If you are packing for your move yourself, the kitchen may well be a daunting prospect. So many bits and pieces and different kinds of objects including many that are sharp, fragile or perishable.
Where to begin?
Start well in advance
If you end up packing in a rush you are likely to regret it. The kitchen is so full of individual items that unless you are careful you’ll find chaos reigns at the other end and you end up having to open and empty box after box to find the tin opener in a hurry. Therefore planning and organization are key.
Get plenty of boxes and other packaging materials
You will need boxes of various sizes and strengths (some kitchen items can be extremely heavy). Ideally some boxes should have dividers for bottles and the like. You’ll need paper or bubble wrap, tape and pens for labeling boxes so you can find things easily afterwards. Try to be specific, e.g. write ‘cutlery’ on the box, not just ‘kitchen’.
Your removal company may be able to provide you with the necessary materials.
Tackle one area at a time
In order to minimize the disruption and mess, try to be disciplined about completing a cupboard or drawer before moving on, otherwise you could find that all the difficult items are still lying around at the end of the day.
Start with areas containing rarely used items
There are plenty of things in the kitchen you’ll be able to manage without for a while. These are likely to include appliances such as ice cream, pasta or bread makers as well as cake tins, mixers and so on. Also large serving platters usually used for special occasions, your ‘best’ glasses and tableware and any extra tea towels, as well as any purely decorative items such as pictures from the walls. Cookbooks should all be packed together flat to avoid damaging them. Remember they can get very heavy, so be careful not to overload a box of books.
Sort as you go
Have one box to receive anything that is going to the local charity shop (we’ve all got appliances or wedding gifts that are never used - why pay a removals company to take them with you?). This is also a good time to discard things that are broken or redundant but have found their way to the back of a drawer and lurked unseen for ages, so have a big bin beside you as you sort. Broken electrical items should be taken to your local recycling centre.
Try to keep things together so that they are easy to find and unpack at the other end, e.g. a box for crockery, another for flatware.
Try to use up foodstuffs
Most foodstuffs are not worth the trouble and expense of moving. Remember that removal companies will quote by volume, so you need to reduce the amount of unnecessary items to save money. By starting to plan early enough, you should be able to minimise the amount of food in the house in the run up to the move. Don’t forget the contents of the freezer - you can’t transport these unless your new place is very close by, and even then it’s probably not worth the hassle. If you can’t use it up, give it away or chuck it out.
OLIO is perfect if you are moving house and want to get rid of unwanted food. This free app connects you with your local community so any excess food can be shared and not thrown away.
Inevitably, there will be things left over in most well stocked family kitchens, such as spices and spirits which you will want to take with you.
Prepare large appliances
If you are taking things like a fridge, dishwasher or cooker with you, you will need to take steps to ensure this is done safely. Check the manuals or consult an expert and bear in mind that this could take up to 24 hours, e.g. to defrost the freezer in preparation for the move. Eat up as much frozen food as possible, as removal firms cannot be expected to move full fridges or full freezers. Cookers need to be professionally disconnected.
Some removal companies have personnel trained in this area, so ask them first. Otherwise, you will need to employ a CORGI plumber or an electrician to safely organize this.
Leave out items that you will use right up to the move or want straight away when you arrive. These are likely to include a small amount of cutlery and crockery, a kettle, and coffee or tea, as well as a few basic cleaning items and foodstuffs for the family. Paper cups and plastic spoons are useful to save on washing up. Remember, you could arrive tired and hungry in the middle of the night (even if that is not the plan).
As well as being able to provide a snack or meal, you may want to toast your arrival in your new home with a drink, in which case, remember the glasses and corkscrew! It’s a good idea, too, to have a knife to open the rest of your boxes, and torches, lightbulbs, candles, matches and loo roll, just to be on the safe side.
Make sure you have a labeled box to put these essentials into at the last minute so that you can locate them immediately on arrival. That way you can manage without unpacking everything. You may want to keep this box with you on the journey in your car, rather than loading it onto the removals vehicle, so it’s to hand as soon as you arrive.
Last reviewed October 2016