How to Pack For a Local Move (In the same city)
Most moves are done locally, even though when most people think of moving, they think of a cross-country road trip interstate. A local move is when you transition from one house to another in the same town, move across a large city or to a nearby suburb.
Those of us who've moved a lot in the past have the packing process down to a science. If this is your first local move, or if it has been some time, it can help to get a few tips from the pros here at Caddy Moving. We know how to pack up an entire house or apartment in a gippier, and soon, you will too.
Collect Boxes, Tape, and Labels
- Mostly small boxes
- Some medium boxes
- Few large boxes
- Good quality packing tape
- Handheld tape roller
- Permanent marker
- Pre-made labels
Start by gathering the moving supplies. You will likely need several small- or medium-sized moving boxes, and a few large boxes per each room in your home. "Small" boxes are the ideal size for books, games, knickknacks, and most small personal items.
“Medium” boxes are used for lighter and more spacious items like clothing, decorations and small lightweight appliances. Use “large” moving boxes for your bulkier items like pillows and comforters, pots and pans, and towels. You may also want to use a closet box or garment box to transport hanging clothes that shouldn't wrinkle.
You may also consider investing in high-quality packing tape, and a tape roller. These will save your fingertips from unsticking the end and pulling across, as well as save your boxes from potentially falling apart.
Lastly, be prepared to label your boxes. You can utilize pre-made labels, or clearly mark the moving boxes using a permanent marker with the room that the box belongs to.
What to Move in Your Car
- Overnight bag
- Plants and pets
- Delicate instruments or equipment
- Jewelry and other valuables
- Important documents
Before you start packing anything, decide what's going in the car with you. Some items can't be loaded onto a moving truck for safety and/or insurance reasons.
Pets and houseplants both need to be cared for along the trip, so you'll want to prep for carrying them in the car. Find and set aside your pet carrier, and prep your houseplant pots so they don't leak water or soil along the way.
You’ll want to consider taking delicate items like musical instruments or electronic equipment, and important documents like birth certificates, passports, and housing paperwork in your car.
Finally, pack an overnight bag with a few days’ worth of personal items like clothes, toiletries, and medications.
How to Pack Boxes for the Moving Truck
Sorting and Boxing
Now it's time to pack up your house. Have your boxes ready to assemble. We advise assembling them as you go so that unfilled boxes take up minimal space.
In each room, go from shelf to cabinet, filling each box based on clearly understandable groupings. You might pack all entertainment center stuff (speakers, gaming consoles, media players, cables, etc.) in one box, all your knickknacks in another, and so on.
Box Packing and Padding
Place the heaviest items in the bottom of the box and fit them together to form a foundation. Then, carefully nest and stack items on top. If the items seem delicate or have delicate parts, wrap them in t-shirts or towels for extra padding.
Clothes make great free packing material. Wrap all cables or trailing strings so that nothing tangles inside the box.
Finishing Boxes and Labeling
When each box is full, label the top and sides with items inside. Be detailed. Don't tape the box closed until you've noted the contents in permanent marker. Then, stack the boxes neatly in each room.
Packing Your Clothes
You don't have to be a folding wiz to pack your clothes well. One option is to roll up your clothes–a common travel-packing hack for mostly wrinkle-free unpacking. You can also fold your clothes into neat rectangles and stack them neatly inside each box.
Use small or medium-sized boxes for clothes. Large boxes full of clothes can become too heavy to carry and can break open.
Use a garment bag for delicate clothes or pack your nicest stuff in between layers of t-shirts to protect them from friction and wrinkling. Clothes are the easiest to pack if you're confident about rolling or folding.
That said, leave your clothing & towel boxes untapped until you're done with everything else. Remember, clothes make great free packing material for more fragile items, which brings us to packing your dishes…
How to Pack Dishes and Breakables for Moving
Dishes and other breakable items need to be carefully packed. Every item should be well padded and wrapped separately from every other breakable item. Place items in a tightly-packed box that cannot shake loose.
If you're really worried about the box taking damage, double-box; place a small box inside a medium box and pad the space in between. Pad the bottom of each breakables box with cloth or packing paper.
Packing Ceramic Plates Upright
Pack plates upright instead of flat. Place a layer of shirt or 2-3 layers of packing paper in between each plate, then bind the stack tightly and place the stack on its side inside the box.
Packing Cups, Bowls, and Ornaments
For cups and bowls, stuff the inside with paper, then wrap them in at least two layers before placing into a slot or nestling into other wrapped items.
If you have dish packers, which are a grid of cardboard panels, then use them to separate your glasses, cups, bowls, and ornaments.
Finishing Boxes of Breakables
Pad each layer with more cloth or crinkled paper, then pad the top. Make sure the box is packed tight so items cannot rattle or fall out of place.
How to Load the Moving Truck
Loading the moving truck is a surprisingly intense and physical experience, so rest up the day before if you're loading the truck yourself. Plan to give yourself most of the day, with time to rest. Remember, stay hydrated!
What to Load First
Start with your heavy furniture and sturdiest boxes. Start the system of stable packing, then build a foundation of heavy boxes that lighter boxes will be stacked on top of. Stack the boxes in order of weight, size, and delicacy. Make sure they stack neatly and every box or piece of furniture is secured in place.
What to Load Last
Set aside what to load last. These are the things that you will be unloading at the new house first. Your most important supplies and furniture should be loaded near the door of the truck, which means loading it last.
Take Plenty of Breaks
If you are not hiring movers to load the truck, give yourself plenty of time. Take breaks and drink water. If you need to take two days loading the truck with sleep in between, do so. Loading items up into the truck, arranging, and securing them is often a day or more of work for those who are not experienced with the labor and techniques.
Driving a Moving Truck for a Local Move
Finally, you will either need a professional moving truck driver or commit to driving the truck yourself. Be extremely careful, as you won't have a traditional rear-view mirror.
Practice using the fish-eye side mirrors to see around the truck and be prepared for the drag of a heavily loaded back. If you need help locating a rental truck for your move, check out our Moving Truck Finder page.
Moving Solo or Hiring Movers
Moving solo can be a lot of fun if you have the time and enjoy packing boxes. Packing services are available for people who can't pack themselves or don't have the time.
Many people hire movers just to handle the loading or unloading of the moving truck quickly and then driving the truck safely across town. This way, you don't have to worry about a heavy, giant, unfamiliar vehicle and all your items will make it securely to the new place.