Packing for Your Move - The Basics


Packing for Your Move in Austin - The Basics

Packing and purging go together--while you're purging, you should be packing, too. If you're managing your move yourself, you're in charge of acquiring all the packing equipment you need. Your community big-box store, self-storage company or the mover you have hired are all excellent resources for your equipment. If you buy from your mover, ask if they will take back any unopened or unused boxes, tape, bubble wrap, or paper.

Here is a checklist to help you get going:

Small boxes for books, heavy items, toys, appliances, fragile items

Medium boxes for the kitchen, accessories, lampshades, linens, shoes and boots

Large boxes for lamps, window treatments, pillows--items that are bulky but lightweight

Packing tape and tape guns

Newsprint, bubble wrap, packing peanuts or your shredded paper

Markers and labels

Small tools--screwdrivers, hammer, box cutter, scissors

Camera or smartphone

For a more comprehensive list of tools to make your move easier, click here.

Where to Begin

Last utilized, last boxed is the rule of thumb for the packing process—generally, the coffeepot and microwave are the last things to be packed in boxes. Since you're packing in unison as you purge, begin with the low-hanging fruit in chests and cabinets; you can knock out a couple of those in an hour. When you have purged enough for a donate or trash trip, do not exit the house until your packed boxes are taped and labelled. You could utilize distinguishing color-coded labels (blue for the kitchen, green for the master, etc.) or use masking tape with a heavy black marker; just be sure you label every side of the box and note if the contents are require special handling. A couple of seconds spent listing the contents are worth their weight in gold later when you cannot locate your shoes in all the boxes marked "master closet".


Purging helps you get organized, and so does tidying up the closets, attic, and garage early in the process. You'll need a storage spot for all your packed boxes, and the garage is the perfect place as it's going to be nearby to the moving truck. Alas, the garage has to be free of clutter for this to work, so get to work on this project early on—plan on at least a couple days for the garage purge. Once you've got the space cleared, sort your boxes so that the movers can get to them without issue on moving day; they will load the truck so that the weight is adequately distributed and so that the first things that you need at the destination are the last put on.

If you're the kind of person who keeps original packaging, you may now pat yourself on the back. Electronics are fragile and if you have the original packaging, you can re-use it. If not, put all cords connected to the device in a box--power cords, modems, power strips, instructional CDS--and label it all. Take photos of the cords before you pack them to make it easier to hook back up at the destination.


It's astounding how many things you use daily are pretty breakable. Dishware, glasses, light bulbs, lamps--all need a little TLC when you're packing them. Wrap dishes and glasses in newsprint, and place the plates in the box on end like records. A layer of bubble wrap protects them even more, and stuff the empty spaces with some sort of shredded paper or packing peanuts. Do not overload the the boxes of delicate, and don't use large boxes for fragile items. Boxes from the liquor store work well for fragile things; they come in strange sizes and may not have tops, so with a box cutter and tape you can customize boxes.

Don't just toss your lamps into boxes, unscrew the shade and harp and take out the bulb. The bases can be placed in a large box with the harp taped to the base, the shades can nest in another box, and the bulbs need to be packed separately (an ornament box is great for this) and marked fragile.

Next time, we will look at packing dos and don'ts.