There’s a reason some people are called professionals. The term implies they’re the best at what they do. Did you know the term can even apply to movers? Professional movers know how to pack for a move to prevent damage, along with figuring out the logistics for big and small moves.

Even if you can’t handle the transportation part of your move, you can take care of the packing. You may be able to save on your moving costs. This means you need packing tips for a small move.

After all, if you’re the one responsible for packing you have only yourself to blame if something is broken during transit.

How to Pack for a Move: Tips for Small Moves

Your small move may only include a few items but this doesn’t mean you want them rattling around in your car. You need to carefully pack your belongings but this isn’t as easy as it sounds. If you’re hiring professional movers, trust us when we say they expect your stuff to be packed up and ready to go. If it’s not, there’s a good chance the movers will cancel your appointment.

Now you’re stuck without movers and your stuff is still lying around. Thankfully, if you follow a few easy steps you can learn how to pack for a move like a professional mover.

Gather Your Packing Supplies

Yes, you’re going to need packing supplies and it’s often a list of essentials. Which type of supplies you need typically depends on what you’re packing. For example, if you’re packing up your ceramic dish set, a metal crate probably isn’t the best option. So, think about each item before you start gathering random packing supplies.

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Chances are you’re going to need some or all of the following:

  • Various size boxes: You can pack pretty much anything in a cardboard box. Clothing, dishes, albums, bathroom essentials, you get the idea. Just be conscious of the weight as you’re packing. Even the sturdiest box can only hold so much before breaking. You also want to be able to easily lift the box, especially if you’re handling every aspect of your small move. You can buy boxes from most moving companies. Local businesses like grocery stores often hand old product boxes away for free.
  • Tape stronger than scotch or masking tape: If you have a roll of duct tape lying around, it’ll work fine for sealing up boxes. Stay away from scotch and masking tape. While great for general household uses like taping paper to the refrigerator, neither is strong enough to use for packing. You’re going to need to purchase a roll of packing tape. Don’t worry, it’s an inexpensive purchase. You can find packing tape at the moving service and in most hardware stores.
  • Plastic bags: You know the plastic bags that typically hold your groceries and you’re never sure how to reuse them? Now, you have a use. Plastic bags are great for holding items like silverware. You can also use the bags to pack open bottles of shampoo and conditioner. If the bottle accidentally pops open during the move, the plastic bag prevents the contents from getting all over other items. You can even use plastic bags for any non-perishable food you’re bringing along on the move.
  • Newspaper, packing paper, blankets, etc: You need to fill in the gaps in some boxes, which helps keep items from shifting during the move. Some items are fragile and can’t be tossed into a box or crate without protection, and this is when packing materials like paper and blankets come in handy. Along with filling in gaps, the materials can also be used to wrap delicate items. Bubble wrap is another inexpensive option, but it’s not as eco-friendly as packing paper and newsprint. The only downside to using newsprint is the ink tends to transfer to anything the paper touches, and this is something to consider if you use it to wrap anything breakable.
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You’re also going to need scissors or a utility knife to cut the packing tape. When it’s time to open and unpack the boxes, these items will also come in handy. A marker is something else you should have. This way you can mark what’s inside each box. You can even write where each box goes to make unpacking a little less confusing.

Start with the Rooms

Even professional movers tend to have unique packing methods. However, if you want to learn how to pack for a move correctly, start by packing up one room at a time. You can start in the kitchen and move to the living room—you get the idea. 

You should also try to keep similar items together in a box. For example, don’t mix your pantry items like uncooked pasta with your counter appliances. Keeping similar items together is another trick to make unpacking a little easier.

Don’t pack up items you’re planning on using up to moving day. If your coffee maker is in use daily, leave it out until a few hours before the movers are scheduled to arrive. If you have a box or two with random essentials from different rooms, it’s okay. You can always label the box as holding essentials. This way, you still have a good idea of its contents.

After packing up your stuff, push the boxes and crates off to the side. Against a wall works great. The goal is to leave a clear path to the doorway for larger items like furniture and appliances. These are the items the movers are going to load first. Your boxes are last on the truck. If you’re moving furniture or appliances, grab your old blankets.

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Wrapping at least the edges/corners of these items can help prevent damage during the move. If you’re running low on blankets, run down to the thrift store. You should be able to find inexpensive blankets so you won’t mind getting a little dirty.

You Can Pack Like a Professional Mover

Handling the packing yourself can indeed be a cost-effective strategy for moving. Many essential packing materials, such as boxes, can often be obtained for free from local stores. Starting the packing process early allows you to organize at your own pace, reducing last-minute stress and ensuring that everything is secured properly. 

Taking your time to learn packing techniques can also dramatically improve your efficiency and protect your belongings. With a bit of practice, you can develop skills akin to a professional packer, further ensuring that your items are safely transported to your new location.