Strategic Beginnings – What to Start Packing First When Moving Across the Country

April 9, 2024Moving Tips
Madison Rogers

Born and raised in Houston Madison is a content writer who loves traveling. She has lived in different states and is always eager to share her knowledge with others.

Deciding what to start packing first when moving can significantly ease the stress of relocating across the country. A strategic approach to sorting and boxing up all belongings lays the groundwork for an efficient move. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the initial steps of packing, highlighting the importance of planning and prioritization. Let us begin.

What to Start Packing First When Moving Across the Country?

When tackling the question of what to start packaging first when moving across the country, the aim is to move efficiently and with less relocation stress.

Start with items you use less frequently, such as seasonal clothing, decorative pieces, and books. The first rooms that you should clear out are the attic, basement, and garage.

In the US, individual and family relocations account for 44% of moves

By boxing up these non-essentials early, you create a clear path to focus on daily necessities as moving day approaches. This method not only simplifies the packaging process but also helps you maintain order throughout the transition.


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Create a Moving Checklist and Take Care of Pre-Packing Essentials

Creating a moving checklist is crucial for anyone transitioning to a new city, as it lays out a clear packing timeline and ensures no essential task is overlooked. Begin by listing pre-packing essentials, such as gathering important documents, securing moving supplies, and scheduling utility transfers.

This checklist acts as a roadmap, guiding individuals through the complexities of boxing up, from the initial sorting and decluttering to the final box sealed. This phase is also a perfect time to decide what needs to be transported and what you don’t need in the new house.

Select What You’ll Keep and What Will Be Discarded

Deciding what to keep and what to get rid of is a critical first step in preparing for a transition. Creating a detailed inventory of belongings enables individuals to visually comprehend the volume of items they possess and identify duplicates or non-essentials.

This process not only clarifies which belongings are worth taking but also highlights what can be sold, donated, or discarded. For example, clothing not worn in over a year or outdated electronics can be earmarked for disposal. This meticulous selection ensures that only valuable and necessary possessions make it to the next destination.

Declutter Rooms to Lighten the Load

Downsizing for the relocation is an effective strategy to lighten the load before a major change. Start with one room at a time and sort items into categories like ‘keep,’ ‘sell,’ ‘donate,’ or ‘discard.’

Organizing a garage sale or yard sale as a way to repurpose belongings no longer needed while donating to charities ensures they find a new purpose elsewhere. For instance, books can find new homes through local libraries or schools, and clothing can be given to shelters.

Tips for efficient decluttering include setting clear goals for each room and staying committed to the decision of what stays and what goes, significantly easing the overall effort.

Girl trying to decide whether she should keep that shirt or donate
Invite friends and family members to help with decluttering and gift them with items

Identify Non-Essentials In Every Room

Identifying non-essentials in every room is a pivotal strategy for anyone relocating for the first time, aiming for a stress-free moving experience. Non-essential items are those not required for daily living and can include:

  • Books,
  • Out-of-season clothing,
  • Decorative items,
  • Extra linens,
  • Rarely used kitchen gadgets.

For instance, holiday decorations can be packed well in advance, along with wall art, photo albums, and collectibles. Assess each room and determine which items are seldom used. Packaging these belongings early declutters the space and significantly reduces the workload as the moving date approaches.

Gather the Right Packing Supplies and Materials

You would need sturdy boxes of various sizes, bubble wrap for fragile items, paper for wrapping, and strong tape for sealing boxes. Specialty items such as artwork and electronics may require specific materials like corner protectors, foam padding, and furniture covers.

Taking into account the unique needs of each item is crucial. For instance, glassware demands extra cushioning, while books are best packed in smaller boxes to manage weight. Investing in quality packing materials can make a significant difference in the safety of your belongings, leading to a successful relocation.

Bubble wrap and packing paper
Check online platforms as well as supply stores for quality materials

Start Packing Non-Essentials Room-By-Room

Adopting a room-by-room approach when it comes to non-essentials is a packing strategy for moving that can make the process easier. This method allows for a more organized transition, making it simpler to unpack and settle into the new space.

Pack efficiently by starting with rooms and items that are least used to minimize disruption to daily life and gradually prepare the entire home for the final day. This emphasizes the importance of methodical progress, allowing each space to be carefully addressed.

Tackle Storage Areas First - Basements, Attics, and Garages

Storage areas like basements, attics, and garages should be the first to be addressed. These spaces often contain items that are infrequently used. A good starting point is to pack old paintings, lamps, seasonal decorations, and equipment that won’t be needed in the immediate future.

By focusing on these areas first, valuable space is freed up for storing packed boxes and organizing supplies, streamlining the overall packaging endeavor. This strategy not only declutters major living areas but also provides a clear indication of the progress made.

Move Onto the Living Room and Bedroom

After addressing storage areas, the next step involves boxing up non-essential possessions found in the living room and bedroom. These include, for example, books, which can be securely packed in small to medium boxes. Decorative items, such as vases and picture frames, should be wrapped individually to prevent damage.

Some furniture pieces, like occasional tables and non-essential chairs, can be disassembled if possible, to save space and protect them during transport. Focusing on these belongings reduces clutter and helps visualize the remaining essentials.

Gradually Package the Least-Used Kitchenware

In the kitchen, start by packaging the least-used kitchenware. This category includes items like special occasion dinnerware, extra cooking utensils, and seldom-used appliances, such as ice cream makers, large platters, and holiday-themed dishes.

