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Must-Have Packing and Moving Supplies Checklist

Packing and moving can be a huge task, but with the proper tools, it becomes easy.

By Lisa Battles on November 10, 2014


Packing and moving can be a huge task, but just like with any big job, it suddenly becomes easier with the proper tools. In a time when there are entire stores dedicated to selling different types of containers, a person planning a move could easily get lost just in preparation before packing a single box. Finding perfect boxes for each item is great if you’ve got that kind of time, but for those who do not, we’ve put together this helpful list of must-have packing and moving supplies.


Generally, anyone planning a move needs boxes of various sizes. While large items may require large or extra large boxes, remember that heavy things need to be placed in as small boxes as possible. Conversely, lightweight things can go in larger boxes and still be moveable with ease. Another helpful tip about boxes: Check with your local liquor stores to see if they have emptied liquor boxes. These typically have dividers inside, making them perfect boxes for protectively packing your glassware. Lastly, fill boxes to capacity, as overfilling gives them lumpy surfaces making them hard to stack, and underfilling them makes them vulnerable to collapse under weight. When it’s time to stack them in the moving truck, you’ll be glad to have neat, level towers of boxes that stay in place.


Along with boxes, people packing for a move need tape. Be sure to stock up on shipping tape for sealing boxes, masking tape for labeling boxes, duct tape or strapping tape for reinforcing and closing heavier boxes, and painter’s tape for any immediate painting and frame hanging projects in your new home. Buy at least two rolls of each to ensure you don’t run out or lose a roll in the process of packing and moving. Scissors and box cutters are also things you should have on hand in multiples, especially if you have helpers in the unpacking process.


Along with those basics, Sharpie permanent markers for labeling boxes are essential. Some experienced movers use stickers or colored markers to establish a color code system, assigning a color to all boxes from one particular room of the house. That’s also an effective method for protecting your valuables, as it allows only you to identify each box’s contents without writing the actual contents on the side of the box and tempting thieves.  


Some type of protective packing material is needed for most household moves, but don’t believe you have to spend a lot of money to keep your fragile items intact. Lots of people prefer bubble wrap or packing paper purchased from a home improvement store, but you can also used recycled newsprint, end rolls of newsprint often available at your local newspaper or even your own clothing, towels, sheets and blankets.


Use our Must Have Packing and Moving Supplies Checklist to gather these and a few other items within a month of moving day, as you’ll likely use some when you begin packing away non-essential items early on.




Must-Have Packing and Moving Supplies


  • Boxes of various sizes

    • small boxes

    • medium boxes

    • large boxes

    • extra large boxes

    • divided boxes

    • plastic bins, if you plan to reuse them for storage

  • Tape

    • shipping tape (2)

    • duct tape or strapping tape (2)

    • masking tape for labeling (2)

    • painter’s tape for immediate projects (2)

    • tape dispensers

  • Scissors

  • Box cutters

  • Sticker labels (if you aren’t using masking tape)

  • Sharpie permanent markers for labeling

  • Colored markers or colored stickers for room color coding

  • Packing material, such as bubble wrap, packing paper, newsprint or enough of your own linens

  • Hand truck or dolly

  • Gloves to protect your hands while moving

  • Rope, twine, tie-downs and bungee cords to keep boxes and furniture in place

  • Blankets to protect furniture, mirrors and your TV

  • Felt pads to protect floors while moving large furniture

  • Basic cleaning supplies, such a broom/dustpan, sponges, multi-purpose and glass cleaners and paper towels to clean both your old and new places


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