Before jumping into each specific room-by-room packing guide, it will be helpful to provide some general packing tips that are helpful for the entire house. The following 9 tips are a great place to get started!

1. Start early – organize and make a plan

As soon as you know you’ll be moving, take the time to get organized and make a plan – especially if you’re moving long distance. Three of the most important first steps before packing are: 1) creating a moving checklist with a timeline, 2) purge your belongings, and 3) hire a reputable moving company. Book early to avoid peak pricing. When you get free quotes from Great Guys Moving, we’ll connect you with affordable, licensed, and insured movers you can trust.

2. Purge

Purging simplifies packing. Room by room, mercilessly weed out the stuff that’s worn out, you don’t need, or haven’t used in a long time – or ever. Sell books to a used bookstore and sell furniture you plan to replace. Donate canned food to your local food pantry and clothing to your favorite charity thrift store. Plan a yard sale and sell items on Craigslist, Letgo, or eBay. After purging, you’ll have less to pack – and since movers charge by weight, less weight equals a more affordable move.

3. Establish a ‘Do Not Move’ zone

Keep valuables and essentials with you during your move. Designate a closet or a corner of a room for the items that will not go on the moving van. Place a clearly visible sign reading, ‘Do Not Move’ on the pile, so things like your prescriptions and fine jewelry won’t accidentally end up on the moving truck.

Valuables and personal documents

Put valuables such as your moving company contract, deeds, birth certificates, passports, social security cards, fine jewelry, cash, backed-up external drives, and such in a secure box or bag. Whether you’re flying or driving to your new home, keep these items with you throughout the move. Label this box or bag ‘Do Not Move.’


Essentials include things like prescription medications, everyday toiletries, toilet paper, wipes, towels, change of clothes, snacks, and such. Your list of essentials will vary depending on how far you’re moving. If you’re moving long distance, pack the essentials you’ll need to survive the first few days or weeks, depending on the mover’s expected delivery timeline. Label this box ‘Do Not Move.’

Prohibited to be transported on the moving van

Since moving companies won’t transport hazardous or perishable items, also put those things in the ‘do not move’ zone if you want to keep them. Otherwise, donate or dispose of them properly before you move.

4. Pack non-essential items first

Get a head start on the packing process and pack non-essential items first. You’ll be surprised at how infrequently you use many items in your home. These include things you love and that make your home unique, such as artwork, decorative accessories, and trinkets. Also pack out-of-season clothing, holiday décor, china, crystal, and books.

5. Take apart furniture when possible

Large beds with integral foot and headboards, wall units, sectionals, and other big bulky pieces need to be disassembled to get through doorways, to fit up and down the stairs, and to avoid taking up extra space on the moving van. Some people are handy with tools and can dismantle objects quickly, while even enjoying the job. Others, not so much! If you’d prefer some help, Great Guys Moving will connect you with an expert team who can disassemble and reassemble furniture for you in a jiffy.

6. Create an inventory

Inventory apps, like Sortly, are a handy way to keep track of what you pack. If you decide to use an app, in addition to labeling boxes by contents and destination room, also number them. This way, if you need something that’s in a box, you can quickly look up the box number on your inventory app. If you need your corkscrew, you won’t have to dig through stacks of boxes labeled ‘kitchen’ to find it.

7. Label everything

We can’t stress this step enough. Label everything. Without labeling, unpacking will be extremely frustrating. It’s especially important to clearly label boxes that contain fragile items. Write ‘fragile’ in big thick lettering on all sides and the top of the box, so the movers will know this box requires special handling. You don’t want the movers to stack four boxes of books on top of your unlabeled box of Riedel wine glasses.

8. Turn on the music!

Whether you’re packing your kitchen or your closet, listen to your favorite tunes while you’re working. Music is known to elevate mood, improve performance, and reduce stress, so why not make the most of your packing experience!

9. Before you start packing, gather all your moving supplies

The next section outlines all the supplies that can help make packing more efficient.

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