What to pack first when moving house: the ultimate guide.

What to pack first when moving house is a question I get asked all the time. Knowing when to start packing to move can be the key to keeping your stress levels down during the packing process and moving day. In this post, we will discuss packing tips, what to pack first when moving house, and the best time to start packing. Whether you prefer to get a moving company or friend to help you move into your new home, it’s never too early to start packing for a move!

Before you even think about packing up your house, you’ll need to do some preparation first. You need to make sure you have all the packing materials you will need to pack.

You will need:

You will need to create some storage areas in your house to store your moving boxes once they are full. A garage or spare room is ideal, however, not all of us are lucky enough to have space like that, so I just stacked mine up at the edges of the rooms.

When to start packing for a move

There is no correct time to start packing up, however, I would suggest that as soon as you are thinking about selling your home you need to start to purge and declutter a lot of your stuff.

For some advice on how to declutter ready for your move read this post

There is no better time to get rid of clothes which don’t fit or are just too shabby. Or better still why not create a capsule wardrobe and save those packing boxes for the stuff you really love!

One of the best ways to pack for a move is to make sure you’re not taking stuff with you that you don’t need. The emptier your moving truck is, the cheaper your moving cost estimate will be.

Declutter in this order

Create a packing station similar to my Christmas one by using a large basket containing all your packing supplies.

What to pack first when moving: checklist

It’s common sense to pack the non-essential items first, however, we keep so much stuff and own so many things that it can be completely overwhelming. This is a list of what to pack first when moving house.

Time needed: 12 days

Packing order checklist

  1. Children’s books.

    This is always a good place to start. Often kids have so many books that you are able to keep a few favourites out to read and box the rest. Donate any books which are outgrown or not being read, and bin any tatty or broken books.

  2. Children’s toys

    Kids often only play with about 10% of the toys they own, keep the favorite toys out and pack the rest.

  3. All ornaments

    Anything that doesn’t have a purpose or doesn’t get used can be packed up. I’m sure you can live without a few candles and fake flowers for a few weeks. Get it all packed up, there’s no point leaving it to the last minute!

  4. Cushions and throws

    Keep out the bare minimum of cushions you need to be comfortable and pack all living room throws and cushions. I like to use these in between the fragile items in the boxes especially to wrap up larger breakable items.

  5. Out of season coats, clothes and shoes.

    Anything that is not in season can be packed away, you’ll be surprised how much space out of season stuff takes up.

  6. Under the stairs, the basement and loft.

    This is often a place where we store stuff which we don’t use very often. Have a look and pack everything you don’t need.

  7. Books

    Get rid of anything you’ve already read or will never read, old books, books you’ve not picked up in twenty years, and books from college, get rid of them all, read my post about getting a minimalist book collection above to get you started.

  8. Unused kitchen gadgets.

    You can probably pack away juicers, soup makers, bread makers, air fryers, food processors, blenders, mixers etc. You can definitely live without them for a few weeks. I would keep the slow cooker or instant pot as they are really helpful kitchen items to use when you’re busy packing, for a stress-free evening meal!
    Cake tins, baking sheets, spatulas, and any baking equipment can also be packed.

  9. Food

    This is not so much packing but certainly decluttering. Do you really want to move that half-used packet of mung beans? If you don’t use it get rid of it, especially anything short-dated!

  10. Mugs, cups, glasses, Tupperware and dinnerware.

    Unless you’re planning on a party before you move, pack away as much as you can and only leave out the bare minimum, you may need to wash your dishes by hand for the next few weeks but at least you’ll have a head start on your packing.
    Now is a good time to get rid of any extra, mismatched and unloved dinnerware, lids and Tupperware.

  11. Makeup and toiletries

    Get rid of anything you don’t use, anything over the recommended use-by date on the packaging.
    Put together a small makeup bag containing only the essential day to night makeup and pack everything else. Try to use up any half-opened bottles of body lotion, shower gel, etc, now, rather than packing them!

