If you are beginning to pack for an upcoming move, make sure you don’t overlook one of the most important details — gathering the adequate moving supplies. These supplies are easy to find both online and in most local stores. Getting your moving supplies organized before you pack will help save time and improve your overall moving experience. By using a detailed moving supply checklist, you’ll also gain a better understanding of what items may require special attention during the move/transport. Here is a list of the items we recommend if you are self-packing; however, always remember that if you don’t have the time or energy to pack, Mayflower offers both full and partial packing options for your move.
Types of Boxes
Boxes — and plenty of them — are critical for a smooth move. You don’t want to over-stuff your boxes and risk damaging your belongings, so it’s best to have a variety of sizes on hand. And since packing for most people comes down to the last minute, you don’t want to risk having to make a run for more boxes and lose valuable time right before your big move.
Large items will require large or extra-large boxes, whereas heavy and/or delicate items will need a smaller box. In addition to making sure you have a lineup of box sizes, you’ll also want to understand the different types of boxes available for your fragile and/or oddly-shaped items.
The most common boxes used for moving are cardboard. However, rentable plastic moving boxes/bins have grown in popularity. Keep in mind that the moving box you choose can make all the difference in how well your items are packed. That’s why it’s important to consider not only the essential boxes (small, medium, large) but also some specialty box types (dish pack boxes, wardrobe boxes, etc.).
Small Moving Boxes
- Ideal for heavy items such as books and delicate items (e.g., collectables)
- Easy to handle and are perfect for items like kitchenware and pantry goods.
Medium Moving Boxes
- Ideal for small appliances and other household goods
- Mostly compatible with dish pack and glass pack inserts for glassware.
Dish Pack Kit
- Compartmentalized boxes for dinner plates, salad plates, saucers and bowls
- Some kits include foam padding to enclose and isolate each piece
Glass Pack Kit
- Compartmentalized boxes for glassware, crystal and stemware
- Some kits include foam padding to enclose and isolate each piece
Large Moving Boxes
- Ideal for lightweight and medium-weight goods like lampshades, throw pillows and clothing
Extra Large Moving Boxes
- Ideal for bulky yet lightweight soft goods like comforters, blankets, clothing and pillows
- Often constructed with a hanger bar so that you can transfer shirts, blouses and suits directly from the closet into the box without folding your clothes
- Look for in several different heights to accommodate longer items such as dresses and pants
- Unless you’ve kept the original packaging for your home electronics, look for specially sized for your home entertainment devices such as streaming media players, surround sound stereos and gaming systems
- Reinforced boxes with thicker walls for heavier applications
- Ideal for packing electronics, book collections and dishes
Take inventory of what you have in each room and what type of boxes you’ll need
An excellent way to organize your moving supplies checklist is to go through your house room-by-room and take a few notes. Scan the items in each room and determine which ones may need specialty boxes (like the ones mentioned above). Next, estimate how many different sized boxes are needed for each room. For instance, your bedroom may require a variety of box sizes: large boxes for bedding and pillows, wardrobe boxes for clothes, and small boxes for shoes and jewelry, whereas your kitchen may require only small and medium boxes for dishes, glassware and appliances.
How many boxes will I need?
There’s not an exact formula when it comes to calculating how many boxes you will need for your move. Since every household is different, every estimate will vary. However, here’s a good rule of thumb: A typical three-bedroom house could require anywhere from 70-150 boxes for a move, depending on your personal packing style and how full your rooms are.
Consider a few other factors when estimating how many boxes you will need for your move:
- The number of rooms in your home – the more rooms you have, the more items you will need to pack
- How many years you have lived in the home – the longer you have lived at the residence, the more items you have likely accumulated
- The number of people in your household – more people means more things to pack
- Your home’s square footage – a one-bedroom apartment will probably have a great deal less to pack than a three-bedroom home
- Your lifestyle when it comes to acquiring personal and household belongings – do you like to hold on to things or do you prefer a minimalist approach?
Below is a list of the different kinds of tape you may want to consider. Whatever you choose to work with, just make sure it is durable and has a strong adhesive quality.
