How to pack like a pro: expert advice for moving home

Children with Ballards Removals cardboard boxes

Moving home is one of the most stressful experiences that we can go through. In fact, a recent survey by estate agents Yopa found that many homeowners ranked moving home as taking more of a toll on them than finalising a divorce, getting married, starting a new job or even having a baby! 

And the stress isn’t just emotional – it can even have physical consequences. Of the 2000 homeowners questioned, 65% said they had actively lost sleep due to the stress of moving home and 40% said that relocating had left them feeling anxious and unwell.

It’s clear that moving home is far from a fun hobby – but it’s something we all have to endure to improve our lives as we navigate changing circumstances. However, moving home isn’t the monolithic task people build it up to be; it’s actually a series of much smaller jobs that can be perfected with proper planning. Let’s explore how to strip away the stress by learning to pack like a pro. 

Clear out the clutter

It might sound obvious, but the first step of packing for your impending home move isn’t actually packing at all – it’s making a clear and decisive decision on what you intend to bring to your new abode.

We’re all guilty of accumulating excess over the years, but not everything in your current house will be needed at your future home. Set aside 2-3 days to go through your belongings on a room-to-room basis and pick out everything that you don’t use, don’t need, or simply that you don’t enjoy. 

You’ll be surprised at how much space and energy you’ll save in the long run for making a moment to take stock. Once you’ve ditched (or donated) everything you’re happy to see the back of, now you’re ready to pack.

Ensure you have the right materials

Not everything can be bunged in a box! Depending on the item being packed, many need specific handling to ensure that they don’t incur damage or pose a threat to other belongings (such as soft furnishings).

For smaller and more fragile items, such as crockery or glass, they should be packed individually with bubble wrap around each item to serve as a buffer and prevent breakages or scratches in transit. While some people opt for newspaper pages, we always recommend using robust bubble wrap for extra protection and peace of mind. 

While specifics will vary depending on your personal belongings, it’s a good rule of thumb to ensure that you have:

  • packing tape,
  • duct tape for the heaviest boxes
  • bubble wrap, 
  • packing paper, 
  • Polystyrene packing peanuts,
  • more boxes than you need and in a variety of sizes (double-walled, ideally), 
  • multiple pairs of scissors (for when you inevitably misplace them) and 
  • a tape measure. 

Divide and conquer: disassemble larger items

Some larger or more complex items can be partially deconstructed to save both space in transit and time on the day of your move manoeuvring through or around tight spaces. 

In the run up to the big day, ensure that you have checked if any elements of your furniture can be broken down into their core parts. For example, by removing the legs from your sofa, bed or ottomans, breaking your bed down into more manageable pieces, unscrewing the top from your dining room table and removing the shelves from any bookcases or freestanding units. Ensure that you securely tape any items needed to reassemble them to the components themselves (such as screws or wooden bed slats in particular). 

Also ensure that the plugs and cables on any electrical items are either removed and clearly labelled or taped securely with duct tape to the item in question.

Focus on fragile items

Some of your belongings will require more care and attention to ensure their wellbeing in transit. For especially fragile items, such as decorative glasses, champagne flutes or ornaments for example, we recommend double wrapping each with bubble wrap, securing every layer with a small amount of tape (not too much or this could create issues when unboxing), and layering them upon crumbled paper. 

It’s also crucial to ensure that you don’t leave any empty spaces inside boxes; to fill any gaps between items and minimise movement on the road, it’s advisable to fill the box with foam packing peanuts. 

Be sure to clearly mark the box(es) as ‘FRAGILE’, double tape the bottom of each box for further security and ensure it is clearly marked as being one of the last items to be loaded into the truck, and therefore one of the first off so they can be stored safely in your new home before the heavier goods come into play. 

Where possible, ensure you use new boxes that are fresh for your move – as older boxes (for example, those that have been in storage for a prolonged period of time) can deteriorate and pose a threat to your valuables. 

Time it like Tetris

One way to minimise stress on the big day is to think of it as a physical game of tetris and to group items accordingly – it’s definitely something a professional mover would be doing! 

For example, while you should absolutely mark each and every box with the room at your new home that you intend it to be unloaded into, it can prove very helpful to your hauliers on the day to have items pre-grouped – such as by weight, and approximate shape. This is because heavier items are more likely to be loaded into the van or truck first to keep the centre of gravity with the driver and make the journey more secure – so taking time to separate items not just by room but by their characteristics can prove very effective for slotting items into your removals vehicle as you prepare to make the journey to your new home. 

Don’t despair – delegate!

Now you’ve got a few handy tips to manage your move, you’re all set to pack like a pro! If you’d like more information, you can download our guide on how to minimise moving day stress

It’s completely free and it’s packed full of tips and tricks to make sure that your move hits as few bumps in the road as possible. 

Still unsure on how to pack like a pro? Well, there is a tried and tested way to ensure that everything goes to plan: leave it to the professionals! Our expert team of movers has the know-how to make even the trickiest of moves look simple and seamless.

Explore the full range of options here – or get in touch with us directly for a friendly chat.


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