Use the packing tips on this list to keep your items safe when moving house.
When you move home, packing and unpacking can be time consuming and stressful. We have listed some packing tips which include things you need to consider before you start, how to wrap and store valuable and fragile items, and items you might need as soon as you move into your new home.
General tips for sensible packing
- Start early. Packing always takes longer than anticipated, particularly when you start reminiscing over old photographs or you realise that you need to dismantle the wardrobe to get it downstairs.
- Begin at the top of the house and move downwards. If you have an attic, it’s a good idea to sort it out first.
- Pack one room at a time, clearly labelling each box with details of its contents and the room to which it belongs. You could also number boxes if you don’t want to write the contents on the outside.
- Keep all boxes for each room together. This will save time when unpacking.
- Clearly label boxes that contain breakables (kitchen) and also those that are load-bearing (books) and can be stacked in the van.
- Valuables require careful wrapping and will take time, and some furniture may need to be dismantled. Budget a sufficient amount of time and packing supplies.
- Always pack heavy items in small boxes. It will make transporting them easier. Also, keep the weight of all boxes to a minimum to avoid back injuries.
- It may sound obvious, but packing heavier items at the bottom of the box and lighter items on top will make it easier to carry.
- Wrap fragile items individually and place in a box that’s been lined with several layers of newspaper and a sheet of bubble wrap.
- Use clean tissue or wrapping paper for the first layer to prevent newspaper print leaving marks.
- Pillows and blankets are useful for wrapping valuables and protecting furniture prone to dents and scratches.
- Pack important documents together, such as birth and marriage certificates, and keep them in a safe place. Also scan all the documents and place them on secure cloud storage and on a USB flash drive or external hard drive.
How to pack electronics for your move
Electronics are expensive and can be complex to set up at your new house. Use these tips to make your move go smoothly.
- Take photos of your electronics before you disconnect the cables.
- Place the cables, brackets and small parts in a zip-seal bag and tape it to the box.
- Pack your electronics in their original boxes, if possible.
- Buy specialty TV boxes if you no longer have your original boxes.
How to pack your clothes for the move
Save yourself unnecessary work by clearing out any unused and unwanted items before you start packing your clothes. Create a few piles for clothes you wish to give away, throw away, and sell. Separate all the items that are outdated, outgrown, worn out, or no longer relevant (if you are moving to a new climatic region). Once you have gotten rid of everything you won’t be taking with you, it’s time to start packing what’s left:
Expert Tip: Never pack damp or dirty clothes.
- Pack out of season and any specialty clothing that you won’t be needing between now and move day first.
- Put clothing that you will be wearing on moving day, and those that you will need immediately on arrival at the new house in an overnight bag.
- Sort clothing by material first and then by season, size and purpose.
- Use wardrobe boxes to pack your hanging clothes. This handy, tall box is equipped with a hanging rack, which means that you can pack and unpack your hanging clothes in minutes without any creases.
- Use zip-ties or elastic bands to hold the hangers in your wardrobe boxes together.
- If your clothes are in drawers and dressers that will be moving with you, then leave them right there. Simply secure the doors with stretch wraps or masking tape.
- Use your luggage to pack delicate or expensive clothing.
- Place layers of tissue paper between more delicate clothing, especially if you are placing it in a box.
- Vacuum bags can be an effective space saver if you have large, bulky coats, duvets, and similar items.
- After ensuring that they are clean and paired, pack your shoes in their original boxes, if you still have them.
- Stuff socks inside and between shoes if you intend to put them all in one box.
- Packing paper or newspaper can help prevent shoes from bruising, denting or scuffing.
- Alternate the direction in which you pack your shoes to save space.
- Use shrinkwrap to pack and protect your costume jewellery displays.
- Utilise laundry baskets and storage bins as storage for your clothing, if you’re using luggage for heavy items.
How to pack your books for the move
If you’re an avid bibliophile, your books will probably take up the bulk of your move. Naturally, a move can cause you to dread what you might find when you arrive at your new home: dog-eared corners, bent spines, and ripped pages.
