When you begin to pack up your belongings before moving to a new residence, you should probably keep in mind that packing is a process that deserves patience and foresight. Far too often, people procrastinate and leave the packing until the last minute, which can result in lost or damaged belongings. It might seem like a next-to-impossible puzzle, but believe it or not, there is rhyme and reason to it all. Here’s a comprehensive look at what to pack first when moving to a new place.


Before you even place one item into a box, you’ll need to diligently prepare for the move ahead. It’s recommended that you make a packing calendar to keep you on pace. Breaking down your move day by day will likely help you fight off the feeling of being overwhelmed, so schedule things out. Also, make sure you’ve got plenty of the usual moving/packing supplies: Cardboard boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, and any other cushioning material like packing peanuts and plastic wrap.

Next, take a detailed inventory of the items you own. Rather than just stop there with a “headcount” of items, use this opportunity to throw out non-essential items and save valuable space and effort. Divide your items into a category that you’ll be keeping, a category for things to be sold/donated, and a category of things that must be thrown out. Once you’ve got a good look at what you’re dealing with, you’re ready to tackle the issue of what to pack first when moving.


Remember, you should have a calendar to dictate your schedule. If you’re not pre-packing, starting with minor items roughly four weeks ahead of your move, you could already be falling behind. Start packing non-essential things at this time, making sure to save the absolute daily necessities until late in the packing game. Here’s a better breakdown of what to pack, and when to pack it.


  • Out-of-season items: Holiday decorations and clothing
  • Surplus items: Linens, towels, and office supplies that aren’t currently in use
  • Collectibles: Scrapbooks, figurines, miniatures, art, coin collections, etc.


  • Artwork and Decor: Framed pictures, souvenirs, heirlooms. Proceed with caution, as these are often fragile
  • Entertainment Items: Books, CDs, vinyl records, DVDs, video game discs and consoles
  • Special Kitchenware: Fine china and crystal, mostly, but also pie pans, barbecue tools, and any other kitchen items that do not see routine use


  • Games for Children: Pack any remaining puzzles, stuffed animals, etc. that haven’t already been put away. Let children pick a few toys that they can have out right up until moving day
  • Jewelry: Keep a few pieces on your person and secure the rest in a jewelry box
  • Remainder of Linen Closet: Every resident should have a small set of sheets and towels still in use. The rest will start to be packed around this time


  • Electronics: Make sure no device gets left behind – phone, computers, tablets, etc.
  • Remainder of Kitchen Equipment: The rest of your kitchen should now be ready to go, including cutlery, dishes, and drinking glasses.
  • Laundry: Make sure you have enough clean clothes just to get where you’re going – it’s going to slow you down if you trail bags and bags of dirty laundry.
  • Medicines and Bathroom Supplies: Pack up everything that isn’t a vital prescription, and make a first aid kit that can be carried around.


  • Furniture and Appliances: This is not exactly a simple part of the moving process. Just be careful when moving furniture through tight corridors and down stairs
  • Curtains, Rugs, Other Furnishings: The “miscellaneous” category
  • Toolbox: Make sure you have basic tools where you can reach them, as you’ll probably need them for assembly jobs at your new place


  • Bed and Bedding: You haven’t been sleeping on the floor this whole time, right? Regardless, it’s now time to transport your bed and sheets
  • Remaining Toiletries and Medicines: Just to be prepared
  • Items for Children and Pets (Including Snacks): It’s important that children feel like they’re getting back into a daily routine quickly after the upheaval of moving
  • Cleaning Supplies: It’s entirely possible that you’ll have to clean up your place one last time before you leave

Austin Van & Storage is an agent for Bekins Van Lines, and an AMSA-certified ProMover.