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Our top packing tips for moving house

Dec 02, 2021
Our top packing tips for moving house

The paperwork is signed, your completion date is nearly here, and you’re ready to start packing for the big move into your new home.

It can feel overwhelming to pack everything you own, so we’ve put together some top tips and handy hacks to make it as stress-free as possible.

From having the right materials and knowing what to throw away, to making unpacking smoother, simply read on for our house packing checklist.

And if you’re not quite at the packing stage just yet, our home buying guide might be just the thing to help you get there.

Check out our guide to home buying >

What to do before you start packing

Like many things in life, packing is easiest when you take it one step at a time. These packing tips will help you move house smoothly, no matter where you’re moving to or from.

What packing materials will I need?

When preparing to move, having the right packing materials can make all the difference. Here’s a list of things to stock up on before you get started:

Packing Boxes

You’ll need a variety of sizes and shapes to make light work of packing. Strong, double-walled boxes are best for transporting anything particularly heavy or fragile.

They can be quite expensive to buy so, if possible, try saving boxes from online orders or asking local shops and neighbours if they’ve any going spare. This will not only save you money but is also better for the environment.

Make sure you store your boxes somewhere dry, as any moisture is likely to weaken them.

Bubble Wrap

From glassware to ornaments, picture frames to pottery, the best way to protect delicate belongings when you’re moving between houses is to wrap them up well.

Newspaper

A cheaper, plastic-free alternative to bubble wrap – save up newspapers as you prepare to move house and use the pages to provide an extra layer of protection.

Dust Covers and Sheets

Large cloths and plastic sheets can guard your furniture from scratching during your move, then protect your new carpets and wood floors as you unpack. You can also buy rolls of floor protecting film, to save busy walkways from dirty shoes on moving day.

Markers

Clearly labelling your boxes is a must, and thick marker pens do a better job writing on cardboard than any biro can.

Tape

A few rolls of strong packing tape will help keep your boxes from breaking (and everything falling out). You may also want to get a tape dispenser gun to make the process of taping faster and easier.

What should I throw away?

We can’t tell you exactly what to pack and what to ditch when you’re moving house, but there’s a simple way to make decluttering easier and faster.

Ask yourself if you’ve used something since the last time you moved house. If not, is it likely to get used in your new home? Similarly, any casual clothes you haven’t worn in over 12 months (a full cycle of the seasons) could be taking up unnecessary room.

Before anything goes in the bin, make a trip to your local charity shops or list quality items on sites like Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace or eBay.

What essentials shouldn’t I pack?

It can be tempting to pack everything away when you’re moving house but, by keeping a few essentials to hand, you’ll find the first night in your new home a lot easier. This includes:

  • Toothbrush and toiletries
  • Spare clothes
  • Device chargers
  • Bedding
  • Teabags

If your new home doesn’t yet have curtains or blinds up, you might want to keep a large blanket out to dress your windows in the meantime.

What to do while you’re packing

Now you’re ready to get started, here are our handy packing tips to make preparing to move house straightforward.

How should I label my packing?

Perhaps our smartest tip for packing to move house is to label boxes as you fill them. Include which room it comes from, and what sort of things are inside. You may even want to create colour coded stickers for each room. A blue sticker could mean living room, for example,

Not only does this help you put boxes in the right rooms as you unload them – a real time saver – it also means you can tell the heavy boxes from the light ones before trying to pick them up.

Are there any items I should set aside?

Having a clearly marked “first to open” box can make the first few hours or days in your new home so much less stressful. From mugs to towels to tools, you’ll be glad to know that these basics are at the top of the pile.

How do I pack furniture?

Lifting, manoeuvring and transporting furniture is much easier when it’s disassembled, so take any flatpack furniture apart before trying to move or pack it. This can take longer than you think, so it’s good idea to get a head start before the day you move house if possible.

We recommend keeping all the screws, bolts and allen keys together in a clearly labelled ziploc bag, then taping that to the furniture they belong to, to make reassembling everything a breeze.

How should I pack my boxes?

As obvious as it may sound, it’s important to pay attention to how heavy your boxes are getting as you pack them. It’s always safer to put a few heavy items into small, shallow boxes so that they’re easier to carry, and the box doesn’t break.

If you need to stack boxes on top of each other, to make room while you’re packing or when you’re loading the moving van, place the heaviest at the bottom and the lightest at the top to avoid any crushing.

How long will packing to move take?

That will depend entirely on how much you own (and plan to move or throw away), but it’s vital that you don’t try to rush or do it all in one go. Taking regular breaks makes it easier to handle any unforeseen hold-ups, for a less stressful move.

If you’re using professional house packing services, you won’t need to spare as much time but you may want to take care of cherished or irreplaceable belongings yourself for peace of mind.