The Ultimate List of Moving and Packing Materials You Need

The Ultimate List of Moving and Packing Materials You Need

Packing and moving materials

Moving blankets and stretch plastic wrap? Bubble wrap or packing paper? How do you use mattress bags? What moving materials for packing do you already have or need to buy? How do you know how much you will need? What is the best packing material for moving fragile items? Listen, we get it. We know that packing and moving can get overwhelming. It is hard to plan and organize what you need to do, where you will put your belongings, and how to pack them. It is perfectly normal to have a lot of questions about what you need and which materials work best for you. That’s why we put together a list of moving and packing materials that you will need as you prepare for your upcoming move.

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Packing materials and where to buy them

There are many action items to consider while packing for moving. First, it is important to take inventory of all the items you’ll be moving before you can come up with a list of supplies. Typical packing materials for moving include boxes, tape, markers, labels, plastic wrap, bubble wrap, and packing paper. Moreover, knowing the size and type of items you will be packing and moving will help you estimate and figure out the number and sizes of boxes you will need, the rolls of bubble wrap you will need, and more. Don’t forget to create a budget because the moving process can get expensive quickly. Before you purchase anything on your list, browse around online to narrow down the products with the best prices and reviews.

Types and sizes of boxes

As you are packing your home into boxes, it is best to use a combination of small, medium, and large boxes to keep them from getting too heavy to lift. Balance the weight out by packing heavier items at the bottom and lighter items on top. You can use the U-Haul moving calculator to estimate the number and kind of boxes you will need based on the kind of space you are moving into, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and other inclusive details. For example, if you are moving from a 2-bedroom and 2-bathroom home and are packing up the kitchen and family room, you may need about 40 boxes, ranging from small to extra-large. It also estimates other items you may need, such as packing paper and mattress bags.

Here is an estimation for the number of boxes you may need based on the relative size of your home!

Studio apartment1-bedroom apartment2-3 bedroom house4-bedroom house5-6 bedroom house
18 boxes30 boxes57-72 boxes93 boxes111-130 boxes

In addition to box size and number, you need to choose the type of boxes you want to use. For example, you can opt for cardboard boxes, plastic storage bins, or crates. Depending on what you are storing, you should use a combination of them. There are different types of cardboard boxes: corrugated, wardrobe, and picture.

Corrugated boxes

Corrugated boxes: packing materials for moving

With double-wall construction, corrugated boxes are more expensive than your standard cardboard boxes. However, they are more durable and designed for protecting breakable items like fine china during the move. That insulation makes them worth the price!

Wardrobe boxes

Wardrobe Boxes: packing materials for moving

If you get tired of folding clothing, these are great for moving clothing. With a hanging bar at the top of these boxes, you can move your coats on their hangers into the boxes! Basically, you can split your closet into boxes with these wardrobe boxes. Ask your movers about these boxes because some movers can include a few of them as part of your moving fee.

Picture boxes

These picture boxes are the perfect size for flat-screen TVs, paintings, and any canvas with a large picture frame! If these need to be handled with care, remember to write “FRAGILE” or “GLASS” on the box.

Here are some places you can find free cardboard boxes. Besides cardboard boxes, you can also use storage bins or crates. If you have items that you do not need to unpack right away, plastic bins are resistant to humidity and pests. You can use plastic storage bins to store shoes, purses, and other smaller items that you don’t need right away. Plus, plastic bins are transparent, so you can see what is inside while you are unpacking all your things. Furthermore, crates are a great option for packing anything that needs ventilation and cannot be cooped up in a sealed box or bin.

Planning storage is an essential part of determining where to buy packing materials for moving. Ask yourself questions about the objects you are boxing up. How big is the item? How delicate is it? Spread different items out across different means of storage. Different boxes suit your different needs, so choose accordingly!

Tape, markers, and labels!

Don’t use duct tape. Use good-quality packing tape because cheap packing tape may not be adhesive enough. That can result in unsealed boxes with your items spilling out. To keep boxes from falling apart or things from spilling out, you should also tape down the sides of the box for extra support. Additionally, you may need painter’s tape to tape an “X” across any mirrors or picture frames you are packing. Make sure you have enough tape!

If you are using cardboard boxes, you can label them by writing right on the box. If you want to repurpose the box later, you can add a removable strip of tape on top of the box instead, and label the strip based on what room the box corresponds with. Or use colored tape and create a system where a specific color matches a specific room. However, color-coded packing tape is pricier, and colored masking or flagging tape is not adhesive enough to keep your belongings safe and sound.

Markers are a fundamental item you should add to your list of packing materials to buy for moving. Label any boxes with breakable items with the word “FRAGILE” in large letters where it is clear to see. Use a king-size permanent marker so that your words are easy to read. Your movers need to know which boxes require caution and attention!

If you are using a plastic storage bin, you can attach removable moving labels and write down the contents of the bin or the category it falls under with a permanent marker. However, color-coded or room-specific moving labels are more expensive. So it would be best to use standard moving labels if you are on a tight budget. Make sure you know what is inside all your boxes and bins!

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Bubble wrap and packing paper

A tip for packing is to ensure there isn’t empty space inside the box. Fill that extra space to make sure that things are held in place and will not shift around.

Packing paper for packing

Packing paper is an option for wrapping delicate, smaller items. It can also be used as filler to cushion items and keep them from sliding around inside the box. Moreover, making sure that the boxes are full and stable can make it easier to move and stack them.

Bubble wrap for packing

Bubble wrap is another option for wrapping items, and it ranges from small to large bubbles. Small bubbles are good for fragile items, like dishes and glasses, while large bubbles are good for heavier objects like vases and kitchenware.

