How to Pack for a Home Move

Packing for a home move is arguably one of the most time consuming and expensive tasks that you will undertake if you are planning on packing things yourself for your home move.
It should not be underestimated how much time packing takes and how easily the packing material costs can spiral out of control, especially if you have a number of fragile and expensive items that you are taking with you.

Whilst the guides here will give you all the tips and advice for packing for a home move that could need, there is no substitute for experience.

Seriously consider if your time and effort would not be better spent on other tasks before deciding if you really want to pack your household things yourself.

Professional packing services offer a very cost-effective alternative to packing your own things and it is worth getting a quote to see if this service fits within your moving budget.

It is worth noting that many insurance companies will not insure any items during your home move that have not been packed by a professional packing company so check with your insurance company first.

You should also be aware that there are certain items that a removal company cannot move for health and safety reasons so before starting your packing be sure to know what is on their exclusion list.

Must know: Things That a Removal Company Cannot Move

If however you have the time and you decide to pack your items yourself there are steps that you can take that will help make the task easier.

How to Make Packing for a Home Move Easier

#1 Decide what you are going to pack

Taping a BoxUsually referred to as decluttering, this is the process whereby you decide on the items that you really want to take to your new home.

This is your opportunity to get rid of all those odd mugs, glasses, and plates. The items stuck on shelves or at the back of cupboards just gathering dust.

The fewer items you need to pack the quicker the packing will be finished and the cheaper the cost of the packing materials will be.

You can easily donate the items you no longer need to family, and friends, on free ad websites, or donate to worthy causes. Irreparable items can be sent for recycling, and to raise some more money for your moving costs, you can sell items.

Also, consider how likely it is that particularly fragile items may get damaged in the home move. You may consider that it is not worth the cost and risk of transporting such things to your new home.

Essential reading: How to declutter for a home move

#2 Calculate how many packing boxes you need

Once you know what you intend to move you will need to work out how many boxes of each size you will need.

Running out of boxes halfway through packing will just add more time and inconvenience to the whole packing process.

Must read: How many boxes do I need to move home?

#3 Assemble your packing materials

The quality and type of packing materials you use will have a direct impact on the level of protection that they give the item you are moving.

Specific cardboard boxes should be used for specific items, the thickness and size of the box are crucial. No moving box should exceed 20kg for health and safety reasons. And remember that the bigger the box, the more awkward it is to move.

  • Light things should be packed in large boxes that should be 1-2 ply thickness.
  • Heavy items such as books should be packed in small boxes of at least 2 ply.

Good to know: How to choose the right boxes for your home move

Here is a list of the packing supplies for moving home that you will need:

  • Cardboard boxes: A selection of various sized and strength cardboard boxes
  • Plastic totes: Consider if using plastic tote boxes is a better option, they can work out cheaper and be more environmentally friendly. It can also be a significant saving on not using packing tape. You also won’t have to worry about what to do with the boxes after the move.
  • Packing tape: Good quality packing tape is essential. There is little point in having good-quality boxes if the tape does not stick properly and the boxes come apart the moment you lift them.
  • Bubble wrap. Bubble wrap is the home movers’ best friend but you can also use old clothing, blankets, and soft materials as space fillers to save some money. Bubble wrap, however, will offer your fragile items the highest level of protection.
  • Packing paper. Using old newspapers and magazines instead of proper packing paper opens you to the risk of transferring the print ink to the items you are trying to protect. Packing paper will not create such a problem.
  • Marker pens. An invaluable piece of your packing kit. It is essential to know what is in each box and in which room the box is to be placed in your new home. Use a black marker for writing the contents, a red marker for clearly marking any boxes that are ‘Fragile’ ‘This Way Up’ etc and you can even use a different coloured marker for each room of the home so that they are easily identifiable.

Learn more: Packing materials for Moving Home: All you need to know

#4 Create a Packing Station

materials for packingIt will make packing so much easier if you can use a table or have free space available to pack your household goods.

