When it comes to packing for a move, certain items are far more challenging to organize and load up than others. Some stuff is bulky, fragile, or just plain frustrating to deal with.

That’s why we’ve compiled this list of clever packing hacks and tips for your most difficult home necessities.

Here are 19 smart ways to pack your stuff safely and efficiently:

1. Cover Toiletry Bottles.

 

To ensure your stuff isn’t covered in fruity-scented goo once you arrive, employ this method: unscrew the lids of your shampoos, lotions, and face cleansers, cover the openings with plastic wrap, then screw the lids back on. Your bottles are leak-proof.

Professional Organizer Abbey Claire Keusch recommends going a step further to avoid spills: put your toiletries in Ziploc bags and store them upright in a box, she says.

2. Store Kitchen Knives in Your Toolbox.

Flickr/Ken 

Knives are tricky to transport — their sharp blades can puncture bubble wrap and cardboard boxes easily. To keep your knives secure and scratch-free, wrap them individually in two layers of dish towels, then slide them in your toolbox with your other necessities.

3. Pack Free Weights in Backpacks.

Instead of loading cardboard boxes with 50 pounds of deadweight, store your exercise weights in sturdy backpacks so they’re easier to carry.

4. Store Towels, Blankets, and Linens in Trash Bags.

South to Southwest

Pack your lightest, most pliable items in large trash bags so they can squish down to fill the dead space in your car or moving truck. Another option? Use the bags as padding between pieces of bulky furniture.

5. Wrap Kitchen Items With Clothes.

 

Flickr/Quinn Dombrowski

Wrap each plate, bowl, and pan in a chunky sweater or soft T-shirt, then use sweatpants and scarves as padding between the items — you’ll save packing space and protect your favorite dishes. Win win.

6. Pack Books in a Rolling Suitcase.

 

The Organised Housewife

Books are one of the heaviest items to pack. For easy transportation, store them in a rolling suitcase instead of a cardboard box.

7. Store Cleaning Products in a Plastic Bin With a Lid.

 

Flickr/Collin Anderson

To prevent spills, store glass cleaners, disinfectant sprays, and bottles of furniture polish in a sturdy plastic bin. For easy unpacking, simply slide the bin inside your storage closet or under-the-sink cabinet to keep your cleaning products in one convenient place.

8. Wrap Glasses and Vases in Plastic Bags.

 

Certified Professional Organizer Ellen Delap says plastic bags are an easy and effective way to protect your breakables.

9. Store Small Jewelry in Empty Egg Cartons.

 

An empty egg carton is perfect for keeping your earrings, rings, bracelets, and short necklaces organized and untangled. Not a fan of eggs? Keusch says Ziploc bags wrapped in paper towels do the trick.

10. Cover Open Drawers With Stretch Wrap.

Instead of packing the contents of your desk or dresser drawers separately, Delap recommends keeping the drawer as is and covering it with stretch wrap to secure it. This method works great for toy bins and baskets as well.

11. Store Cords and Chargers in Toilet Paper Rolls.

Instructables/berserk

Empty toilet paper rolls make great individual compartments for organizing and protecting your various chargers and cords. Simply wrap your cord up, secure the end with a binder clip, and slide it into the little tube. If you only have a couple cords to pack, a spare glasses case works well, too.

12. Keep Your Clothes On Hangers.

 

For maximum efficiency and hassle-free unpacking, group your hanging clothes together — hangers still on — and cover them with a trash bag to tie at the top.

13. Use Shoe Boxes.

Shoe boxes are the perfect packing tool: they’re versatile, lightweight, and easy to stack up or slide into a larger box. Use them to safely store craft supplies, sewing kits, pen collections, or small souvenirs and knick-knacks. Tape the lid down so it’s extra secure.

14. Put Sheets on Your Mattress.

Double up on your fitted sheets: put one over the top of your mattress and one over the bottom to protect it from dirt and grime during the transportation process.

15. Fill Reusable Grocery Bags.

 

For a smooth unpacking process, Delap recommends packing an “essentials” bag full of everything you’ll need right when you get to your new home. That includes toilet paper, soap, cleaning supplies, toiletries, chargers, and a couple changes of clothes.

16. Cover Sneakers With Shower Caps.

 

Covering your shoes with shower caps prevents dirt from spreading and keeps your pairs organized. Stack your kicks on top of one another in a duffel bag or suitcase for easy loading and unloading, Keusch says.

17. Use Empty Bins, Hampers, Baskets, and Duffel Bags.

 

Flickr/Connie Ma

Take advantage of laundry hampers, baskets, garbage cans (clean them first or line with a trash bag), and luggage to pack your belongings. Delap says you’ll save space and money on extra boxes.

18. Stuff Your Shoes With Socks.

 

To save space, stuff your shoes with socks and underwear. Sneakers can easily hold one or two pairs of socks, while boots can hold other items, too: think washcloths, thin T-shirts rolled up, or even drawstring bags of jewelry.

19. Pad Fragile Items With Stuffed Animals.

 

Flickr/daryl_mitchell

Plush toys, small pillows, throw blankets, cleaning rags — whenever possible, Delap suggests using soft household items like these to cushion delicate ones like dishes, vases, and decorative objects.

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Paige Smith
  • Yvonne

    Love your Tips! As both a Self Storage Facility Manager, and someone who has moved “Way too many times!” I can give Two Thumbs up!
    I also suggest using Linens and Towels when packing China, fragile knick-knacks and smaller framed photos. Everything is going to the same place!