What Order Should I Pack To Move? (Step by Step Guide)

What Order Should I Pack to Move

Moving is exciting, but it’s also overwhelming. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in your current home for a year or twenty years the idea of packing up all your belongings can be overwhelming.

But the key to making packing easier and getting it done before moving day is in how you approach it. Instead of looking at packing as something that you must do all at once break it down into a series of steps. It’s much easier and less overwhelming to think about packing in terms of small goals or milestones.

Table of Contents

Get Your Supplies

Label Stickers

The first thing you need to do is get plenty of moving boxes, tape, and permanent markers. It’s also a good idea to get some colored stickers. It’s also a good idea to get a binder or a notebook where you can keep all of your packing and moving documents in one place.

Make a list of the rooms in your home. Assign a color to each room.

When you are packing up each individual room you can put stickers in that color on the boxes from each room to help keep things organized.

Start With The Least Used Room In Your Home

What is the one room that no one ever goes into? Empty out that room first.

Pack up anything that is in it and use that as a room to store all the items that you don’t want the movers to take.

For example, if you have very fragile items or very valuable items that you would rather transport yourself pack those items first and put them in the least used room. When moving day comes you can tell the movers to not move anything in that room. You can also use that room as a place to store items that are packed to keep them out of the way until moving day.

Holiday And Seasonal Items

Christmas Ornaments in Box

When you’re a few weeks to a month out from your move it’s the perfect time to start packing. When you start packing up items that aren’t being used early you are giving yourself enough time to accomplish packing up everything in small steps so that you’re not rushing to get everything done at the last minute.

Start by packing up any items that are stored in the basement or attic. Seasonal items like holiday decorations, or items that you don’t use except for very specific times of the year can be packed up and put in the safe room so that they are out of the way.


The next thing that should be packed up is extra towels, sheets, blankets, and other linens. By getting these packed up early you are emptying out space so that you can clean those spaces and be done with them.

That will leave you with less last-minute cleaning to do as the move gets closer. You also can take this opportunity to go through your linens and get rid of any that are old, stained, ripped, or just not usable anymore. There’s no need to drag the same old blankets and sheets to another home. If they’re not getting used then just get rid of them.

Seasonal Clothing

After the linens are packed start working through the family’s seasonal clothing. Any clothes that aren’t being actively worn can be put into boxes and packed up.

Remember to get some hanging wardrobe boxes for work clothes, dress clothes, or items like wedding dresses or prom dresses that need to be packed in a special way in order to preserve them. You can continue keeping all the boxes that are already packed in the safe room.

Just make sure that you are using the sticker system to keep track of what boxes go in what room. That way on the day of the move those boxes will be put into the correct rooms at the new home.

Books And Artwork

As the move gets closer you can start to take artwork down and pack it. Pack books, take down bookshelves, and get all your personal décor items safely packed up.

This will give you time to clean the walls and repair any nail holes, remove any hangers, and paint the wall if you need to repaint it. The home might seem a little bleak without your familiar items decorating it but you will be glad you gave yourself extra time to repair the walls before moving day.

Kitchen Items

Small kitchen appliances that you don’t use every day like waffle makers and blenders can all be packed up early and set aside. Just leave out the pots and pans that you use daily and the gadgets that you are actively using.

Make sure that the cords for each gadget or appliance get packed with it so that the cords don’t get lost. You may want to tape the cords to the appliance to make sure they don’t get mixed up.

Preparing Furniture For Moving

What about furniture?

Small furniture items like end tables can be put into the safe room to get them out of the way so that you can clean and repair the rooms in the home before moving. Even if you can’t move larger pieces of furniture out of the way before a move you can take steps to protect them during the move and get them ready to be transported.

If the furniture has any delicate edges that could be chipped or scratched you can cover those edges with protective sheets and padding. Use painters tape to tape drawers shut and to protect hardware like drawer pulls. Take photos of the furniture so that you’ll have a record of what the pieces of furniture looked like before the move.

If there are any scratches or dents that occur during the move you will need those photos to prove that the furniture was damaged during the move and not before.

Preparing Dishes and Glassware For Moving

Packing Dividers
Getting a box with dividers is an absolute game changer for packing glasses and mugs.

Getting your dishware and glasses ready for moving is also something that you should do in advance. About a week or so before you move get some paper plates and plastic cups or leave out just a few dishes that you and your family can use until you move.

Use plenty of padding designed for dishes and delicate items. Pack your glassware and dishes in dish-specific boxes that are created to provide maximum protection for very delicate items.

Don’t forget to put the appropriate colored sticker on those boxes so you will know where your dishes and glassware are when you get to your new home.

A Few Days Before You Move

The hardest part of packing is waiting to pack up the items that you’re still using everyday. A few days before the actual move go around the house and make sure that you’ve packed as much as you can.

Check to make sure that all the boxes are labeled and stickered. You should also check closets, the attic, and the basement to make sure there’s nothing left there to be packed.

There are always going to be things that you can’t pack until the day before or the day of the move because you are using them. To make it faster and easier to pack those items at the last minute make sure that you have boxes ready for them and plenty of packing material.

That way the movers can be working on loading other boxes and furniture while you pack up those last minute items for the move.


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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