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20 Tips on How to Pack to Move House


Written by Reviewed by Dave Sayce

3rd Nov 2022 (Last updated on 13th Mar 2024) 9 minute read

When it comes to moving house, packing is one of the biggest parts of the process. You may not know where to start, but it doesn't have to be stressful or complicated.

In this article, we have compiled a list of important moving and packing tips for you to follow. From how to pack boxes when moving home to utilising items you already have, we cover everything you need to know.

  1. Our 20 Top Packing Tips
  2. How Long Before A Move Should I Start Packing?
  3. What Do You Start Packing First When Moving?
  4. What Items Must Not Be Packed When Moving Homes?
  5. Packing Services

Our 20 Top Packing Tips

1. Declutter Before Packing

Decluttering is a great way to begin packing for a house move. It provides you with a better idea of what you want to keep and what can be donated to a charity shop or thrown away.

It prevents you from taking unnecessary items to your new home and helps save money by moving fewer items. Many charities will accept clothing items, electronics and furniture, so the items you no longer want won’t go to waste.

If there are items you can profit from, you can also look to sell these. Facebook Marketplace and websites such as Gumtree are useful for this. You can also choose to sell goods at a car boot sale.

2. Use a Removal Company Packing Service

A great way to alleviate the stress of packing is to use a removal company. In addition to helping you move home, many removal companies will offer packing services too. While there is a charge for this, it’s worth the money, especially if you’re in a rush and need to save time.

The professional packers will arrive at your home ahead of your moving date and will pack everything into boxes for you. The process is quick and as they are experienced, your goods will be packaged safely and correctly. The materials they use to pack will be of professional quality, and they will be on hand to provide you with packing advice.

If you’re looking to enlist the help of a removal company's packing service, check out our top picks for the UK’s 10 best movers and packers.

3. Wrap Delicate Items Like Plates in Bed Sheets/Towels

You can use bedsheets and towels to protect fragile items. This is also better for the environment instead of buying materials such as plastic wrapping. This technique works for many items, such as plates, glasses, and vases.

4. Look on Gumtree/Marketplace for Free Packing Materials

If you’ve used everything you have to hand and want to save money, take a look at Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace. They are both useful apps to use when moving home. You may find moving boxes and materials such as old newspapers to line the boxes.

There’s a high chance that people will be giving away free cardboard boxes and plastic bags or selling packing materials at a low price. It’s a great way of helping the environment by reusing items too.

For more money-saving tips read: 10 Money Saving Tips for Moving House

5. Roll Clothes to Save Room

Rolling up your clothes is such a useful thing to do as it takes up less space when rolled instead of folded. This is a great way to save on boxes and extra packing materials.

6. Wrap Furniture to Avoid Scratches

You should wrap your furniture to prevent your items from being scratched or damaged during transit. You can choose to use old bedding for settees or make table and wardrobe boxes out of large boxes. Ensuring the items are fully covered will help to prevent scratches.

7. Use Egg Cartons or Toilet Paper Rolls for Jewellery

Jewellery boxes are the safest option, you can alternatively use an old, clean egg carton or toilet paper roll. This is a great way of keeping your jewellery separate and preventing any rings or earrings from getting lost during transit. They should also be labelled clearly so they are not accidentally thrown away.

Simply put the jewellery in the egg sections and secure the egg box shut with packing tape. You can slot a necklace into a toilet paper roll and secure both ends to keep it from getting tangled.

8. Pack an Essentials Box and Keep it With You

There will be items you’ll want to use until moving day including toothbrushes, a first aid kit, and medication. You may also want to consider adding any important documents to your overnight bag.

A good idea to separate your essentials is by compiling an essentials bag or box. Instead of putting this box with your packed items, you can take this box with you to ensure you have all your essentials to hand. When unpacking, you’ll have everything you need, and you won’t have to worry about rooting through unpacked boxes.

9. Disassemble Furniture to Avoid Damage

If you have any items that can be dismantled, this is useful to do before you move. This will help to ensure that they aren’t damaged in any way. These items should be fairly straightforward to dismantle, and they will save space in the moving truck.

10. Stack Pans and Pots

Stacking pans and pots is a great way to save space during the packing process. If you can store them inside each other, you’ll have room for other items.

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11. Pack Heavier Items First in Boxes

If you pack heavy items in small boxes, this will help ensure other items don’t become damaged. It saves heavy items from squashing and damaging other items.

12. Make Use of All The Box Space

You can do this by strategically packing your items. It’s useful to know how to pack items from books to shoes to ensure you’re using the box space correctly. If there are any empty spaces in the box, you should fill this with material such as bubble wrap or newspaper to prevent the items from sliding.

