Packing your things can seem like a daunting task. We always have a lot more things than we think we do, and packing always takes much longer than we expected it to.

To help you plan and approach your big move, here are 15 tips for packing your home more efficiently. Hopefully they will help you save time and avoid damage to your things during your next home move.

1. Decide Whether to go Pro or Pack Yourself

Choose whether you want to hire professional packers or pack yourself

Packing your house can seem a daunting task, so if you don’t think you can get it done in time or would just prefer to leave it to the experts, consider hiring professional packers to pack your home for you.

If you are hiring a professional moving company to move your items, it may be worth finding out how much extra it will be to pack your items as well.

Hiring professional packers can save a lot of time and stress. Professional packers will have quality boxes that are of a uniform size, which means they will stack better in the moving truck. They will know how to pack items efficiently to fill the boxes completely, as well as ensuring that everything is safely packed to avoid any damages to your things.

Yet, packing yourself will save you money. So it’s worth weighing up to decide on which avenue is best for you and your whānau.

2. Use a Packing List

AMS Moving Checklist

So you’ve decided to pack your things yourself. The first step now is to get a packing checklist to help you plan your move.

A packing checklist will help you remember all the things you need to pack, some time frames around packing your items, as well as things you cannot pack.

Some moving companies will provide you a packing checklist when you hire them for your home move. If you are moving yourself, check online for a packing checklist that you can download such as this one.

3. Buy Your Packing Kit

Buy your packing kit, packing tape and supplies

The next step to packing your home is to buy your packing kit.

A packing kit consists of all the things you need to pack up your home. Here are some items you will likely need in your packing kit, based on an average 3 bedroom house.

  • 20 boxes – mixture of 10 small boxes, 10 large boxes
  • 1 tape dispenser
  • 2 tape rolls
  • 1 roll of bubble wrap
  • 50 newsprint sheets
  • 1 permanent marker pen

You may also be able to get free, second-hand boxes from family, friends or your local community. Asking on Facebook is a great option. Try and avoid mismatched size and shape boxes as these are hard to stack neatly into moving trucks. Avoid broken, squashed or boxes with low integrity as these will squish under weight when the boxes are stacked, or could break when being carried, which could result in damage to your things.

4. Start Packing Up to 6 Weeks in Advance

Start packing long before your move date

Get started on your packing as early as possible – up to 6 weeks in advance if possible. That might seem like a long time but you will thank yourself later. Basically, once you are sure of your move – whether you have sold or are renting – start thinking about packing. 

Begin by packing your least used spaces and rooms first. Do you have a spare bedroom? Closets or cupboards with rarely used items? Garage or shed storage? These are all great places to start as you will not likely need the items before you move and you after packing these unused spaces, you can clean them and then can tick whole spaces off as being complete. 

5. Pack Light Items in Large Boxes & Heavy Items into Small Boxes

Be careful not to overpack your large boxes with heavy items like books. If boxes get too heavy they will not only be hard to safely move, but may break when being carried.

Pack your lighter items neatly and as efficiently as possible into your large boxes. Think of each box as a jigsaw puzzle and try to fill them as completely as possible. This will save time and money on moving day with less items to move.

Items that are heavy should be packed into smaller, thicker boxes. 

6. Pack Your Suitcases

Pack your suitcases

Don’t forget to utilise the space in your suitcases. These will take the same space in your moving vehicle whether empty or full, so get these all packed up.

Consider packing your suitcases with items like clothing or linen.

7. Wrap Fragile Items

Wrap all your glassware

Fragile items like glassware need to be carefully wrapped before packing.

Newspaper is great for this job, as is bubblewrap. Or you can use your tea towels and other linen to wrap your valuables.

Fragile items like glasses, plates and mugs need to be individually wrapped and carefully packed together in their box. Don’t forget to label the box clearly. For example “Kitchen – Glasses – Fragile”. 

Items like artwork, pictures and paintings should also all be wrapped. You can use your blankets and linen to wrap them, or use bubblewrap, and carefully stack them together.

