Moving Tips: How to Pack for a Move

in Moving on by

Packing typically isn’t a chore people enjoy, but it is something most of us have or will have to do at some point. While packing before a move isn’t necessarily enjoyable (or easy), it is a necessity. Learning how to properly pack and transport your furniture, appliances, household goods, and electronics it critical to ensuring that the contents of your home be protected while in transit. Read our tips below to reduce of the chance of damage during your upcoming move.

Kitchen Appliances — Small

You’ll need:
– Blank newsprint or your own towels and linens
– Medium-sized boxes

How to pack:
1.    Group kitchen appliances, like blenders and toasters, or other small household appliances, like hand-held vacuums and telephones, two or three to a box. Make sure they’re clean, too – don’t pack yesterday’s toast!
2.    Make sure the bottom of the boxes are securely taped, then pad the bottoms with blank newsprint (wadded up, not shredded) or use your towels and sheets to cut down on waste.
3.    Put the appliances in the box and make sure you pad them with packing material.
4.    Lastly, put another layer of packing material on top, seal the box, and mark it, “Kitchen Appliances.”

Tip: Don’t use plastic peanuts or shredded newsprint, which could get into the machines and cause damage.

Artwork and Mirrors

You’ll need:
– Tape (packing tape and masking tape)
– Blank newsprint, cardboard or bubble wrap
– Styrofoam peanuts (for sculptures)
– Boxes (flat and/or sized to fit) for each piece of artwork

How to pack: Framed prints
1.    Wrap each framed print individually in newsprint and then tape cardboard around them. You can also wrap each framed print in bubble wrap if you have some available.
2.    Put your framed prints in flat, fitted boxes. If they still fit loosely, fill in the extra space with lightly wadded blank newsprint (or ripped open paper bags).
3.    Tape the box shut and label each with a specific description, e.g. “Orange sunset photo from Hawaii.” Being specific will help you organize your frames once you arrive in your new apartment.

How to pack: Mirrors
1.    As a precaution, put masking tape across the front of each mirror in an X shape to keep the pieces in place in case the glass breaks.
2.    Wrap each mirror in bubble wrap or blank newsprint with cardboard securely taped around the sides and edges. Fill loose space with lightly wadded paper
3.    Put the mirror in a flat box, seal and mark, “Fragile – Mirror.” It is important to let movers know if something is fragile or breakable so they take extra preventative measures.

How to pack: Original paintings
1.    If your painting is framed with glass, put masking tape in an X shape across the glass to prevent it from shattering in case it breaks.
2.    Cover the framed painting or canvas with bubble wrap and tape it into place.
3.    Find or purchase a box that is slightly bigger than the painting. If you’re packing a canvas with no frame or glass, wrap the cardboard box in bubble wrap again. Tape it shut. Then, build or buy a second box slightly bigger than the first. Double-boxing guarantees sharp objects won’t puncture the box and canvas during the move.
4.    Tape the box shut and mark, “Fragile – Art.”

How to pack: Sculptures

1.    In order to pack your sculptures, you’ll need a box at least one-third larger than the size of your sculpture, as well as bubble wrap and Styrofoam peanuts.
2.    Fill one-third of the box with Styrofoam peanuts. Wrap the sculpture in bubble wrap and put it in the box upright. Fill in around and on top on the sculpture with peanuts. Your piece of art should be nestled in the center without touching the sides of the box.
3.    Tape the box and mark, “Fragile – Artwork” clearly on the outside.


You’ll need:
– Rope or tape
– Large pads for headboards and foot-boards
– Sheets or mattress covers
– Plastic bag

How to pack:
1.    Disassemble the bed frames and mark the pieces so you know where they go later. Tie or tape rails together.
2.    Put all screws, bolts, nuts, etc. and place them in a plastic bag. Tape the bag to the rails.
3.    If applicable, tie large pads around the headboard and foot-boards.
4.    Cover your mattress and box spring with plastic mattress covers, or if you had sheets you don’t mind getting dirty, leave your sheets on to protect the mattress and box spring during the move.


You’ll need:
– Tape
– Small boxes

How to pack:
1.    Never pack more than 30 pounds of books in a box, unless you’re a weightlifter by trade.
2.    Fill in small spaces in each box with smaller paperbacks. Alternate bindings every few books to keep stacks level in each box.
3.    Tape shut and mark, “Books.”

Tip: If you’ve collected lots of books over time, it’s a great time to reevaluate what you really want to keep. Consider selling some at a yard sale or to a secondhand book store.

