So you’re preparing to move, but where to start? Here is a list of all the items you might want to pack first, and which items you might want to leave for last when preparing for a move. 

Items That Are Out of Season

Winter coats in summer, tank tops, and shorts in winter– if you’re not going to wear them, pack them! The same goes for seasonal decors like Halloween decorations or Christmas ornaments and items like grill accessories or camping gear.

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Backups and Surplus

So you always try to keep a few extra sponges under the sink or backup rolls of paper towels in the cupboard. While being prepared isn’t a bad thing, you’re unlikely to use them any time soon. Pack them away so they’re ready to replenish the stockpile in your new digs. 

Old Photos, Papers, etc.

Your baby scrapbook or the craft project you got for mother’s day might be precious, but you’re not going to need them in the next few weeks. Pack them up and set them aside prior to your move.


While it might be nice to look at, you can probably survive with bare walls for a few weeks before you move. Packing your artwork and other decorative odds and ends early on will also make sure you have the time to pack them carefully, securely, and safely.

Fancy Dinnerware

You probably won’t be entertaining right before you move. So, if you have an extra set of flatware and linens you like to take out when guests come over, pack them away.

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Extra Linens

A week or so out from your move you’re probably not going to need every set of bedding you have (or every towel). Pick out the linens you plan on using in the next week and pack the rest away.

Kitchenware and Gadgets

Think about which pots, pans, and utensils you use on a regular basis. Set those aside and pack the rest. Face it, you’re probably not going to have the sudden urge to bake a cake a week or two before a big move.

Miscellaneous Entertainment Items

Board games, books, movies, and CDs (do people still have those?) all can be packed early on. If you don’t think you’ll use them again, check out our piece on decluttering for some ideas on how to dispose of them.

Electronics (and their Chargers)

TVs, computers, and cell phone chargers may be some of the last things you want to pack. For some of these items (like televisions), you may require assistance to pack them in a way that reduces the risk of damage. For others, you are likely to need them leading up to and right after your move. Set aside any chargers and accessories to prevent them from getting lost in the shuffle.

Medications, Toiletries, and First Aid Items

It’s a good idea to set aside a few basic first aid supplies in case of emergency (bandaids, painkillers, etc.) but the rest can likely get packed up. The same goes for extra toiletries and other items like backup rolls of toilet paper or backup bars of soap.

However, any medications you take on a daily basis and toiletries you use every day (toothpaste, soap, etc.) should be set aside and packed into a separate bag that stays with you (not with the moving company!) for easy access in the days succeeding and preceding your move.

 Office, School, and Craft/Art Supplies

While you might need a few basics (pencils, pens) you’re unlikely to need that box of 24 crayons and your stash of paperclips right before moving. Set aside a few items that might come in handy (a notepad, a pair of scissors, and a permanent marker) and pack the rest.

Cleaning Supplies

While we generally recommend not moving with cleaning supplies that have already been opened (due to the chance of unexpected accidents, spills, and mess when moving), sometimes, you might decide to move with them anyways. So, if you can’t use up the item before your move and can’t bear to part with it: read ahead. But please note, pack these items with extra care, cleaning products often contain chemicals that can damage items or harm movers (which is generally why we recommend avoiding moving with them). 

Depending on the item, you may want to pack these early or last (or throw them out altogether). For example, specialized cleaning supplies like grout cleaner, stain remover, etc. can be packed early on. However, something you may want to use before you move like laundry detergent or multi-surface spray could come in handy right before you head out the door. Again, consider doing your best to use these up before your move. Leaving a clean house will not only help the next occupants, but it may even increase your likelihood of getting your security deposit back! 

Hopefully, these tips will help you plan out what you can pack first (and what you might want to leave for later on!). Once you’re ready to move, call FlatRate and get a quote today!