Which Items to Pack First and Last When Moving?

Are you planning to move to your new house but don’t know how to pack your belongings? Having everything well packed to reach the destination without damage is not easy, especially when it comes to fragile items like cutlery and mirrors. The first thing you should do is to plan early enough to avoid the last-minute rush as it can lead to numerous blunders.

The packing process needs enough time to allow proper arrangement of items instead of just throwing them into boxes. You also need to have enough packing materials and someone to help if possible. This guide provides a detailed breakdown of how you should pack every item in your home.

Moving to a New Home

10% of the population in the US move to a different city or county each year, according to MoveBuddha. The average American household size is 2.3 people, meaning approximately 15.3 million households in the US are moving each year.

While this number may seem like a lot, move rates are actually on the decline. Around half as many people move each year as they did in the 1960s. Most who choose to move stay within the same state, with 40% of all movers relocating less than 50 miles. However, for those who move states, the busiest moving routes in the US are California to Texas and New York to Florida, with Fridays and Saturdays being the most popular days to move. Below are some of the reasons why people move to a new home.

Need of More Space

People buying their first house may not have enough money to purchase a big home, but this can change after some time. People who purchased a house soon after marriage may need to upgrade to a bigger house as a result of the growing family.


Most people in their bonus year prefer moving to a smaller house because all the children have gone and there is no need for the extra space. One can also downgrade if their source of income is compromised, meaning they can no longer live in a big house.

New Job

Most people who move between cities do it when they find a new job or transfers in their current jobs. The distance from job to home can be far; meaning commuting every day is unfeasible.

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Items to Pack First

Packing when moving house should be a well-planned process because there are items that you may still need to use before you leave the house. Always start with the things that you don’t need to use to avoid the stress of reopening the boxes after packing. Below are some of the first items to pack.

Books and Records

Books, magazines and records are some of the items that you can do without for the time you are in the house and when you get to the new home. Books also have a relatively similar shape, which makes them easy to pack, plus you will also have enough time to sort out the ones you no longer need and give them out as donations.

The process of packing books is simple as you only need to pack them in sturdy boxes as they are not fragile. Ensure that you are checking the weight to avoid stacking more than a box can hold.

Picture Frames and Artwork

The other items after you are done with the books and records is artwork and picture frames. You can stay without them on the walls, plus you may be required to do the repairs on the areas where you drilled holes to hang the artwork.

Artwork may also need more time and extra care when packing because they are fragile. Ensure that each art item has a bubble wrap at the front and the back before placing another on top. Check the weight to avoid breaking the things at the bottom. All the boxes should be labelled fragile so that movers can handle them with extra care when it is time to move.

Knick-Knacks and Decorations

Most decorations at home are mostly packed in a box because we only need them during the holidays. So, you only need to move them into the packaging room and arrange them properly before sealing the box. Knick-Knacks should also be packed early enough because it may take you longer to pack as they are mostly scattered everywhere around the house.

Packing a mirror and other fragile items can be extra dangerous so make sure to wrap them with a bubble wrap and package them according to size. Also, ensure that the delicate decorations are in a separate box with the non-fragile. Fill the open spaces left between items with balled bubble wraps or packing paper to avoid damages when moving. You can reduce the cost of moving by adding light non-essentials like pillows to the big boxes.

Clothing and Shoes

Now that you are closer to your moving day, you can sort out your clothes and start packing. Start with the seasonal clothes that you don’t need at the moment. For example, you can start with the winter jackets and raincoats if you are moving on a summer.

Once you are done with the off-season clothes, sort out the remaining clothes and pack the items you don’t plan to wear over the remaining time. When it comes to shoes, leave a pair or two and pack the rest.

The heavy and bigger clothes should go to the bigger boxes and the rest in the medium boxes. Ensure that they are well folded to avoid misuse of space.


You can only leave your essential jewellery and pack the rest to avoid the last-minute rush. You can also pack all the pieces if you are not planning to go for a special occasion before moving day.

You should pack all jewellery in a separate small box to avoid misplacing the small pieces like earrings. You can place the small items in a container before placing them in the box.

Items to Pack Last

The last items to pack when moving are the essentials. These are the items you must use every day or the things you will need as soon as you get to the new house. You can pack the essential items on the moving day and the less essential ones a day before moving. Below is a list of the things to pack last when moving.

Kitchen Items

Kitchen items are some of the essential items because we have to cook each day. However, there are some kitchen items that you may not use every day. Most of the things are also in multiples, meaning you can only keep what you need and pack the rest. If you have a lot of food in your fridge, make sure that you will have consumed it before the moving day. You can pack all the cookware two days before moving and consume the ready foods in the fridge for the remaining days.

Pack Kitchen items in the strongest medium boxes for extra protection in case of accidents when moving. Fragile items should be packed in specially labelled boxes to ensure their safety.

Office Supplies

If you have a work from home office, sort all you need before moving and pack the rest. You can also leave these items for the last day if they can fit in a single medium box. Office supplies don’t need extra care as they are mostly non-fragile items. You only need to ensure that they are not too heavy for the box you choose.

Electronic Devices

Electronic devices should be among the last items to pack because you will need most of them till the last day. You should, however, not wait for the moving day because some may require extra work like separating the parts of a music system for easier packaging and removing the wall-hanged TVs. Electronics also need a more careful packaging process. The original boxes are the best for carrying your electronics if they are still available.

Toiletries and Cleaning Supplies

Toiletries and cleaning supplies should be the last items to pack because you will be frequently needing them, even during the moving day. The best thing you can do is to keep or all them in one place so that it will be easier to pack them when the time comes.

Pack all cleaning materials in an upright position and ensure that they are tightly held together to avoid spillages. Label the top side so that no one carries the box inappropriately.

Box of Essentials

This is the box where you pack all the items that you will need during your first day in your new house. Some of the things include your medication, important documents, toilet paper and hand soap.


Safe moving house is only possible if you have enough time to plan and all the necessary resources. The whole process of packing your items before moving mainly depends on how frequently you use them. You can start with the non-essential items and finish with the things you need before the moving day, as explained above.

About the author:

This article is written by Patryk. He runs a removals and storage company called Removals & Storage Experts based in London. He is passionate about helping people and businesses do away with the stress of moving.

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