Handling the stress of moving is hard—even harder for parents. Besides getting the kids on board with the new plans, you have a ton of stuff to deal with. The last thing you want is to forget your kid’s favorite toy behind or leave it stranded in a box where it’s not found for weeks.
Knowing how to pack toys for moving will save you a lot of time and effort.
In this post, you’ll find six simple steps to guide you through the daunting task of packing playthings.
Table of Contents
The Supplies You’ll Need
Before going through the toys, you’ll need to go shopping first.
Getting all boxes, bags, and sealing tapes ready will save you a lot of trouble. You don’t want to stop halfway through the process because you forget to buy some bubble wrap.
Keep an open mind when picking the moving materials. Every family’s needs are different, and it’s okay to shift your supply list a bit to suit your needs.
Here’s a list of basic supplies that can help you with packing:
A packing paper roll can protect the more expensive toys from scratches and scuffs. You can wrap it around the piece or just crumble it up to fill the box.
If you can’t find any packing paper, you can use some old newspapers. They’ll do the job nicely, and the recycling is more environmentally friendly!
Whenever we have to go through the kids’ stuff, we end up filling multiple trash bags. So, prepare in advance and have some plastic bags ready to go.
You can also use large Ziploc bags to wrap up toys with multiple parts before packing them. This helps avoid losing any pieces along the way.
It’s hard to remove all the playthings and put them aside for moving. So instead, you’ll want to keep a few toys aside for the kids to play with.
Ask the children to each choose a couple of their favorite pieces. You can pack it last in the morning before moving.
You can either get cardboard or plastic boxes. Plastic offers better protection and is practically waterproof, but it’s more pricey. Heavy duty plastic boxes also make for great storage containers even after the move is done, so getting a few could be worth the price.
However, cardboard boxes can do just fine for toys. Just make sure to get different sizes to fit all the items.
You probably already have a roll of tape laying around, but for the move, you’ll need more than that. Make sure you’re using heavy duty packing tape and you’ll probably need at least 3 rolls of tape.
Most boxes “break”, not because of the box, but because the tape gives way on the box. Don’t make that mistake.
Pro Tip: Get your packing tape with a dispenser, as well. It’ll make sealing the boxes much easier and it will keep you from having to find where the end of the tape is 1000 times.
To protect the fragile toys, you can wrap them up in bubble or foam wrap. For valuable items, you can use a double layer.
Foam is generally thinner than bubble sheets, but it’s less protective. Besides, popping the bubbles is just so much fun!
Labels and Moving Stickers
A sheet of white labels will come in handy when you’re packing. You can use them to label the box’s contents to know which goes where.
Moving stickers can mark the cardboard boxes with “fragile” toys. The stickers can also help you spot the right side up for safer handling.
With all the mess of moving to go on, you might forget the basics. Make sure to buy a pair of permanent markers.
Regular pens won’t stand out as markers do. You’ll want thick, bold handwriting to label all the boxes.
How to Pack Toys for Moving in Six Steps
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re packing an entire room of kids’ stuff. With a bit of planning and organizing, you can turn it into a simple task.
Check out these steps to packing toys:
Reduce the Bulk
The first thing to do is get rid of all unwanted toys. Donate the ones in good condition and throw away the broken pieces.
Ask your children to help you go through a pile and choose a few things to give away. This will also help them build empathy by giving to others.
It’s going to take some time, but you’ll be thankful for it. Decluttering will make the move so much easier, and it’ll feel like a fresh start.
Organize the Rest
Once you’ve eliminated all the unwanted stuff and marked them for donations, you’ll need to start organizing the remaining toys.
You can categorize by size, type, or material; it’s up to you. However, there needs to be a separate pile for all the fragile things.
Next, you can pile the must-haves. You know, the toys that your kids use all the time and can’t do without. Every child can keep a backpack of their favorite toys and not more.
Clean the Toys
It sounds like an unnecessary step, but it’s crucial to clean the toys before packing. This means that you’ll get to unpack and organize the stuff immediately after arriving.
From experience, the cleaning job is the most dreaded, and it keeps people from unpacking. So, tackle that first, and you’ll be set for the rest.
Before you ship the boxes, make sure they’re all closed and insulated. You don’t want the toys to get dusty during the trip after all that effort.
Prepare the Toys Before Packing
Get the clean toys and lay them for packing. Set a box for each group of toys, but before you put them in, there are a few final touches to consider:
- Remove any batteries
- Check that the fluffy toys are fully dried
- Disassemble complex parts
- Wrap the delicates in bubble wrap then in newspapers
Use Soft Toys for Cushioning
Now that the toys are ready to go, you’ll need to be smart about the box layout. Making the most out of every box will save you the hassle of carrying a ton of packages.
Put the heaviest and largest items first. Then, fill around them with the smaller pieces. Keep going till the box is almost full.
You can use any soft toys (like plushies and teddy bears) as padding between the others. It’ll keep the box from shuffling and absorb the shocks.
Set the Boxes Out of Reach
Once the boxes are filled and sealed, you can’t keep them in the kids’ room. They’ll be tempted to open the box and fetch a toy or two.
To avoid this mess, get the boxes somewhere out of sight as soon as you can. The garage and basement are ideal for this, but your bedroom could do the job, too.
Keep in mind that every child should have a set of must-have toys in their backpack. Whenever it’s playtime, this selection will have to do till you get to the new place.
Here are some of the frequently asked questions regarding packing toys for a big move:
Q: Where can you donate old toys?
A: Salvation Army and Goodwill are the most common options. They’re everywhere, and they’ll take any used toys off your hand.
If you can’t find any of those near you, consider giving the toys to daycare centers, social services, shelters, or even a neighbor.
Q: Can you pack toys without removing the batteries first?
A: Batteries are generally sensitive to heat. Whenever you’re moving battery-powered toys, you should consider how hot the package will get.
Turn off the toy as well before packing it. If you’re packing for air travel, check the TSA’s allowed list of batteries first.
It might just be easier to remove the batteries from the toy and pack them separately. It’s even better to discard them and buy new ones later when you arrive.
Q: How can you clean mold out of stuffed toys?
A: It’s not uncommon for kids’ trinkets to get really dirty, especially bath toys. Before moving to a new place, you should deal with any mold or pests to reduce the spreading infestation.
Vinegar solutions can help in most cases. Just prepare one part of vinegar to 20 parts of water, and let the dirty toy sit for an hour or so.
Q: How can you get the kids excited about moving?
A: Moving is stressful for the entire family, and taking away a good chunk of the kid’s playthings doesn’t help.
Try to get them involved in the process. Let them have a say in what toys stay and what gets donated. Even preparing the labels can motivate the little ones.
We hope by now, you have a better idea about how to pack toys for moving. The key is in planning and getting all the supplies ready.
You should talk to your kids about giving away some of their older items. It’s a good chance to shed some weight and give back to your community.
Don’t forget to mark all your fragile items and lift with your legs, not your back!