Once you’ve completed on your next property purchase or signed the rental agreement for your next home, it’ll be time to think about packing for your move.
Whether you’re upsizing, downsizing, or moving to a similar sized property, there are lots of things to think about when taking all of your belongings from one place to the next which can make the process feel overwhelming.
To help make the task more manageable, below, we share our essential tips for making packing for your next move as easy and smooth as possible…
Before you start packing, declutter your current space so you can get a better picture of what you have and what you definitely want to take with you to your new place as well as what you may be willing to get rid of.
Over time, we can accumulate plenty of things which can end up hiding in cupboards and drawers we often forget about. A new move is an opportunity for a new start, so if there’s anything you don’t need to take with you to your new home, decluttering before you start packing can help you avoid taking anything with you that you don’t need or want anymore.
Sort through one room at a time to make the task more manageable and decide whether to keep, donate, sell or recycle items as you go through them. For more on how to declutter your space, you can read our top tips here.
2. Make a list
Once you’ve decluttered your current home and you know exactly what you’ll be keeping for your move, you can start thinking about packing.
Rather than jumping straight in, make a list of what you’ll be packing so you can keep track of everything as you go. It may be easier to make a list per room to avoid creating a one big list which may get out of hand.
Depending on what you find easiest, you could look around each room in your current home and list the items you’ll be packing before you get started, or you may prefer to write down each thing as you pack.
Your lists can be as detailed as you like. Take the kitchen for example, you can list main items like the toaster and the kettle, but rather than just listing “plates” as an item, you may want to sub-categorise things like this into everyday plates, serving plates, everyday cutlery and serving cutlery for example to avoid things slipping the net. If you have particularly full rooms like a children’s playroom, instead of listing each individual item, it may be more efficient to break the list of toys down into categories too such as building blocks, board games and games consoles.
When compiling your lists, it’s worth having two tick boxes next to each item. That way, you can tick the first box once the item has been packed and you can tick the second box once it’s been unpacked in your new home so you can make sure everything’s accounted for.
3. Start as early as possible
Packing is a big task and can be very time consuming. To avoid rushing at the last minute, try to start the process as early as possible if you can to alleviate some of the stress.
4. Book your removal company in advance
If you’ll be using a removal company to transport your things to your new home, it’s best to book in advance as removal firms can get extremely busy and may have a waiting list. It’s typically recommended to book a slot four to six weeks in advance of your moving date to avoid disappointment.
5. Prepare your materials
When it comes to packing, preparation is key. Not only is it important to have a thorough declutter and a set of organised lists, but it’s also crucial to make sure you’ve got all the materials you need to pack effectively so you’re ready to go once it’s time to get started.
Cardboard boxes in a range of sizes suitable for different items are a good place to start when gathering your packing materials. They’re relatively inexpensive and can be easily recycled after your move. You might even consider investing in a couple of re-usable plastic boxes for heavier items which could be used as storage in your new place too.
Have some permanent markers to hand too so you can clearly label each box with their contents (more on this later!). Make sure you have enough packing tape to seal each box too, and consider whether you might need bubble wrap or packing foam to protect particularly fragile items.
6. Tackle one area at a time
Breaking your home down into individual rooms will make the packing process feel much less daunting than if you were to think about packing up your property as a whole.
If you’re able to start packing well in advance of your move, you may choose to start with the rooms you use least and work through to the rooms that you use most often, potentially leaving the kitchen to last for example.
No matter how you choose to divide your home, tackling one space at a time will make the process more efficient as once a room is packed, you can move on to the next knowing there aren’t any unfinished bits and pieces left to do in the space you just completed and will prevent you going back and forth between rooms up until the removal vans arrive.
7. Label things clearly
Label each box you pack with its contents before you seal it to stop you forgetting what’s inside. Be as detailed as possible so you can easily locate things once you’ve arrived at your new home. For example, rather than just labelling a box with “books”, you may wish to specify whether it contains cookbooks, coffee table books or children’s stories.
As well as labelling each box with its contents, it’s also worth labelling which room each box should be placed in at your new place. Specifying whether a box belongs in the kitchen, bathroom, or front bedroom on the first floor will make it much easier to sort things as each box is unloaded to avoid everything being stacked in one place or taken to the wrong room. Unpacking will be much more efficient if each box is placed in the right room on arrival.
Remember to also label whether a box contains fragile items or if it should be placed a certain way up to avoid damages!
8. Pack smart
There are a few hacks to consider to make packing different items easier. For example, when packing the clothes that are hanging in your wardrobe, it might be easier to gather the hangers together, tie the tops of the hangers together and drape a bin liner over the top of them with the tops of the hangers poking out of the liner so that when you come to unpack, you can simply uncover the clothes, un-tie the tops of the hangers and immediately hang them back up.
Tucking pairs of socks inside shoes is also a great space saver and packing heavier items at the bottom of boxes is best to avoid squashing or damaging soft, light items.
9. Get a spare set of keys cut
If possible, getting a spare set of keys cut for your new place to keep with you at all times is a good idea for moving day. That way, if you get locked out by accident in between all the back and forth, you’ll be able to get back in quickly!
10. Pack an overnight bag
Moving days are tiring. With this in mind, it would be unrealistic to expect yourself to unpack everything as soon as you arrive on the first day.
You may wish to make a start by unpacking some of the items in the rooms you use most, but to avoid rummaging around a sea of boxes to find the things you need straight away, it’s worth packing an overnight bag of essentials for moving day.
Things like toiletries, a towel, clothes for the first night and next morning as well as chargers for your phone and laptop are important to consider having within easy reach.
As well as packing an overnight bag for yourself, if you’re moving with children, packing an essentials bag for them too which contains a few items of clothing, snacks and their favourite toys will also help them feel more settled once you arrive at your new place. Remember to do the same for your pets too, having their bowls, a few toys and their bed to hand will help them feel more at home.
After a long day of moving, it’s unlikely you’ll want to spend the evening making your bed. To avoid having to wrestle the pesky bed sheets, transport your mattress with a fresh sheet already fitted and pack your duvet already in its cover so you can get straight into bed and get a comfortable night’s sleep after a long day of hard work.