How to Pack a Rug for Moving

How To Pack a Rug For Moving

A vital issue to consider when loading your moving van or truck is ensuring that you utilize the available space efficiently. After all, you don’t want to get halfway through loading and realize that the pile of items still to be loaded is larger than the remaining space in the truck. To avoid a shortage of space, it’s essential to ensure that large, bulky items are efficiently packed.

One item that can really eat up space is an area rug. These rugs can be quite large, and if not properly prepped for the move, can really eat into the available space in the moving van. Most homes that have hardwood floors tend to have multiple area rugs (and don’t forget those hallway runners as well!) in them and combined, they are something that you need a plan for.

If you follow these tips with your rugs, you’ll adequately utilize your moving space as well as keeping your other items from being damaged.

Thoroughly Clean Those Rugs

Cleaning a Rug Before a Move

Area rugs can sometimes be an afterthought while moving. You may be tempted to wait until the final minutes of your move before rolling them up and stuffing them in the truck. When you do this, however, you’re likely to bring with you loads of dust, dirt, and potentially pet hair.

Not only are you bringing this filth to your new home on day one, but you’re also likely to get your other items dirty from the rug being in the same truck.

The first step, then, of preparing your rugs to move is to thoroughly clean them. Use a high-quality vacuum cleaner to ensure you get all of the embedded dirt, dust, pet hair, or anything else that may have found its way into the fibers. Even if you regularly vacuum, you’ll want to be extra thorough on this pass-through.

While this is optional, it’s highly suggested that you also shampoo or steam clean your rugs before moving if this is feasible.

Pro Tip: If you’re leaving a place you’re renting, getting the carpets cleaned is often part of your move out obligations. Use this opportunity to get your rugs professionally cleaned and then put them away until it’s time to unpack them.

There is a psychological aspect to consider when moving into a new home. You’re getting a fresh start, and it simply feels good to go into it with nice, freshly cleaned rugs.

Roll and Tape

To take up the least amount of space possible in the moving truck, you must take your freshly cleaned rugs and roll them up. Not only do you want to roll them, but you want them as tightly rolled as possible. This will make loading them much more manageable.

Depending on how big your rug is, you may need a second set of hands for this part. With the rug lying flat on the floor, one person should get down on each end of the shorter dimension of the rug. It’s essential to roll the rug in the short direction to decrease the length of the rolled-up bundle.

Rolling a Rug

Now, begin to roll the rug, taking care to make each roll as tight as possible. The idea is to get the smallest diameter you can when the rug is completely rolled up. The first roll is most important for this, so take care to really tuck the edge of the rug tightly on this first rotation.

Once the rug is tightly rolled, grab a roll of packing tape. Because the decorative side is now completely covered up, you don’t have to worry about the tape damaging it. Start on one end of the rolled-up rug, and run a band of tape around it, once again taking care to pull the tape taut to ensure the roll is tight. Go around the rug at least 3 times with the tape to get the necessary strength.

You will repeat the same process again in the center of the rug and then at the opposite end. If it is a huge rug, you may need to go with a total of four equally spaced bands of tape to prevent the loose edge of the rug from buckling outward. When all is said and done, you should have a rug that is tightly rolled and securely taped to maintain the roll.

A Layer of Protection

You’ve already cleaned your rug before rolling it to prevent transporting dirt and potentially transferring it to your other possessions. Now, it’s time to protect the clean rug itself from being soiled during the move. Your best friend for this task will be a large roll of shrink wrap.

Again, you may need a second set of hands for this part, as you will need the rug to be held up off the ground to run the shrink wrap around it. Begin at one end of the rug, and simply wrap the shrink wrap around the entire circumference. You will want to go at least three times around as you work your way down the rug from one end to the other.

Anything less than three layers in all locations and the protective layer will easily tear. After the whole rug has been covered with shrink wrap, ensure that the plastic also wraps over the rug’s ends. You may not get good coverage on the ends with shrink wrap alone, but with the plastic covering the fibers, you can then take your packing tape to cover the ends.

You now have a clean, tightly rolled, and protectively wrapped area rug ready for transport.

Final Thoughts

One of the last things most people think about when preparing to move is how to handle their rugs. If you follow the simple steps outlined above, your rugs will be ready to be loaded into the truck.

Because you have taken care to thoroughly clean them first, you won’t be bringing unwanted dirt, dust, and pet hair into your new home on day one. The care taken to ensure that the rug is tightly rolled will allow you to fit it into the moving truck more easily without snagging on furniture or boxes. Finally, the protective layers of shrink wrap ensure that no additional dirt is picked up during the moving process.


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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