Bureaus and Dressers

You’ll need:
– Rope
– Large furniture pads

How to pack:
1.    Partially empty out each drawer and fill the resulting space spaces with small, fragile items like clocks or picture frames. Wrap delicate items loosely clothing.
2.    Don’t put tape on the drawers, as it could stick to and damage the finish.
3.    Tie a large pad securely around the bureau or dresser with rope.

Tip: Don’t leave your bureau/dresser drawers completely full or they will be too heavy.


You’ll need:
– Bubble wrap or blank newsprint
– Tape
– Furniture pads

How to pack:
1.    Wrap arms of chairs with blank newsprint or bubble wrap and tape it in place.
2.    Leave slipcovers on or cover with large flat-sheets.
3.    Cover next with furniture pads.


You’ll need:
– Tape
– Small and medium boxes
– Bubble wrap
– Styrofoam peanuts or blank newsprint

How to pack:
1.    Wrap each fragile item separately with bubble wrap and tape.
2.    Put a layer of peanuts or wadded paper on the bottom and layer in wrapped items with peanuts or wadded paper in between.
3.    Put a final layer of peanuts or wadded paper on top
4.    Seal and mark, “Fragile – Collectibles.”

Tip: If your collectibles are really valuable, consider moving them in your car or shipping them separately.

Flammable Items

You’ll need:
Call your local recycling pick-up provider, fire station, or the nearest Environmental Protection Agency office to learn how to properly dispose of flammable and hazardous materials before you move, such as paints, solvents, oil, and gas from your grill.

How to pack:
DON’T!!!!! It’s dangerous and illegal to pack and move flammable and hazardous materials. If you have a small can of turpentine or leftover paint, ask your neighbors if they can use it. Otherwise, dispose of it properly with assistance from your recycling company or the EPA.

Tip: Many towns have an annual “Hazardous Materials Disposal Drop-Off Day” at a recycling center or fire station. If you know you’re moving, plan ahead to dispose of materials then.

China and Crystal

You’ll need:
– Tape
– Small and medium boxes
– Cardboard
– Styrofoam peanuts and bubble wrap
– Blank newsprint
– Lots of patience

How to pack: Plates and bowls
1.    Place wadded newsprint or peanuts in the bottom of a box and put layers of plates or bowls on top. Then fill in top and sides with peanuts or newsprint.

2.    Layer bubble wrap in between items, leaving space at the top of the box to fill in with wadded newsprint.
3.    Seal and mark, “Fragile – China.”

How to pack: Glasses and Teacups
1.    Wrap each glass or teacup in a piece of bubble wrap and tape it.
2.    Put a layer of peanuts or newsprint on the bottom of the box. Place wrapped cups or glasses on top, upright as if you were placing them on the table.
3.    Place a layer of cardboard and another layer of packing material on top and the sides.
4.    Keep layering in wrapped cups and peanuts until you’ve reached the top. Put a final layer of packing material on top, seal, and mark, “Fragile – Crystal/China.”

Tip: Don’t use compartmentalized liquor boxes unless the compartments are made of sturdy cardboard and you put a layer of packing material on the bottom first. (Usually the compartments are too flimsy.) Glasses and cups should still be wrapped in bubble wrap.

Kids’ Stuff

You’ll need:
– Lots of love and time
– Attention to feelings
– Tape
– Blank newsprint
– Medium and large boxes

How to pack:
1.    Pack kids’ rooms last if they are still small. The security of their routine until the very end will make the transition go more smoothly.
2.    Give older children (probably ages 5 and up) advance time to pack their rooms with you. Packing up is a good time to talk about things they might be worried or feel sad about – leaving friends, school, a home they’ve always lived in, and facing a new school and strangers. Understanding feelings and offering your reassurance will ease the transition for them.
3.    Allow them to select some items to take with them in the car or in their carry-on bag.
4.    Most kids’ toys are somewhat non-breakable and can go in boxes with some wadded newsprint or extra clothes to fill in spaces.
5.    Breakable toys like models or porcelain dolls can be wrapped in extra clothes and packed in wadded newsprint.
6.    While the kids are packing, ask them to think about where they’d like things to go in their new rooms.
7.    Make sure you drain water from squirt guns and seal paints and other safe but messy materials in ziplock bags or containers. Pack them together in a box lined with a plastic bag.
8.    Have your kids seal the boxes and write their names or put their favorite stickers on each box.

