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How to pack when you move house

Moving house is notoriously a stressful time, especially when there’s lots to think about and organise. If you’ve been worrying about which rooms you should pack first, when you should start packing or even how to pack your house, we’ve put together a handy guide to help make your move stress-free.

How to pack when you move house

Whether you’re packing months in advance or leaving your move to the last minute, it’s a good idea to plan ahead so that when the time comes, you know exactly what’s going where and in which order.

The most obvious rooms to start with are the main rooms in your house, including the kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms and living rooms, but there are some rooms you might have forgotten about – such as the garage or utility room. Use this guide to work through your home and before you know it, you’ll be all packed and ready to go!

Tip: Ask your removal company whether they can dismantle and reassemble your furniture for you. This might cost extra, but it means you will be able to get on with all the other things you have to do. If you are disassembling your furniture yourself, do as much as you can in advance of your move date.

How to pack your bedroom

Packing clothes - Wardrobe boxes are ideal for transporting your hanging garments, so it’s a good idea to ask your removals company if they can supply you with some. These tall boxes have a hanging rail, so you can just transfer your clothes on their coat hangers straight into the wardrobe boxes. See our video demonstration of how to pack your wardrobe boxes. If you aren’t using wardrobe boxes, make sure you have enough storage to fit your clothing in, or use suitcases for clothes you want to fold away.

Tip: If you want some extra protection for your special clothes, cover them with bin liners; poke a hole in the bottom and thread the hook of the hanger through it.

How to move and dismantle a bed - On the morning of your move, strip the bed so your removal company can begin moving it straight away. Fold your sheets, duvet cover and pillowcases and place them in a separate box or bag, or alternatively, use them to pad out a box of fragile items.

To dismantle your bed, remove the mattress to access the bed frame. Using a screwdriver, an Allen key and possibly a hammer, begin removing the bed’s slats; placing them all in a pile to one side before you unscrew the frame. Your bed should now be in handy transportable pieces, ready to go to your new home.

Cover your mattress to prevent damage when moving. Stretch wrap is a great material to use for wrapping your mattress but you can also use a mattress bag, or wrap it in old sheets, blankets, or dust sheets.

Why not watch our expert demonstration to guide you through how to move your bed?

Tip: When dismantling bedroom furniture, keep all the screws, nuts and bolts in a sandwich bag, and attach the bag to the piece of furniture. This will keep all the bits and pieces together, ready to reassemble at the other end of your journey.

How to pack your bathroom

Linen - Keep your clean linen, bath mats and bathroom towels separately stored in a cardboard box.  It’s also a good idea to leave out enough towels for your family to use until you are settled so you don’t have to worry about trying to unpack as soon as you move.

Medicine Cabinet - Sort through your medicine cabinet and clear out any medication that has gone past its expiry date. You can dispose of these by taking them to a chemist rather than throwing them in the bin.

Tip:. Your removals firm will not want to move your cleaning detergents, such as bleach, so make sure these are used up before you move and not packed into the van.

How to pack your kitchen

How to pack cups and glasses - Pack these fragile items with care in bubble wrap or wrapping paper. For the best protection, use a double-walled cardboard box and begin filling the box by placing the wrapped glasses with the widest part down. It’s a good idea to test the weight of the box every now and again to make sure it doesn’t become too heavy to lift.

When you have put as many glasses in the box as you can lift, fill up any empty space in the box with pillows, towels or a blanket. Don’t forget to mark the box as ‘FRAGILE’.

How to pack plates - When packing, stack plates on their sides rather than piling them on top of one another – this means that the plates will be standing on their strongest side, and they will be less likely to fracture during the journey. Wrap each plate in packing paper and make sure that the plates are unable to move around in the box.

How to pack pots and pans - Packing away pots and pans is a simple job as they only need to be cleaned, dried and stacked in a medium-sized box. If you have any pans with a non-stick coating, you may want to add a sheet of paper between them to protect them from scratches.

For more advice you can watch our video guide on how to pack your pots and pans

How to pack knives and cutlery - Always wash your hands before you begin to pack utensils and cutlery. Roll up all your items in wrapping paper and place them in the box before repeating this process for your other items.

For particularly sharp knives you can purchase knife protectors to avoid injury from open blades, and a block of kitchen knives are already protected, so just wrap them securely in paper. Always hold sharp knives with the blades facing away from you and place all the knives the same way round, using 2 sheets of paper to double-wrap them.

Watch our video on how to pack your knives and cutlery

How to pack small kitchen appliances - Always make sure that any kitchen appliance is fully cooled before you pack it up. If you have the original packing, all you need to do is give the appliance a quick clean with a damp cloth, and place it neatly in its box.

If you don’t have the original box you can use an ordinary one and pad it out with scrunched-up packing paper to prevent your appliance from rattling around and damaging itself in transit.

Tip: Defrost your freezer before you move and empty your fridge. If both types of appliances have been laid on their side to move, wait 24 hours before they are plugged in at your new home. 

