Kathryn Lee - 26 Jun, 2019

How to pack your boxes when moving house

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Unless you have jumped onto the minimalist lifestyle, moving can be frantic, timeconsuming and overwhelming. Here is a walk through the prep you can start months in advance, the weeks leading up to moving day and the day itself. We’ve collated our packing tips to ensure a smooth, easy and breakagefree move.

Declutter first

In the lead up to your move, it would be wise to declutter first. Start with one room at a time and begin this process months in advance. Often this can take up more time than anticipated as you’re rediscovering everything you own.

A technique which has recently taken off is the KonMari method. In short, it requires you to move all belongings of one type to a central area and ask yourself if they “spark joy”.

Initiated by Marie Kondo, the method aims to help us only retain items that have meaning to us. It’s also a good reminder of the useless mass you can slowly accumulate and a nudge to live a more minimal and sustainable life. You can sell, donate or give the items you don’t want away via free ads online. Even if you think the lifetime of some furniture has passed, you’d be surprised what people are willing to pick up.

Assemble all the required equipment

  • Packing tape and dispensers
  • Bubble wrap and butchers paper (newspapers can stain your belongings)
  • Scissors
  • Markers
  • Labels
  • Moving blankets

Before the move

Re-direct your mail – banks, doctors, schools, subscriptions should all be notified before the move. In the months leading up, write down all the people and places you receive mail from and notify them of when and where you’re moving.

Transfer your services – the internet, a home phone gas, electricity and even the guy who mows your lawn should know where you’re going next.

Turn on the utilities in the new place – you do not want to move in the dark.

If you’re hiring removalists, there are some belongings that cannot be moved, such as heavy pianos or precious art. Be wary that extra fees may apply.

Start collecting boxes, never buy boxes – find them or borrow from friends instead. Go to hardware stores and ask for them. Unless you want long-term permanent storage containers, you can cut costs here.


When you begin labelling boxes, write down which room the box belongs to, that way you can navigate which parts of the house the box should be placed in.

For more insight into where everything is, number the boxes and make an index page. Give someone in your packing team a notepad and they can quickly note down what is in which number box.

Chances are unpacking will linger over a few days – maybe more. And, if you are in an interim home such as a rental, you may not want to unpack your stuff until the big move. So if you plan on living out of boxes for a while, this system will save you the hassle of rummaging through all your belongings and messing up your packing.

Packing tips

If there is stuff you rarely or seasonally use – pack them first. Leave kitchen utensils last and if you want meals that require a lot of utensils or pantry items, meal prepping might be a good idea.

Create a soft interior, use your pillows, blankets and bubble wrap to protect breakable belongings. Start with heavy items on the bottom first, then put lighter belongings on top. Once you’ve got a few heavy items in there, lift and make sure it is still at a manageable weight. Fill the rest of the empty space with bubble wrap to stop your belongings from moving around.

Keep drawers securely closed with plastic wrap so your stuff doesn’t go wayward. You won’t have to worry about taking things out if they can survive the trip in drawers. It’s less work and less boxes.

Rolling suitcases are handy for heavy items. Pack books or other heavy items on anything with wheels and when you do lift, remember to bend your knees and keep your back straight.

Don’t bother unhanging your clothes. Keep them on the hanger and place them inside bags or boxes before the move. Avoid creating extra work by making little change.

Get lots of moving blankets. They are useful in covering and protecting large pieces of furniture so that they do not get scratched in the process. You can also use the blankets to drag heavy items through the house too.

Call for back up – Give your family and friends some time to save the date and help you make the move. But, give them food and keep them hydrated throughout the arduous day. And, before moving day you can have a “packing party” with pizza and music.

Try and leave the kitchen behind – All those items you have been collecting at a reduced price – stop. Try and use your pantry up, once again to pack less.

Pack plates vertically and place each between pieces of foam to avoid breakage.

On the Day

Hand your pets over to someone you trust – Moving time can be overwhelming for your pets too so they may be best off in a less chaotic environment.

Have a first-day essentials bin and a first-night essential suitcase – We know it’s your home but an overnight bag will make things easier. After moving all day, you will be exhausted and probably won’t be up for a big night. The same thing goes for a cooking essentials box.

Words by Michelle Elias

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