Packaging these items early on ensures that only the most essential kitchenware remains accessible for daily use, simplifying meals as the packaging process continues. Each piece should be wrapped in bubble wrap or paper to prevent breakage, and cardboard boxes should be clearly labeled to facilitate unpacking.

Take Time to Secure Valuable and Fragile Items

Securing valuable and fragile items demands attention to detail and should be undertaken once non-essentials are out of the way. Fragile and valuable items include glassware, heirlooms, jewelry, and artwork, which require specialized materials like bubble wrap, packaging peanuts, and sturdy boxes. The best time for this task is midway through the preparation process, when the home is partially packed but still provides enough space and time to handle these items delicately.

Pack Artwork, Antiques, and Collectibles With Care

The easiest way to pack artwork, antiques, and collectibles is by first assessing each item’s unique requirements for protection. Artwork should be wrapped in acid-free paper to prevent tarnishing, followed by bubble wrap for added cushioning.

Sturdy, flat boxes are ideal for paintings, while sculptures and antiques may need custom crating. Collectibles, particularly those with intricate details, should be individually wrapped and placed in boxes with plenty of cushioning material to prevent shifting.

Ensure a Safe Relocation of Electronics

For least-used electronics, such as a TV that’s seldom watched, packaging early on in the process can simplify tasks later. Begin by securing the original boxes and materials if available.

If original packaging is not an option, wrap electronics in anti-static bubble wrap to prevent static electricity from damaging the components. Sturdy boxes should be used, with sufficient padding at the bottom, sides, and top to protect against impact. Label these boxes as containing electronics and indicate which side should face up.

A man and a woman carrying a TV after getting door to door auto transport
Efficient packing tips include wrapping items in bubble wrap and filling voids with cushioning materials

Organize Packed Labeled Boxes

Organizing packed and labeled boxes significantly enhances the efficiency of the entire relocation process. Proper labeling involves marking each box with its contents and the room it belongs to, which aids in the immediate placement and unpacking upon arrival.

Additionally, creating a relocation inventory — a comprehensive list of all boxes and their contents — serves as a crucial tool for tracking belongings throughout the move. This list not only facilitates the organization of boxes in the moving vehicle. It ensures that heavier boxes are loaded first and fragile items are placed on top.

The Role of Professional Movers in Your Packing Strategy

Hiring movers for packing can significantly alleviate the stress associated with relocating. When investing in moving services, it’s advisable to inquire about professional packaging options. This option can range from handling delicate items to boxing up the entire household.

To find a reputable moving and car shipping company like USA Auto Transport, start by researching reviews and seeking recommendations from friends who’ve recently relocated. Requesting quotes from multiple companies allows for a comparison of services making sure you get the best deal.

Choose a company that offers comprehensive services, including packaging, storage, and car shipping via open trailer or, for more valuable cars, enclosed auto transport. Use the Better Business Bureau website to check the rating of each company that you find.

Movers carrying sofa
Professional moving and packing services might be the answer to your worries

Full or Partial Packing Services – Tailored to Your Needs

Full packing services offer the convenience of having professionals pack your entire household, perfect for those facing tight schedules or preferring not to deal with the hassle of boxing up.

On the other hand, partial packaging services allow you to handpick specific items or areas for the movers to focus on, such as fragile items, heavy furniture, or particular rooms. Requesting the preferred option is as simple as discussing your needs during the initial consultation with the moving and auto transport company.

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Reach Out to the Company That Won’t Disappoint You – USA Auto Transport

USA Auto Transport stands out by offering exemplary moving services that cater to a wide range of needs. Apart from being a trusted name in relocating belongings safely and efficiently, USA Auto Transport has been shipping cars in the USA for a long time. We provide flexible options like door-to-door auto transport for utmost convenience and terminal-to-terminal car shipping.

With a commitment to delivering high-quality service, meticulous attention to detail, and personalized options to match every unique relocation plan, USA Auto Transport is the go-to choice for those seeking reliability and excellence in their moving journey. Contact us and entrust your move and vehicle relocation to professionals who prioritize your satisfaction and peace of mind.


When Is the Best Time to Start Packaging for a Move?

Starting preparations early is advisable, ideally several weeks before the transition date, focusing initially on non-essential items. This approach allows for a more manageable and stress-free experience.

What Items Should I Definitely Pack Myself?

Valuables such as important documents, jewelry, and personal electronic devices should always be handled personally. These items are irreplaceable and carry significant personal value, necessitating special attention and care.

How Can I Ensure My Fragile Items Are Safely Packed?

For fragile items, using the right materials like bubble wrap, paper, and sturdy boxes is critical. Additionally, clearly labeling these boxes as containing delicate items alerts handlers to proceed with caution. This method reduces the risk of damage during transit.

What Are the Benefits of Using Professional Packing Services?

Professional services offer expertise and efficiency, making the transition smoother and less overwhelming. They bring the necessary materials and techniques to protect belongings, providing peace of mind. This investment can save time and alleviate stress, making it a valuable option for many.

How Do I Stay Organized During the Packing Process?

To maintain organization, creating a detailed inventory list and labeling boxes by room and contents is effective. Utilizing a systematic approach to tackle one area at a time prevents chaos. This strategy simplifies both the departure and the settling-in processes, creating a sense of control and efficiency.

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