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Week 4

How to Start Packing Your House to Move

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Woman kneeling next to a box illustration with kitchen accessories ready to be packed in the background.

Where to Start: Packing Tips for Moving

When you're packing up to move, it's normal to feel a little overwhelmed. Take it one room at a time, and you’ll be good to go. This week, let’s start by focusing on the least-used rooms and items in your home. Once week two rolls around, we’ll outline how to pack the rest of your house.

We suggest downloading our moving checklist to stay organized while you pack.

Headshot photo of Allo Perry Piller, Professional Organizer, Neat Method

“Start with the storage/basement area or any part of the home that is the least used. Move on to the other less commonly used rooms in your home, such as the guest rooms and the living room.”

Allo Perry Piller,
Professional Organizer, Neat Method

Room-by-Room: How to Pack Your Entire House

White ruler line art image used as a page break.
Illustration of car in garage with open boxes to pack items before a move.

Packing Your Garage

The garage is home to many sharp objects, power tools and hazardous items. But don’t go nuts (and bolts) over it. Follow these tips to take care of everything from sports equipment to patio furniture.

Illustration of circular saw to be packed safely with bubble wrap.

Wrap sharp items like saws and blades with a few layers of bubble wrap or old towels.

Illustration of batteries for power tools to be packed in original containers.

Remove batteries from power tools. Pack tools in original containers when possible.

Illustration of a tool box used to neatly pack screwdrivers, wrenches and other tools inside.

Securely close your toolbox with screwdrivers, wrenches and other hand tools inside.

Illustration of patio table, umbrella and chairs.

Remove, clean and pack cushions and frames from patio furniture.

Illustration of lawn mower with tips to remove fuel prior to moving.

Empty fuel from mowers, chainsaws and snow blowers.

Illustration of grill with tips for removing propane tanks or emptying charcoal.

Remove your grill’s propane tank or empty charcoal.

Illustration of a bicycle to be disassembled for easier moving.

Disassemble bicycles. Visit your local bike store for a bike box.

Illustration of a rake and shovel to be wrapped together in a moving blanket.

Wrap rakes, shovels and brooms in a moving blanket securely.

Illustration of large contractor size trash bins to be cleaned before moving.

Clean trash cans if you decide to move them with you.

Illustration of flower pot to be wrapped in bubble wrap to prevent breaks during the move.

Wrap fragile lawn decorations or flower pots in bubble wrap.

Headshot of Monica Friel, president and founder of Chaos to Order.

“Divide the garage into zones: sports/toys, gardening/yard care, auto repair/cleaning, etc. Once like items are together, you’ll have a much better idea of how they can be packed up for moving day.”

Monica Friel,
President & Founder, Chaos to Order

Illustration of hazardous material symbol for items that cannot be moved.

Hazardous Materials That Shouldn't Be Moved

Before your move, either use up these items or give them to friends and family. Be sure to properly dispose of items that you no longer want or need. Check with your city to find out where to take the items below:

  • Aerosol cans
  • Ammonia
  • Batteries
  • Charcoal
  • Chemicals
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Fertilizers
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Fireworks
  • Gasoline
  • Paints and paint thinners
  • Pesticides
  • Pool chemicals
  • Propane tanks
  • Motor oil
  • Nail polish remover
Illustration of hot tub, an example of an item that you need to ask your moving company about.

Ask Your Moving Company About These Garage and Outdoor Items:

  • Above-ground swimming pool
  • Dog houses or kennels
  • Gas leaf blower
  • Hot tub
  • Jungle gym
  • Motor scooter
  • Moped
  • Snowblower
  • Satellite dish
  • Storage shed
  • Swing set
Find a Dumpster to Toss Bulky Items

Packing Your Guest Bathroom

  • Wash towels, curtains and shower curtains and return them to the linen closet.
  • Clean your trash bin and soap dispenser.
  • Box up loofahs, bath brushes, soap dishes and other spa-like items.
  • Wrap delicate decorations like flower vases with newspaper or bubble wrap.
  • Wrap removable mirrors with moving blankets.
  • Remove towel hooks or shelving that you intend to move with you.
  • Pack or use up toiletries.
Illustration of guest bathroom fixtures including the toilet, shower and a pedestal sink.
Illustration of linen closet with built-in drawer space and folded sheets and towels on shelves.

Packing Your Linen Closet

Make unpacking at your new home quick and easy with these linen closet organization tips:

  • Purge bedding, bath towels and blankets that you no longer use.
  • Wash, fold and organize by color, use and type.
  • Group sets of sheets with corresponding pillowcases.
  • Wrap linens in plastic bags first when packing in cardboard boxes.
  • Consider plastic tubs with sealable lids to keep fabrics clean.
  • Remove liners from shelves and wipe them down.

Packing Your Basement, Attic or Shed

Don't forget to clean out your garage, attic or shed! Now is the best time to sort through all those out-of-the-way spaces.

  • Sort through items you no longer use.
  • Plan a garage sale (if you haven’t already).
  • Disassemble basement furniture.
  • Pack home gym equipment in sturdy, reinforced boxes.
  • Fold up and lock the treadmill.
  • Pack holiday decorations in plastic bins.
  • Box up your dehumidifier.
  • Safely dispose of hazardous materials.
  • Pack items you plan to store in plastic bins.
Illustration of a barn with a tractor inside.
Headshot of Joe Devost, operations field manager at You Move Me.

“Plan ahead so you do not have to rush. When you rush, you can improperly pack your belongings and can damage important possessions. You can also leave things behind or just forget them entirely. As soon as you have a move date, begin the de-cluttering, packing, and organizing process.”

Joe Devost,
Operations Field Manager, You Move Me

Illustration of dining room table and chairs with hanging overhead lighting.

Packing Your Dining Room

Unless you plan to host an elegant soirée within the next few weeks, now’s the time to pack delicate dishware, tea sets and other dining room accessories. Here’s how to safely pack your most fragile and sentimental items.

Illustration of dining room table and chairs with hanging overhead lighting.

How to Move Your Dining Room Table

  • Take apart the table by removing legs and table leaves, if possible.
  • Wrap the tabletop with furniture blankets to avoid dings and scratches.
  • Label nuts and bolts and tape them securely to the tabletop.
  • Cover chair and table legs with furniture blankets.
  • Wrap glass tabletops with moving pads and reinforce them with bubble wrap.
  • Avoid using plastic wrap directly on wood surfaces — it can trap moisture.

Pro Tip: Not taking your table with you? Check out our furniture disposal guide to learn how to toss it.

How to Pack Dishware and China

  • Fill a sturdy box with packaging peanuts or wadded newspaper.
  • Wrap each plate individually with newspaper or bubble wrap.
  • Bundle three to four plates together with tape.
  • Stand plates on the end inside the box. Never lay plates flat.

Pro Tip: List fragile items that exceed $100 per pound on your inventory list as high-value items.

Illustration of serving spoons, dinnerware and large roast pan for special occasions.
Illustration of glassware items including cocktail glass and martini glass.

Packing Cups and Glassware

  • Pack glasses and cups in a separate box from the dishware.
  • Wrap and tape glassware and teacups in bubble wrap or newspaper.
  • Pack glasses in an upright position.
  • Layer a piece of cardboard on top before continuing with another layer.
  • Fill sides with peanuts or wadded newspaper.
  • Layer until you reach the top or until the box becomes too heavy.
  • Tape boxes securely.
  • Label with fragile stickers on all sides.

Moving Your Silver and Flatware

  • Cover with plastic wrap to prevent tarnish or rust.
  • Wrap and tape with newspaper individually or in sets.
  • Keep silver and flatware in its cushioned chest, when possible.
  • Wrap silver chests with a towel to protect the finish from scratches.
Illustration of flatware to be wrapped in newspaper or plastic wrap to prevent tarnishing.
Illustration of empty curio cabinet after packing away fragile items from inside.

How to Pack Your Curio Cabinet

  • Wrap fragile items like glass figurines or awards individually in soft tissue paper.
  • Consider using a second layer of newspaper for extra protection.
  • Place items flat in a sturdy box and secure them with extra padding.

Next, Prepare Your Family & Household Necessities

Now that you know what to pack first, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty side of moving. Next, we have tips for moving with children and pets, along with switching utilities, changing your address and more.

Illustration of child and pet faces.

Take this week to pack up the stuff you won't need anytime soon. Next week, we'll get into tips for moving with kids or pets and switching your utilities and address.

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