What to Pack First When Moving

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There needs to be plenty of preparation and organization to face the exciting (and downright scary) proposition of moving to a new house. We can all agree that strategic packing is an important part of a seamless shift. Since this is another one of those easier-said-than-done situations, I’m here to offer a strategic step-by-step guide to packing your house up for a move. Will this eliminate any and all mishaps? Definitely not. But it will give you a sense of direction: a key component to avoiding potential pitfalls.

Step One: Basement, Garage, Closets, Guest Rooms, and any other Storage Spaces

Get the rooms that you don’t use every day out of the way first as you start packing. Guest rooms, basements, closets, and storage areas are filled with stuff that’s typically not essential. By starting here, you lay the groundwork for a systematic approach to packing, ensuring that you tackle hidden clutter and unnecessary extras early on. 

This is a great time to get a head start on your moving inventory list and purge any unwanted items. During our latest move, my wife and I were playing a lighthearted game of “if we haven’t used it in a year, it hits the toss pile.” All was going swimmingly until I found a box filled with fabric scraps and random miscellany. I confidently put it in the toss pile until my wife clarified that these were ‘essential supplies’ for several unfinished – (sic.) unstarted – creative projects. Ultimately, it came with us, and appears to be in its original state in our present storage closet. But, even if you have items you can’t yet part with, this step is a must for getting the process started and paring down.

Step Two: Seasonal Items and Clothing

Moving on to seasonal items is a logical progression. Your day-to-day existence can carry on undisturbed as you put away your off-season gear, holiday decor, and other seasonal goodies. This step allows you to streamline your living space and focus on essentials, creating a more efficient environment for the upcoming stages of your move. 

With little seasonal variation here, our wardrobe storage is easy and straightforward, but our family’s Christmas stuff: complete nightmare! We took the opportunity to invest in all those “fancy” storage boxes, giving ornaments, lights, wreaths and gift wrap their own designated spot. I’ll be the first to say, if your budget can accommodate this, it’s worth it. Easy out, easy up, and easy away!

Step Three: Decorative, Fragile and Non-Essential Items

Now that you’ve cleared out less frequently used items and spaces, you can direct your attention to non-essential and decorative items. Things that are delicate and need special handling fall into this category. By addressing these items mid-process, you reduce the risk of last-minute panic and potential damage. 

My one and only piece of advice here: assign the task of handling delicate items to the team member who can handle them the most carefully. We all know who it is! This is the best way to avoid needless suffering.

Step Four: The Linen Closets and Cabinets

Moving towards the heart of your home, packing linens, towels, and blankets should be the next step. These items are crucial for everyday living but are not as time-sensitive as the items in your kitchen or bedrooms. Pack your linens correctly so you can make sure they’re clean and ready to use when you get to your final destination. 

Don’t be afraid to pull it all out and construct the fort of your dreams, you know, for the sake of pre-move memory making. Upon take down, you can use the destruction as a chance to sort, launder, and pack everything up.

Step Five: Toys and Kids’ Stuff

Addressing children’s belongings is crucial to maintaining a sense of normalcy for your little ones. Packing toys and kids’ items mid-process ensures that they start the process of preparing themselves for the upcoming move [link to internal post: Moving With Kids], while giving them the assurance that they’ll have access to their favorites right up until the very end. Due to the higher demands of babies and infants, their items will need special consideration.

This is a great time to earmark things for their “essentials bag”, a backpack that will accompany them throughout the move. Ours included a special outfit, their favorite stuffie, a cozy blanket, books, car necessities, their water bottle, and of course, extra snacks! But, every child’s needs are unique.

Step Six: The Bedrooms

As you move into the final stages of packing, the bedrooms will take center stage. This includes disassembling furniture, packing personal items, and ensuring that each family member has the bare necessities for a comfortable night’s sleep until the big day. 

Reaching the bedrooms marks the beginning of the home stretch! Brush up on the specifics of how to pack a moving truck [internal link to new post: How to pack a moving truck] for additional guidance on furniture disassembly and labeling. To ensure a seamless old bedroom-to-new bedroom transition, this stuff takes extra care and consideration.

Last Step: The Kitchen!

The kitchen, being the heart of the home, is up last. By saving this space for the final push, your family can continue to prepare and enjoy home-cooked meals until the last possible moment. Packing the kitchen last also minimizes the risk of sensitive gadgets and useful items becoming misplaced or damaged during the moving process. 

It almost goes without saying that your last meal will likely be a makeshift dinner prepared with limited kitchen supplies. It may even include a few laughs over just how bad it is! For our next move, I think I’ll have the nearest pizza place or Chinese take-away handle the food, and I’ll step in if we need any comic relief.

An otherwise chaotic ordeal can be turned into an exciting and well-planned adventure if you follow this straightforward sequence for packing your home. Each step serves a purpose, allowing you to maintain a semblance of normalcy while preparing for your next chapter. Make your move as smooth as possible by putting your plan into motion and approaching it all with a positive attitude. 

Categories Moving