Moving soon?

Use our checklist.

Whether you need to secure internet or find a moving company, our checklist will get you organized and ready to move.

MM slash DD slash YYYY
By clicking submit, you consent to receive marketing communications from Updater and acknowledge that your information is 100% protected by, and subject to, our Privacy Policy.

Here’s What to Pack First When Moving

Moving soon? Get organized with our free moving checklist.

MM slash DD slash YYYY
By clicking submit, you consent to receive marketing communications from Updater and acknowledge that your information is 100% protected by, and subject to, our Privacy Policy.

Moving is an exciting transition but it can be stressful to navigate. Like most things, proper planning helps you to understand what you need to pack first and stay organized throughout this phase.

With the information in this guide, you get to have a stress-free and well-organized experience, starting with the first things you need to pack.

Things to do before packing 

Before you get started on sorting through your house, there are a few things you can do to make packing a lot easier. Organization is the most important part of the packing process and this list of things to do before packing is the trick to organizing everything for a successful move.

Create a checklist

Whether you are moving between neighborhoods, states, or countries, the process can be very chaotic and stressful. Keeping track of all these activities and mini-tasks can really get in the way of packing. If you don’t want to let anything slip through the cracks, you should create a checklist. This checklist will be the timeline of all your tasks so that you can remember things like when to change utilities. Lucky for you, we’ve put together the most epic moving checklist in the history of checklists to make your packing and moving super efficient.

Take inventory

One of the worst things that can happen while you’re packing or unloading your stuff, is the realization that you forgot something. Similarly to the checklist, you should create a list of everything you own according to the quantity and priority. Got fine China? List out the number of sets and the number of prices per set. Winter clothes in the attic? Write out the number of boxes and what they contain. Go around your house and create a list of everything from your knick-knacks and trinkets to your appliances. This inventory will help you keep track of everything that should be packed away for the move.

Declutter your belongings

When preparing for a move, a lot of people tend to try to uproot their entire home and take it with them. Although that’s sentimental, it’s not super realistic. In addition, you’ll find out that while looking through your belongings and taking inventory, you may have discovered that you have a lot of stuff to get rid of. So, when you want to pack, it is best to declutter your belongings and prioritize only the things that need to make the move with you. You can give out stuff like old clothing, recycle those books you won’t read again, and toss out other items that will create clutter in your packing boxes and new home. Once you’ve decluttered your home, you are all set to pack up the rest of it.

Find a moving company

The moving company you choose is very important because it can affect your schedule and the protection of your belongings. Also, some moving companies offer furniture-inclusive moving while others have varying service packages, and you need to find a good fit for your plans. Get a reliable and professional moving company, have them conduct an assessment, and get an estimate before you start packing. That way, you can decide if you need to create more room in your budget or reduce the number of things you are packing. You can find a moving company to fit your needs below.

What to pack first when moving

Now that you have a plan in place, it’s time to start packing. It can seem overwhelming but, with this list of what to pack first, and your checklist/inventory (as discussed above), you’ll be done packing in no time! 

Storage items

Whether packed away in a storage unit, stored in your garage or hidden deep within your walk-in closet, items that are in storage are easier to pack first when moving. Typically, these items are stored away in boxes, which makes it easier to sort through and repack them. Just make sure to remove the items from storage boxes, take inventory, get rid of what you don’t want, and repackage the items. Don’t forget to reuse any of the storage boxes that are still in good condition!

Out-of-season clothes

Out-of-season clothes are the easiest to pack when moving because, like items in storage, out-of-season clothes may already be categorized or stored in boxes. Plus, these clothes may not be used for several months after your move so there’s no need to pack them last or at the top of the pile. For your out-of-season clothes, you only have to sort through them in case there are any clothes that need amendment or are no longer fitting. Start packing with all the out-of-season clothes you want to take with you and build momentum to tackle the difficult parts of packing and moving from your home!

donate before you move

China and other rare-use dishes

Fine China is only brought out for special events and there’s a strong chance that you won’t be hosting fancy dinner parties during or immediately after- your move. It is also best to avoid breaking or chipping your rare-use dishes when you are packing the rest of your items. Just make sure to pack these dishes carefully and clearly label the boxes as fragile! If you are worried about what you will use to eat and maybe host your friends at your going-away party, you can always use paper plates or some easy-clean sets.

Artwork, wall hangings, and picture frames

Though wall hangings can be tricky to pack, they’re a great place to begin. Most likely, you will use all the artwork and picture frames as decorations when you’re decorating your new place, so you don’t need to have decorations up at your current place while you pack it up. Not to mention, it can be quite easy to forget to take them down when the chaos of move-in day rolls around. Take down your wall hangings and decor and store them away for the move. Remember to pack glass frames with the right cushioning materials to prevent damage when the frames and other items are in transit.

Trinkets and knick-knacks

Sentimental trinkets and other knick-knacks should be among the first things you pack when moving. If you move them aside and wait till later in the packing process, you are likely to forget them at the last minute, which can be really painful when you are sorting through your things and arranging your new place. It could be an old journal or a trendy jewelry box, just be sure to pack these important knick-knacks among the first set of boxes when you are planning to move. You may also find that some of the trinkets you have been holding on to have lost their value and they may constitute clutter in your new home. If you find trinkets that no longer have worth or value to you, be sure to give them out or dispose of them accordingly, and pack up everything else for the move.

Extra towels and linens

Your supplies closet has to be emptied early on in preparation for your move. You get to save yourself the stress and time spent on arranging and folding thick towels and linens when you must have already been exhausted from packing the rest of your items. If you have limited packing boxes, you can also use your towels as temporary cushions for fragile items like your glasses and appliances. That way, you get to optimize your space and move your belongings quite quickly. Extra towels and linens should go into the first set of boxes because you’re not going to change your sheets or keep a large pile of dirty towels around while packing. Instead, be sure to wash the regular-use bath and dish towels so that you can keep your laundry basket empty and ready for move-out.


If you are an avid reader or you have a mini library of books that you want to move with you, they should be one of the first things you sort out while packing. Select a few books that you want to keep easily accessible for some light reading while you’re getting the rest of your stuff organized and pack up the rest of your books in an order that works for you (by author or year). Remember to return borrowed books to their respective owners or the library. It is better not to be responsible for those books in case they get lost during your move!

Get packing

Sorting through your belongings and making that decision on what to pack first when moving can seem overwhelming but, with a little nudge in the right direction, you’ll find your pace. With everything highlighted in the sections above, you can get the first set of items packed for your move and sort through everything else with a calm mind.

What do you pack first when moving? Did we skip anything? Let us know in the comments below!

Moving soon? Get organized with our free moving checklist.

MM slash DD slash YYYY
By clicking submit, you consent to receive marketing communications from Updater and acknowledge that your information is 100% protected by, and subject to, our Privacy Policy.

Internet and TV tips

Switching providers and don’t know where to start? We can help.