How to Start Packing Your House
to Move

What to Pack First When Moving

With your entire house to pack, you might be feeling a tad overwhelmed. Keep in mind that if you try to tackle every room at once, you’re signing yourself up for a meltdown or two. 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.

Download Week 4 Checklist

“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

Begin With the Non-Essentials: Room-by-Room Packing Tips

Boxes next to open garage

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.

Sharp razor blade

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


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


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

Propane powered grill

Remove your grill’s propane tank or empty charcoal.


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

Rake and a shovel

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

Patio furniture

Remove and pack cushions from lawn and patio furniture. Clean frames.

Lawn mower

Empty fuel from mowers, chainsaws and snow blowers.

Trash cans

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

Lawn decorations

Wrap fragile lawn decorations or flower pots carefully in bubble wrap.

“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

Hazardous material warning

Hazardous Materials That Cannot 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
A hot tub or jacuzzi

Ask Your Moving Company About Moving the Following Garage
and Outdoor Items:

  • Above-ground swimming pool
  • Dog houses or kennels
  • Gas leaf blower
  • Hot tub
  • Jungle gym
  • Motor scooter
  • Moped
  • Snow blower
  • Satellite dish
  • Storage shed
  • Swing set
Bathroom equipped with shower and sink
Packing Your Guest Bathroom
  • Wash towels, curtains and shower curtains and return to 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.
Linen closet
Packing Your Linen Closet

You might be tempted to dump all of your linens into a garbage bag and call it a day. While that might be the most time-efficient method for now, you’ll find yourself swimming in a pile of wrinkled pillow cases and bath towels later. Make unpacking 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 pillow cases.
  • Wrap in plastic bags first when packing in cardboard boxes.
  • Consider plastic tubs with sealable lid to keep fabrics clean.
  • Remove liners from shelves and wipe down.
Shed with a tractor inside
Packing Your Basement, Attic or Shed

It might sound silly, but the attic, basement and shed are all easily forgotten while packing. Some people accidentally leave holiday decorations or old furniture behind. To avoid the last-minute scramble before moving day, sort through all those out-of-the-way spaces now.

  • Sort through items you no longer use.
  • Plan a garage sale (if you haven’t already).
  • Disassemble basement furniture.
  • Pack home gym equipment like dumbbells and free weights in sturdy, reinforced boxes.
  • Fold up and lock treadmill.
  • Pack holiday decorations in plastic bins.
  • Box your dehumidifier.
  • Safely dispose of hazardous materials.
  • Pack items that will remain in storage in plastic bins.

“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

Dining room table and chairs
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.

Dining room table

How to Move Your Dining Room Table

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

How to Pack China

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

  • 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 end inside the box. Never lay plates flat.
Drinking cups
Cups and Glassware
  • Pack glasses and cups in a separate box from dishware.
  • Wrap and tape glassware and teacups in bubble wrap or newspaper.
  • Pack glasses in 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 the box becomes too heavy.
  • Tape boxes securely.
  • Label with fragile stickers on all sides.
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 chest with a towel to protect the finish from scratches.
Curio cabinet

How to Pack Your Curio Cabinet

  • Wrap fragile items (glass figurines, hummels or awards) individually in soft tissue paper.
  • Wrap in a second layer of newspaper.
  • Place items flat in sturdy box and secure with extra padding.

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.

A child and a pet dog