Packing is an inseparable part of each residential move because you do want your prized possession to reach the new home in the same condition they left the old one. And keeping your belongings intact is only possible through adequate protection before they get handled by multiple hands and finally loaded into the moving van.
Viewed as the most important thing to do when moving home, packing often ranks as the most dreaded task in anyone’s moving checklist. Why? It’s simple: packing for a move takes many days to complete and it requires a lot of efforts from whoever’s doing the packing.
If you’ve decided to pack your things on your own, then you’re going to have to find the answer to the urgent question, “What do I pack first when moving?”. Sometimes packing for a move can be rather confusing, so here’s some valuable information about what to pack first when you move.
What to do first before packing your first items
Ready to start packing up your things? Yes? You may only think that you are ready for the laborious task ahead but you won’t really be prepared to initiate it until you have completed the following 3 tasks, one after the other.
Knowing what to pack first in a move is essential, but have you already inventoried and sorted out your stuff?
Inventory your home
You can’t and you shouldn’t just pack ALL of your things without sorting them out first. If you do, then that will be one of the costliest packing mistakes you can make.
Go from room to room and create a house inventory sheet that includes the items in every single room. In its essence, that inventory sheet is just a detailed list of everything you own inside your home. Isn’t it mind-blowing how many things you have accumulated over the years?
As you’re inventorying your house or apartment, make notes that will help you decide what to do with each item. Pay special attention to the furniture pieces you have in the home because they will be the toughest ones to pack, and the most expensive ones to transport.
Reduce the number of items you’re moving
Once you have a much clearer idea of the number of the items in your home, it’s time to do everything in your power to reduce that number to its absolute minimum. Sort through your stuff and set aside for packing only the things you do plan to use in the new home.
Doing so will make you a multiple winner:
- Money. The more things you choose to take with you, the higher their total weight will be. More weight, of course, will mean higher transportation costs for you. In short, each item you choose NOT to pack for moving will keep more money in your pocket – especially true for heavier items such as furniture pieces and appliances.
- Time. Logic dictates that the fewer items you have to pack up, the less time the packing process will take. Should you waste precious time wrapping up and boxing things you will only wonder where to store in the new residence? No, you should not.
Get proper packing materials
Before you learn about the best room to pack first when moving, you need to be prepared for the packing job in the best possible way. You’ve inventoried your home and you’ve got rid of all useless items. So far, so good.
To have a smooth packing experience without any unwanted interruptions, you’re going to have to make sure you have all the required packing supplies from the very start. Otherwise, there’s a high chance that you lose plenty of time and nerves trying to find more cardboard boxes, bubble wrap or packing paper when you’re at the peak of the packing process.
What room to pack first when moving
What room should you pack first when moving? To better understand the answer to this important question, let’s take a look at two seemingly separate yet closely interconnected packing guidelines.
- Least frequently used room. The logic behind this guideline is that by starting the packing job from the rooms you use the least, you will still have some resemblance to normal everyday life in the rooms you use the most. This is important for your own sake, when your sanity during the arduous packing project will be tested. At the start, you shouldn’t be sleeping around cardboard boxes anyway – the bedroom is usually the last room to pack.
- Hardest room to pack. The second packing principle states that you should start packing from the most difficult rooms to pack because you still won’t be too tired or demotivated in the very beginning. As both your energy and enthusiasm start to diminish with each passing day, you’ll be smartly left with the premises that are considered to be relatively easy to pack up. For example, packing up your various garage tools should prove to be a much bigger challenge that packing up your bedding – bed sheets, covers, blankets, and comforters.
Where to start packing for a move? Having in mind the two packing guidelines above, let’s answer this question in more detail:
Garage, basement, attic, and closet. That’s right – the storage areas in your home should be the first ones you pack. Such storage rooms usually contain a large number of odds and ends, including things you have long forgotten about. You will most likely be surprised by the overwhelming number of things you’ve been storing for years and years… but that’s not why you need to start from there. The true reason to choose your storage areas to the start of your packing marathon is because they take FOREVER to sort and pack, and if you opt to leave them for last, you may never get to them on time.
- Unoccupied (spare) rooms. If you live a large home and there are rooms in it that are not used – for example, guest rooms that stay uninhabited most of the time – then those spare rooms should be the next ones to pack. The good news is that such rooms should be fairly easy to pack unless you’ve turned them into storage rooms.
