Packing a room for moving doesn’t need to be complicated. With some simple tips and planning, you will have each room of your house carefully packed and ready to go in no time.
The secret? Well, it’s not really one.
Have all your moving supplies ready before your start, create a careful plan, start a running list, completely pack one room at a time, and find a good playlist to keep you motivated.
Here is what we do to pack a room seamlessly from start to finish. We’ve also found these tips help with unpacking.
Table of Contents
Step-by-step How to Pack a Room for Moving
Prep The Room
Before you pull out all your moving materials, have a look at the stuff you have. What are you going to pack? What are you going to give away? What items should be packed together? Moving is an excellent time to get rid of things you don’t really like.
Create piles of like-items, give-away items, and garbage. You will also be able to sort and purge as you pack, but make sure you do some preliminary sorting to save time.
Have both a running list and a day-by-day plan of how you are going to tackle your packing. You will remember things you need as you pack, so creating a running list will help you stay organized and on track.
What materials do you need to pack up this room? Check if you have the right equipment for packing up the room. Did you keep the original electronics boxes? If not, you will need to purchase specific boxes for these items (see our article about how to pack a TV for moving).
Do you have screwdrivers, hammers, drills, etc., for disassembling furniture and wall mounts? If not, you may not add that to your list of things to buy.
Gather ALL Moving Supplies
Before you start packing a room, you want to make sure you have all your packing supplies ready. You don’t want to run out of tape, bubble wrap, or boxes when you’re in the thick of moving. You also don’t want to be searching for a screwdriver. Keep everything together for packing day.
If you’re buying your materials from U-Haul, they will buy back unused boxes, so you really don’t have anything to lose by buying extras.
If you want to save money on boxes, ask your local liquor store if they have spare boxes. You can also check on sites that advertise used items, like Facebook marketplace, to see if people are selling used moving supplies.
Pack your Overnight Bag
Pack your overnight bag before you start packing anything else. Keep everything you need daily out of your boxes, so it doesn’t get whisked away and lost as you pack up the room. For more information, see our article on how to pack a car for moving as well as our article on packing a moving van.
Set Aside Cleaning Supplies
Like your daily necessities, you will probably need access to cleaning supplies once you’re done packing. Keep these items out of the way so that you can find them once you’re done packing and ready to clean.
Take Pictures of your Electronics
Take pictures of all cords and electronics before you unplug and pack them up. When you’re setting up your new house, you’ll be happy that you have this guide and don’t have to set things up from memory. You have a thousand things running through your mind when you’re moving – don’t rely on ‘I’ll remember how that goes’.
The truth is, sometimes you won’t.
Also, while we’re on electronics, I like to place a piece of tape on ALL cords and label what they go to. Don’t get caught holding a cord and saying, ‘now what does THIS go to?’.
Pack The Room
Start with Decorations
Ok, you’re ready to start packing now! We recommend beginning by packing up your decorations. Breakable items and pictures can be damaged if you’re moving other things around them, so start with these delicate items to keep them safe. See article, How to pack pictures for moving.
Pack Things you Don’t Need Daily
Seasonal clothes, old books, kitchen gadgets you don’t use daily should be some of the first things you pack. You can start doing this weeks ahead of your move to save you time.
Pack Items Together
As much as possible, don’t mix items. Have a small box full of only books. Another box full of dishes. A wardrobe box. A small electronics and cords box. An art supplies box. Etc. Keeping like items together will save you time when it comes to unpacking, and it’s going to be so much easier to unpack!
Keep Clothes Hanged
Save time by purchasing wardrobe boxes where you can directly transfer clothes to the box without taking them off the hanger and folding them. You’ll save time with unpacking too.
Label, Label, Label
Hopefully, you recognize that taking time to thoroughly label everything will pay back dividends when unpacking. Keep a marker beside you as you pack boxes and list everything you’re loading into a box, the room it is from, and what room it is going to in your new house.
Don’t forget to add helpful notes like “open first” or “fragile.”
Trust us, you won’t remember which box is which once they’re all sealed up.
Pack One Room at a Time
Packing one room at a time will keep you focused and make unpacking a breeze. Once you only have a few days until moving day, complete packing one room before moving to the next. You will also enjoy the sense of accomplishment for finishing something entirely instead of having a bunch of half-packed rooms.
On an even smaller level, we recommend packing one box at a time for the same reasons.
Have Separate Bags Handy
As you pack, you will likely come across things you no longer want or need. Have trash bags handy — one clear — for giveaways and trash. This method will save you time as you are only touching items once and sorting as you go.
Use your Suitcases and Baskets
Utilize the box-like items you already own. Pack your suitcase full of clothes and put electronics cords in plastic bags in baskets, for example.
Keep Boxes Together
Since you’re packing one room at a time, this shouldn’t be a problem. But, keep the boxes that go in one room together. This will, hopefully, mean they get loaded onto the moving truck together and will be unloaded at your new house together.
Here’s one of our best packing tips though – you’re not going to leave all those boxes in the actual room that you packed them in though. Instead…
Move Everything to the Loading Area
Once all your boxes are packed, labeled and ready to go – move all of them to the loading area.
What’s a loading area? I’ll explain.
We started using this technique a few moves back and it make a HUGE difference. Pick a room or area that is as close as possible to where you will load your truck that won’t become a hassle once you start stacking boxes. Garages work great for this.
On moving day, (assuming you are moving your boxes yourself, if you’re hiring a moving company you can disregard all this) you’ll spend an enormous amount of energy walking through your home to grab the next box, especially if stairs are involved.
You can break up this work by moving everything out of a room and into the garage, or whatever area makes sense for you. This serves two purposes.
One, it makes moving day a thousand times easier. You’ll get an insane amount of your truck loaded in a very short amount of time because everything is in one place in the house close to the truck.
Two, it allows you to fully clean a completely empty room. Then, you can close the door and not worry about that room again.
At the end of the day, packing a room really just comes down to planning, organizing and taking everything one task at a task. The earlier you can start the process the better. You’ll be much less stressed and can avoid the feelings of panic and doom that kicks in when you realize you have way too much to do in way too little time.