What to Pack First When Moving: A Comprehensive Guide

One of the most crucial aspects of moving is knowing what to pack first. Proper planning and organization are key factors in ensuring a smooth and stress-free move. In this blog post, we will delve into the nitty-gritty of packing, discussing the essential items you should prioritize when preparing for your big move. So grab a cup of coffee (or tea), sit back, and let’s dive right in!

Start with a Plan

Before you start tossing items into boxes haphazardly, take some time to create a plan or checklist for your packing process. This helps you stay organized throughout the move and ensures that nothing important gets left behind.

  1. Create an inventory: Make a list of all the items in your home, room by room.
  2. Categorize your belongings: Separate items into categories such as clothing, kitchenware, electronics, etc.
  3. Prioritize: Determine which items are essential for daily living and which ones can be packed away first without causing too much inconvenience during the weeks leading up to the move.
  4. Gather supplies: Purchase or collect sturdy boxes (in various sizes), packing tape, bubble wrap or newspapers for cushioning fragile items, and permanent markers for labeling.

Now that you have a plan in place let’s dive into what you should pack first when moving.

1. Out-of-Season Clothing

When deciding on what to pack first when moving out-of-season clothing is typically at the top of everyone’s list mainly because it’s one category that people won’t need access to immediately after arriving at their new home.

Packing these clothes ahead of time allows you to free up space in closets and dressers while keeping them protected until they’re needed again – especially if they’re more delicate materials like wool or silk.

To pack your out-of-season clothing, use wardrobe boxes if you have them available. Alternatively, vacuum-sealed bags are a great space-saving option that also protects clothes from moisture and dirt during the move. Don’t forget to label the boxes or bags with their contents so you can easily locate them when needed.

2. Non-Essential Items

It’s time to tackle all those non-essential items that aren’t crucial for daily living but still need to be packed up and moved. This includes items such as decorative pieces, books, DVDs, and rarely used kitchen appliances like waffle irons or ice cream makers.

Take this opportunity to declutter your home by sorting through these belongings and deciding whether they’re worth keeping. If not, donate them or host a garage sale before packing away the remaining items in labeled boxes. Remember to place heavier items at the bottom of the box while filling it with lighter ones on top.

3. Fragile Items

Fragile items require extra care when packing and should be done early in the process so that there is ample time to ensure their safety during transit. Consider getting specialized packing supplies for fragile items such as glassware or artwork – bubble wrap, foam sheets, and sturdy cardboard dividers can go a long way in preventing damage.

When packing fragile items:

  1. Wrap each item individually in bubble wrap or other cushioning material.
  2. Place crumpled newspaper or additional cushioning at the bottom of the box.
  3. Place heavier wrapped items first followed by lighter ones on top.
  4. Fill any empty spaces within the box with more cushioning material to prevent movement during transit.
  5. Label each box clearly with “FRAGILE” and an arrow indicating which side should face up.

Don’t forget about your electronics! Computers, TVs, gaming consoles – these all fall under this category too!

4. Documents and Valuables

Important documents such as birth certificates, passports, insurance policies, and financial records should be gathered early on in the packing process. Consider investing in a fireproof/waterproof safe or lockbox to store these items during your move.

Additionally, valuable items like jewelry and family heirlooms should also be packed early on with extra care. Keep these items with you during the move rather than loading them onto a moving truck – this will give you peace of mind knowing they’re secure.

5. Linens and Towels

Towels, bedding, and curtains can be packed away next. These soft goods can double as cushioning for fragile items while being stored inside boxes, so consider utilizing them when possible.

Vacuum-sealed bags are also great for storing linens efficiently and protecting them from dirt or moisture during the move. Don’t forget to label each bag or box with its contents so you can easily locate what you need once settled into your new home.

6. Kitchen Items

Start by packing up rarely used kitchenware such as holiday dishes or specialty cookware that isn’t needed on a daily basis. As you get closer to moving day, gradually pack up more frequently used items like plates, utensils, pots/pans, etc., leaving only essentials accessible until the last minute (disposable dishware is a great temporary solution).

When it comes to packing perishable food items:

  1. Consume or donate non-perishable food before moving.
  2. Pack canned goods together in sturdy boxes and label accordingly.
  3. Avoid stocking up on groceries close to moving day – limit shopping trips to essential perishables only.
  4. Use insulated coolers or freezer packs to transport any remaining perishable foods on moving day.

Last-Minute Packing

As your moving day approaches, begin setting aside essential everyday items that will need to remain accessible until the very end. This includes items such as:

  • Toiletries
  • Medications
  • Daily clothing and shoes
  • Electronics chargers

Consider packing a “first night” box or suitcase that contains everything you’ll need for your first day and night in your new home – this will save you from rummaging through boxes trying to find essentials after a long day of moving.


Knowing what to pack first when moving can help alleviate some of the stress that comes with relocating. By following the tips outlined in this blog post, you’ll be well on your way to a more organized and efficient move. Remember, planning is key – so take your time, declutter, and prioritize items based on their importance during the weeks leading up to moving day.