  • Create a space where you have your packing materials arranged so that they are easily to hand.
  • Lay out the boxes so that similar-sized cartons are in separate piles. They will be easier to identify and it will be obvious when you are running low of a particular size.
  • Clear an area where you can pack and an area where you can stack the boxes that you have filled.
  • Stack the heaviest cartons first working up to the lightest items in like-for-like-sized boxes.
  • Avoid stacking boxes too high as the bottom boxes will collapse.
  • A packing room will allow you to shut the door to keep pets and children out of harm’s way.

#5 Pack your things

Different items will require different methods and packing materials to prevent any damage to them in the course of your home move.

There are extensive guides on how to pack every item in your home on this page. It is worth taking the time to read these as packing mistakes can be costly.

You may like: 40 Easy and Efficient Packing Tips for Moving Home

#6 How to tape a box securely

Having gone to the trouble of selecting the correct type of box for each particular item you are packing, it makes sense to know the correct way to secure a removal box.

  • Cardboard boxes should be sealed along the edges of each flap that meet at the centre of the box.
  • A double strip of tape across the width of the box, well-spaced to support each end of the box, will secure the flaps further.
  • You may also consider that the edges of the carton require additional support.

#7 How to label a home moving box

Labeling your moving boxes will make the unloading and unpacking so much easier. It will also be a real help to you if you need to locate an item before all the boxes are unpacked.

In the unlikely event that a box goes missing during the journey from the old to the new home, you can easily identify which box is missing.

  • In black marker write the contents of the box on the outside of the carton.
  • In the red marker write warnings to the people moving the item, such as ‘Fragile’, ‘ This way up’, and ‘Glass-Handle with care’ for example.
  • You can use different coloured markers to identify which box the room is to be placed in in the new home. Green for kitchen, blue for bathroom for example.
  • Number each box. 1-10 for the bedroom, and 1-15 for the kitchen so that you can easily account for every box for that particular room.

Read more: How to Label Moving Boxes the Write Way

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Packing Guide for Moving Home

Inventory of BoxesSpecific items should be packed in specific ways to prevent damage when they are being moved.

You can learn how to pack fragile and breakable items, discover time-saving tips, and how to pack efficiently in the following guides.

How to Pack Pictures and Mirrors for Moving

Usually, framed art and photos are some of the first things to be packed in a home move as they are not an everyday essential and the earlier you can get the packing process started the easier your packing mission will be.

By getting this packing task out of the way you will be able to repair any damage caused to the walls by nails or picture hanging hooks.

You can use the following techniques to pack framed art and mirrors.

  • Get the right-sized boxes. Group your pictures by size and assemble the corresponding sized boxes that you will use. The boxes should be bigger than the pictures to allow for the thickness of the packaging materials.
  • Create an X. On the glass of each picture create an X from corner to corner using masking tape NOT packing tape. In the event that the glass does get damaged in transit then this will prevent the shards of glass from damaging the picture.
  • Protect the glass. Cut out pieces of thick cardboard to cover the entire face of the glass on the picture. This will add an extra layer of protection.
  • Wrap. Use packing paper to entirely encase the picture, and use a few layers for added protection.
  • Bubble wrap. Then bubble wrap or cover the entire picture or mirror in an old blanket taping it securely in place.
  • Box it. Then carefully slide the picture or mirror into a box that you have padded with bubble wrap or old blankets. Make sure there are no gaps within the box which will allow the picture to move about. Securely seal the box with tape
  • Finally, label the box clearly with the words ‘Mirror – Glass – Handle with Care – This way up’

Learn more: A Comprehensive Guide to Packing Pictures and Mirrors

How to Pack Plates and Glasses for Moving

packing platesIf your budget runs to it purchase plate-specific packing boxes. These are thick-walled boxes that have partitions inside that allow each plate to be placed on its edge and so will be protected from banging against the plate next to it.

Note: Never pack plates flat. They should always be packed on their edges.

Boxes designed to hold glasses are similar but are costly. Never pack a glass on its side. Always stand the glass on its rim.

