Your move will feel easier if you have the right moving supplies. But tracking down things like cardboard boxes and packing material often takes a backseat to finding the best moving companies. We’ve made it easy to get what you need by creating a list of essential moving supplies:
Boxes are pretty much the most important moving supply you’ll use. We recommend getting a variety of box sizes and types to make packing easier. At a minimum, get small boxes for heavy items like books and large boxes for light, bulky items like pillows or blankets. Medium boxes with box dividers work well for fragile items like dishes.
You can also find free moving boxes in places like grocery stores, recycling centers, and office supply companies. You can even post a request for boxes on social media. Keep in mind that used boxes might not have the structural integrity of new boxes, so pack carefully if you go this route.
Of course, you don’t want to just throw everything in a box. Use foam wrap sheets to protect fragile items like your dishes. Bubble wrap works well for wrapping up larger or oddly shaped breakables.
Newspaper also offers a frugal, if less effective, option. Just hold on to your newspapers for a few weeks, or even ask your neighbors for their papers after they’re done reading. Just remember that newspaper won’t have nearly the cushioning ability of proper packing supplies, so avoid using it for delicate items.
Label your boxes as you pack. Everyone has their own method: some people prefer the simplicity of writing on a box, while others prefer to develop a color code using colored stickers. For a highly visible and clear solution, consider using colored box labels. Whatever you use, be sure to label the boxes on multiple sides.
While you might be tempted to get the cheapest packing tape you find, we recommend spending a few dollars more on quality tape. Cheap tape is often too thin to use easily, and it doesn’t have great sticking power. Stick to brands you’ve heard of. Use a tape gun to dispense tape quickly and buy your packing tape in bulk rolls to save on the overall cost. You might not think you need much tape, but you’ll use more than you’d expect.
Don’t forget the following extras! These small, inexpensive items can also make a big difference.
A utility knife makes opening boxes a breeze. Just be careful as you use your knife—if you’ve packed your boxes to the top, it’s easy to accidentally cut your belongings as you slice through the tape holding the box shut.
As you disassemble furniture, put screws, bolts, or washers in small plastic bags, then label the bag so you know what the hardware goes to. Keep all these bags in one convenient place so you can quickly find the hardware you need when it’s time to reassemble. Snack- or sandwich-sized bags work best for this. You can also use gallon-sized bags to hold cords and cables. As you pack your entertainment center, for example, put your console cords in one bag and your receiver cables in another. As always, don’t forget to label.
Any well-organized move requires lots of labeling. Keep a permanent marker or two (or three or four) on hand to easily label anything. We suggest getting a Sharpie multipack, so you can leave a marker in each room. After all, you have better things to do than search for a writing utensil.