While you are determining where to buy packing materials for moving, you can save some money on bubble wrap or packing paper. Wrap some items in towels or linens to protect them while also filling the space inside the box. Also, packing peanuts are not as eco-friendly and are harder to dispose of. Instead of packing peanuts or packing paper, you can use pillows, comforters, or blankets to pad your large boxes and make sure everything is snug. Take advantage of what you already have, and use what you can recycle!

Stretch plastic wrap

Stretch plastic wrap for packing

Another packing material to purchase for moving is stretch plastic wrap. This wrap is multi-functional. To keep the drawers of a desk closed, utilize some stretch plastic wrap, and wrap it around the desk. This helps to keep loose items secure and contained during the move, and you can also bind items like brooms and mops together with this plastic wrap. Wrap soft furniture pieces, such as couches and chairs, to protect them from scratches and other damage. Furthermore, you can cover larger delicate items with a few layers of this stretch plastic wrap.

Moving materials and where to buy them

Are you deciding between renting and buying moving blankets? Whether you decide to move your things yourself or hire a team of movers to do the heavy lifting, it’s a good idea to purchase some of your moving materials. If you are a college student or you move often, it will be worth the long-term investment! Typical moving materials for packing include moving blankets or furniture pads, mattress bags, trash bags, Ziploc bags, and cleaning supplies.

Moving blankets and furniture pads

Moving blankets

Moving blankets, or furniture pads, are used to cover furniture and protect them from damage during the move. Secure your furniture with these blankets by wrapping plastic wrap over them. If you are planning on renting a U-Haul, they can provide moving blankets with the rental. Or if you hire a professional moving company like UniMovers, they can also provide them. However, if you move often or have a long-distance move, you might want to consider purchasing some of your own. Rental blankets tend to run a little thin, so you might want to get thicker blankets or double the number of blankets you use. Another option is to just employ large blankets or comforters that you already own.

Mattress bags for packing and moving mattresses

Mattress bags for moving

Mattress bags are used to keep mattresses from getting dirt or stains on them during the move. It is crucial that you check and confirm your mattresses are dry before you seal them in these bags.

Truck or U-Haul rental

If you are not planning on hiring movers, you will need to rent a truck. When selecting your moving truck, you will need to choose the right size to accommodate all your belongings. Multiple types of trucks include pickup trucks, cargo vans, small trucks, medium trucks, and large trucks. Before renting the truck, get quotes from different rental companies to determine what will work best for you.

Trash bags and Ziploc bags

While you are cleaning the place and sorting through your items, you can use trash bags to clear out debris and items you don’t need or want. Trash bags are also perfect for collecting and storing loose items that don’t need to be packed as carefully as your other items. Some of these items may look like clothes, towels, linens, and bathroom items. You can use bags that you filled with soft cloths or stuffed animals to cushion your packed boxes. Line your boxes designated for shampoos and other liquids with trash bags to catch any potential spills. Harder to rip, heavy-duty contractor bags are your best bet with their larger capacity.

Use Ziploc bags for gathering utensils, office supplies, and other small items that might roll around in a large box. You can also seal shampoos and other liquids in Ziploc bags in case there are spills. An alternative option to this is to unscrew lids to bottles containing liquids and place the plastic bag or even a piece of plastic wrap over the opening. Then, screw the lid back over your covered liquid and the bottle should be spillproof. Additionally, consider using these bags to store non-perishable items like flour and sugar.

Cleaning materials for moving

While packing and moving, you will definitely need cleaning supplies! Cleaning is a significant part of getting your house ready for moving day. You probably already own a vacuum cleaner, rags and cloths, a Swiffer or mop, and a broom with a dustpan. Some cleaning materials that you might want to pick up are paper towels, sponges, cleaners, and disinfectant wipes. These are items that you can find at your local grocery stores while you buy packing materials for moving.

Luggage for packing clothing and essentials

You most likely already have luggage bags for traveling. These work great for packing your clothing and toiletries! It would be helpful to use one of your luggage bags to pack what you will need for your first night in your new place. Check out our Quintessential Moving Checklist for other essentials that you should pack in your first-night box!

Basic tool kit

Basic tool kit for moving

On your moving day, your movers will disassemble your furniture pieces for you. They will also reassemble them at your new place. But if you need to take your bed or other furniture pieces apart yourself, you should have a basic toolbox on hand. A basic household tool kit should have items like a hammer, a tape measure, screwdrivers, Allen keys, pliers, and a variety of nails and screws. These tools are worth investing in because you will also need them to set things up in your new space. It is also likely that you will need to fix things from time to time. This kit will be useful around the house even when you are not packing and moving!

Are you unsure about where to buy packing and moving materials? For cheaper prices, you can check out social media and other online platforms, such as Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, to see whether anyone near you is selling or offering the supplies that you need. You can also buy cheap moving materials at U-Haul, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Amazon, Walmart, and your local furniture, electronic, and department stores. But remember that the cheapest option is not always the best option! Above all, you should find what works best for you: the perfect balance between price and quality.

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4 thoughts on “The Ultimate List of Moving and Packing Materials You Need”

  1. Creating a good plan is first thing of my list. I think with good organisation and making useful checklist you can do a moving with ease. Nothing can be a problem when you make good decisions. Labelling is tedious but very important process. Once I had to open all the boxes just to find towels.

  2. I’m very pleased to find this great site. I wanted to thank you for ones time for this particularly wonderful read!! I definitely appreciated every part of it and I have you bookmarked to look at new stuff on your web site.

  3. Stocking up on home essentials before your move will make your life a little easier. In your blog, you have covered all most all the essential things that a person requires when moving to another place. Thanks for this helpful checklist.

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