As soon as you learn for sure that there’s a residential move waiting for you in the upcoming months or weeks (or days!), you need to start making some important decisions that will determine just how successful your move turns out to be. There isn’t any time to lose – each case of unnecessary procrastination will only bring higher levels of stress later on when Moving day knocks on your door.

Without a doubt, one of the most crucial decisions, whenever you’re facing a house move, is who will take care of the toughest move-related job there is in this world and the next one – packing. That’s right, you just have to know, well in advance, whether your prized possessions will be packed by professional packers /all you need to know about professional packing services/ or by you, together with a few friends, maybe.

And should, for better or worse, you decide that you’ll be the one boxing up your own things for safe transportation, then you need to also know how to pack for a move like a pro packer. The good news? It’s not usually too complicated. The bad news? It’s not a piece of cake either.

So, ready to learn how to pack for a move like a professional? Read on, then.

Can you pack like a pro packer? [Absolutely!]

The mere thought of having to sort out, prepare and pack all of the household items in your house or apartment can be rather stressful and intimidating at first, but the chances are great that you can manage it on your own. Generally speaking, there are a few real life scenarios when you won’t normally have to resort to professional packers as the best solution:

  • Enough time. Time, as always is key when moving from one home to another, and non-professional packing of an entire household just requires much more time to be completed. But if you have at least a month until Moving day, then you should be able to do it without the pros.
  • No specialty items. If you don’t own a piano, or a pool table, a Jacuzzi hot tub, or any other possession that you just can’t picture handling on your own, then there’s a real chance to save money by packing for a move by yourself.
  • Previous packing experience. If you’ve already been there and done that, then there isn’t a single reason why you shouldn’t be able to do it again (unless time is against you, of course). Theoretically speaking, you’re supposed to pack up your home faster and better the second time around.
  • Friends willing to help. This is huge – if you know you will be able to gather loyal helpers with a single Facebook post, then you shouldn’t really hesitate to do it. This is also a good time to have some of your pals re-pay the favor when you helped them move out of their respective home.

And if you do make up your mind to follow 1) some basic safety rules when packing for a move, 2) some proven packing techniques that will save you both time and money, and 3) more importantly – your common sense, then you should be able to pack for a move like a professional packer.

Create a packing timeline [You’re not a pro packer yet]

How to pack for moving

Professional packing materials? Check.

In addition to extensive training, pro packers are good at what they do because they’ve done it so many times – they pack and protect all types of household items on a daily basis. Hence, they have the necessary experience to know where to start the packing process, how to continue it, and where to end it. In other words, they have memorized their own packing timelines, and those timelines work like clockwork.

So, in case you can’t afford professional packing services or you don’t really need them, you’re going to have to come up with a packing sequence of your own so that precious time is not wasted. You need to make sure that each sub-task of yours during the major task of packing up your home is the right one – the one you were supposed to be doing if you yourself were a professional. And to be able to do that, you’re going to need a good packing timeline that you can customize to make it your own.

The best thing about using a well-structured packing calendar is that it will help you optimize the time you’ve got to pack up your home. Okay, you know that you are expected to initiate the packing job as soon as humanly possible (right?), but do you know where to start packing for a move? The storage areas in your home /garage, basement, attic, shed/ should be your starting point, and then you’re recommended to transfer the packing action to the rooms you use the least, and then it’s on to the kitchen as it surely contains more than you think it does.

Must-read: Create your own packing timeline [Complete packing checklist]

Avoid costly packing mistakes [Like a true professional packer]

As hinted above, professional packers seldom make any mistakes thanks to their training and experience, and you should avoid committing any serious packing errors as well. Depending on the nature of the error, packing mistakes can be classified all the way from being barely noticeable (like forgetting to double tape the sides of a moving box for extra protection) to being rather costly (like failure to wrap your breakables in sufficient layers of bubble wrap and packing paper).

It can be hard to know which packing errors are likely to hurt your house move the most because of the variables surrounding each relocation case. Yes, it’s usually a mistake not to prepare a few essentials boxes filled to the brim with, well, essentials, but you may be just okay without such survival kits too. And it’s usually a bit risky to overfilling your cardboard boxes and making them heavier than they are supposed to be, but again, those moving boxes of yours may just hold up fine despite the extra weight.

However, pack absolutely all of the household items found under your roof and you’ll have a classic example of lost time and money. What’s more, try to pack up and move a specialty item without professional assistance, and things can get plain dangerous. No matter how confident you are, you’d still better leave most of the specialty items you own for the pros. Examples of such specialty items to be packed by experienced professionals include pianos, pool tables, hot tubs, large metal safes, antique furniture and a number of other large, heavy, bulky, and expensive items found in people’s homes.

You’d better read this: 9 serious packing mistakes you just must avoid

How to pack for a move like a pro [professional packing tips]

How to pack for moving fast

The start of your self-packing marathon looks promising enough.

Before we give you some professional advice on how to pack your house for moving, let’s just emphasize the importance of securing quality packing supplies. Pro packers always seem to have the best packing materials on hand, don’t they? And they always seem to have enough of them no matter the size of the home or the number of items in it, right?

