How to Pack for Your Next Move, According to a Professional Organizer

Here's how to pack dishes, glasses, clothing, shoes, and more, so you can stress less on moving day.

Moving can be a stress-inducing event, regardless if it's local or long distance. There seems to be endless logistics to organize and unforeseen circumstances that fall out of your control. The good news is that there's something you can do to make the process easier and that's understanding how to properly pack for a move.

Young couple unpacking cardboard boxes at new home.
Adobe Stock - BalanceFormCreative

As a professional organizer who's packed up plenty of clients' belongings and personally relocated three times in the past year, I understand the power of a good packing plan. With solutions for clunky shoes, fragile stemware, and everything in-between, I'll share the correct way to load your things into boxes before moving day arrives.

These tips not only help your items make it onto the truck safely, but also keep them protected throughout the trip and make for no-nonsense unpacking upon your arrival. As you read through these packing tips, be sure to make notes to preserve both your sanity and your things the next time you move.

How to Pack Dishware

To pack dishes, start with a medium cardboard box. This helps you avoid a box that's too difficult to lift. Secure the bottom with heavy-duty packing tape. Next, grab some inexpensive packing paper or even newspaper. You can also use bubble wrap or foam, but those tend to be pricey and are difficult to recycle.

Place a generous layer of cushioning at the bottom of the box then wrap each individual plate or bowl. Pack them into the box standing vertically to avoid possible breakage. Tape the box well and be sure to label it "Fragile" along with "This Side Up" so movers know how to handle it.

How to Pack Glassware

Follow the same packing steps as you would for your dishes, starting with your heaviest glasses first. Stuff the inside of each glass with crumpled paper, then wrap the outside before placing it on its side inside the box. To pack stemware, wrap the stems first to safeguard the most delicate part. Place lighter glasses on top and use dish towels to fill in any gaps.

The glasses should not be able to move around; make sure the towels secure them in place. This also helps keep the box light. Just like you did with your dishes, secure the box with tape and label it to avoid any rough handling.

How to Pack Clothing

For hanging clothing going onto a moving truck, utilize a wardrobe box. Another option is unscented kitchen garbage bags. Cut a small hole in the bottom of the bag, stick a handful of hangers through it, and let the bag fall over the clothes to protect them.

Folded clothing, such as sweaters and jeans, can be placed neatly into medium boxes. Use any duffel bags to store smaller items like undergarments and bathing suits. Keep like items together to prevent a headache when trying to get dressed after the move.

If you're moving over the course of a few days, use a carry-on suitcase to pack a few days of outfits so you don't have to dig for a pair of socks or underwear mid-move.

How to Pack Shoes

Have leftover packing paper from your dishes? Use it to wrap your shoes in pairs. Keep the soles facing each other to prevent them from getting dirty during the move.

An alternative is to use dust bags to contain pairs of shoes. If you're one to keep the original boxes your shoes came in, stack the shoe boxes into a medium moving box with the heaviest shoes at the bottom.

For any embellishments, safely cover them with packing or tissue paper. Store paper or even small socks in the toes of delicate shoes to maintain their shape.

How to Pack Books

Books are some of the heaviest items to pack, so make it easier on yourself (and anyone else handling them) by only filling medium to large boxes up with books halfway. Use the remainder of the space to pack lightweight, bulky items, such as bath towels, bed sheets, and pillows.

How to Pack Toiletries

Use small moving boxes and separate your toiletries by category, such as shower products and first aid. For small items like makeup, utilize travel toiletry bags. To keep liquids from leaking, place a small amount of plastic wrap under the cap and then screw it back on tightly. For additional protection, pull out a classic airport tactic and place bottles in a sealed plastic bag or reusable one that can be washed if needed.

Now that you're packed, listen to our new podcast, The Better Buy, where Julia Marcum of Chris Loves Julia shares the story behind her family's recent cross-country move. Learn how she chose their fixer-upper home and the story behind her nightmare moving experience (including the red flags you should look for when hiring movers).

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles