How to Pack a Messy House to Move: 9 Tips to Make it Easier

How To Pack a Messy House to Move

Nothing can be both exciting and nerve-wracking as moving to a new place! This is because, when it’s time to move out, there are many things that need to be done, such as packing your stuff.

While cleaning and organizing your house before moving can make packing a lot easier, we may not have the time to do that. Believe it or not, we’ve completely packed and moved in less than two weeks… multiple times! Or maybe you’ve just procrastinated yourself into this situation.

Either way, the only option is to pack the house as it is, and that’s where this article comes in handy!

In today’s guide, we’ll walk you through 9 simple tips that will show you how to pack a messy house to move. Let’s dive right in!

Table of Contents

1. Start Early in the Morning

Early Morning Alarm

A lot of people don’t have much experience with moving out. However, those who have experience with packing will tell you that packing takes a lot more time than you think, especially for the first couple times, when you’re still figuring things out.

The best way to stay calm and avoid any unwanted surprises is by getting as much checked off your to-do list first thing in the morning. This is especially true if you still have obligations at work that is going to eat into packing time.

Your afternoons will be busy with dealing with the moving company, setting up or turning off utilities and the normal every day obligations.

This way, you don’t only save a lot of time to pack at your own pace, but you’ll also save yourself a lot of stress as well.

2. Prepare the Essentials for Packing

The first step in the process of packing is to gather all the essential moving supplies that you’ll need to have on you at all times while packing.

These items won’t only make packing easier, quicker, and more efficient, but they’ll also make the unpacking in your new place significantly easier.

Moreover, it helps in so many other ways, such as speeding up the process of deciding and protecting your items from breaking on their way. Here’s a quick list of the essentials you’ll need to bring:

  • Boxes and Tape: The easiest way to pack things is to put them in cardboard boxes. You can find these boxes in stores, but you can also use the original boxes of your items. Some moving companies also offer boxes of various sizes.
  • A Permanent Marker: This one will help you label all your boxes, so you can know what’s inside of them. You can also label the boxes according to their fate, but more about that in the following sections.
  • Bubble Wrap or Leftover Papers: These are great at protecting your items on their way to your new place, but any unnecessary sheets or towels can work too.
  • Trash Bags: These bags are excellent for getting rid of any unnecessary trash to declutter the rooms while working on them.

3. Start Packing Room by Room

One of the most important aspects if you want a successful packing is to set up a good strategy for it.

The fastest and easiest way to pack a messy house is to take it as one room at a time. Packing the house according to the item means that you’ll have to scour the entire house looking for similar items.

Since you’ll be labeling the boxes according to rooms, you’ll be able to know what the boxes may have anyway while unpacking.

By keeping your attention on a single room, you won’t only have less back and forth, but you’ll also avoid being overwhelmed by how big the task is.

Ideally, you should get your boxes and other essentials, head to a room, pack it all out, then head to the next one.

4. Pack Your “First Night Essentials” Separately

The only exception to the previously mentioned room is the “first night essentials”, which are the items that you’ll start using immediately as you land in your new house.

In many cases, you’ll be too exhausted to unpack as soon as you get to your new house, so having easy access to your essentials would make you unpack at your own pace without making a lot of mess.

If you live with a family, each family member should have their own box of essentials as well. Your “Essentials” box should contain the following, but you may adjust it according to your necessities:

  • Your cellphone, laptop, and other necessary accessories
  • Any prescription medications
  • Toiletries and personal use items, such as toothbrushes, soap, contact lenses, floss, etc.
  • Sanitizing wipes, rubbing alcohol, facemasks, etc.

5. Organize Your Items into Piles and Label Them Clearly

Donate Items Before Moving
You’re going to be packing up everything anyway. However, any donations don’t have to be loaded on a truck or unloaded when you arrive.

In each room, you’ll need to follow a simple routine in order to get the job done without any problems. Ideally, you’ll need to label the piles into the following categories:

  • Keep: This will include all the items that you’ll need to take to your new home.
  • Donate: This will include items that you may not need but can still be beneficial for others. For example, books you’ve already read. You can also give them to a friend or a family member.
  • Sell: These are some valuable items that are of no use to you, but selling them can bring you some cash.
  • Throw Away: These are for needless clutter that you’ll come across while packing and consider further splitting them into “Trash” and “Recycle”.

6. Start On the Messiest Room in the House

While this may come down to your personal preferences, if you don’t know where to start, you should start on the messiest room in the house first.

Set and label the boxes, then start packing things according to their pile. The benefit of starting with the messiest room is that once you’re done with it, you get the hang of things, and you’ll only have less cluttered rooms left on your checklist.

7. Resist the Temptation of Hoarding Stuff You Don’t Need or Use

Avoid the temptation of keeping these items and apply the 12 month rule to decide the fate of the items.

As per this rule, anything that you don’t remember having or didn’t need for the past 12 months should be donated or thrown away no matter how much you think they’re essential to you.

8. Use Sorting Apps to Keep Track of Your Items

There are plenty of apps that are used to organize your stuff and keep track of them. You can also use these apps in order to remind yourself of your items and whether you’ve forgotten anything along the way.

9. Don’t Worry About Stuff You Can’t Find

Lastly, if you’re packing and something strikes you as missing, you shouldn’t panic. As you go through rooms and pack everything up, it’ll be much easier to spot anything that you’ve missed out on.

If you didn’t find it, you can simply check the boxes of the room where you’ve last seen it to make sure it’s where it should be.

Wrap Up

You now have a brief guide on how to pack a messy house to move out. As you can see, packing can be a little tricky when the house is jam-packed with clutter and unessential items. You’ll have to both declutter the house and pack simultaneously.

However, by following a simple strategy and sticking to the tips provided in this guide, you’ll be able to pick up the pace as you start packing, and soon enough, you’ll find everything sorted out in boxes and ready for movers to load them on the way to your new place!


I've been a college coach for going on 20 years now and that career has led Jen and I on quite the journey. We've lived in 7 different states and have moved a dozen different times. We've learned A LOT over the course of all those moves and we want to pass on our knowledge to help others going through the moving process.

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