How to Pack Clothes for Moving

Moving can be exciting and stressful. While it offers an opportunity for change and reinvention, it also comes with to-do lists and details and a lot of packing. It might seem like your clothes will be easy to move and require only suitcases and duffel bags, but you might want to be a little more organized than that. Clothing is heavy, and it is important to keep your garments safe from damage and dry when transporting it from your old home to your new home. Pack clothes for moving by planning ahead and using the proper packing materials.

Lay out and sort your clothes. Often times over the years clothes can become piled up without you even realizing it. The first step to sort this all out is to get all of your clothes out from your dresser, closet, attic, and below your bed. Lay everything out, either across your floor, or on top of your bed. Begin to pair things together, based on color, size, and fabric.[1]
Once you have started to make categories, place each of your articles in select piles.
Begin to match box and suitcase sizes. If you have a relatively small pile of specific articles, you can pair that pile with a smaller box. Some of the larger piles might have to be matched with a suitcase or larger box.

Get rid of unnecessary items. This is the perfect time to try on some of the old in your closet that you haven’t worn in ten years. Check the clothes for mildew, moth balls, flees, bedbugs, etc. Smell them to see if they have a musty scent. Determine whether or not they are outdated. After you search through your closet/cupboard, you should have a pile of outdated, outgrown, and worn out clothes to throw away.[2]
Run your fingernail overtop of the fabric. This will help loosen any bugs, or bedbug fecal matter (dried blood) which is present on your clothes. It is best to dispose of these clothes, especially if they are old and haven’t been worn in a while.
Donate clothing that is still in good shape and does not fit you or is not appropriate for the climate in your new home. Many people like to take clothes to Goodwill or homeless shelters.
Throw out clothing that is torn, stained or too worn to wear in public. This is especially true when it comes to any old underwear and socks which have been crammed in your dresser drawer for many years.

Put aside clothing you will need immediately. You will probably not finish all of your unpacking on the first day of your move, so keep a small bag with a few changes of clothes that you can use when you first arrive at your new home. Remember to leave out an outfit for moving day as well, and include undergarments and socks.[3]
Pack the items you need upon arrival to your new home in a separate container. This could include not just clothes, but also toothbrushes, deodorant, hairspray, etc.

Use old clothing to package breakable items. When you move, chances are you will have to move glassware, dishes, etc. Wrap these items in some of those clothes you were going to throw away. Find specific items which fit the shape and size of what you want to wrap. If there are elongated items you can place them in pants legs. If it is a wide plate you wish to wrap, place it in the body of a shirt.[4]
Carefully stack these items on top of one another, or side-to-side. Do not throw the items down and break them.
You can also add extra layers of old clothes in between the items when you start packing them up. Add a shirt, or an extra pair of pants, in between the items.
Pack your glasses or stemware in knee high socks.
Certified Professional Organizer & Senior Move Manager
Our Expert Agrees: To save space when you’re moving, use soft fabrics like your T-shirts, pajamas, and linens to cushion the boxes that you’re packing.

Leave some items in your dresser drawers. If you are taking your dresser with you when you move, you can leave some of the items in the drawers. You should leave lightweight items like underwear, socks, t-shirts, etc., while taking out sweatpants, jeans, coats, etc. You then have the choice of taking your dresser as a whole or breaking it down into its component parts. Get people who are big, or who have upper body strength to move the dresser.[5] [6] [7]
If your drawers are generally loose, with no locking mechanism, it it best to remove the drawers. You will want to wrap each of the drawers separately, with a large container of plastic wrap. Go around the drawer in both directions, multiple times. Do this until the drawer has been completely wrapped, and all of the contents are secure.
If you decide to take the dresser as a whole, you will want to secure the drawers. Take a bungee cord and wrap it all the way around the dresser, overtop of one of the drawers. Hook the two ends of the bungee cord. Then take more bungee cords and wrap it around the other drawers, all the way around the dresser.
Safely secure the dresser in the moving van. You can either use bungee cords or lifting straps. Tightly wrap them around your dresser and secure them to the base/side of your truck (on the inside).

US DOT:  3773052
ICC/MC:  1347715

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