Kitchen Items — Non-Breakable

You’ll need:
– Tape
– Medium and large boxes
– Your kitchen towels and linens
– Blank newsprint

How to pack:
1.    Select out a few pieces of essential cookware – a couple of pots, a frying pan, some cooking spoons, a spatula, and utensils for everyone – for the first day you’re in your new home.
2.    Put blank newsprint between the items. Fill in spaces with wadded newsprint.
3.    Seal and mark, “Kitchen.” On the box you need for cooking when you arrive, mark, “Kitchen – First Day.”

Kitchen Items — Breakable

You’ll need:
– Tape
– Small and medium boxes
– Bubble wrap
– Peanuts or blank newsprint

How to pack:
1.    Wrap each glass and mug in bubble wrap and tape shut. Put layers of bubble wrap in between plates and bowls.
2.    Fill bottom of box with peanuts or wadded paper. Layer in glasses and mugs with peanuts and paper, or place stacks of layered plates and bowls on top. If your glasses have stems, place them upright, as if you were putting them on the table. Fill in sides and top with peanuts and wadded paper.
3.    For larger breakable items – Pyrex dishes, china serving bowls, glass coffee pots – wrap in bubble wrap and tape shut. Put two or three smaller items or one larger item in the center of a small box filled with peanuts. Make sure you put a layer of peanuts or wadded paper between smaller items.
4.    Seal and mark, “Fragile – Kitchen.”


You’ll need:
– Tape
– Medium or large boxes
– Bubble wrap

How to pack:
1.    Take light bulbs, harps, and lamp shades off lamp.
2.    Wrap lamp shades in bubble wrap and stack them in a large box with wadded paper, or put them in an armoire or large chest.
3.    Wrap cord around lamp and wrap lamp in bubble wrap. Place in empty, defrosted refrigerator, unplugged dryer, or drained, unplugged washer. Or put them in boxes with wadded paper, seal, and mark, “Lamps.”

Stereo Components

You’ll need:
– Tape
– Plastic bags
– Original boxes and foam forms
– Double boxes (one a size larger than the other)
– Plastic peanuts

How to pack:
1.    Make sure all components are completely cooled off. Use color-coded tape to mark where cables and cords should go in the equipment when you get to your new home.
2.    Check your manuals to see whether you need to tighten screws that will keep internal components from moving around.
3.    If you have a turntable, tape down the “platter” the record sits on and tape the arm to the arm rest. (Pack the plastic turntable cover separately from the turntable. Otherwise, if it comes off, it may screw down.)
4.    Put all components in individual plastic bags to keep them from getting dirty during the move and to keep peanuts out of the equipment.
5.    Put components in original boxes, or put them in double boxes. The component goes in the smaller box filled with peanuts, and the smaller box goes inside the larger box, also filled with peanuts.
6.    Don’t bundle components together in the boxes unless they’re small enough to be separated by peanuts.
7.    Seal and mark boxes, “Fragile – Stereo/Audio Equipment.”

TV and DVD/Blu Ray Player

You’ll need:
– Tape
– Original packing boxes and foam forms
– Large new box and foam forms

How to pack:
1.    Unplug your TV and DVD/Blu Ray player. Give them time to cool off.
2. Be sure to leave the cable and cable box behind, since those typically belong to the cable company.
3.    Lay your TV gently on its side and slide the foam forms on either end. Next, slide it into the box, set it upright, seal it, and mark it, “TV.”
4.    If you don’t have the original box, you will still need more than plastic peanuts. Companies that sell packing materials probably have dense Styrofoam blocks you can use. Gently lay the TV on its side on top of a piece of foam. Tape another piece of foam on the bottom and slide the whole thing into the box. Fill in all sides with foam, then seal and label.
5. For your DVD/Blu Ray Player, check your manual to make sure there are no special moving preparations you need to make to stabilize internal components.

*Note: This article is adapted from

One Response to “Moving Tips: How to Pack for a Move”

  1. January 23, 2013 at 6:42 am, Ted said:

    Had not moved in many years. scoured the house for items to sell/donate/throw away. Yard sales yielded enough to pay a professional mover!
    1.packed everything carefully, making sure that boxes were reinforced with packing tape.
    2.Used large brightly colored “DOTS” [the biggest I could find] to designate the ‘room location’ of each box [eg–kitchen, bedroom, living room, etc.].
    3. then i took a simple diagram of the apartment I was moving to, and marked the rooms with the dots that corresponded to the dots on the boxes.This helped the mover PLAN how to pack his truck!
    4.last step? I hung a piece of copy paper in each room or doorway of an area with the appropriate color DOTs, several on a page for good visibility.
    **** the mover told me that it was one of the best ideas he had seen in years. made moving in and organization a no-brainer.**** best wishes!!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *