How to Pack For Long Distance Moving

Change is constant, so we’ll probably not stay in one place forever. We all have to move house someday. Are you a first-time mover, or you’re more of a nomad?

Moving can take its toll whether you’re moving in your truck or hiring movers. There’s no easy way to move, except someone else does the work. There are many activities: Sorting, packing, moving, wrapping, and unpacking.

Not to talk of the financial strain.

We can only help you hasten the work and save time, money, and energy with tips from years of moving experience. We’ve compiled the tips for moving into two broad categories: Before you pack and when you’re packing.

How to Pack Pack for Moving: 20 Tips Every Mover Needs to Know

how to pack for long distance moving
Image by Liz Rose

Before you Pack:

Tip 1: Set a Moving Date

A moving date helps you plan and organize daily tasks that build up to the moving day. A moving date also pushes you to book movers in advance, and then you’ll not have to deal with clashing schedules.

Tip 2: Plan

Start planning 2-3 weeks before the move date. You’ll have enough time to finish up in case of any eventualities.

See Also: How to Pack Kitchen for Moving

Tip 3: Declutter your Belongings

The first step to easy packing is taking inventory to reduce packing time and save money; decluttering equals downsizing, which eliminates the needless purchase of packing supplies.

Taking inventory of every room determines which items go with you and the ones you no longer want or need. Then you can decide which ones to donate, sell or recycle; this tip is crucial for anyone packing clothes for moving.

Taking inventory also helps you know if you’ll need to hire professional movers, the size of vehicle you’ll need, and which items go into a storage unit or climate-controlled storage unit.

Tip 4: Plan a Budget

Let’s imagine moving on an expensive cruise and planning a budget as a discount. After knowing the items you’re moving, it’s time to plan a budget.

Setting a budget prevents excessive spending and shows you other moving options like getting help from friends or buying cheaper supplies. Compare the cost of moving yourself—renting a truck, gathering packing supplies, etc.—or hiring movers.

Tip 5: Eat up your Supplies

After setting a moving date, don’t stock up on food items; instead, eat as much as the food you can. If you run out of supplies, buy the amount you’ll need for the next week.

Tip 6: Gather Packing Supplies

There are all-purpose packing materials like boxes, packing paper, tape, and so on; simultaneously, each household item needs peculiar packing supplies.

Things you might need:

  1. Cardboard box
  2. Plastic bag
  3. Ziploc bags
  4. Parchment paper
  5. Packing paper
  6. Bubble wrap
  7. Packing peanuts
  8. Styrofoam
  9. Newspapers or, preferably, blank newsprint paper
  10. Paper plates
  11. Scotch tape
  12. Labeling stickers
  13. Marking pens
  14. Permanent or Sharpie marker

Tip 7: Get Cardboard Boxes

Get the right cardboard box size by measuring the item’s dimensions with measuring tape. Cardboard boxes are used to pack most household items, except huge stuff you can’t dismantle, like mattresses, suitcases, and furniture.

Please use sturdy boxes of varying sizes for packing different items because the box for packing a TV differs in shape and size from one for packing knives. You can purchase boxes at a discounted price on Amazon.

Tip 8: Cheaper Options

Look for a cheaper option when buying packing materials and supplies. Source for supplies wherever you can: Supermarkets, furniture stores, liquor stores, electronic stores, departmental stores, or hospitals.

You can get cheap or free moving supplies and boxes from these nine online stores:

  1. Craigslist
  2. Amazon
  3. Facebook Marketplace
  5. U-haul
  6. OfferUp
  7. Home Depot
  8. Lowe’s

When Packing:

Tip 9: Pack Room by Room and in Order of Importance

Pack items you’ll not be needed for a long time first, and pack essentials last. After noting the items you’re moving, get packing supplies for each room but don’t get packing materials for the last room. Check if the leftovers will be enough to pack the room.

Tip 10: Pack a Suitcase or Two for Essentials

Should you lack the strength to unpack immediately, write a list of things, you need on moving day and a few days after moving. Start writing this list when you decide on a moving date so you won’t miss any items.

Snacks, sandwiches, medications, and a few water bottles should go in a Ziploc bag; a change of clothes and phone and PC chargers in one suitcase; cleaning supplies and toiletries in another suitcase.

See Also: 50 Moving Tips and Hacks

Tip 11: Use Suitcases to your Advantage

Since they’re also moving, why not pack smaller belongings like clothes. You can also use suitcases to pack heavy stuff and valuables like documents.

Another hack to packing fragile stuff is packing them in suitcases and lining the suitcase with shoes.

hard shell suitcase for moving

Tip 12: Family Moving

When moving with your family, pack the personal items of each member separately and label the boxes accordingly.

Tip 13: Use Clothes as Padding

When packing your closet, gather specific clothing to help you pack. Clothes are low-key packing materials and can help save the extra buck spent on padding supplies. Cut down on packing paper by using towels.

Clothes are perfect for filling wiggle rooms, and it’s a win-win situation since you have to pack them anyway. Soft clothing like socks and scarves can help fill up spaces when packing dishes, and thick clothing like towels can help pack your TV or other fragile items for moving.

Tip 14: Save Complicated Setups

Please take a few photos of complicated setups and save them to your Google Drive or Dropbox. Setting up an appliance from scratch can be challenging. Take a few photos of the back of your TV to guide you when refixing your device.

The photos will come in handy when packing appliances or electronic gadgets like a monitor, and you forget a step. It saves you from frustration when unpacking and saves time.

Also, If you love the setup of your old bedroom, take a couple of pictures to replicate it in your new apartment. Click, Click!

Tip 15: No Wiggle Room

Do not leave any wiggle room when packing fragile items. Wrap them in enough packing materials and tape them in place.