If your items cannot be wrapped – such as your child’s lego creations – consider putting them in your car and taking these yourself.

8. Clearly Label All Boxes

Clearly label all your packing boxes

Don’t forget to clearly label every box as you pack it. Once you get a few boxes stacked up you will quickly forget what is in each box! Clear labelling also helps you or your movers to place your boxes in the right rooms after the move, so you are on the front foot when it comes time to unpack. 

As you pack each box clearly label it to show which room it belongs to, as well as what is in it. 

If you have fragile items in the box, label it Fragile.

If you have items that need to not be turned upside down, you can draw an arrow along with a “This way up” label.

Some examples of labels might include:

  • Kitchen 
    Plates
    Fragile
  • Main Bedroom
    Clothing
  • Kitchen
    Food
  • Kid’s Bedroom
    Toys

9. Purge!

Purge unwanted items when packing

Most of us have way more things than we need or use. They stay tucked away in unused corners of our garages, in cupboards, and hidden storage spaces. Then come moving time, we’re suddenly overwhelmed by just how much stuff we have!

It’s a good idea to start thinking about all the things you don’t need, don’t use, or might “one day” use, long before you start packing.

Go through your draws and closets and donate unwanted and good quality clothing. There are lots of clothing bins around New Zealand towns and cities, or you can find a Salvation Army or Nurse Maud store to drop them into. 

Go through your linen cupboard and donate unwanted linen. Throw away old pillows.

Go through your garage, sheds and cupboards and throw away anything that is broken. Donate or sell anything you don’t use.

Go through your kitchen cupboards and pantry. Start using open and perishable food items in the weeks and days leading up to your move. Throw away any out-of-date food. Recycle any unnecessary jars and containers.

10. Don't Pack Important Documents

Don’t pack your Passports or important documents that cannot be replaced, or are sensitive and should not be lost. This is very important if you are moving overseas as you will need your Passport!

Place these in a special box that you keep with you in your own vehicle to ensure their safety. This will also mean if anything should happen to your items, you have them with you. 

12. Don't Pack Hazardous Goods or Chemicals Like Weedkiller

Some items cannot be packed and transported by your moving company unless they are registered to transport dangerous goods. If you do need dangerous goods transported, you will need to discuss these items with your transport provider and pack them according to their instructions.

There are lots of home products that cannot be packed and are classed as dangerous goods. Some of these items include everyday items things:

  • Weedkiller
  • Fireworks
  • Methane
  • Paint
  • Turpentine
  • Petrol
  • Pool chemicals

13. Wrap Whiteware and Furniture

Wrap whiteware and furniture

What about your big items like furniture, mattresses and whiteware? Anything that can be damaged, should be wrapped. 

For items like whiteware and wooden furniture, its a good idea to wrap these with blankets and secure with ties, or wrap with bubblewrap and secure with tape.

Wrap your mattress with plastic to keep it clean and undamaged. You can buy specific mattress protecting wraps from places like Bunnings or just wrap with plastic or bubblewrap.

14. Pack a Moving Day Kit

Come moving day, things can get a bit hectic! It’s a great idea to pack a moving day kit so that you aren’t suddenly panicking to find things you need but have already packed.

Some things you might like to have in your moving day kit include:

  • Cups, plates and cutlery for breakfast.
  • Food, coffee and milk for breakfast.
  • Your phone and phone charger. Try and ensure your phone has full charge, but keep your charger nearby in case you need it.
  • Your wallet, license, keys and important documents for your move such as Purchase Agreement or Rental Agreement.
  • Phone numbers for your real estate agent, solicitor, movers or other key people involved in your move.
  • Energy filled snacks for your day.
  • Bottle of water.
  • Valuable jewellery and important documents that you did not pack with everything else.

15. Stay Calm!

Stay calm

Moving is a stressful time. Don’t forget to stay calm and breathe. Everything will be ok.

Kia kaha e hoa. Stay strong friend.