Moving house is an extremely busy period where the success often depends on the ability to tackle one tough task after another. Time management is crucial and failure to optimize the weeks, days, and hours you are given could lead to catastrophic results.
The solution is simple: you do need a personalized and prioritized moving checklist to keep you as organized and motivated as humanly possible. And when it comes to the toughest pre-move jobs of them all (P-A-C-K-I-N-G), you must be in possession of good packing timeline for moving that will lead you to a successful end.
Take advantage of the following general packing timeline, borrow the ideas that best work in your case, and turn it into your personal packing checklist.
Yes, it’s as simple as that.
4 weeks prior to Moving day
Having one full month before the scheduled move-out day is a reason enough to consider yourself lucky, at least luckier than anyone who only has a few days to box all of their belongings. If you manage to keep things organized and succeed in keeping your focus when packing up your home for moving, then you should be able to finish the packing process comfortably ahead of time.
4 weeks or more prior to Moving day is all about one of the best packing hacks ever: pre-packing. Here are the things you can pre-pack and get out of your way very early in the packing marathon:
- Out of the season stuff. Box any items that you know you definitely won’t need until it’s time to move out. Usually, those are out-of-season things such as clothes, shoes, clothes accessories, and so on.
- Special tools. If you happen to own special equipment (usually stored away in your storage areas), then it’s time to get them ready for transportation. Such pieces of specialized equipment may include sports equipment, fishing tackle, electric power tools, lawn equipment, and so on.
- Collectible items. You probably won’t be in the mood to marvel at your coin and stamp collections in the period leading up to your move day. Pack up all types of collectibles you have in your home – figurines, dolls, art collections, coins, stamps, and so on. Note that most of those things are very delicate and fragile, so pay special attention to their safe packing.
3 weeks prior to Moving day
Once you have taken care of all the items that can be safely pre-packed, turn your attention to the non-essentials found in your home – anything that you won’t really come to need in the next few weeks.
Books. Yes, it’s safe to say that you won’t find time for reading books before your move is well behind your back. And even somehow if you do find some reading time, setting aside one or two books should be enough.
- Spare bedding. Pack up all the spare bedding you have stored in closets, including bed covers, sheets, blankets, pillow cases, and so on. Also, consider packing up any spare towels and table covers you own.
- CDs and DVDs. If you own a neat collection of disks, either films or games, it’s time to place them in suitable boxes and get them out of your way. Similar to books, the chances are you won’t find any time to enjoy them.
- Kitchenware. As you might suspect, your kitchen will be one of the hardest rooms to sort out and pack up safely. Make things easier for you by packing in advance all the kitchen items you won’t really need for the next 3 weeks or so. Starting from more specialized cooking utensils and extra sets and finishing with all types of extra plates, glasses, cups, pans, pots, and whatnot – start packing them early to win the race with time.
2 weeks prior to Moving day
Two weeks before the arrival of the most important day of your household move is a good time to start packing any items that you rarely use. Keep in mind that 2 weeks may seem like enough time at first but that is the period when time seems to be quickening its pace and you won’t even realize when your move day comes banging on your front door.
There isn’t a single day to lose!
- Games and toys. If you have children, then there will most likely be plenty of games and toys to get ready for transport. Ask your kids to set aside a few of their best toys for the last couple of weeks and pack up the rest – board games, constructor sets, jigsaw puzzles, dolls, model cars, stuffed toys – you name it.
- Office supplies. Consider cleaning out your work desk – notebooks, copy paper, pens, pencils, and all kinds of writing materials. Keep a few essential stationery close at hand and box up the other supplies to fit into your preliminary packing checklist.
- Jewelry. Sure, there’s still enough time for you to wear your favorite jewelry pieces but that’s it – you’d better pack up the earrings, rings, bracelets, and necklaces you wear on more special occasions. Don’t leave packing your jewelry for the last possible moment.
1 week prior to Moving day
The moment you are left with only 7 days until it’s time to move out, things can get suddenly much more stressful. To keep up with your packing timeline, it’s a good idea to stop for a second or two and assess your packing progress before continuing.
If you find out that you’ve fallen a bit behind schedule, you have a few viable options to choose from: 1) double your packing efforts, 2) ask a few friends for help, and 3) pay for professional packers to take care of the household items you can’t really pack safely on your own.
- Kitchen items (what’s left of them). It’s a serious packing mistake to leave the kitchen for last, so leave only the absolute essential pieces of kitchenware and pack up the rest. Box up your small kitchen devices such as a toaster, a blender, a mixer, and so on. In most cases, it’s best to leave the microwave for the day before moving day.