Bubble wrap and soft packing paper are ideal for protecting fragile items but your biggest expense when it comes to packing supplies will be the cardboard boxes. And if you can manage to find strong and clean packing boxes of the right size for free, then you can rest assured that you’ve just saved yourself plenty of money. Not bad, eh?

Still waiting for that valuable advice on how to pack for a move? Here’s a brief packing checklist with quick links that will give you much more detailed information.

#1. How to pack boxes for moving

  • Reinforce the bottom of each cardboard box with high-quality tape before using it.
  • Place one sheet of Bubble wrap or two sheets of packing paper on the bottom of packing boxes prior to filling them up.
  • Do not leave too much space inside the cardboard boxes – use different types of filling and padding materials to immobilize the content inside.
  • Use smaller boxes to pack heavier items, and larger containers for storing and transporting lighter items, not the other way round.

#2. How to pack clothes for moving

  • Go through your clothes carefully and set aside the pieces you won’t ever wear again – don’t waste your time packing them.
  • Group the clothes you are going to pack by material, size and purpose to speed up the packing process.
  • Consider using special wardrobe boxes for your more expensive clothes to keep them wrinkle-free from start to finish.
  • Use all suitcases you can find in your home as the best packing boxes ever.

How to pack clothes for a move

#3. How to pack shoes for moving

  • Prepare your shoes for packing by sorting and cleaning them thoroughly.
  • Use clean packing paper or socks to stuff some of your more fragile pairs to preserve their shape.
  • Use the original shoe boxes or small to medium-sized boxes that are both clean and strong.
  • Always pack your shoes in pairs, and don’t forget to label the packed boxes.

How to pack shoes for a move

#4. How to pack jewelry for moving

  • How to pack for a long distance move

    If you’re keeping pace with your packing schedule, packing for a move can be kind of fun.

    Remember to keep your jewelry pieces with you at all times – don’t even think about entrusting them to your movers.

  • The best way to pack jewelry for moving is to place them in a dedicated jewelry box.
  • Use plenty of soft packing paper and even Bubble wrap for your more delicate pieces of jewelry.
  • Keep earrings from getting hooked together. Keep long chains from getting entangled in other another.
  • Use day-of-the-week pill cases to keep your smaller pieces separate.

#5. How to pack dishes for moving

  • Kitchen dishes are rather breakable so use caution when handling each piece.
  • If possible, pack your kitchen plates in dish boxes – cardboard boxes with thicker walls for extra protection.
  • Packing paper and Bubble wrap are your best friends when packing plates for moving, so don’t skimp on them.
  • Wrap each breakable piece in soft packing paper, tape it in place and arrange it in the box standing on its edge.
  • Label all packed boxes with FRAGILE and HANDLE WITH CARE.

How to pack dishes for a move

#6. How to pack glasses for moving

  • Similar to kitchen plates, glasses are one of the most fragile items found in your home, and one of the trickiest household items to pack either.
  • Wrap each glass in at least two sheets of white packing paper, and then use tape to keep the bundle in place.
  • Pay special attention to the stems of your stemware glasses – that’s where you must use sheets of Bubble wrap to prevent untimely breakage.
  • Write EXTRA FRAGILE on any box that contains packed glassware.

#7. How to pack paintings for moving

  • Framed artwork can be extremely valuable so it’s important to know how to protect paintings and pictures when moving house.
  • Cut out appropriate pieces of cardboard and place them above the frames regardless of whether there is protective glass or not.
  • Wrap your paintings or photos in large pieces of packing paper, or use big sheets of Bubble wrap for your more valuable artwork.
  • Get special picture boxes from your local movers or break down regular packing boxes to create makeshift ones.

#8. How to pack electronics for moving

  • Electronic equipment is usually rather expensive so the last thing you’d want is to find something broken after the move.
  • For best protection, use the original packages that your individual electronic pieces came in when you bought them.
  • Find good and sturdy cardboard boxes of similar sizes, and take advantage of the ultimate protective properties of Bubble wrap – preferably the anti-static kind.
  • Take photos of the way your equipment is wired before disconnecting any cables.
  • Keep accessories together with the main unit to facilitate the reconnection after the move.

#9. How to pack books for moving

  • How to pack furniture when moving house

    It’s usually best to leave large and heavy furniture pieces to be packed by the real pros.

    Sort out your book collection prior to packing – you don’t need to move all the books you own, do you?

  • When packed together, books can become too heavy too quickly so use only small to medium-sized boxes to transport them.
  • Your best bet is to use a wheeled travel bag for packing and moving your books.
  • Don’t make book-filled cardboard boxes heavier than around 40 lbs. in order to avoid trouble.
  • Never pack books in a box with their spines facing you to avoid the risk of damaging your reads.

How to pack books in 7 simple steps

#10. How to pack furniture for moving

  • Large furniture pieces are best moved between two homes if they are disassembled first. Can you do that required disassembly job without professional assistance?
  • Special furniture blankets have proved to be the best protection for delicate furniture – speak with your local movers about getting such blankets, or use any regular blankets that you can spare.
  • Considering the huge size and extreme weight of most household pieces of furniture, do consider leaving the risky job of packing and moving furniture to professional packers and movers.

6 safety tips for moving furniture