Relocating is exciting, but when you’re packing up a home, it’s hard to know where to start. Have you got enough moving supplies? Which room should you start with? How can you keep valuables safe? By starting early, you can have a good clear-out, box your belongings logically, and ensure they’re transported securely. Read our eight handy packing tips that will prepare you for a smooth move.
1. Declutter Your Home
Moving is a great excuse to declutter, so you don’t pack more than you need. Go through your belongings, figure out what you want to keep, and donate unwanted goods to charity – or you could sell them for proceeds towards your new home. Many companies also won’t transport hazardous materials, so ensure you dispose of them properly – if you can take them with you (often at an extra cost), seal, separate and label them.
2. Stock Up on Boxes
We all have cardboard boxes lying around, but are they suitable for the job? You’ll need a multitude of sizes, so if you’re a bit short, purchase some more, or see if any shops are giving some away. For fragile or valuable items, plastic boxes can be safer, while mirrors and artwork are better placed in telescopic boxes. Other packing materials you’ll need include tape, bubble wrap, newspapers, a marker, and labels. Alternatively, you could book a professional packing service from your moving company.
3. Start Early, Be Organised
Packing always takes longer than you think, so thinking ahead is crucial. As an estimate, if you pack one box per day, you’ll likely need one-two months, depending on your house size. Consider what may consume your time – from careful wrapping of valuable photos, to dismantling of beds and wardrobes – and check what your insurance covers during the moving process.
4. Pack Room by Room
It’s logical to pack one room at a time, keeping relevant items together, to save you time when you start unpacking. We suggest starting at the top of the house, e.g., the loft, and moving downwards. This way, you’ll probably come across lower-priority items like decorations or tools, which can be loaded up first (and unloaded last), keeping higher-priority goods like lounge and kitchen items at closer hand. If you have anything dent or scratch-prone, make sure to protect it with pillows and blankets.
5. Stack Light on Heavy
This might seem obvious, but make sure you put heavier boxes (e.g., of books) at the bottom, and lighter ones (e.g., of clothes) at the top, to prevent any damage in transit – especially if you’re moving abroad. Also, avoid muscle strain and fatigue by placing light items in large boxes (but don’t fill them completely) and heavy items in smaller ones, as this makes them easier to transport.
6. Label Your Boxes
You’ll thank yourself later for doing this: make sure you label boxes clearly! With stacked boxes, it’s better to write on the sides rather than on the top, and colour coding them (with a different marker per room) helps you identify them more quickly. Use a list to mark what’s in each box and where it should go, to facilitate the unloading process – don’t forget to mark fragile boxes either, so the removal team can place them cautiously in the van.
7. Treat Valuables Carefully
It’s easy to lose things when you’re moving an entire home, so make sure you keep your valuables together and at close hand – you might even want to invest in a safe or keep them securely in your car. Valuable items don’t just include jewellery or ornaments, but also important documents like birth/marriage certificates, passports, bank statements, and work documents etc.
8. Prepare an Essentials Box
Moving is tiring, and it’s impossible to unpack everything on the first day. Be kind to your future self and put together an essentials box for when you arrive. This might hold overnight clothes, toiletries, drinks/snacks, and basic appliances/utensils – other useful items include a torch, first-aid kit, and tools. Make this the last box loaded onto the van, so it’s within easy access when you cross the threshold of your new home.