Packing is a serious business no matter where you’re moving. There’s a reason professional moving companies are offering their packing services! For many, that can be the only way to move their belongings. But, don’t worry. You can learn how to pack efficiently on your own and in record time! So take this as the opportunity it actually is!

This is the perfect time to declutter before your move. Moving is a chance to start a new chapter in your life. Seize it! With these helpful tips, you’ll be packing like a pro in no time.

A man with a pen writing on a bunch of papers. List making is a staple on how to pack efficiently!
Make a list and check it twice – you can’t pack efficiently without knowing what you’re packing, after all.

How can you motivate yourself to pack efficiently?

Packing seems like a super daunting task, even though it really isn’t. The reason most people fear packing is simply that it’s overwhelming! It can be very difficult to know where to begin. There is just so much to do! A lot of people struggle with being paralyzed by indecision simply because the amount of work seems almost impossible. That’s why the organization is key – but more important than that is simply knowing how to organize.

Many people divide big tasks into more manageable chunks. That way, they are free to focus on the task at hand, instead of the constant nagging feeling that they have so many other things to do oh no. Simply dividing the task into bits can be a serious way to lighten stress – and that doesn’t apply solely to packing. Just block out all the other things and focus solely on the task you chose. Put on relaxing music, and divide things into as small tasks as you need to feel at ease. Don’t feel guilty over that, the important part is that it’s getting done. Some people can function with wide assignments like “pack the bathroom”, while others will feel more at ease with “pack the dishes”.

A pink marker checking off a list.
Whatever helps you pack efficiently is good! If that means writing down something you’ve already done just to get the rush of satisfaction in checking it off, well… we won’t judge.

How early should you start packing?

It can be difficult to correctly judge how early to start packing. Too early, and you convince yourself you have plenty of time, and procrastinate. Too late, and you’re frantic to get everything done and make mistakes. The easiest way to solve that problem is to put away a block of time each day or every other day dedicated to packing. Be realistic – would you really have 3 hours each day to pack on top of everything else you need to do daily? So put away half an hour each day – it adds up! Dedicate that hour to a very specific task –  “pack the silverware”, “sort my winter clothing”, that kind of thing.

How are you going to sort your things before packing?

If you just dump everything into boxes, you’ll just be making yourself more work when you start to unpack. So be kind to the future version of yourself, and sort your items before packing. Sort your items into three piles – the ‘keep’ pile, the ‘trash’ pile, and the ‘donate or sell’ pile. You can even make a quick buck on the side by organizing a yard sale with any usable but unneeded items! Or, just put them up on craigslist.

Where are you going to get moving supplies to pack efficiently?

Moving supplies include boxes, tape, labels, packing paper, markers, and padding. Good moving boxes don’t need to be expensive though – or cost money at all. Consider joining sites like Freecycle, and see if anyone is already offering moving boxes for free. You can also hit up Starbucks, liquor stores, and bookstores. All of them get deliveries, and so have boxes to spare. Especially liquor stores, since those boxes have to be sturdy to keep all the alcohol bottles inside safe. Ask nicely and be polite! The workers don’t lose anything by letting you have those boxes, but you’re not entitled to them. Most people are very happy to help you, but not if you’re demanding and angry. Your workplace might also have boxes for you – does your workplace get deliveries? Giving you the cardboard saves them work on disposing of it. Everybody’s happy!

A picture of a supermarket, full of boxes and items. Pack efficiently by nabbing some of those!
A good way to pack efficiently is to check if the local grocers will let you have their delivery boxes.

How are you going to use said moving supplies?

A way to pack efficiently is to use towels and socks as padding, and wrap your delicate items in your clothes. That saves space as well as money! Clothes are often more easily maneuvered anyway, so they can be a snug fit for your delicate items. There are a lot of ways to maximize space, but be careful not to fill the boxes to bursting. The last thing you need is your box exploding during the move!

  • Concerned about things like glassware? Put or wrap them in socks. They’ll be fine even with the occasional clink.
  • Take clear photos of complicated set-ups, like the back of your computer tower or your TV. Are you already loathing having to put it all back together? Pack efficiently by saving yourself unpacking time and take as many photos as you need.
  • Consider putting cotton balls between your fragile cosmetics, if you have any.
  • Pack everything that belongs in each room into room specific boxes. You can hunt for all contents across several boxes, or you can just have them all in the same place.
  • Labeling boxes is important. Use different color markers and put the labels on the side of the boxes. That way, you won’t have to move every box that’s on top of the one you’re interested in to know what’s inside. A lot of packing efficiently is about helping you unpack with ease.
  • Use your suitcases as free boxes! You’re packing them anyway, right, might as well get use out of them.
  • Pack a necessity box. That’s a box or bag with essentials you’ll need when on the move. This includes things like phone and laptop chargers, a fresh change of clothes, any needed medicine, anything you need on hand.

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