Pack Like a Pro: Part 2

Handled Moving Guide: Room-by-Room Packing Tips​​.

Think of packing like playing 3D tetris. Well, 4D tetris, since there’s an element of timing involved. You wouldn’t want to pack all your underwear into the first box or you may have a few uncomfortable days.

Everybody’s different—some people love 4D tetris, some people hate it. But that’s the game here. If the thought of packing leaves you frozen in terror, you can always hire professionals. But if you’re packing everything yourself, here’s what you’ll need to know:

Pack a suitcase.

On the days surrounding your move, your regular routine will be a bit disrupted. Before you start any serious packing, set aside the things you’d take on a weekend trip: a few changes of clothes, medicine, bathroom items, devices, and chargers. Living out of a suitcase for a few days is the best way to keep normal life going during a move.

Start in the _____ room.

It doesn’t really matter—start wherever actually gets you to start. When you’re ready, you’ll need to create a workspace. It can be a folding table, a desk or bed, or even the floor, but you’ll want to have a sample platter of supplies: different-sized boxes, tape, markers, packing paper, bubble/foam wrap, and scissors or a knife for good measure.

Box up everything you won’t use in the next week.

The games begin: start filling boxes. Ideally, group objects that have a connection to each other: a box of books, a box of pillows, a box of office supplies. Bonus points for even weight distribution, so boxes aren’t too heavy or too light.

As you’re packing, imagine the trip your belongings are going to take. They’re going to be carried to a truck, stacked, and bounced down the road. Sturdy items like books don’t need much protection, but delicates like framed photos and vases need to be padded. If you’ve done it right, you should feel pretty confident that nothing would break if you dropped a box from waist height.

Item-specific tips:

  • Dishes: pack plates sideways, like records. For porcelain and china, use protective padding to wrap each piece, and make sure there’s no extra room in the box.
  • Glasses: use a sectioned box, like the kind you might find at the liquor store. Make sure you wrap each piece individually, and don’t stack pieces.
  • Small appliances: remove the blades first, and put them in a small container (this is a great way to use some of your storage containers). Wrap the cord around the appliance and tape it in place, then use towels or other padding to wrap the appliance and pack it.
  • Rugs: roll and wrap in plastic. Even better, send these off to get cleaned, and have them delivered to your new home after moving date.

Label and stack.

At a bare minimum, write the name of the room where you want each box to end up in your new home. If you want to be really kind to future you, also list the major contents of each box. Where should you label? Good question. Label the front/face of the box. If you write on the top, you’ll need to unstack all the boxes to read them later.

Stacking boxes keeps them organized and out of your way, and it frees up more space to move furniture. It also lets you see if your packing job is collapsing under the weight of additional boxes. If that’s the case, add more objects or packing material to fill the voids.

Make a food plan.

You’ll need to stay fueled up for the hard work of packing, but kitchen items will be slowly disappearing. Give some thought to what you’ll eat with limited kitchen access. There are plenty of convenient options for most diets and preferences: takeout, frozen meals, meal replacement drinks, sandwich fixin’s, etc. Having handy meals available will keep the packing process on track.

If you can’t take a break from cooking, consider creating a mini kitchen kit: a pan, knife, and cutting board plus one plate, glass, and silverware for each person in the house. It should also include a few pantry basics: salt, pepper, oil, and whatever else you use on a daily basis.

And what about all that food in the fridge leading up to a move? You’ll need to save it from going to waste. You can commit to eating everything as your move approaches or you can pack a cooler to transport perishable items to your new home. Either way, the day before your move is the last day to make those decisions, since that’s when you’ll need to unplug the fridge so it can warm up before the move.

Pack the high-priority boxes.

In the last few days before your move, you’ll find yourself left with a lot of high-priority items. These are the things you haven’t packed yet, since you’re still using them. Not surprisingly, they’re also the first things you’ll want access to at your new home.

Consider marking high-priority boxes with a colored dot or some other clear labeling system. That’ll be your indication to separate those boxes and unpack them first.

Load the truck.

If you booked a Handled move, this is the part where you relax. Read a book or enjoy a walk!


Cleaning is so much easier when there’s nothing in a home. Bring in crew or do it yourself—either way, it should be quick work.

Clean again.

This is *also* the perfect time to clean your new home.

Unload & Unpack.

It’s finally time to settle in to your new home! Send us an email if you’d like to read Unpack Like a Pro or have ideas for other helpful tips.

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