Use these packing tips for your books and be sure that your library arrives at its new home in style:
- A stack of books can be heavy, so it’s a good idea to find the strongest boxes you can get your hands on. Keep them small - no bigger than your two biggest books next to one another. Wooden beer boxes are perfect as they have handles. Alternatively, invest in specialty book boxes.
- Use packing and tissue paper to line your boxes before you place the books inside, particularly those with beautiful slipcovers.
- Stack the books flat - rather than side-by-side - starting with the biggest, heaviest books at the bottom and the lighter ones on top.
- Seal the box thoroughly using packing tape to reinforce it.
How to pack your pictures and art for the move
If you’re willing to live without your precious memories for a few weeks, it is a good idea to pack your treasured art pieces, framed prints and family photos first. It will give you peace of mind while you pack the rest, and you will have time to secure them.
- Pack your smaller frames in a clean medium-sized moving box with a solid bottom.
- Pack large, expensive artworks in specialty boxes, or flatten a normal moving box that is slightly larger than the art.
- Buy specialised cardboard protectors for your photos.
- Wrap your art and pictures individually in brown paper or bubble wrap first.
- Stack the smaller pieces on their sides in a smaller box with plenty of bubble wrap or newspaper in between.
- Mark the boxes that contain your art as "fragile".
How to pack your kitchen for the move
A kitchen can accumulate a lot of clutter over the years. Still, you probably want to be as careful as possible when packing up your dishes, appliances and dinnerware. You probably don’t want to arrive at the new house to find that the crystal wine glasses and 'special occasion' dinner plates are chipped or broken.
Here’s how you can pack your kitchen in a weekend and still protect your precious belongings:
- Make sure all your dishes and appliances are clean and dry.
- Remove all small, loose parts and place them inside a Ziploc bag, along with the owner’s manual. Tape the bag to the box for easy assembly when you unpack later.
- Pack your appliances in their original packaging if you still have it. If not, use medium boxes and plenty of bubble wrap.
- Place two layers of bubble wrap in the bottom of the box you will be using for your dinnerware.
- Wrap each dinnerware item in a thin layer of packing paper and stack it into the box vertically, like records. Place a piece of bubble wrap after every two to three dishes.
- Place packing peanuts inside fragile items such as wine glasses and wrap them in bubble wrap. If you want to save on bubble wrap, stuff them with clean socks and wrap them individually in clean tank tops.
- Sort your silverware by type, and tie each type together using a rubber band before placing them in a box.
- The right box for your cookware should be able to fit your biggest pot or pan - either vertically or horizontally - and close securely. Simply stack them from biggest to smallest.
- Wrap glass pot lids in bubble wrap and stack them in open spaces around the pots and pans.
- Avoid buying bulk groceries in the weeks leading up to the move. Rather finish the food that is in your pantry already. This is a great time to declutter your kitchen and pantry.
- Pack the food you want to take to your new place in cooler bags.
How to pack your bathroom for the move
If you have many little bottles and jars of lotions and potions, a house move is a good time to get rid of all the clutter. Here are some great tips to get your bathroom move-ready:
- Use up all the almost-empty containers before the move, instead of opening new bottles.
- Get rid of everything you don’t use and keep only what you love.
- Unscrew lids of your shampoo, conditioner and lotion bottles, and cover the openings with glad wrap before screwing the lids back on.
- Pack everything you will need on arrival at the new house in a clear plastic box.
- Place cotton balls or pads inside the lid of your cosmetics to stop it from breaking.
- Store your first aid supplies and medicines in a cooler bag with a lock if you have small children.
- Use plastic packing boxes for makeup, hair accessories and brushes.
The final word
Moving is one of the most stressful events in your life. By using our packing tips and how-to’s above, you can reduce some of that stress. Go through each section of our checklist carefully to ensure that your belongings are kept safe for your move.