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How to Label Boxes When Moving House

Martha Lott

Written by Reviewed by Dave Sayce

11th Sep 2018 (Last updated on 4th Jan 2021) 6 minute read

When it comes to moving house, there’s a great deal to try and a lot of tasks to remember, making it difficult to know where to start. All with a looming deadline that's counting down the days and increasing anxiety. However, once you have your removal quotes you’ll soon have no choice but to begin. 

Many people underestimate the importance of labelling boxes when moving. It’s a major factor that will make the process a lot easier for both you and the removal company. Being organised is key when it comes to moving house, you need to save as much precious time as you can.

It can be easy to slip into the mindset of trying to quickly pack your belongings to get the job ticked off the list, but this will soon make you lose track of what items you’re putting in each box. Take the time to note down everything that goes in each cardboard box and you’ll soon be thanking yourself when it’s time to unpack.

To help with the packing process, Compare My Move has created downloadable labels for you to personalise. They’re colour coded for each room so you’ll know exactly where to unpack each box. There’s also room for notes for the removal company in case you have any specific requirements. We've also put together 7 top tips so you can easily label your boxes.

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This article will cover the following:
  1. 1. Get Your Packing Materials Ready
  2. 2. Use Colour Coded Labels
  3. 3. Try a Number Based System
  4. 4. Prepare an “Open First” Box
  5. 5. Mark Certain Boxes as Fragile
  6. 6. Make an Inventory
  7. 7. Take Your Time
  8. Save Time and Money With Compare My Move

1. Get Your Packing Materials Ready

First things first, you should be fully prepared with all your packing materials before you make a start on the packing and labelling. Make sure you have good enough quality cardboard boxes; you can usually get these free in supermarkets or from family and friends. You’ll also need brown tape, colour coded labels and coloured pens to make the process even easier.

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2. Use Colour Coded Labels

Before starting, you should have a rough idea of how you're going to tackle the physical packing process. Choose a packing method and then label the boxes as you go along, noting each item that goes in.

Colour coding your labels for each room will make the unpacking process a lot easier by acting as a great way of distinguishing which boxes belong in which room. For example, the boxes with items from your kitchen could all have a red label with a detailed description of the contents and any necessary notes for the removal company.

Additionally, colour coding your boxes will also help the removal company by allowing them to unload the boxes room by room and making them aware of any boxes to take extra care with. It makes the unloading process go much more smoothly when the removals team know where the fragile items are kept. 

Knowing how many items you need to move would also help you get more accurate removal quotes when planning for the big day. 

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3. Try a Number Based System

If you work better with numbers than colours, try using a number system for your moving boxes as it’ll make the process even simpler. Make sure you note down the boxes numbers and their contents in an inventory as you go along and keep the information at hand for when you start unpacking.

Number each box and make a list with the numbers, the room they belong in and the contents. For example – “Box 1, room = kitchen, contents = cutlery, dishes, pans, pots.”

4. Prepare an “Open First” Box

It’s a good idea to create an “open first” box to keep all of the moving essential items you’ll need in the first couple of days in the new home. This box may contain toiletries, clothes and underwear, dishes, cutlery, pots and pans etc. Remember to keep all medication with you and not in any of the moving boxes so that they can be easily grabbed in an emergency.

Gather everything you'll definitely need in the first few hours and days of moving house. There may be some things that are specific to you and your family’s needs.

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5. Mark Certain Boxes as Fragile

To avoid any damage to your delicate and valuable items, you’ll want to make sure you label the appropriate boxes with a “Fragile” sign. Things like plates, glasses, china, mirrors, family heirlooms, valuables and sentimental items will need to be handled with great consideration. Labelling these items will ensure that the removal company are aware of what boxes to take extra care with when loading them on to the van.

This should put your mind at ease if you have valuables that could easily become damaged as the removal company will take extra precaution and can use their specialist training to move them with complete care.

6. Make an Inventory

After you’ve decluttered your belongings, create an inventory of all the items that need to be packed by writing them down, room by room. When it comes to packing, simply tick off the item from the list as you along. Note down which box they’re packed in and what the label reads. 

By creating an inventory for all your belongings, you’ll know everything that’s coming with you and will immediately notice if something has gone missing as you unpack.

7. Take Your Time

At first, you may think that planning how to label your moving boxes seems pointless and a waste of time, but when it comes to unpacking everything in your new house, you’ll wish you labelled everything correctly. After a long journey and tiring day, you’ll only want to unpack the necessities and labelling is the easiest way to do so. 

It may take longer to pack, but it'll save a huge amount of time and effort when you’re unpacking in the new house, helping you settle in sooner.

Save Time and Money With Compare My Move

You should book your removal company before you start packing and labelling your boxes for your removal. Get connected with Compare My Move by completing our quick and easy form and we'll provide you with up to 6 professional removal companies to choose from. We'll also help you save up to 70% on the cost of your home removal as well.

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Subscribe to our moving house newsletter & we'll send you our free colour-coded labels for your move.
Martha Lott

Written by Martha Lott

Having written for Huffington Post and Film Criticism Journal, Martha now regularly researches and writes advice articles for everything moving house related.

Dave Sayce

Reviewed by Dave Sayce

Co-Founder and Director, Compare My Move

Dave Sayce is the co-founder and director of Compare My Move and has over 10 years of experience in the house removals industry.