Packing and Moving Essentials for a Smooth Move

Young woman packing boxes

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I have moved 4 times between 2018 and 2023, and I’ve learned quite a lot about the best items to use for packing and moving. I shared in Episode 107 my top 25 packing and moving tips. To go along with those tips, here are my packing and moving essentials for a smooth move.

Essential Items for Packing

Let’s start with the obvious… boxes and containers. Some stores, like groceries, liquor stores, and office supply companies, offer heavy-duty boxes. If you are a member of your neighborhood’s Facebook group, you can post in there to see if anyone has boxes they’re willing to donate as well. The main home supply stores, including Home Depot and Lowe’s, have all kinds of boxes, as does Amazon. I found certain boxes to be very helpful, including a TV moving box that could also be used for moving a large piece of artwork. 

If you need a bunch of new sturdy boxes, I really like Bankers boxes because they have handles, and I like how the bottom folds down so it doesn’t have to be taped. It just seems sturdier to me. 

There are also great storage totes that are very sturdy. I use these Rubbermaid storage totes for storing holiday decorations. For linens, pillows, and clothes, I really like these blue jumbo heavy-duty moving bags. They have come in handy for all kinds of uses!

One more container, so to speak, is a mattress bag to protect your mattress during the move. Check with your movers to see how much they will charge you for a mattress bag, and compare that to purchasing one yourself. 

Let’s move on to the packing and cushioning materials. Use your own linens to wrap items. If you have a box that is already heavy but has a lot of space still in it, a pillow is a great item to stuff that box to the top. I use a combination of wrapping materials. Bubble wrap and foam wrap are common, and I have used them both. Two more economical and environmentally-friendly options are honeycomb packing paper and newsprint packing paper sheets. The honeycomb packing paper can be easily torn apart as you are wrapping items. The newsprint packing paper can also be used for crafts. Both are recyclable. 

Another type of packing material is stretch wrap. It comes in all sizes and can be used to wrap different items. I used this 5” x 1000’ roll of stretch wrap to wrap rolling drawers with my scrapbooking supplies, as well as my silverware organizer with my silverware still in it. That way, when I unpacked, I just had to remove the stretch wrap, and my silverware was already organized and could simply be placed in the drawer. Plus, this stretch wrap lasts a long time! I’ve used this 2-pack of stretch wrap in 3 moves now, and I still have some left over!

I recommend labeling a box as you pack it. There were many boxes that I half-packed and then left open to search for items to fill it up with, and then a week later I had to dig through the box again to remind myself what I had originally packed in it. Sharpies are the go-to permanent markers for a reason. I always use Sharpies for labeling boxes.

Of course, packing a box is not complete until it is closed and taped up. This is not an area where you want to skimp! Scotch Heavy Duty Packaging Tape is the gold standard, in my opinion. Some people like a tape gun, but I often struggle with them and just prefer using a good tape hand dispenser

Essential Items for Moving

One item to have on hand throughout your move is a first aid kit. Whether it’s someone cutting themselves, tripping, or getting stung by a wasp, having a first aid kit helps when you’ve already packed up your bathrooms. You can quickly find any first aid needs with a kit that’s readily available. 

Another item to have on hand is a multipurpose tool set. This tool set isn’t too bulky and has just about everything you would need during a move. 

One last item to have available during a move is a folding stepstool. I like this sturdy stepstool because it has 3 steps, a high weight limit (remember to calculate your weight plus whatever you are lifting), and wide anti-slip pedals. It’s large enough to reach most heights while also being able to fit in most vehicles. 

Essential Items for Your New Home

Now that you are in your new home, it’s time to unpack! You will have a lot of boxes to open, and probably also some stretch wrap that either you or the movers wrapped your furniture with to protect drawers and other items from shifting during the move. This fully auto retractable box cutter is the best, and the safest, one I’ve found. In fact, my brother found it and bought it for my parents during their last move, and I then bought one for myself. I also recommend investing in quality pair of heavy-duty all purpose scissors. I have used these scissors countless times over the last month, before and after my move!

I’ve found that I enjoy using a shelf liner, particularly in kitchen cabinets and drawers. Some shelf liners stick to dishes and become bunched up, which is a pain. This Duck Smooth Top EasyLiner, available in various sizes and patterns, is my favorite – it’s non-adhesive, but it stays in place and does not stick to my dishes and glasses. 

In many apartments and houses, the closet and pantry shelves are the coated wire shelves. My problem with these shelves is that items fall through the spaces. I need an even surface! This Shelf-It Liner for wire shelving with locking tabs is perfect! It comes in different sizes, which is perfect because I needed the 12” deep liner for my closets and the 16” deep liner for my pantry. 

I can’t tell you how many times before and after my move that I have needed to measure a space or furniture. When I’m by myself, the tape measure can be cumbersome. I love using a good laser measure like this RockSeed digital laser distance meter

What are your packing and moving essentials to help you have a smooth move? Email me at with your input.

Thanks for connecting with me!

Let me know how I can help you, or share your story with me here. — Amanda