  12. Sentimental

    This is a really difficult area to pack as it can be difficult to separate yourself from wanting to browse through photos and sentimental letters etc, this is why I suggest doing these items towards the end of your packing journey. Pack it all up and promise yourself a blissful afternoon of reminiscing in your new home after you are settled. If you are suffering from grief or depression it might be a good idea to have someone help you pack your sentimental items for support.

  13. Sheds and garages

    Just like basements and lofts, these areas are full of clutter! Brace yourself and get it done!

If you’re not already a subscriber to my list I’ve created this amazing FREE STARTER PACK of printable loveliness! Included is:

  • Two weeks of micro tasks
  • Checklist to tick off the micro tasks when complete
  • Places you may forget to pack!

What are you waiting for? Whether you’re at the start of your journey or just need a little boost, this FREE printable packing planner will make your move a little easier! Click here ? to subscribe to our weekly updates!

moving planner

Moving companies

If you are short of time or you want to know how to pack for a move in a hurry, you should get some free moving estimates for packing services from a few moving companies who can do all the packing for you.


How do I find movers who I can trust?

Ask around your friends as word of mouth is always a good place to start. There are many local facebook communities where you can ask for recommendations.
If you are distance moving recommendation is essential. It is always advisable to compare moving costs with removal companies before you book.

What are the best boxes for moving house?

The best way to pack for moving is to use small sturdy boxes. If you use large boxes you may be tempted to overfill them and find it difficult to lift when it is time to put them on the van.

Where can I find a how-to pack for a move checklist

Wondering where to start packing to move? You can find our free moving checklist in our exclusive free library when you sign up to our updates! Print off this quick list and follow the how-to pack-when- moving instructions and be super organised in no time! Click on the list below for details!

What is the best way to pack for moving?

One of the best ways to pack for a move is to make sure you pack up in plenty of time and use a methodical method. I like to pack up room by room, leaving the most frequently used room such as the kitchen and living room until last.

What to pack last when moving

The room to pack up last is your kitchen, this is the area where most things are used right up until the day before your move. Pack up most unused gadgets, baking supplies, plates and cups and only keep the bare minimum out to use. Embrace your inner minimalist!

When to start packing when buying a house

How to start packing for a move: as soon as you know you are going to be moving you can start getting rid of any clutter and old furniture that will not be coming to your new house. You can start to ring packers and movers for their free estimate and cheapest quote and let them know when your approximate moving date will be. Knowing how to pack for moving house comes with experience, however, you can do many things to make the practice easier:
1. Declutter, don’t take anything to your new home that you would be too embarrassed to sell at a yard sale!
2. Pack non-essentials way ahead of time.
3. Clear out garages and sheds first, these are usually areas people forget to empty until time is running out, they are also often the areas with the most clutter!
4. Make sure you have plenty of packing boxes for moving house you’ll be amazed how many you go through!
5. Plan your moving costs and make sure your finances cover everything you need. Now is a good time to create a moving budget

How to pack a messy house to move

Start packing as early as possible, declutter as much as you can and do not get bogged down with sentimental stuff. There will be plenty of time to go through all that when you are in your new house. Consider getting help, and remember that it will be easier to clean once all the clutter has gone and the essential items are packed in boxes the cleaning to last!

How to pack a house in 3 days.

Knowing how to pack to move in a hurry can be completely overwhelming, try to enlist as much help as you can, declutter as much as you can on the first day then start packing up as much of the breakable stuff into boxes. If you have to throw everything else in black bin bags and sort it all out after you move then do that, you’ll have plenty of time at the other end to sort through it all. Only take what you really love and use, donate the rest. Concentrate on getting everything into bags and boxes with a sticky label telling you which room they are to go into once you are in the new house.

Packing to move where to start?

Make a list! Think about how many months, weeks, and days you have left until you move and give yourself jobs for every day up until the move. Try not to schedule too much on the days you are busy! Leave the big jobs for the quieter days in your diary! How to pack for a move is all about being organised well ahead of time. Make a list and get as much done as possible, as early as you can! Check out my how-to pack to move checklist which will tell you some of the first things to pack to get yourself on the journey to a stress-free move.

Do you have any amazing moving tips? Let us know in the comments below!

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What to pack first when moving home

For more information on managing your moving costs read this

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