30 Packing Tips for Moving Like a Pro: Keep Your Sanity (And Stuff) Intact

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Looking for some packing tips for moving? We’re sharing our tried and true moving tips!

two yellow penske moving trucks in parking lot

Moving is stressful, but not as bad as breaking valuables in transit! These genius packing tips for moving will keep your stuff safe!

Add these tips for moving to your next moving packing checklist:

1. Have a yard sale or garage sale prior to moving to get rid of unused or unwanted items.

woman taking selfie in front of driveway yard sale

A yard sale is such a good way to purge items you no longer need when you move. Afterward, consider donating the things that don’t sell. The fewer items you have to move, the easier and less expensive the move will be!

2. Create a packing checklist.

packing checklist

Once you rid of the unnecessary items, it’s time to keep track of everything you want to bring. Your memory may not be the most reliable source when it comes to organization, so it’s best to create a list to make sure you’re ahead of the game and keep packing on track.

3. Make a plan and a moving timeline.

close up of moving day on whiteboard calendar

This seems like common sense, but the farther ahead you start purging unwanted items and packing, the easier things will be on your moving day. Set a goal of “X” amount of moving boxes packed per day so save yourself from last-minute packing. Make checklists for all the small details like setting up new utilities and change of address forms.

Hip Tip: Try using this simple FREE printable checklist from Martha Stewart!

4. Assign a different color of duct tape to each room so boxes are easier to identify.

moving boxes with bright green yellow color coded duct tape in kitchen

When moving, organization is key! This colored duct tape is a great time saver during the unloading process as you can quickly identify where each box should be placed. Don’t forget to write in your notes what colors go with each group of items.

5. Pack a clear “First Day Essentials” bin filled with the things you’ll need most as soon as you arrive at your new home.

clear bin labeled with first day moving essentials

As an example, I filled a clear 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, as coffee is essential to me. ☕️ I made sure to place this bin in my car so there was no chance of it getting lost among the boxes.

6. Set a timer to pack a short amount a day.

packing boxes

Once you pack all of the big essentials, it can get pretty overwhelming to collect all the smaller things. If you have a schedule, try packing for an hour, or however long you need, a day based on the time frame. This will allow you to collect everything in a timely and organized manner.

7. Use plastic wrap or paper and tape to wrap silverware trays.

open drawer with silverware organizer and wrapped taped moving bin in drawer

This keeps all your flatware together and makes unpacking a breeze! Plus, there will be no damage to any of your utensils.

8. Use large Ziploc bags to keep kitchen and bathroom drawer items together.

box of ziploc bags with moving supplies inside on top of moving box

It’s so much easier to unpack when all the small drawer items are together – plus using clear bags allows you to see everything inside immediately. Grab a 60-count of plastic bags if you’re ready to start packing!

9. Pack spices in a large slow cooker or pot to save space in the moving vehicle.

various kinds of cooking spices in slow cooker

When it comes to packing tips for moving, small items like spices can easily be lost in transit. This tip can be applied to any large item like baskets, trash cans, etc. Fill up their empty space with smaller items.

10. Use cardboard dish pack partitions to pack breakables.

inside of packing box with wrapped beer glasses for moving
They are perfect to insert inside moving boxes and protect glass cups and dishes from breaking. Find these at your local Amazon, U-Haul, Staples, or even sometimes on third-party sites like Facebook Marketplace.

11. Check out liquor/wine stores for free boxes.

top view of organized wine box with various kinds of new wine bottles

Oftentimes, these boxes are very sturdy and have separators already, which are great for packing glassware and any valuables. When it comes to moving tips, this is essential!

12. Wrap organizing bins before packing.

toy bins with plastic wrap for moving

If you already have items organized in bins like these toys, use plastic wrap to secure them before packing. Then you don’t have to re-organize when you unpack.

13. Roll up small clothing items like socks to support breakables.

hand grabbing grey ankle socks

Fragile items are always the trickiest to pack. If you’re scared they may break en route, my Hip sidekick Madison recommends rolling up some socks and scarves to use as support around your breakables. Plus, why pay for bubble wrap when you can use your own items?

Similarly, you can put towels in between glass bakeware items to ensure extra security against inevitable shifting!

14. Tape off all items that can spill like shampoo, cleaners, cooking oils, etc. to avoid a mess while moving.

cleaning products with packing tape on openings
Taking the time to tape everything shut is worth the peace of mind to ensure your cleaning products don’t spill during your move! This strategy works well for packing pantry food items and bathroom toiletries as well.

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

15. Use a trash bag to pack hanging clothing quickly.

trash bag over hanging clothes in closet for tips for moving

This method of packing clothes will make unpacking a total breeze! You can even organize this method by color code or seasonings! Best of all, you can untie the trash bags when you’re done and still use them for garbage.

16. Follow this 20 under $20 rule.

hand holding edge of paper covered gift labeled books for packing tips for moving

Our Hip sidekick Soleil follows a “20 Under $20” rule. She made a limit of at least twenty items that cost $20 or less and decided what was worth keeping or replacing. She asked herself, “Is the life of this product way past its expiration and under $20?”