So if you do not want to run to the expense of the proper packing boxes then you will need to ensure that your fragile plates and glasses are well protected in other ways. Use the same technique below to pack both glasses and plates.

  • Construct the boxes. Once assembled, tape along all seams and the edges. Double-tape the bottom of the box across the width for extra strength.
  • Pad the box. Put a layer of bubble wrap, old clothes, or something similar to add a layer of protection to the bottom of the box. For valuable and fragile items also pad the inside wall of each box.
  • Wrap the plates. Individually wrap each plate in two sheets of packing paper. If your plates are particularly valuable then wrap in an additional layer of bubble wrap.
  • Use paper plates. You can also use paper plates between each valuable plate as a cushion to prevent damage.
  • Pack the box. Stand the plates on their edges in the box, never flat. Pack the plates so that they are unable to move about.
  • Fill Gaps. If there are any gaps in the box they should be filled with crumpled paper or similar to prevent any movement of the contents during their loading and unloading.
  • Layering. Avoid layering your plates as this may make the box too heavy. However, should you need to layer the plates add a layer of thick padding between levels.
  • Pad the top. Once the box is filled, add a final layer of padding over the plates before closing the lid.
  • Secure the lid. Seal the lid flaps closed as you did the bottom of the carton.
  • Lable. Your final job is to mark the contents, box number, and that the box contains fragile items on the outside of the carton.

Learn more: A Comprehensive Guide to Packing Plates and Glasses

How to Pack a Computer for Moving Home

Packing a computerCan you imagine being without your laptop, computer, or TV because it got damaged during your home move?

Packing electronics for a home move can be tricky unless you follow a set procedure. Not only will this make the packing easier, but it will ensure that the reconnection of your devices is as simple as possible and the data within the device is protected.

So what is the best way to pack and move electronics for a home move?

  • Back up your data. Before you even think about disconnecting or packing your computer, back up all your files. Twice. Should the worst happen to the actual equipment, you will still have all your important data.
  • Photograph everything. Taking photos of the condition of your electronics before you pack them will make it easier to claim on your insurance if you need to. Be sure to have the date and time stamp on the photos. Then photograph and label every connection so that you know where each cable goes when it is time to reassemble it at your new home.
  • Prepare the boxes. You will need at least 2 ply packing boxes, about 10cm larger on all sides than the device you are packing. Construct the packing boxes, double-taping the bottom of the box to make it stronger.
  • Pad the box. Layer the bottom and sides of the box with about 10cm of anti-static bubble wrap, a blanket, or scrunched-up paper.
  • Protect the screen. Place thick pieces of card over the screen of monitors to protect them.
  • Wrap. Your devices should be wrapped in at least two layers of anti-static bubble wrap to protect the casing from damage.
  • Stand the computer up. Always have the monitor screen facing the walls of the box, never face down.
  • Pad. Once you have placed the device in the box fill any gaps with bubble wrap or old clothing to ensure the item cannot move around in the box. Be sure to put a final layer of protection on the top of the item.
  • Photograph the packing. Take more photos to show the level of care that you took to protect your electronics should you need to in the event of an insurance claim.
  • Seal the box. Double-tape the top of the box to securely close it and help strengthen the box.
  • Label. Be sure to clearly mark the box as being fragile, clearly marking the side on which the monitor face is. You may choose to describe the contents as a random item for security reasons.
  • Insurance. Removal company insurance is unlikely to cover the cost of your precious computer equipment in the event of any damage being caused. You should check any insurance policies you have thoroughly. If it is an option, you may want to take any computer equipment with you in your car to your new home.

Further reading: A Comprehensive Guide to Packing Computers and Electronics

How to Pack Jewellery for a Home Move

Before we look at how to pack jewellery safely, you should be aware that the insurance offered by most removal companies will not cover your jewellery.

In fact, some removal companies may not move them at all as they are high value and have a high risk of being lost during a home move.

For those reasons, you should consider that your jewellery goes with you in your car to your new home.