- Kitchen. Kitchens are really tough to pack because of 3 basic reasons: 1) they contain a shockingly large number of kitchen items – from breakables to large and heavy kitchen appliances, 2) they have too many fragile items that can break in an instant – all types of glassware, chinaware, etc., and 3) most of the kitchenware is well-hidden into various drawers, cupboards, cabinets, and even secret hiding places.
- Living room. You probably tend to spend quite a lot of time in the living room, but sooner or later its turn will come too. You can try to postpone packing your living room as much as you can, but keep in mind that it’s not recommendable to leave it for last – spoiler alert: your bathroom and bedroom should be the last rooms to pack when moving out. So, when packing your living room, the two biggest challenges for you will be the large furniture pieces such as sofas, couches, cabinets, bookcases, etc., and the delicate electronic devices such as TVs, stereos, desktop computers, etc.).
- Bedroom. Now that you know which room to pack first when moving, let’s say a few words about what room to pack last, or close to last. Without a doubt, you’re going to need your sleep and rest while you’re busy packing up your home for a move, so the bedroom should be left for last, together with the bathroom. The large and heavy bedroom furniture will be the items you should be worried about, followed by your clothes, of course.
- Bathroom. Your bathroom should be the very last room to pack when getting ready to move out. The reason is simple – you will still need it daily. The timing should be right too – you shouldn’t leave it unpacked when the movers come knocking on your door, and you shouldn’t pack it too early for obvious reasons. As a rule of thumb, pack your bathroom the day or the evening before Moving day to keep it fully functional for as long as you can.
What things to pack first when moving
The room-by-room approach described above will help you pack up your entire home in an efficient and even elegant way. As long as you have enough time on your packing timeline and moving calendar, you should be able to manage that difficult and time-consuming task without any major problems.
Still, you will probably be also interested in learning what items to pack first when moving. This is important to know not only if you’re packing up for an emergency move (too little time). It’s also a crucial question because it can help you prevent any episodes of unnecessary procrastination. “I’ll do this tomorrow.” is a risky way to approach the packing task that can get you into trouble when Moving day arrives faster than you imagined.
While trying to figure out what to pack first and last when moving, the best way to start the packing task is to PRE-PACK. Pre-packing is an effective packing strategy that is all about packing with priority all the things you won’t need until Moving day. This way, you’ll keep using your everyday stuff conveniently enough while having a lot of possessions already boxed up and ready to be loaded onto the moving vehicle.
So, what are the first things to pack when moving? Focus on all the non-essential items in your home.
- Artwork. Pack up all framed pictures, painting, and photos, as well as souvenirs, holiday decorations, vases, and other decorative items in the house or apartment. Your place won’t be the same without those art pieces, but Moving day is coming soon so you don’t need to get too sentimental about it.
- Collectible items. Next, pack up all collectibles that can be found under your roof. Photo albums, coin collections, model sets, action figures… you’ll have plenty of time to stare at them in awe in the new home.
- Books and magazines. Honestly, do you think you’ll have any time to sit down and re-read your favorite book with all that chaos around you and the day of the move just a week away? Find small sturdy boxes (books are heavy, remember) and start packing your books for moving. If you have one of those suitcases with small wheels on the bottom, then you should definitely use it to transport your reads.
- Clothes and shoes. What should you pack first when moving? One of the things you should pack very early in the packing process is clothes and shoes you don’t plan to wear until the day of the move, including out-of-season clothes that you can’t wear even if you want to – for example, winter clothes during a summer move.
- Jewelry. You’re not planning on wearing any jewelry on Moving day, are you? Your expensive body ornaments must survive the house move unscathed, so you’d better pack your jewelry early enough to avoid their last-minute detrimental shove into random boxes.
- Kitchenware. Your kitchen should have plenty of kitchen items that you surely won’t need in the time you have until the move day. So, it’s a good idea to pack up your special-purpose kitchen stuff in advance. Also, make your life easier and pack any duplicate kitchen appliances you may own.
In general, any extra or duplicate items in your house is exactly what to pack first when moving house simply because you won’t need those things before the relocation is complete. Similarly, what you should pack LAST when moving is your box of essential items – aka essentials box or Open-First box.