After loading the items in a box, stuff enough padding supplies in free space in the box. Then shake the box gently to make sure the content(s) fit snugly.

Tip 16: Don’t Overload a Box

Keep the weight of each box under 45 pounds. When packing boxes, do not pack more than you can comfortably carry. You know you’ve packed too much when you strain, groan or bend over from the box’s weight.

Overstuffing a box can cause it to burst from the slightest pressure. That’s more packing time at the end of the day. Packing what you can carry will save energy at the expense of a few more minutes of packing.

Tip 17: Stack Dishes

Like you’re stacking plates in a dishwasher or books on a shelf, always stack dishes vertically. Also, wrap dishes in packing paper (not newsprint, they can leave permanent stains on dishes) and pad them with styrofoam, bubble wrap, or crumpled paper.

See Also: How to Pack a Box for Moving

Tip 18: Handle Fragile Objects with Care

Wrap fragile items in at least three sheets of packing paper. You should wrap breakables like wine bottlesglassware, and dishes in 3 sheets of packing material.

Keep a soft piece of clothing between fragile items to keep them from rattling during transit. After packing fragile items, label the box “FRAGILE” and “TOP.”

When moving, place your breakables in a separate part of the truck or car, away from all other furniture and belongings. It’s better safe than sorry!

Tip 19: Dismantle Hardware

When packing hardware, dismantle them to ease and hasten packing and keep their accessories in sight. Pack cords, extensions, adapters, chargers, screws, bolts, or whatever applicable accessory in a Ziploc bag. Then place the bag in the same box. 

Tip 20: Use Plastic Bins

plastic storage bins

Place items that need protection from moisture and air in a plastic bin or bag. Plastic is impervious to water which makes it the best option.

Plastic bins are sturdier, water-resistant, have handles, and most importantly, are reusable. Rubbermaid or Sterilite bins sell plastic bins at a discount. If you don’t have a plastic bin, prep your cardboard box, line it with a plastic bag, and tape it.

Tip 21: Frames

Pack framed portraits for moving using pillows.

Tip 22: Use Trash Bags

use trash bags to pack your clothes

Trash bags and vacuum bags dispose of waste and are excellent packing materials. More clothes, less space! These bags move and protect thick clothing or articles that take up space; towels, sweaters, jerseys, sport wears, and even dirty clothing are best moved in trash bags.

Vacuum bags condense and protect specific clothing from the elements and insects because they’re compressible and reusable. Press down on the bag to squeeze out extra air before sealing the bag. This is to prevent spilling if it gets punctured. You can get these trash bags on AmazonTarget, or Walmart.

Tip 23: Protect Glass Panels with Masking Tape

Before wrapping framed art, glass, mirrors, portraits, or curio cabinets, make a large ‘X’ and a plus sign on the glass with tape. The masking tape will keep the shards in place should the glass break in transit.

Tip 24: Save Space with Containers

Pack smaller items in pots and containers. Instead of packing small ones like pots, dishes, spices, or jewelry separately, you can pack them in large containers. This way, you can save space for other things.

See Also: How to Pack for Moving Houses

Tip 25: Seal Opened Jars

Wrap the mouth of opened jars and bottles with packing paper to keep it airtight and prevent spilling. When packing exposed spices, soap, or shampoo, wrap the lids in plastic wrap, then wrap the container in packing paper.

Seal any opened packages with tape. Cut packing paper, place it inside the lid, and then over the bottle. This is the surest way to keep a jar airtight.

Tip 26: Scotch Tape

Never use duct tape! Seal boxes with packing or scotch tape; they’re more durable and won’t stick to your package.

Tip 27: Label Accordingly

Label each box with a marker or sticker and legible writing. The best hack for unpacking is appropriately labeling each box.

Label boxes according to their contents and rooms. For example, boxes should be marked as “TOP,” “Kitchen: Dishes,” fragile items should be marked as “FRAGILE,” and knives can be marked as “DANGEROUS.”

Tip 28: Don’t Pack All your Belongings in a Truck

There are loads of items you shouldn’t pack in a moving truck. Here are a few with accompanying reasons:

Cleaning agentsCleaning supplies give off dangerous flammable fumes
Fuels (lighter fluid, charcoal, petrol, etc.)Explosive, high combustion rate
Chemicals, fertilizer, and weed killerFlammable, corrosive
Perishables, plants, and petsSpoilage
AmmunitionThey can get hot, transport only in air-conditioned vehicles
Documents: financial, moving, house, etcYou may need them in transit
Car batteriesCar batteries
Valuables, cash, or pricey jewelryLoss or theft

Tip 29: Pack Essentials and Other Important Stuff with you

Your valuables are most secure with you because you know what they’re worth. 

What to pack separately in a move:

  • All kinds of documents
  • Moving day essentials
  • Cash
  • Debit cards
  • Checkbooks
  • Contact information
  • Airline tickets
  • Backups
  • Family photos and videos

Tip 30: Packing Plants

Load them last in the truck when packing plants, and don’t place anything in their boxes. If you’re moving the plants in cold conditions, don’t punch holes in cardboard boxes; the plants may freeze.

See Also: 2 Ways to Pack Framed Art for Moving

Tip 31: Protect Perishables

If you’re traveling long distances and need to stay overnight in a hotel, don’t leave perishables or valuables in the truck. Extreme temperature changes can spoil them, or they can get stolen.

Tip 32: Unpack Gradually 

Unpack and arrange a few boxes a day when you’ve moved into your new home. Unpacking your load at once is backbreaking work and can be overwhelming.

Phew! That’s a lot of tips, and we don’t expect you to remember them all. We suggest you study them over coffee whenever you’re free.

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