What to Pack First When Moving: A Step-by-Step Guide to Kickstart Your Relocation

President, Moishe’s Moving Systems

Moving can be like putting together a complicated puzzle! 

Sorting through your belongings, and deciding what to keep, donate, or throw away, is incredibly difficult. On top of that, actually working out how to start packing to move essentials can seem like a daunting task. But there is a way to make this process much easier.

Creating ‘a what to pack first when moving checklist’, ensures a much more relaxing, smooth process. Having a roadmap for each step will ensure you don’t forget anything important, and it minimizes the risk of absolute chaos. A good plan saves time and brings comfort during the inevitably hectic moving period.

Creating a Quality Moving List

A well-written moving out plan is the best assistance when trying to keep on top of important tasks and remember what you must take with you. This will keep you on track through the packing process, particularly when you first begin to sort items. Cover all the bases, from collecting supplies to alerting utility services about your change of address. This breaks down the daunting task of packing into smaller, easily manageable steps.

The ultimate goal of moving is a hassle-free transition. Thoroughly planning and preparing for your move reduces stress and increases the likelihood of a successful transition. It’s important to create an environment that allows you to be excited about your new beginning without the chaos of packing and moving overshadowing it.

In this guide, we’ll break down the packing process into simple steps. We’ll share tips on what to pack when moving out for the first time, how to organize your belongings, and how to seamlessly transition into your new space.

black and brown Dachshund standing in box

The Essentials: What to Pack First When Moving

The key to a successful move lies in packing strategically. When you prioritize the right items, you set the stage for a smoother transition. So, what to pack first when moving? Let’s dive in.

Start with the Basics

Confused on what room to pack up first when moving? Begin by packing the everyday essentials you use regularly. This includes toiletries, a change of clothes, and any medications. Having these items easily accessible will help you navigate the first few days in your new space without unnecessary stress.

Packing Kitchen Essentials

The kitchen is the heart of every home, and it deserves special attention. Pack essentials such as plates, utensils, pots, and pans, and keep them accessible when you first move. Non-perishable food items can also be packed early, minimizing waste and ensuring you have food on hand during the initial stages of the move.

Prioritize Bedding and Linens

Ensure a comfortable first night in your home by packing bedding and linen and making sure the box is among the first you can access. Having a well-made bed to retreat to after a long house-moving day makes a huge difference.

Important Documents and Valuables

Irreplaceable items, such as passports, legal documents, and valuable possessions, should be packed securely. Consider creating a “moving binder” to keep all essential paperwork in one place, and ensure it stays close.

Clothing for All Seasons

Pack clothing suitable for the upcoming weeks, considering the weather in both your current and new locations. This helps you avoid rummaging through boxes for a sweater or a pair of shorts, or trying to find a warm jacket during a cold snap!


Creating Your Packing Plan: Moving Checklist

Now that you know what to pack first when moving, it’s time to create a comprehensive plan. A moving checklist serves as your roadmap, ensuring no detail is overlooked.

Set a Realistic Timeline

Moving is a process that unfolds over a period of weeks, if not months. Break down your tasks into manageable chunks, setting deadlines for each phase. This prevents last-minute chaos and ensures a smoother transition to your new home.

Organize Tasks Efficiently

Categorize tasks based on the urgency and priority. Moishe’s expert moving tips, gathered from years of industry experience, emphasize the importance of well-organized plan. This includes hiring professional movers, securing quality moving supplies, and notifying utility companies about your move well in advance.

Utilize Moishe’s Expertise

Moishe’s Moving Systems brings unparalleled expertise to the table. We can leverage our experience to incorporate all of our tried and tested methods into your moving plan. From packing strategies to timeline management, our insight can significantly enhance your relocation experience and make everything work as intended.

Room-by-Room Packing Guide

Now, we’ll jump into a room-by-room packing guide.


Sort and Declutter:

Before packing, assess your clothing and accessories. Donate your old things or discard items you no longer need. We know it can be tough, but getting rid of items that you don’t use is going to make life so much easier in the long run!

Pack Fragile Items Safely:

Use sturdy boxes and plenty of padding for fragile items like glassware and decorations. Nothing worse than broken glass in your packing box.

Label Boxes Clearly:

Clearly label boxes with bedroom items to simplify the unpacking process. Make sure that if there is important clothing, the box remains accessible.


Sort Perishables:

Consume or donate perishable items before the move to avoid wastage.

Pack Non-perishables Early:

Start packing non-perishable food items, pots, and pans ahead of time.

Secure Fragile Items:

Wrap fragile items like dishes and glassware in bubble wrap or newspaper for added protection.

Living Room

Prioritize Entertainment Essentials:

Pack entertainment items such as books, DVDs, and gaming consoles early for peace of mind during the move. Ensure they are still accessible if you want to sit down and watch a movie once you arrive. For packing and moving delicate items like pianos, consider hiring expert piano moving services.

Protect Electronic:

Safely pack and label cords for easy reassembly at your new home. Losing an important cord can turn into a massive headache!

Consider Furniture Placement:

Plan the arrangement of furniture in your new living room and pack accordingly.


Pack Toiletries Separately:

Keep daily essentials separate from other items for quick and easy access. Packing a small bag that fits into your backpack is a great way to keep your toothbrush and deodorant on hand.

Secure Medications:

Pack medications in a clearly labeled and easily accessible container.

Consider Towel and Linen needs:

Pack enough towels and linens for the initial days in your new bathroom.

Home Office

Back-Up Important Files:

Ensure important digital files are backed up before disconnecting your home office setup… just in case!

Label Cables and Accessories:

Clearly label cables and accessories for efficient reinstallation.

Secure Sensitive Documents:

Pack important documents securely, considering a separate box for added protection.


Dispose of Hazardous Materials:

Safely dispose of any hazardous materials, ensuring compliance with local regulations.

Sort Tools and Equipment:

Categorize a pack of tools and equipment based on frequency of use.

Consider Seasonal Items:

Pack seasonal items separately to streamline unpacking. If you are going to need particular tools or equipment in the next month or two, make sure they’re easy to get to.

What Not To Pack – The Do’s & Don’ts

While knowing what to pack first is important, understanding what not to pack is equally important. Certain items are better left behind or require special handling.

Hazardous Materials:

Items like chemicals, paint, and gas cylinders are a no-go. Dispose of them responsibly before the move.

Perishable Items:

Avoid packing perishable items to prevent spoilage and unpleasant odors during transit.

Prohibited Items:

Check with your moving company regarding packing prohibited items. This may include flammable materials, firearms, or other restricted items.

Moishe’s Moving Systems: Make Your Move With Confidence

Moving can be a chaotic, challenging experience, for both long-distance moving and local moving. However, planning early and utilizing detailed lists can make life so much easier, ensuring a smooth move to your new city or state.

At Moishe’s Moving Systems, we have years of delivering exceptional moving services in New York, as well as the rest of the country. We’re always here to help make your move a seamless experience, so that you can enjoy the excitement of your new home.

Get a free quote today. We look forward to hearing from you.