Moving To-Do List: A Guide to Organized Packing

By Home Bay

Posted on March 20th, 2017

Whether you’re moving across town or across the country, packing is a chore. And if you aren’t organized when you pack, unpacking can be even worse! But there are some things you can do to earn a thank you from your future self. Follow these steps to streamline your packing, make it easy to unpack when you reach your destination and make the entire process a lot more bearable.


The key is to have a plan, to begin early to identify any “must-haves” that you don’t want to get lost in the shuffle. Once you’ve done this, you should be methodical and mark every box. Identify the contents as well as the specific room where you want it to be unloaded. Here’s a good timeline to follow to keep you on track.

Months Before the Move:

  • This is not the time to procrastinate! As soon as you know a move is on the horizon, begin sorting and simplifying your stuff. Hold a garage sale or sell items on craigslist to get funds for the move. If you don’t want to deal with selling your stuff, donate gently used items to a local thrift store or nonprofit organization – and remember to get a receipt. Donations are tax deductible! By paring down before you pack, you’ll save money (and your sanity!).
  • De-clutter your house before you place it on the market and jump-start your packing. You can gather up holiday decorations, specialty kitchen items, extra linens, seasonal sports equipment, collectibles, books, family pictures and even out-of-season clothes. Seal and label boxes and consider renting a storage unit for a month or two.

3 Weeks Before the Move:

  • Now it’s time to bring home boxes, packing materials, and heavy-duty tape. Before you go running to the local home improvement store, save money by asking local grocery stores if they’ll hold some boxes for you. Also, be sure to check craigslist for anyone selling or giving away boxes in your area.
  • Do a little packing each day. Start with rooms that you don’t use often, such as the spare bedroom or dining room. As the days tick down, move into the den, the kitchen, your home office and your bedroom. A week or so before moving day, you should be down to only a few dishes, the clothes you can pack in your suitcases, and any important papers that you need when you arrive at your destination. Put bright labels on your boxes and mark them clearly.
  • If you need a little extra guidance and you’re hiring a professional moving company, ask if they have a packing checklist you can follow and find out how much you need to have ready before they arrive.

3 Days Before the Move:

  • Pack up your kitchen and bathroom items and make do with the bare minimum for the next two days. Use paper plates and survive on take-out.

1 Day Before the Move:

  • Designate one or two boxes as your survival boxes. Leave them open until the last minute and make sure they are the last boxes on the truck and the first ones off. Include must-have items like your coffee pot, basic dishes and pans, a potholder, essential toiletries and a couple changes of clothes.

Once you’ve made it to this point, you’re done! Follow these steps to avoid stress, save time on your unpacking and ensure a smooth move!

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Posted in Moving