What is the best way to pack clothes for moving?
Moving to a new home can be very exciting but the amount of physical work involved in packing, moving and unpacking can be exhausting. And, packing all of the clothing that you and your family members own is a task that can be particularly daunting. In many cases, people tend to be more focused on how to move furniture, decor, and other essential household items (i.e., how to protect these during the move, where to place them in your new home, etc.) only to discover at the last minute that there is what seems like an endless amount of clothing stored in dressers and closets that have to somehow be quickly packed and loaded (or, worst case, tossed) into a moving truck or a personal vehicle. And in these cases, when the clothing is packed in a hurry, it’s not usually organized in a manner that’s easy to unpack and can also sometimes even become damaged during the move.
The following tips on the best way to pack clothes for moving can help you to streamline and organize the moving process for your clothing. Although some of these steps can be performed at the last minute, there are several steps you can take well in advance of your moving date that will save you time and effort during the move.
Sort, Organize and Launder Your Clothing
Because you will literally have to place your hands on all of your clothing items anyway to pack them at some point, you might as well start this process early. Soon after making the decision to move, you should begin to sort through all of the clothing in your house using the following steps.
- Determine what items you really intend to use and those that you don’t. Begin to pull clothing items out of your closets and drawers one by one and using a method such as that recommended by the Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo (in her book ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing’) as you pull the items out. Ask yourself ‘does this item bring me joy’ or, being honest with yourself, ask if you or your family member will ever really use or wear the item again.
- If the answer to these questions is no, the item should be placed in a pile of items that don’t need to be packed. Instead, you can donate these items to charity (or throw them away if they’re damaged). Or, if you have some expensive or designer items that end up in this pile, consider selling them online or in a local consignment store (which could result in the added bonus of some extra cash at moving time!). You can also use some of these clothes to wrap and protect other items you need to pack and then dispose of them later.
Although these first couple of steps seem like a lot of work, they can significantly reduce the amount of clothing you need to pack, move, and unpack in your new home.
- Once you’ve determined the clothes you intend to keep, go ahead and wash these clothes as you don’t want to pack items that may be dirty with clean clothing items.
- As you pull the items from the dryer, sort them by a family member and by season. This provides you with a great starting point as you will now have piles of clothing that are out of season that you can begin to pack into moving containers instead of placing them back into closets or dressers.
- Use a box or a suitcase for each family member and pack it with clothes to wear during the week of the move (including underwear, socks, shoes and you can even add toiletries). This is very helpful when arriving in your new home as you will not have to urgently unpack all of your clothing to find something for everyone to wear. Just like when you pack for, everyone will already have what they need in their own box or suitcase which then allows you to take more time to unpack and store the rest of your clothing.
As you begin to pack the clothes that you’ve decided to keep for the move, there are several packing options you can use depending upon your personal preferences and budget. The distance of a move and seasonal weather can weigh into your decisions, too. If you’re traveling a long distance (which may include overnight storage of your belongings in a moving truck) or it’s a season subject to severe storms in your area, it’s very important to pack your clothing in a manner that provides protection from the elements.
Common Options for Packing Clothing
Wrap Hanging Clothes
There are a couple of different methods of wrapping clothing on hangers.
- Garbage bags
Garbage bags can be converted to plastic garment bags by tearing a small hole in the center of the bottom of the bag and then slipping the hanger through the hole. After pulling the bag down around the clothing on the hanger, you can pull the drawstring closed at the bottom to keep dust and dirt outside of the bag. The only cost associated with this method is the purchase of a box of 30-gallon garbage bags with drawstrings and some twist ties. You can bundle garments on hangers together in groups of 5 to 10 in one garbage bag, but if you do this you should twist tie the hangers together at the top to hold them together throughout the move.
- Plastic sheeting
You can also bundle clothes on hangers together as described above (with twist ties) and then wrap each bundle in plastic sheeting like that used for painting drop cloths. To use this method you can lay a bundle of clothing on your bed, wrap it in the plastic sheeting and tie knots in the sheeting at the top and bottom of the bundle (leaving the hook portion of the hanger exposed). Some advantages to this method over using garbage bags are:
- Plastic doesn’t usually tear as easily and is less slick than garbage bags so if you stack the bundles they won’t slip around as much.
- The sheeting gives you more flexibility with regard to the length of the bundle of clothes (you can adjust the length to the length of the clothes in the bundle) whereas garbage bags are at a fixed length
- Sheeting also provides more flexibility with the amount of clothing you can include in each bundle whereas the capacity of a garbage bag is fixed and limited.
