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Moving House Packing Checklist | A Room-by-Room Guide


Written by Reviewed by Dave Sayce

20th Jul 2022 (Last updated on 14th Mar 2024) 9 minute read

When it comes to preparing for a move, packing room by room is a way to stay organised and not get overwhelmed by the process. Many removal companies will offer a professional packing service, which can be beneficial. It can also help if you are daunted by the prospect of packing.

If you’re packing for a move yourself, it helps to have a moving packing checklist to hand. Planning ahead ensures your move runs as smoothly as possible. It also makes sure you get the most out of the removal firm you are using.

Below we look at the packing process room-by-room, from the living room to the garden shed. Each section has tips and tricks to make the packing process easier.

  1. What You Will Need
  2. Where to Get Your Packing Supplies
  3. 1. Living Room
  4. 2. Kitchen (and Pantry)
  5. 3. Dining Room
  6. 4. Home Office
  7. 5. Bedrooms
  8. 6. Bathroom
  9. 7. Attic and loft
  10. 8. Garage and/or Garden Shed
  11. General Packing Tips
  12. Using a Removal Company to Help You Move
  13. What Should You Not Pack For a Move?

What You Will Need

Before you start packing for your move, make sure you have the correct packing materials. Essential packing items include:

  • Cardboard boxes
  • Plastic containers
  • Newspaper
  • Tissue paper
  • Bubble Wrap
  • Packing tape
  • Marker pens
  • Box cutter
  • Bin liners
  • Blankets and towels
  • Plastic or cotton tote bags

Where to Get Your Packing Supplies

  • Discount stores will often have packing tape, “fragile” tape, and tissue paper.
  • Packing materials can also be purchased online.
  • Big-box stores and supermarkets often have packing supplies available. Large stationary stores are especially resourceful.
  • Save packing materials from deliveries. You could also ask family, friends and colleagues to do the same.
  • If you know someone who has moved house recently, ask if they have anything you can use.

Getting free cardboard boxes

Moving boxes vary in price depending on their size and where you buy them but they can be quite expensive. One of the ways to keep the cost down on your move is by obtaining free cardboard boxes. Check online community groups, local shops and restaurants or schools and offices. Make sure the free boxes you get are clean, sturdy and suitable for your move.

To find out more read our article: Where to Get Free Cardboard Boxes for Moving

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1. Living Room

  • Remove feet from sofas if possible they fit around corners and through doorways.
  • Protect televisions by wrapping them in protective blankets. Alternatively, use bubble wrap secured with packing tape.
  • Items that can be taken apart (such as side and coffee tables) should be done before moving day.
  • Books should be packed into a sturdy box and not over-packed. Alternatively, pack books in a suitcase for easier transportation. For more information on packing books read: How to Pack Books When Moving House.
  • Furnishings (such as cushions and throws) should be protected where possible. Bedding bags or plastic storage containers are ideal for this.
  • Roll any rugs for easier transportation
  • Electronics like peakers and smart home devices should be packed carefully. Ensure the corresponding chargers and cables are packed with them and labelled accordingly. Once packed, ensure the boxes are labelled with “fragile”.
  • For houseplants - check if the removal company is happy to take these items. If not, you may have to take them to your new home yourself. Ensure they are stood up and secure to avoid them falling over. For more information on moving plants, read our article: How to Move Plants When Moving House.

2. Kitchen (and Pantry)

  • Plates, bowls and mugs will be some of the most fragile items you will pack. Ensure you have plenty of supplies including bubble wrap and packing paper. Put a paper plate or folded packing paper between each plate in a stack.
  • Use sectioned boxes for glasses.
  • Pack appliances into the original boxes if you have them, ensuring all the parts are included. If you don't have the box, find one that best fits the appliance to avoid them rattling around in transit.
  • Utensils can take up a surprising amount of room so make sure you have big enough containers. Try to pack them so they don’t get damaged or tangled, preferably keeping similar types of items together.
  • Most removal companies will not take perishable food. These should be consumed or thrown away before the move.
  • Longer-lasting food items, such as tins, should be boxed up and labelled clearly.
  • Remember to defrost the refrigerator at least 48 hours before you move
  • Make sure lids are secured on cleaning products so they don’t spill during transport. Clearly label the box or container they are packed into. Some products or abrasive chemicals cannot be transported by removal companies and will have to be thrown away.
  • Unplug the washer and dryer and disconnect any components. This includes the washer's hose and dryer vent.

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3. Dining Room

  • Use protective blankets to wrap your dining room table. Additionally, dismantle any parts you can before the moving team arrives.
  • For chairs, remove the legs if possible and keep all parts together.
  • Smaller items, such as lamps and decor can be packed away using packing paper, bubble wrap and boxes.
  • Roll up any rugs and secure them with rope, large rubber bands or plastic.
  • Extra care will need to be taken for items such as crystal and fine china. Opt for the highest quality materials possible when packing these. Be sure to clearly label the boxes with “fragile” and state what is inside.