- Clothes (what’s left of them). Leave enough pieces of clothing for the next few days and place the rest of them in suitable boxes or arrange them inside clothes boxes. Figure out what you want to wear on moving day too.
- Medicines. Go through your medicine cabinet and pack up all the medications you don’t need on a daily basis. The sorting process alone will take up a considerable amount of time, so act in a proactive way.
- Furniture pieces. If you own large furniture that requires disassembly, this is about the right time to start thinking about how you will approach that issue. Re-assess the need to move the furniture pieces you intend to take with you because that is the moment that can save you loads of money in the long run. Consult professional packers or furniture store specialists if you’re not sure what to do.
2 days prior to Moving day
Okay, this is a really crucial period where the packing pressure can reach dangerous values. You should be finished or almost finished with packing up your house for moving. If not, you should definitely consider calling for backup.
- Electronics. Most of the electronic devices in your apartment or house should be packed up safely in their original packaging with sufficient padding for extra protection. You can leave your portable computer un-boxed until the very end as you’ll be taking it with you anyway.
- Bathroom items. Go into your bathroom and pack up everything that you’re taking with you to your new home. Your medicines and toiletries should be all packed up by now.
- Furniture and household appliances. All of them should be packed up by now and 100% for transportation. If not, contact a reputable moving company right away to get the qualified packing help you need.
- Essentials box. The idea of preparing an essentials box (or boxes) is to have your absolute essentials by your side even when the rest of your earthly possessions are packed up in boxes – that is, inaccessible. Keep such Open-First boxes by your side at all times until you reach your new residence.
- Miscellaneous items. Make one more exploratory trip around your home and make sure that everything you are taking with you has already been packed or will be packed in the next day or so.
Your move-out day has finally come, maybe much faster than you would have wanted. The important thing to remember here is that you shouldn’t leave anything to pack for the Big day. At least not anything that will take you more than a few minutes to throw into a plastic bag and place into your essentials box, like your toothbrush and toothpaste. Just in case, keep one empty box close by for last minute additions. Finally, it’s time for the very last tour around your entire living space in search of forgotten items.
It’s moving day and your packing timeline for moving should now be over and done with. Hopefully, the packing checklist above will have helped you organize your packing process in a highly logical and systematic way.
Bonus packing tips
In conclusion, let us offer you some invaluable packing tips to further aid you during the hardest and most time-consuming task in your moving calendar. The following brief answers to the most frequently asked questions when packing a home for a move can serve you as guidelines rather than rules set in stone. The reason? Each relocation scenario is unique and nobody but you will know what will work in your case, and what will not.
When to start packing for a move? If you’re not entirely sure how far in advance to start packing, then it’ll be useful to remember that the earlier you start boxing up your stuff, the easier it’ll be for you when Moving day starts breathing down your neck. As a rule of thumb, you are strongly advised to start packing immediately after your household move is confirmed. One of the costliest packing mistakes you can make is to underestimate the time it takes to pack up your entire home.
- Where to start packing for a move? A perfectly good question is which rooms to pack first when moving – after all, you can’t just start placing your stuff in cardboard boxes on a random principle, can you? Initiate the packing marathon from the storage areas such as a basement, a garage, an attic, or a tool shed. The reason? They are likely to be filled up with all kinds of stuff you may have even forgotten about, and the mere process of sorting out your odds and ends can take up forever. After the storage areas, move on to the rooms you use less frequently. Don’t underestimate the kitchen either! Leave the bathroom and bedroom for last.
- What things to pack first when moving? Logic dictates that the items to pack first when moving should be the very things you use least often. Remember the notion of pre-packing explained above? Follow that with the idea of packing up all your non-essentials before coming to the stuff you use daily.
- What to pack last when moving house? Speaking of the things you use most frequently, those are the ones you should leave for last, of course. Also, remember to set aside the belongings you can’t do without even for a day and pack them all into one or a few essentials boxes. Those boxes will also contain important documents and valuables, so don’t even think about entrusting them to unknown movers even if you know the moving company you’ve hired is as reputable as it can be. All valuables stay with you, period.
Oh, and one last thing – before you say to yourself, “Let the packing begin!”, take a good look around yourself and assess the pre-move situation seriously. If you own specialty items that cost a fortune, including appliances and furniture pieces too heavy and huge to pack by yourself, then don’t hesitate to get in contact with experienced professional packers.