The time has finally come.

Moving day is a few weeks away, and it is time to start packing. But what should you pack first?

Cramming all of your belongings into moving boxes and carefully wrapping your furniture is no easy task. The last thing you want to do is try packing up everything at the last minute. That is a surefire way to damage or misplace your belongings. Instead, you should give yourself as much time as possible to complete the packing process.

That means prioritizing which items to go ahead and pack first, and which items you can plan on packing later. But first things first! You’ll need to gather all of the necessary packing materials.

You can find a more detailed breakdown of all of the packing supplies you will need to complete your move here, but here is a short list to get you started:

  • Small, medium and large moving boxes. You might think you can get by with just one size cardboard box, but you will be able to pack more efficiently by putting items in the appropriately sized box.
  • Packing paper. Packing paper is perfect for filling in empty spaces inside boxes, as well as quickly wrapping fragile items.
  • Bubble wrap. Use strategically to pad delicate items like dinnerware, mugs, and electronics.
  • Packing tape. Be sure to use the right kind of tape for sealing boxes. Read our guide here to learn more.
  • Plastic stretch wrap. Stretch wrap is your friend, and you should use it to wrap everything!
  • Markers. You’ll need at least one good marker to label your boxes so you know what goes where when you move into your new home.

Now that you got all of your packing supplies out of the way, let’s dive in and see what items to pack first!

Pack Non-Essential Items First

Since your move is still a few weeks away, you will want to start with items that you don’t need on an everyday basis. Examples include:

  • Books, magazines, and vinyl records
  • Picture frames and artwork
  • Decor
  • Junk drawers
  • Off season clothes
  • Holiday decorations

Start With Books and Records

Starting with books, magazines and records is probably the best place to start. Same goes for large collections of DVDs, CDs or video games. Pack them in small sturdy boxes because of their weight.

Books and similar items are a particularly good place to start because their uniform shape makes them easy to pack. You will be able to make a lot of progress and feel like you accomplished a lot once you are done packing up your media collection.

You will likely come across a few books and movies you no longer want, so now is a good time to go ahead and donate them as well.

Picture Frames and Artwork

Move on to picture frames and artwork next. You can do without admiring them on your walls for a few weeks, plus you probably will need to get a head start on patching up any holes in your walls left when you take them down.

It is also a good idea to get started on these items next because carefully wrapping them can take a lot of time. Tape bubble wrap to the front and back, and wrap each piece in plastic stretch wrap. Place them in a specially designed picture frame/mirror box for added protection.

Along with picture frames, now is a good time to take down anything else you have mounted on your walls, such as floating shelves and mirrors.

Knick-Knacks and Decorations

Next on the list are knick-knacks and various decorations. Ideally, your holiday decorations are already neatly packed in a crate, so you can go ahead and move on to your home decor. This includes lamps, vases, clocks, antiques, and similar items. Wrap any items that could be easily damaged with bubble wrap, stretch wrap, or packing paper.

Packing these items can be a bit of a challenge since they are a variety of odd shapes and sizes and fitting them together can feel like you are playing a bit of Tetris. To make things easier, fill in empty spaces with balled up packing paper. Better yet, use light items like pillows, towels, and cushions to fill out medium and large boxes without making them too heavy.

Clothing and Shoes

With your move a few weeks away, now is the time to go through your clothing. Start with seasonal clothes you aren’t wearing at the moment. If your move is in the summer, start packing coats and jackets. If your move is in the winter, go ahead and pack your shorts and tank tops.

Once you are done, you should be left with your current wardrobe. Pare that down to the items you plan to wear over the next couple weeks and pack away any additional clothes you won’t need until after your move. If you plan it right, you should have a few outfits left to wear after moving day that you can pack at the last minute in some luggage or a duffel bag.

This goes for your shoe collection as well. Pick a couple of pairs, including some comfortable shoes for moving day, and pack the rest up now.

Packing Up Essential Items

With most of your non-essential items packed up, you should be more or less left with items that you use on a regular basis or items you will need as soon as you move in. Such items include:

  • Gadgets and electronics
  • Toiletries
  • Utensils and dishes
  • Office supplies
  • Linens
  • Cleaning supplies

By now your move should be about a week or two away, so you will still need to prioritize these items in order of importance. We will get to that in a moment, but first, let’s pack a box of essentials.

Packing a Box of Essentials

Before you move on, now is a good time to pack a box of essentials, also known as an “open me first box”. These items can also be packed in a piece of luggage as well. The idea is to include all of the items you could possibly need during the first night in your new place. Examples of items you might include:

  • A change of clothes
  • Extra towels
  • Medication
  • Favorite electronic devices
  • Important documents
  • Toilet paper
  • Snacks
  • Hand soap

Whatever you feel like you need is up to you, but go ahead and do it now before you accidentally pack something that you might desperately need between now and your moving date.

Kitchen Items

You might feel like you need everything in your kitchen at all times, but once you start packing things up, you’ll be surprised at how many items you can go without for the next week or two.

Start by putting side items you know that you will need. For example, you can cook most meals using just one skillet, one pot, and a spatula. The rest of your cookware you can go ahead and pack away.

You will definitely want to leave your coffee maker out until the very last moment, but you can probably pack up your waffle maker and George Foreman grill.

Buy some disposable plates, bowls and plastic utensils so that you can pack up your dishes now.

If you have a large pantry, you might also pack items that won’t expire any time soon. Otherwise, save any food items for the last day before your move, and try to consume as much as possible between now and then.

Office Supplies

You might rely on your office supplies for personal business, school or other work. If that is the case, set aside everything you think you will need between now and your move. Otherwise, go ahead and pack up any office supplies you have left.

They should pack together well with electronic devices and media players. You should also pack important documents and paper records that you won’t need to access  anytime in the next couple of weeks.

Electronic Devices and Media Players

Speaking of electronic devices, it’s time to put them away. If you feel the need to blow off steam playing your favorite video games, you’re likely reluctant to pack up your television and consoles too soon. But with your move a few days away, you are going to have to go ahead and get it done.

Don’t wait until the day before, as you will want to take the time to document how everything is plugged in. You will also want to take the time to carefully wrap everything to prevent any damage from occurring.

Toiletries and Cleaning Supplies

Packing these items up can be tricky because you might need them! However, you should have already set aside the items you use on a daily basis. Go ahead and get rid of any items that are expired or you haven’t used in months. Also, you can try to use up the last of any items that are almost empty.

Anything that is left over can be packed together along with your blowdryer, curling iron, and other items. Since this is one of the last boxes you pack, it should be pretty handy should you need to access anything.

Time to Move

Miss anything? Hopefully not, but if you did you better go ahead and pack it up now!

At this point, you should be all set to move out. Load everything into your moving truck and head to your new home.

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Alexander Harris