a professional moving company, make sure to check which liquids you can actually take on the truck.

5.) Use Vacuum Storage Bags to maximize your storage space.

You can use these Space Saver Storage Bags with your vacuum hose and it will suck all the air out. They are super handy to have around for both moving and also for storing bulky or seasonal items such as bedding.

6.) Set up your bed first upon arrival to new location.

You don’t want to be searching for sheets after moving all day! Also a shower curtain, shower curtain rings and towels would be priority as well.

7.) Make sure you keep a toolbox handy in your car/truck with you to assemble any furniture.

Or make it the last item to be packed and the first off the truck.

8.) Use plastic food storage bags to keep small pieces of  hardware, then make sure to tape the bag to the piece of furniture or item it corresponds to.

9.) Utilize any extra rolling suitcases to pack heavy items such as books.

Boxes tend to tear when too heavy.

10.) Take a picture of the back of your electronics.

This will make it easier to put it together when you arrive at your new location.

11.) Keep clothes inside the dresser.

If you have to take out drawers to get it in the moving truck, do that, and then put the drawers back inside the dresser once on truck. A good way to keep the doors closed and protected is to wrap the entire dresser in Stretch Moving & Packing Wrap.

12.) Keep track of your moving expenses as some of them may be tax deductible.

For more moving tips, be sure to check out our previous post – 12 Packing and Moving Tips: Pack Your Home Like a Pro.

If you have any helpful tips to share, please do so in the comments below. We’d love to hear them!

Lina (lina@hip2save.com) loves cooking new recipes, thrift store shopping, and DIY home decor projects.
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Comments 39

  1. Familyof7

    This comes at a perfect time. We just bought our first house!!!

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Congrats that is so exciting 👍

  2. Cathy

    You had me at stop by the liquor store😀…couldn’t hurt!

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Haha yes!

  3. Stefanie

    That stretch moving and packing wrap is the best packing tool next to tape! It helps squash down soft furniture like couches/ chairs (and helps keep them clean), is great for wrapping plastic drawers with their contexts still inside, and is useful for protecting edges/ corners of furniture and keeping several pieces of furniture together (like the top and legs of a side table). I have moved several times in past few years and the stretch wrap has been a life-saver!

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      I agree! Thanks Stephanie

  4. Sarah

    My biggest problem right now! Moving to Atlanta from Houston. Don’t know where to start. Lol!

    • ResseCup

      Hey, I’m moving to Atlanta from Louisville in December/January.

  5. Proudmommaof7

    Look for free boxes on Craigslist.

  6. mckeeversmom

    I would also suggest taking a picture of the items you are putting in each box. Number the box and number the picture so if you’re looking for something right away, you have a general idea of which box might contain it.

    • Shirley Yeo

      LOVE IT!!!

  7. Gina

    Your local stores will give you free boxes. Check walmart, cvs, aldi, your local gas station. They always have items shipped to them on trucks and the boxes are garbage to them.

  8. Susan K

    I start packing non essentials probably 2 months before we move. I have at least 6 different designs of duct tape. Each room gets designated a different one and then put a little strip of that specific duct tape on the 4 sides of the box. When unloading put each duct tape into the designed room or group them in an area. To me this works better than labeling the box with the room.

    • Steph-B

      Did this and it was such a great idea!! Moving went so smoothly and everything was delivered to the right room! Lina had this in a post about 2 years ago when I was moving, such a life saver!

      • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

        That’s great to hear! Thanks for sharing 😀

  9. sarah tornquist

    Barnes and Nobles have been our saving grace for Boxes!! THey are ALL the same size and they are made well to hold heavy books! Every Wednesday by us they get new shipments in, so just call ahead and they will reserve up to 30 or 40 boxes for you! Also, best buy is really good for big boxes for fridges, Tv’s etc.

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Love this tip! Thanks Sarah!

  10. NavyMom

    Moving to Texas from Virginia on Friday! Thank you!

  11. Tracey

    I highly recommend ABF if you are moving between states. You pack (or hire someone to do it) and load the truck up, and they only charge you for the part you use…then they drive it to your destination. We compared prices on two of our cross country moves, and it was cheaper to do that than U-Haul, Penske, etc…and you didn’t have to worry about driving a big truck cross country.

    • Hayley

      We used ABF and had a great experience! Like Tracey said, it was cheaper than all other options. They dropped the cubes off and you have 3 days or so to pack them up, then ABF comes and picks them up and drops the cubes off at your new house. Highly recommend them!

  12. Steph-B

    Cub has great apple boxes just ask your produce department, they are Sturdy and some have handles!

  13. ResseCup

    I work at Kroger part time. Best times to get boxes are early morning around 8am in the deli/bakery dept. or around 9pm when they are restocking the whole store. I gave my friend about 30 free boxes for her move two months ago.

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      That’s awesome! Thanks for sharing that tip.

  14. Tolu

    My husband got a ton of boxes from Costco for free. I just started packing for our move to a new house.

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Great! Good luck on the move. 😀

  15. Pat

    Being a military dependent three times (child and twice as wife) we moved a lot. I even country hopped twice. Lol
    I used to keep the clothes in the drawers but would put the stuff on top of the dresser inside the drawers too. I used to put knick knacks in my linen cabinet drawers too. I wrapped the clothes around them as if they were newspaper. Worked great. Never broke one of them. I used to put white toothpaste into the nail holes (of course in housing walls were white) to make the walls pass inspection. The day we were heading out we rented a steam cleaner to clean the carpet (of course this was in the civilian world as housing never had carpets back in my day). We left a spotless quarters for the next person and sometimes a note that said which doors stuck during rainy season etc.

  16. Pat

    I always left my clothes in the dresser drawers and added knick knacks that were on top of the dresser and/or wall items. I also did the same with me linen cabinet drawers.

  17. Taylor Bishop

    These are some great packing tips! Honestly, I had not considered covering the tops of bottles with packing tape to avoid leaking. Definitely a great idea to avoid having a mess. Thank you!

  18. Jessica

    We literally just moved yesterday, finished building our new home, luckily only 10 mins away so I didn’t need to box too much, did get a 20 ft truck though to save on time and gas it would have taken to use our 2 vehichles. When my husband was updating our address on USPS site, they offered some coupons including some for moving truck companies, the company we went with nearby matched what we would have saved or we would have used it

  19. ShopHopper

    I learned this tip from professionals when they helped pack up our home contents for a transatlantic move. Pack dishes vertically on their edge, wrapped in paper with styrofoam plates between each dishs. DO NOT pack horizontally piled on top of each other as they are more prone to breakage this way. Mark a KEEP UPRIGHT ARROW//FRAGILE on outside of box with sharpie pen. There is much less chance of breaking dishes this way.

  20. Emily

    My biggest regret is not doing a serious purge before we moved from apartment to house. We have been here four years and I feel so cluttered. I live with someone who hates to get rid of things, so we have too much. I think it would have been easier to never have moved it to the house at all.

  21. Nicole S.

    I made a next morning box for after the move so we would have a coffee pot ,coffee, ,cups, filters ,toaster, paper plates, cereal, bowls,cereal and it sure made it easy to find what we needed to have some coffee and cereal and toast before we got started unpacking. I also taped my remotes to my TV,DVD Player and that was wonderful not to wonder what box they were in. I also made a shower box for us with all our toiletries and towels and night clothes and what we were going to wear the next day and tucked the sheets in there for our bed so they would be easy to find. The newspaper office will give you or sell you for a very small fee the ends of the rolls of newspaper that are unprinted so you will have plenty of paper to wrap your stuff with and no nasty ink to deal with all over your stuff and your hands. The rolls plastic wrap is also wonderful to keep furniture from getting scratched up.

  22. Scarlet B

    Taking a picture of the back of electronics–smart! Thanks for the tips, Lina. I’m hoping to never move again, but if I do…I’ll be sure to refer back to this post 🙂

  23. Suz OH

    Must say that I moved 500 miles last summer and did all of your tips and highly recommend them! We took heavy, fragile, precious (to us) items with us in our cars. This cut down on the use of extra packing materials and reduced the weight. Our mover rebated us for the pounds we were under compared to their estimate.
    Also, have a “pack last” closet at the location you are moving from. We had a vacuum and basic cleaning supplies in this so we could tidy up after the move, since the house was being put up for sale.
    And yes to liquor stores, Craigslist, Facebook and retail outlets for boxes but do not forget to ask your mover about this. We got 10 wardrobe boxes and more for free just by driving to their warehouse (and did this well in advance of the move.)

  24. Laura

    SAME SIZE BOXES. STRETCH WRAP. COLORED TAPE CODED FOR ROOMS. have it ALL packed before people come to help load. When people help you load, it happens faster than you can blink, and it will be super frustrating as people try to frantically help you pack. THE TOOL BOX AND PARTS IN BAGGIES TAPED TO THE FURNITURE ARE ESSENTIAL.

    I used to get boxes from the stores, but lately, we have been so frustrated with all different sizes. If you can get them all the same size from the store, great! But I feel like the $ was well worth the uhaul boxes (size small) where they are all the same size!! For our next move, we will only use those boxes. And, their blue wrap is incredibly helpful! I usually wrap dishes in dish towels and this blue wrap (instead of packing paper).

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      I love your helpful tips! Thanks for sharing Laura!

  25. Lori

    I moved last year and found the IKEA VÄRLDSBRA & FRAKTA shopping bags (and their related items) were really helpful. I think another HIP2Save reader gave me the idea. They are cheaper than boxes and great to put all sorts of things in. I bought a bunch and the ones I didn’t use I could return. Now I use them as laundry bags, totes and to store things in our storage area.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Great idea! I love those bags too ❤️

  26. marybuffalo3

    hipsters – my kid is moving to FLA from NY – and they need to bring along large tool boxes (college requirement) those are super heavy – we could drive him ourselves -but we are afraid we will look like a easy target for thieves – how do you ship everything a kid needs for college and HEAVY tool boxes – we would love to have them shipped and we just fly to FLA – but was hoping for your good ideas – need ya on this one.

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