Stacking items and placing smaller items in the boxes will help to ensure you’re utilising the space correctly. You should place the lighter boxes on top of the heavy boxes to avoid any potential for damage.

13. Don’t Pack Boxes Too Heavily

If you overload your boxes with heavy items, this will make it difficult to carry and move. The boxes will also be at a higher risk of breaking. Spreading the heavier items across the boxes evenly is the best option.

14. Use Existing Items to Pack With

When moving, you’ll want to make as much use of any existing items you have as possible. This includes suitcases and storage boxes. As these items cannot be folded, it’s useful to fill them with your belongings to move. This will help to save space and money as you’ll need to use fewer boxes.

15. Use Cling Film for Drawers

The cling film keeps everything in the drawers in place, and it means you don't have to take everything out and place it in boxes. It makes use of the drawers themselves, and it helps to save you time when packing too.

16. Pack By Room

Another useful packing tip is to pack one room at a time. This helps to keep everything organised and cuts down the time it will take you to unpack in your new home. In addition to this, it means that boxes can be placed easily in the relevant rooms of your new property.

17. Keep Relevant Items Together

Similar to packing by room, you should keep relevant items together. This includes keeping your household items and cleaning products together. This is helpful for the unpacking process and helps you to know where to place the boxes when you move. It will also save time when you’re packing. If you own any hazardous materials such as bleach, then you should keep these in a separate box.

18. Use Removal Company Packing Materials

In addition to using a moving company’s packing services, many will provide professional packing materials. On average, packing services and materials will cost around £250.

19. Label Boxes

Labelling boxes is one of the easiest tips for moving house to get a clear idea of what each box contains. This makes placing the boxes in your home easier, and it will allow you to find things when unpacking.

20. Make a Moving House Packing Checklist

Make a moving house packing checklist to ensure you’re taking everything you need with you. Whether you’re moving into an apartment or a rented property, a moving house checklist can reduce the hard work and keep you on track.

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How Long Before A Move Should I Start Packing?

It’s useful to start packing for a move at least 7 weeks before your moving date. This allows you to have enough time to complete everything without having to rush. You can begin packing the items you’re unlikely to need at this time, such as things from your garage or attic.

As it gets closer to your moving date, this is when you can start to pack items such as clothes, technology, and kitchen items.

When it comes to the week before moving, a few days before your move, you will want to begin to pack the items you tend to use the most. Your essential items can be packed on the day and kept separately from your other items.

What Do You Start Packing First When Moving?

It’s recommended to begin packing non-essential items first. This is because it’s unlikely you’ll need them in the weeks before moving.

The more often you use an item, the later you should leave packing it. This can include things such as hairdryers, kettles, toiletries, and cutlery.

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What Items Must Not Be Packed When Moving Homes?

There are several items you’ll want to avoid packing when moving home. This is due to them being potentially dangerous.

Here are some examples of what not to pack when moving house:

  • Lighter fluid
  • Fireworks
  • Matches
  • Aerosols
  • Perishable foods

The majority of removal companies will refuse to move these items. If you’re looking to move yourself, you may want to consider avoiding transporting these items too.

Packing Services

As mentioned, many removal companies offer packing services in addition to moving services. These provide extra protection for specialist items.

Here are some additional packing services they often provide:

1. Furniture Packing

Furniture is one of the most difficult things to pack, especially if you have large and bulky items to consider, such as settees or cookers. Moving kitchen appliances can require professional help, and you may be unsure of how to move a bed.

Removal companies can provide specialist blanket wraps for furniture that cannot be taken apart. They can also assist with heavy lifting when needed.

2. Part Packing

Part-packing services are for those who want professionals to pack specialist or breakable items. This is cheaper than the full packing service and allows you to pack most of your items yourself.

3. Full Packing

If you’re short on time, a full packing service is useful to consider. While it’s a more expensive option, the removal company will do everything for you.

It’s great if you want your items professionally packaged instead of doing this yourself. It will save a significant amount of time, and it’s fantastic for those unable to pack themselves.

4. Arts and Antiques Packing

Arts and antiques must be packaged safely and correctly to avoid damage during transit. This is especially important if you don't have the original packaging. This can include fragile items such as antiques and expensive paintings.

Some removal companies will offer this service and will wrap and transport your valuables efficiently and safely for you.

If you’re happy with the specialist packing services you’ve received, you may consider tipping the removal company.

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Dave Sayce

Reviewed by Dave Sayce

Owner & Managing Director, Compare My Move

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

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