The Ultimate Guide to Packing

Expert packing advice


Packing your home shouldn’t be stressful

Whether we pack you or you decide to pack yourself, it should still get done in a way that makes life easier at your destination.

During decades of experience with all types of moves, we’ve found the key to packing efficiently is to approach it strategically. As we’ll explain below, it means some planning, deciding early on what you want to keep and what doesn’t need to travel with you, grouping items together and staging your packing process in a way that minimizes disruption to your household. With our expert guidelines you can reduce the inconvenience of living with boxes at your feet.

For a large house, 1 month of packing time is our recommended estimate if you aim for at least a few boxes a day and a room a week. For smaller houses and apartments, allocate a 2 week minimum packing time.

The big packing picture

1. Create a MasterPlan and identify timings and deadlines for each room. Plan out each room one by one identifying how many boxes you will need for each room and any challenges.

2. Declutter. Identify what won’t travel with you and can be donated, given away, sold or removed ahead of time. There’s never been a better time to let some things go.

3. Ensure you leave out any essentials that will be needed for moving day.

4. Label your boxes, noting the room and items inside it and clearly mark FRAGILE items.

5. Do not overfill boxes as it increases the likelihood of accidents during transportation.

6. Consider how you will manage valuables and important documents.

7. If any custom crates are needed for large or fragile items, factor that packing to be completed well ahead of Moving Day.

8. Stop buying groceries a week before you leave.


Our comprehensive packing guide

  • Marker pens and sticky labels to place on boxes. Even consider coloured stickers to colour code boxes by room.
  • Estimate how many boxes and what type of boxes you need per room. At Piece of Cake we offer moving box bundles that fit your lifestyle and home size. In our moving bundles we also include moving tape and moving packing paper, designed specifically for moving. One thing customers love about our boxes are our bright ‘this side up’ arrows printed on all sides, which leave no doubt during transportation.
  • Consider plastic moving bin hire, an environmentally friendly way to pack. At Piece of Cake we offer plastic moving bins for hire. We bundle our pink plastic moving bins to fit your lifestyle and home size.
  • Write down the inventory for each room, to help you identify what will be grouped together.
  • Where possible, bring together similar items from different rooms that would be better packed together. Centralize and group items together.
  • Take photographs of the back of electrical items like the TV to reconnect devices with ease
  • Go from least vital to most used items. Start packing rooms like the dining room and study ahead of the kitchen and bedroom. Decorative items that won’t impact the practical workings of the home like wall art are a great starting point. Tasks like defrosting the fridge and throwing out remaining food can wait until the final days before the move.
  • Tape boxes first at the base and then when closing them, in a cross shape both along the seal and across the middle of the seal
  • Kitchens can be the most challenging room due to the volume of glassware and fragile items. Be generous with packing paper here to prevent items knocking against each other. Always pack heavier items at the bottom of the box, wrap each glass individually even if using a custom stemware box and don’t stack fragile items. When packing dishes, place them vertically in the box, not ontop of eachother to minimise cracking during transportation. Use towels to buffer glass lids for pots and pans and use cling wrap to help keep any stacked items in place. Finally give yourself a few days just for packing the kitchen, it is usually the most time consuming room to pack in any home.
  • Put plastic bags, snaplock bags and cling wrap over spillable items.
  • Add additional padding to the top of boxes that haven’t been filled to ensure it’s sealed tight and can be stacked without collapsing
  • Label, label, label. You want to fly through the boxes quickly but this is so important at the other end it’s worth the effort. Detail is always useful like:
    “Study: childrens school books + certificates” or “Kitchen: Appetiser plates & saucers – FRAGILE”. You can go one step further and number your boxes, to keep track of all essential items and ensure every box is accounted for on your inventory list.
  • Start by packing the least used rooms first like the dining room or guest room which can create space for storing packed boxes from other rooms as you go
  • Once you have some space identified, stack boxes with heavy items on the floor and lighter boxes on top of them for example books on the base, toys on top of that and pillow boxes up high.
  • Instead of stacking boxes like wooden blocks, consider stacking them like bricks, with each one overlapping each other to create more stability and reduce the risks of anything falling when bumped or knocked
  • Create aisles between your boxes so you can walk between them if you need access to reopen a box or unpack an item
  • If space is at a premium consider using the easiest and safest boxes to stack which are our plastic eco friendly boxes
  • Keep high traffic areas of your home as clear of boxes as possible to minimise the risk of tripping and accidents. Especially if they’re not easy to see at eye level
  • Your main items of furniture will be put into place by your movers. Have an idea or sketch the placement of these ideas on paper ahead of time to plan out your configuration.
  • As they are unloaded boxes will largely be grouped together by room or in one main area as you direct. Take a look at which boxes should be placed in their respective rooms and which non essential items like toys and books in a centralized corner like the office, basement, garage so the main traffic areas are as uncluttered as possible during unpacking.
  • Start by unpacking the essentials first from your moving day suitcase and then focus on the kitchen, plugging in appliances, cleaning surfaces to enable basic food prep and clean the inside of the fridge and the stove before putting food away or cooking. Before putting plates and utensils away line the insides of cupboards and drawers
  • Next, make the beds so everyone can get a good night’s sleep. Boxes with other items from each person’s bedroom should be assigned to them to unpack and sort while you get on with the main necessities
  • Towels and toiletries for the bathroom should be unpacked next to help minimize hiccups the next morning when everyone’s in a hurry to get to work and school. Clean the inside of the bathtub any members of the family need a bath before bedtime
  • Opinion on when to set up your TV varies but we recommend the TV or a laptop with a movie be set up and basic living room furniture is unwrapped so everyone can share a meal and relax after a long day. You can assemble other furniture together as needed in the coming days.
  • Clean and line closets so clothes and linen can be unpacked. This is also the perfect time to instal shelving and make any changes, so consider installation now and unpack clothing after it’s done
  • If you don’t have decorating plans like painting hang a few of the pictures and family photos to help make the space feel like home for everyone
  • Work through other boxes and non essential items as it works for your lifestyle. There are some boxes that won’t be unpacked at all, like Christmas decorations.
  • Deal with utilities rooms like the laundry and basement last, however if you’re putting on washing it’s a great idea to run a cleaning cycle with disinfectant through the machine first
  • Break down boxes in real time, removing tape and flattening them to clear space as you go
  • As long as there is no plastic padding in them, save a few of the largest boxes to make a fort to keep children occupied while you get on with unpacking. A pack of crayons are also a good idea for decorating their temporary fort
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