- Packing tape: Most common type of tape used for sealing boxes
- Shipping tape: May be used in place of packing tape
- Masking tape: Used for labeling boxes
- Strapping and duct tape: Used for reinforcing and closing heavier boxes
- Painter’s tape: Used for labeling electronics and smaller items
A good pair of scissors can serve you well for years to come.
This useful gadget allows you to dispense the tape quickly and evenly.
You’ll want your screwdriver, cordless drill, pliers, hammer, wrench and cordless drill (with an arrangement of nails and drill heads) close at hand to take apart furniture. You may also need these common tools for quick repairs as you pack and unpack.
You can choose to use this to wrap fragile items and to add cushioning to boxes that contain breakables. It can also be used to wrap around over-sized or oddly-shaped items.
Furniture Pads / Moving Blankets
You can choose to use pads and blankets to protect your larger items, like dressers, consoles, appliances, etc.) from dents and scratches.
You can choose to place these tarps or cardboard sheets on highly trafficked areas to protect your floors on moving day.
Look for coverings that are specifically designed to fit your mattress and protect against debris and moisture.
You may want to use these plastic coverings slide over your couch to help keep it clean and prevent surface damage during the transport and move.
Unprinted News Wrapping Paper
This material is a cost-effective way to wrap your fragile items. Unprinted, undyed paper stock provides the added advantage of a cleaner, ink-free move.
You may want to use these to help ensure your items do not move around or get damaged in the moving truck, use these stretchy cords. They can also be useful for securing items on a dolly or hand cart.
Clear Kitchen Wrap
You can choose to use this everyday wrap to keep drawers closed on items like dressers and nightstands. It can also be used to wrap around furniture to help decrease risk of surface scratches.
Sometimes called hand trucks/carts, dollies and hand trucks come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They are ideal for moving heavy boxes and bulky furniture from your house to the moving truck and back again. Dollies will make your move a whole lot easier – just be sure to follow directions while using this, or any type of moving equipment; your back will thank you!
This tool is handy for cutting clean edges on cardboard and for quickly opening taped boxes.
You may want to have these on hand for when you disassemble electronics and hardware. You can place screws, bolts, washers and small hardware in sandwich-sized plastic baggies. Make sure they are labeled and keep all these bags in one place.
Trash bags and trash cans
You’re going to have quite a bit of packing material debris and miscellaneous trash you will accumulate during the move process, so make sure you have access to your trash cans and trash bags for proper disposal. Trash bags can also be used as an extra layer of protection for your pillows and linens if you choose.
Paper or sticky notes
You will want to have something for jotting down notes and for all the reminders to keep track of during your move.
Use a marker to label your boxes and keep track of your belongings. Label boxes on the sides of the boxes according to room; you’ll be glad you took the time to do so when you start unpacking.
You will want a variety of cleaning supplies on hand to ensure a smooth exit from your current residence and to help provide a clean, fresh start at your new home. Don’t make the mistake of getting distracted during the packing process and forgetting to address the clean-up process. Below is a quick list of the cleaning supplies you should set aside to use before and after your move.
Please note: If you’ve hired a professional moving company for your upcoming move, make sure you’re aware of their non-allowables as many household cleaners can’t go on the moving truck.
- Paper towels
- Window cleaner
- Bathroom cleaner
Can I buy moving supplies from my moving company?
Agents for many professional long-distance movers, acting separately under their own local business operations, may offer moving supplies and equipment.
If you’ve hired a professional full-service moving company for your upcoming move, you shouldn’t have to worry about the supplies or moving equipment. They should have everything needed on moving day to professionally transport, lift and carry your items. However, be sure to clarify this with your moving company well before your moving day.
Once I have everything packed, will the movers load?
Most full-service moving companies like Mayflower handle the load, transport and unload of your belongings. Check with your movers to find out what their services include and how they charge based on those services.
Find out more about what’s included in a Mayflower full service move quote.
For more information about moving supplies and packing, take a look at Packing 101: 13-Step Moving & Packing Checklist and our packing videos.
Are you interested in Mayflower packing for you? Learn more about our packing and unpacking services here.