It helped her cut out what was and wasn’t essential, and she just replaced anything that she didn’t feel was necessary to pack for the sake of packing. She also notes that this rule can be adjusted at any price range, like 50 items under $50; whatever makes the most sense to your budget and packing-wise!

17. Get to know stretch wrap – it’s, by far, one of my favorite packing tools!

green stretch wrap on brooms packing tips for moving

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, too. You will find it extremely helpful and easy during your packing and unpacking.

18. Buy and resell boxes and packing material on Craigslist.

woman touching top of brown moving boxes packing tips for moving
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 Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and Nextdoor, for free or inexpensive moving boxes and materials. Don’t forget to break down and possibly resell boxes and packing materials after your move.

19. Label boxes based on priority. 

inside of packing tips for moving box with brown packing paper on goods

Our Hip sidekick Madison shares that, when packing for a move, she labels boxes based on high priority, mid-priority, and low priority. Her “high priority” items included many kitchen items such as utensils. This way, she knew exactly what to unpack first!

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

inside a fridge with clear bins
To help minimize food waste, start using the odds and ends of your fridge in your meal planning a couple of weeks before moving. Placing towels on the floor around the bottom will help soak up any dripping water when you defrost it before the big move.

21. Use vacuum storage bags to maximize your storage space.

space savings storage bags packing tips for moving sitting on bed

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.

22. Set up your bed and prep your bathroom first upon arrival at a new location.

woman fluffing white sheet on bed

You don’t want to be searching for sheets after moving all day! Plus, nothing beats sleeping on your mattress with cozy bedding after a hard working day! A shower curtain, shower curtain rings, and towels would be a priority as well. Trust me, this will be a lifesaver! 

Hip Tip: Check out our team-tested luxury bedding for less if you’re planning to get some new stuff when you move!

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

wooden toolbox with measuring tape and tools inside
Or make it the last item to be packed so it’s the first off the truck.

24. Keep furniture hardware together.

ziploc bag with furniture hardware

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. Painter tape works great since it won’t damage your most precious pieces!

25. Use any extra rolling suitcases to pack heavy items such as books.

inside of red luggage with books inside for packing tips for moving with books

Boxes tend to tear when too heavy, and suitcases work well for bulky or heavy things. This is such a genius packing tip for moving to take advantage of otherwise wasted space!

26. Take a picture of the back of your electronics before packing them up.

back of electronic device

Don’t trust that you’ll remember how everything goes back together! Taking two seconds to snap a quick photo will make it easier to put it together when you arrive at your new location.

27. Label your chords and chargers.

hand holding tripod charger with label for packing tips for moving

You may think you know all your chargers and what they do, but moving pretty much throws a wrench in all that information. My portable Bluetooth label maker is super convenient!

28. Keep clothes inside the dresser during moving.

dresser with folded shirts

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

29. Keep track of your moving expenses.

calculator with receipts and moving checklist for packing tips for moving

Some of your expenses may be tax-deductible, which can be a huge benefit when completing taxes! Be sure to save receipts and keep a list!

30. Arrange your next grocery pickup or have them delivered to your new address!

Collin holding up her Walmart Plus Grocery Delivery which was delivered right to her front porch

Even if you typically enjoy grocery shopping yourself, moving is an exhausting process. Take one workload off yourself by allowing someone else to grocery shop on your behalf!

Need furnishings? Check out all the best home deals!

About the writer:

Sara is a self-taught blogger & photographer and brings 9+ years of experience to her craft. Her work has been featured in numerous esteemed publications, spanning building, travel, and fashion. Beyond her creative pursuits, Sara’s primary mission is to empower others to embrace a toxic-free & sustainable lifestyle.

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Comments 85

  1. Patricia Goff

    We grew up in the military. My mom had moves down pact. We would fill our dresser drawers with clothes and other items. We would wrap lots of clothes around breakables from our rooms etc. Nothing every broke. We tagged every box for the room it went into and the things that we were not shipping we had put aside in another room and they had color coded stickers on them. Yellow to be shipped and Pink to stay etc. I did that in Germany last year in October. I even packed things in clothes hampers and the furniture was full of things like feather comforters and table cloths. It didn’t go by weight it went by how many shipping containers it would take to ship so I filled up everything including drawers. I told the recyclers that the only things that were being moved were the yellow stickers. After the recyclers left I put all the things that were staying in the apartment for my next door neighbor in a room and put a note on the door not to touch. Sadly nobody wanted the plants my mom had so we had to throw them in the compost bin. None of her neighbors were friendly and never spoke to me but my taxi driver put out everything that I was getting rid of on the web and everybody wanted things but wanted it delivered even though it was free. LOL. People are crazy. I had her apartment cleaned out and spotless in two weeks. I was exhausted and couldn’t wait to get on the plane to get home. The household good showed up 2 months later on Christmas eve.

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