HomeFamily & LivingWhere to Start Packing for a Long Distance Move

Where to Start Packing for a Long Distance Move

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Whether you are moving some hundred miles away to another state or country, completing a long-distance move can prove challenging. Unlike short-distance moves, where you can throw everything in your van, a long-distance move requires extensive planning. There’s a lot that goes into planning for a long-distance move.

Unfortunately, most people focus on finding a moving company, a new home, creating a budget for the move, and other logistics involved, often overlooking the importance of the packing process. Below is a guide to help you pack better for a long-distance move.

What to do Before Packing?

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Contrary to what most people think, packing goes beyond picking the right boxes and stashing your items. Being organized is crucial during the packing process. Below are a few things you should do before packing:

Create a checklist

The packing process is overwhelming and stressful regardless of the distance of the move. Keeping track of the different moving parts involved during packing is difficult, and you can easily forget important things. Creating a checklist ensures you don’t forget anything and gives you a timeline to complete important tasks, such as changing utilities.

Take an inventory of your items

Realizing that you forgot important items or documents when packing or unloading is disappointing. Like the checklist highlighting your activities, you should have a list of all your belongings. An inventory makes tracking all your belongings during and after the move easy.


Decluttering is an important part of preparing for the move. While it is tempting to relocate with all your belongings, you should get rid of non-essential and rarely used items. Decluttering also reduces the quantity of your belongings, significantly saving on moving costs. You won’t lose much by donating old clothes and books.

Find a reliable moving company

Finding a moving company before you start packing is also important. Your choice of moving company can directly affect your moving schedule and the safety of your belongings. Moving companies have different services, making it necessary to find one that offers services that meet your needs. Find a professional long-distance moving company, let them assess your items, and give an estimate of the moving costs before packing. Some companies offer packing and unpacking services.

Where to Start Packing When Preparing To Move?

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With a plan in place, you can now start packing. While it might seem overwhelming, having an inventory and knowing what to pack first simplifies the process. Pack your home for the move following the order below:

  • Storage items – whether you have a designated storage unit, use your garage, or use a hidden compartment in your walk-in closet, packing items in the storage area first when preparing for the move is easy. Ideally, most items in storage units are kept in boxes, making it easier to sort and repack. Don’t forget to get rid of non-essential items and repackage items to reduce the load size.
  • Out-of-season clothes – packing out-of-season clothes is also very easy. Like items in your storage units, off-season clothes are normally categorized or packed in boxes. Besides, you won’t need these clothes for several months after the move, meaning you can keep them among the last in a pile. Nonetheless, sort through these clothes and donate or discard those that no longer fit.
  • Rare-use dishes – these dishes can also be kept last in the pile, since you certainly won’t host dinner parties immediately after the move. Remember to pack them carefully and label boxes containing them as fragile.
  • Picture frames, artwork, and wall hangings – packing wall hangings and artwork can prove challenging. You should start with these decorations since you don’t need them while packing. Besides, it is very easy to forget when the struggles and anxiety of moving out kick in. Use cushioning materials to protect glass frames during transit.
  • Sentimental items – you should also prioritize packing sentimental items when preparing to move. Like artwork and wall hangings, you can easily forget these items if you decide to pack them later. Be it an old journal or a jewelry box, pack these items in your first packing boxes.
  • Extra towels and linens – you should empty your supplies closet in the early stages of preparation. If you don’t have enough packing boxes, use your extra towels and linens as cushions for fragile items like glasses.
  • Books – your mini library should also be among the first things to pack when preparing for the move. Donate books you’ve already read and return borrowed books to the library and respective owners.

Packing Tips to Ease Your Long-Distance Move

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Consider the following tips when packing for a long-distance move:

  • Use the right size of moving boxes – use small boxes for books and heavy items and large boxes for light items, like pillows and linens. Packing heavy items in large boxes makes it difficult to load and unload.
  • Pack boxes with distance in mind – most people forget this when packing for a long-distance move. If you are packing fragile items, wrap them with bubble wrap or an old t-shirt for additional protection.
  • Label boxes with your name or a unique identifier – unless you intend to rent a moving truck for the move, most long-distance moving companies combine boxes from different clients to save on costs. Label your boxes with your name or a unique identifier to prevent mix-ups during drop-off. You should even consider writing down your phone number or new address.
  • Choose the right packing materials – it is certainly tempting to pack your belongings in complementary boxes from local stores. However, these boxes aren’t sturdy enough and might not protect your items during transit. Invest in quality packing materials for guaranteed peace of mind.
  • Disassemble your furniture – you should disassemble your tables, desks, and bedroom sets to ease transport. It also saves space, ultimately reducing moving costs.

The Bottom Line

Many people are moving to different states and across the country due to the increasing adoption of remote work, in search of job opportunities, to live closer to their families, and for many other reasons. Deciding to make a long-distance move is the beginning. After you’ve decided on your new home, you should have an elaborate plan to move your belongings in one piece.

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