4. Home Office

  • Ensure all computers and tech equipment is stored safely. This includes labelling and effectively storing cables. Protect screens by wrapping them in blankets or bubble wrap.
  • Pack any laptops in protective laptop bags or cases.
  • Dismantle as much of the furniture as you can, such as office chairs and desks, keeping screws and allen keys with the correct items.
  • We recommend transporting paperwork yourself, especially if it contains sensitive information.
  • Try to keep all paperwork organised and stored in box files or folders. Also remember to clearly label each one, ensuring nothing is lost during the move.

5. Bedrooms

  • Beds and other large items should be dismantled where possible. Ensure you keep all screws and parts with the correct piece of furniture.
  • Be sure to empty all bedside cabinets and chests of drawers before moving them.
  • Removing the doors to a wardrobe or securing them shut will make them safer and easier to move.
  • Where possible, wrap your mattress in plastic or blankets to protect it.
  • Thread necklaces through paper straws to avoid tangling during the move.
  • Keep all other jewellery in separate containers. If the jewellery is particularly valuable, you may want to keep these with you during the move.
  • Pack bedding in plastic or protective zip-up bags.
  • Declutter clothing before moving.
  • Clothing is best packed in suitcases or in zip-up protective bags to protect them. You can also keep items on hangers and pull a bin or recycling bag over them.
  • For formal wear and special items, consider purchasing or making specialised wardrobe boxes.
  • Decluttering items in children's rooms such as toys and books before the move can be hugely beneficial.
  • Sentimental items should go in the car with you. Keep in mind your child or children may want a particular toy in the car with them, so set this to one side when packing.

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6. Bathroom

  • Most bathroom amenities will fall under fixtures and fittings and won’t be coming with you.
    • Keep items used on a daily basis (toothpaste, toothbrushes, face wash etc) to one side. You will need these in the run-up to the move and when you move into your new home.
    • Check for out-of-date items or products almost which are almost finished. Save space by throwing these away or using items up before you leave.

    7. Attic and loft

    • The attic can often become a dumping ground, so discard anything you do not want to take to your new home.
    • Ensure seasonal items (such as Christmas lights) are working and that decor is not broken. Carefully pack and label these items so they can be put to one side in the new home.
    • If there are clothes in the attic, check they are in good condition and still fit. Donate, sell or discard if not.
    • Check any camping equipment or hobby tools are also in good condition and usable before you back. If you have moved on from the hobby, set these aside to donate or sell.
    • Sentimental items are often the hardest things to organise, pack or declutter. Make sure you set aside enough time to sort through these items.

    8. Garage and/or Garden Shed

    • Ensure garden tools are clean from dirt and foliage where possible before packing.
    • Any gas-powered tools should be treated with care to avoid accidents when packing. Drain these items before the move.
    • Ensure children and pets are not around when packing any potentially dangerous items.
    • Check that the removal company can take certain items. Items like paint, fertilizer, weed killer and other chemicals will need to be thrown away.

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    General Packing Tips

    • Create an inventory: Where possible, list everything you are moving in a clear format. This ensures everything is packed and nothing is lost or left behind.
    • Labelling: Label items with fragile if the items are breakable. Make a note if items in the box are heavy and note which room they belong in. This will help removalists when packing the van. It also helps them know which boxes go in which rooms at the new property. Additionally, labelling will also help you unpack.
    • Pack moving essentials separately: This is anything you need the night before and the day of the move. These include clothes, toiletries, phone chargers and toys for children.
    • Back the non-essentials first: Start by packing items you won't need right away or that are used infrequently.
    • Talk to your removal firm: Make the company aware of how much is being moved and how many rooms need emptying. This ensures they arrive with the right-sized vehicles and any supplies they may need. If you have specialist items, make sure they are able to handle them correctly. These include antiques, fine art and/or large musical instruments.

    Read our packing tips for more advice on this.

    Using a Removal Company to Help You Move

    Before you move, you’ll need to make sure you’ve booked a reputable moving company. Hiring professionals can ensure a seamless house move. This is not only for transporting your goods but moving them safely and with insurance.

    Many removal companies also offer to dismantle and reassemble furniture, storage and professional packing. This could be a full or part pack or packing and moving specialised items such as antiques and art.

    The best way to find a removal company is to compare quotes from local removal companies. At Compare My Move, we can match you with up to 6 verified and reputable companies in your area. We can also provide advice on the cheapest way to move house.

    What Should You Not Pack For a Move?

    When moving with a professional removal company, be aware that they can refuse some items. These include:

    • Dangerous and illegal items (including weapons and chemicals)
    • Perishable foods
    • Pets and Plants
    • Items over a certain value

    Any items not accepted by your removal company will need to be packed, handled and moved by you. If the item is very valuable, ensure you have insurance in place to cover it.

    For more information on what items removals companies won’t allow, read: What Not to Pack: A Guide to Non-allowable Removal Items

    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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