Store Hanging Clothes in Wardrobe Boxes
Wardrobe boxes are tall boxes that you can rent or purchase from your moving company or online. These boxes have a metal hanging rack across the top of the box that enables you to pack your clothing inside a box on its hangers. Although this option is a bit more expensive, hanging your clothing inside boxes as this protects them from getting dirty or wrinkled and makes them very easy to unpack as you just transfer the hangers from inside the box to a closet rack. Once you’ve packed items in a wardrobe box, movers will be able to simply pick up and load this box with your furniture and other boxes.
Portable Hanging Racks
Similar to wardrobe boxes, portable hanging racks enable you to hang your clothing on a rack that can be rolled or stored inside a moving truck for the move. Although this type of rack is not covered, after having loaded the rack you can wrap it with plastic sheeting for protection from dust and the elements. And, again, when the rack arrives at your new home you can simply transfer the clothing from the rack to a closet.
Vacuum Sealed / Compressed Storage Bags
Storing clothing in vacuum-sealed clothing bags offer both protection for your clothing during a move as well as reduce the amount of storage space required. Fold the clothing items or roll them up when place or stack them inside one of these bags. When the bag is full, you can use the hose on your vacuum to pull the air out of the bag. This compresses the clothing inside and shrinks the size of the stack considerably. You can then stack these compressed bags in other boxes or containers for the move. It’s important to note, though, that clothing needs air circulation and the general recommendation is that clothing should not be left in this type of vacuum storage bag for more than six months.
Packing in a Dresser
Another option is to simply pack clothing in the drawers of your dressers. And, in many cases, the drawers can remain in the dressers for the move (depending on weight and the moving company’s guidelines). If dressers are moved with the drawers remaining in the dresser, be sure to seal the dresser in plastic wrap or use tape or some other means to secure the drawers so that they don’t open during the move. If the drawers do need to be removed, you can wrap each drawer individually to secure and protect the contents during the move. This is one of the easiest moving methods there is because there is no unpacking or work required after the dressers are moved into your new home!
An additional tip when moving dressers and dresser drawers is to make sure that fragile or valuable items are removed and packed separately. This includes a glass or other breakable items, jewelry, money, valuable or important documents, etc.
Packing in Moving Boxes
Because you’re already packing so much of your other belongings in boxes, some people prefer to just use these same types of boxes to pack clothing. If you choose to use regular packing boxes, the following tips may be helpful.
- Don’t overfill the boxes. This is easy to do with clothing but can result in the box not stacking well and very heavy to move
- Use only small and medium-sized boxes to keep the weight of them more manageable. If the boxes are too big, the weight of the clothing can also cause the bottom of the box to break.
- If you’ve sorted clothing by family member and season, take advantage of the opportunity to mark the boxes with this information. This will be very helpful when unpacking and settling into your new home.
Packing in Luggage
As mentioned above, one great use of luggage is to pack all of the clothing and supplies each family member needs into their own piece of luggage for the week of the move. But it’s also a great idea to fill any luggage you have with clothing that has to be moved. Luggage is intended for storage of clothing and offers greater protection than a cardboard box, so you should take advantage of luggage as a packing container for your move. Because of the protection that luggage provides, consider using it to pack some of your more expensive or delicate clothing items.
Using Clothing as Packing Material
- Consider using either some of the clothing that you placed in your donation pile as packaging material to wrap and protect breakable items as you pack them (instead of paying for bubble wrap). You can donate the clothing after the move.
- You can also consider using clothing you want to keep as packaging material if you’re not concerned about it getting dirty or damaged in the move (particularly items such as t-shirts and activewear)
- Pack your shoes separately from your clothes to prevent your clothes from becoming soiled
- Use shoeboxes if you still have them and stack the shoeboxes inside a larger packing box for the move
- If you don’t have shoeboxes, pack shoes in a small moving box. Stuff the shoes with socks or paper so they resist crushing and hold their shape and separate shoes with paper or packaging material to prevent damage that can occur due to contact with the other shoes in the box
- Place the heaviest shoes in the bottom of the box
- Pack each pair of shoes in the alternating toe-to-heel position or sole to sole
- Don’t pack jewelry with clothing as jewelry can snag your clothes or become lost
- Hats can be packed in large boxes because they are lightweight.
- Pack hats loosely so they don’t become crushed.
Be sure to contact Orlando Express Movers for all your moving needs.