The other problem with packing jewellery is that they are small and often delicate so require special attention and some innovative packing techniques to protect them.

So what is the best way to pack jewellery for a home move?

  • Sort your jewels. Now is a good time to sort out your jewellery collection discarding items that are broken or you no longer wear.
  • Use a jewellery box. The safest way to move jewellery is in a proper jewellery box. Your precious items will be well protected and it is easier to just wrap and carton the whole box.
  • Assemble packing materials. Apart from the usual boxes, tape, bubble wrap, packing paper, and bubble wrap you will find it useful to have egg cartons, drinking straws, cling film, sponge sheets, shoe boxes, empty cardboard toilet rolls, pill organisers, and rubber bands.
  • Packing chain necklaces and bracelets. To stop necklaces from becoming tangled and breaking during the home move, thread them through a drinking straw then clasp them closed. Cover in cling film to secure them in place before wrapping them in packing paper.
  • Packing large or ornate necklaces and bracelets. Thread them through cardboard toilet rolls and clasp them shut. Cling film them to the cardboard roll before wrapping them in packing paper. If they have large clusters of stones, for example, you can then add a further layer of protection by wrapping them in bubble wrap.
  • Packing earrings. A really easy way to ensure your earrings stay in pairs and are well protected is to push them through sponge sheets like you get to clean the kitchen. The earrings will sink into the sponge creating a good level of protection. Be sure to firmly affix the earring backings. You can wrap the entire sponge sheet in cling film to further keep them in place before bubble wrapping the entire package.
  • Packing rings. Protect each ring in a bundle of packing paper before placing it in the empty egg carton or pill organizer. Add a layer of bubble wrap to fill any gaps so they cannot move about.
  • Place in a shoebox. A shoebox is an ideal size box to move your jewellery. Once you have made the individual parcels as described above layer them into the shoe box.

Find out more great jewellery packing tips: How to Pack Jewellery for Moving Home

How to Pack Antique Furniture for a Home Move

Moving antique furniture is a risky undertaking due to its often fragile nature and high value.

You should really consider using a specialist furniture removal company to ensure the complete safety of your antique items during your home move.

However, should you decide to move these precious pieces of furniture yourself then there are steps you can take to protect them during your home move.

  • Get your antiques appraised. This is essential in the event that you want enhanced insurance but the added benefit is that you will have an independent, documented, recent report on the condition and value of your antiques.
  • Decide which pieces to take with you. It may be that you are downsizing, want to release the money that is tied up in your antiques, or cannot physically get the item into your new home. Now is the time to decide what you can, cannot, or do not want to move.
  • Some things the removal company will not take. There are certain high-value things that most removal companies will not transport to your new home. Be sure to check their exemptions list.
  • Empty the contents. Be sure to empty the contents from drawers etc as this will make moving the piece of furniture easier.
  • Make the piece lighter. If the items have easily detachable legs or table extension leaves remove them to make the item lighter to move. Pack these items separately.
  • Secure doors. Securely close any drawers or doors that the item has so that they don’t open during transit. Never attach tape directly to the surface of your precious furniture. Use specialist cling film wrap.
  • Protect the item. Wrap the entire item in acid-free packing paper with bubble wrap on protruding delicate parts and edges.
  • Wrap again. Finally, wrap the entire thing in furniture blankets and secure them in place with tape.
  • Final layer. A final layer of cardboard will offer the best protection possible to your precious furniture.

Must read: A Comprehensive Guide to Packing Antiques and Collectibles

Posted on February 18, 2020

Peter Langley

Peter is a regular contributor to the blog and a relocation specialist. He is also a seasoned UK and International homeowner, who now brings the knowledge gained from those moves, to add real-life experience to his work. Peter has also been at various sales and marketing positions within companies in the industry so he has deep knowledge of the relocation process. Since 2017, Peter is involved with the relocation industry in the USA as he has extensive knowledge on long distance household relocation. With his articles, he have helped tens of thousands of people plan their relocation. His work have been featured on many industry blogs and publications. You can contact Peter at

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