10 apartment packing tips to make moving easier

So—you landed a new apartment. Congrats! But now that the hunt is over, you’re left with the prospect of actually… moving.

Let’s face it: Packing up everything you own and taking it somewhere else isn’t exactly fun, to say the least. To make the process of moving apartments just a little bit easier, we’ve put together a list of practical tricks and apartment packing tips that you can use to make your move go as smoothly as possible.

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1. Have a timeline while moving apartments.

Moving can be stressful, but having a clear plan and timeline is a great way to eliminate some of that stress.

When are you moving? Answering this question helps you begin to understand how to move out of an apartment as quickly and efficiently as possible. Begin as early as you can and aim to get the bulk of your packing done at least 48 hours before you have to leave. You’ll be able to more accurately assess how much stuff you have, and get a clearer idea of how much work will be involved in the move.

2. Set the essentials aside.

Before you pack, keep this apartment moving tip in mind: set aside the things you’ll need before arriving at your new place. At the bare minimum, you’ll want a few changes of clothes, a phone charger, your toothbrush and toothpaste, shower essentials, and maybe a plate and a set of utensils. You might want to keep your laptop and other valuables separate from the rest of your boxes, too.

Following this simple packing tip for moving can prevent you from having to dig through boxes you’ve already packed. Plus, if the move is delayed or takes longer than you expect, you’ll be able to get by until it’s time to unpack.

3. Get packing supplies.

Before you pack, you’ll likely need to shop for some supplies—specifically, boxes and copious amounts of packing tape. If you’re a big fan of organization, colored tape and sticky notes can be helpful, too. You can pick up boxes for moving apartments at most office supply stores, and can sometimes even get them for free at local liquor stores or bookstores.

As you collect your supplies, remember that many small boxes can be better than one large one. Among the best apartment packing tips is using larger boxes for light things that take up a lot of volume (like bedding and pillows) and smaller boxes for everything else. They’re easier to carry, and can also help with organization if you dedicate specific boxes to specific types of items rather than tossing them all together.

4. Work your way through, room by room.

Packing can be an intimidating task, and a room-by-room approach is the easiest way to break that task up into more manageable chunks.

When following this apartment hack, you can do one room per day if you prefer to space the work out, or spend a day powering through all of them, with mini breaks after each. Either way, you’ll get a sense of achievement with each room you pack—and a concrete sign that you’re making progress.

5. Liberally dispose of things you don’t need.

If you’ve been meaning to channel your inner Marie Kondo and de-clutter your place, moving apartments is the perfect opportunity. As you go through each room, don’t just mindlessly pack each item into the closest box. An essential apartment moving tip is to take the time to consider whether it’s worth transporting to your new place—or, in Kondo terms, whether it sparks joy.

If you come across things you haven’t used or thought about since your last move, it could be time to donate or discard them. And with each item you get rid of, you cut down on the amount you’ll have to move and unpack.

6. Try to stay organized.

As tempting as it can be to throw all of your belongings into the nearest box, wrap it all in a layer of tape, and call it a day, staying at least semi-organized is worth the extra few seconds of thought.

For example, putting the contents your entire bathroom together could mean finding shampoo in your hair dryer when you unpack. Taking the time to put liquids into plastic bags before packing them can prevent that.

You’ll also want to pay particular attention to anything fragile. If you don’t have bubble wrap or packing paper, you can make do with clothes, sheets, socks, and even paper towels. Wrapping things individually might mean spending more time packing, but can save you time replacing broken items in the long run.

7. Make use of what you already have to save time and money.

Ultimately, the goal of moving apartments is to get from Point A to Point B—not necessarily to do it in style. No one will judge you if packing clothes efficiently means you put your entire hamper full of dirty laundry into a box… or even if you just tape it up and transport as is.

Packing tips for clothes don’t always apply to higher value items like your flat screen TV and other electronics. With these, see if you still have the original packaging. This apartment hack is the easiest way to ensure that they’re packed in a way that protects them from damage.

Trash bags are also your friend in a pinch, for any miscellaneous items that didn’t make it into a box. You can also leave a few out for any last-minute trash as you do your final sweep.

8. Label your boxes.

This might seem like an unnecessary packing tip for moving, but it can make a huge difference on move-in day. As you unload otherwise identical boxes from your moving van, you’ll be able to easily tell where they belong in your new place.

After all, when you finally finish carrying everything inside, and your celebratory takeout arrives, do you want to spend time digging through boxes of toiletries and decorations—or do you want to be able to go straight to the one labeled “utensils”? It’s an easy choice.

9. Get someone to help with moving apartments.

If you’ve made it this far into our list of apartment packing tips and still can’t fathom consolidating all of your earthly belongings into boxes, ask around to see if any of your friends or family members are willing to help—or could be bribed with pizza.

If that’s not an option, you might even consider hiring help. Tools like TaskRabbit make it easy to find assistance when moving apartments, which can drastically speed up the process.

10. Find out whether you need moving insurance.

No matter how much you prepare by following apartment moving tips, you can’t necessarily control if items get damaged along the way. If you’re planning to hire movers, take the time to read about the insurance they offer and decide whether you want additional protection in case of damage. Read the fine print and note cancellation and service policies.

Licensed household movers are required to have insurance that covers damaged or lost items, but typically only up to 60 cents per pound of cargo. If you elect to move yourself or without using a licensed mover, you may want to consider getting extra coverage depending on the value of the items you’re transporting.