How to pack your kitchen cupboards - It’s a good idea to start cleaning your kitchen cupboards and to get rid of any foods that have gone past their use-by date (add them to your compost or green waste bin if possible.) Pack a box with any tins or cans you want to take with you -  but avoid taking perishable food items that need to be kept in the fridge.

How to pack your dining and living rooms

Furniture - Understandably, you are likely to want to leave packing dining furniture until nearer your moving date. Most tables can be disassembled relatively easily with the ability to remove legs and even fold worktops to save space. Be sure to protect worktops so they don’t get scratched.

Drinks cabinet - Acquire some wine boxes if you have wine or spirits to transport – it is worth asking at your local off-licence or supermarket if they have any they need to get rid of.

Glasses – Ask your movers to help pack your glasses and expensive crystals and china if you’re worried about doing it yourself. Glasses should be wrapped individually with paper, bubble wrap or tissue paper to avoid breakages in transit.

Packing CDs, Books and DVDs – Try storing CDs, DVDs and video games in their own individual boxes when moving them to your new home – this will keep them organised and will make unpacking them much easier in your new home. Sort through your books before you box them up to see if you can reduce your collection, and pack them in a small box. You can give your unwanted books to charity shops or sell them at a car boot sale.

Moving TVs and computers – Store your TV and computer in their original box if you have the packaging to hand. If not, try and find a strong box at the right size for both the TV and the computer -  and wrap something soft and protective around them to ensure they don’t move around. Often your removals company can help to securely pack these items and provide specialist wrapping.

How to move houseplants - It is important to give your houseplants the utmost care and attention before your house move. You should discuss with your removal company whether they accept plants on their trucks since some removers will not cover damage to plants, in which case you will be required to transport them yourself. Plants should be placed in a durable storage box with suitable bubble wrap or foam in between the pots to keep them positioned upright.

Bag your tallest plants in plastic to protect the stems but remember to create some air holes within the plastic to enable your cherished houseplants to breathe. 

How to pack picture frames - For home movers that own precious paintings or any other artwork that requires special care, search for a removal company that has in-depth knowledge and awareness of transporting fine art objects or keeping them in storage.

You should also wrap smaller, ornamental photo frames in bubble wrap to protect them during your move.

Packing other rooms

Utility rooms, attics and conservatories are easier rooms to pack, especially as they don’t usually house a lot of items to begin with.  In the utility room, pack your clean linen and essential items separately – your ironing board will be easy to pack as it can just lie flat in transit. Put all your cleaning products together in one box and keep it accessible as these are likely to be one of the first things you need when you arrive in your new home.

Protect all the furniture in your conservatory with protective blankets, covering them in the same way you would cover your living room furniture. All foliage in your conservatory should be moved in the same way as your ordinary houseplants, but again, it’s a good idea to check with your removals company beforehand.

Some people use their cellar or attic to hoard the junk they have accumulated over the years but there are a number of ways of reducing this clutter. Organise some of the goods and take them to a car boot sale, put them on eBay or even give them away on Freecycle. Clearing the attic usually consists of taking down storage boxes, ready to move straight into the loft in your new home.

Tip: Show ALL your rooms including cellar, attic and shed to the removals firm when they visit your property so that they can calculate the van space required. Otherwise, they may not be able to fit the extra items into their van.

How to pack a shed or a garage

DIY tools – If your DIY tools don’t already live in a toolbox, it’s a good idea to invest in a plastic tub to transport these in, especially as a cardboard moving box alone may not be strong enough.  

Tip: Keep out any tools you might need if your dismantling furniture yourself.

Fertilisers/hazardous substances – Removals firms cannot move these items. Seek advice for disposing of fertilisers and other potentially hazardous substances that are in your shed or garage.

Car batteries are also treated as hazardous waste so don’t throw them away with your household rubbish. They can be recycled at garages, scrap metal facilities and many local waste and recycling centres. Car recycling specialists can remove car parts such as batteries and remove and store potential toxins in compliance with the Environment Agency’s End-of-Life Vehicle Directive guidelines.

Flower pots – Let your removals company know if there are any flower pots or garden ornaments you want to take with you to ensure they can accommodate for these in their van. Alternatively, you can often take unwanted flower pots to local garden centres if you don’t want to transport them to your new home.

Bags of peat, grow-bags and compost aren’t worth paying to move – you might want to leave them for the next occupant to use instead, or use them up by thinly spreading them on your flowerbeds.

Pots of paint – You can dispose of used or half-empty paint pots at your local recycling centre, or alternatively, donate your tins of unused paint to charity to help with community projects. Visit the community repaint website for more information if you want to get rid of your paint pots prior to your move.
By following this guide for packing your house before you move, hopefully you’ll be able to get your home ready for the big day in no time! If you’d like further advice on moving house, take a look at our top tips for a stress-free move and find out how to make your moving day run smoothly.


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