How to Avoid 10 Common Packing Mistakes

06th Nov 2017 moving hacks

If you thought listing and selling your home was the biggest nightmare of your moving experience, you probably haven’t given much thought to the packing process.

Or, chances are, you have thought about it and have just been shoving those unpleasant thoughts to the bottom of your growing “to-do” list. Moving is a huge task and it’s one that requires a little planning, commitment, and good old fashioned work.

It’s not the thirty-minute episode of House Hunters you see on HGTV. The real reality show is watching you try to cram your household belongings into cardboard boxes and then shove those boxes into the nooks and crannies of a moving van- all without losing your sanity. Take it from the experts- it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. For starters, here are ten common packing mistakes and how to avoid them.  

Mistake #1: Not having a plan

The task of moving can seem overwhelming, and many are tempted to just dive and in and make it happen. Unfortunately, not having a game plan for packing your house will leave you stressed, disoriented, and frustrated. Take the time to assess household items and estimate the amount and type of materials it will take to move.

Mistake #2: Not setting a schedule

Anyone can have a plan, but not everyone can follow through. Without a timeline and schedule for packing, you might find yourself pulling all-nighters days before the move. With an accurate understanding of how much you need to pack, create a schedule and goals for getting rooms or items completed. It will definitely make things easier.

Mistake #3: Not labeling your boxes

If make the second mistake, chances are you will make the third one. In the rushing around and chaos of last minute packing, most individuals fail to properly label their boxes in order to save time. This doubles the work efforts of your family and moving crew. Moving unopen and then opened boxes from room to room trying to figure out where the stuff goes creates a huge headache for all involved. It also confuses the moving company who is trying to systematically pack the truck.

Mistake #4: Using recycled boxes

Don’t get me wrong, saving money and using recycled materials is a good thing. However, you have to know the limits of relying fully on used materials. Good quality boxes are essential to keeping your family heirlooms safe, as well as dishes, pictures, and other fragile items.

Mistake #5: Wrong packing material

In addition to using the wrong boxes, many make the mistake of using the wrong packing materials. For cost saving efforts, some might substitute bubble wrap for newspapers. Although this seems like a cost effective and efficient method, newspaper should only be used for items that are not fragile or in need of heavy support. Also, you should use good quality packing tape that is at least two inches wide and pressure sensitive. Don’t skimp to save money- boxes and cartons should be securely sealed with several layers along seams and creases.

Mistake #6: Making a box too heavy

Either to save on truck loads or to save trips to the moving van, people often pack their boxes with an enormous amount of weight. This especially true with book boxes; they pack easily and neatly but the weight adds up in a hurry. If you can’t move the box, then the mover shouldn’t have to try. Too much weight can also crush the contents of the box itself or those it will be stacked around.

Mistake #7: Making a box too light

On the flip side of too much, we have boxes that are packed way to light for practical moving. Packing is a delicate balance of weight, available space, and protection. Without enough weight or having a disproportionate packing strategy, the contents of the box are more likely to shift causing damage to your goods. Additionally, the box- if not expertly packed- might be more apt to topple and fall during the move. The packing process- which goes first- common sense packing

Mistake #8- Not being organized

We have already mentioned having a packing plan, but packing individual rooms is less of a headache when it is organized. Sort through your items and identify things that are similar in weight, size, shape, and even function. Packing sheets and towels with household cleaners or liquid goods isn’t the best idea. Just as is boxing two items together what will be going to separate areas of the house.

Mistake #9- Being too efficient

Believe it or not, there are times when people are actually too efficient in their packing strategies. This would be the ones who fail to pack an essentials box or have their priority items set aside for special delivery. In your haste to get everything packed and loaded, don’t forget about the things you will need for daily routines until you get settled and completely unpacked. These should be the only boxes that might have mismatched items; blankets, towels, clothes, iron, clocks, power cords, etc.

Mistake #10: Packing alone

Not only is packing an emotional journey, it is tiring, hard, and sweaty work. Don’t be a hero. Enlist some friends or family to help you close this chapter in your life and open another. They will help share in the laughter and tears as you sort through the memories you have made and yet encourage you as you look ahead to creating new ones. Having support provides physical and emotional comforts in the process!


This list might seem like a bunch of common sense “no brainers”, but moving can do some strange things to people as they respond to the emotional, physical, or mental stress of the process.

Hopefully, our list of pointers will help keep you productive and somewhat peaceful as you prepare to pack your home and relocate. Commit to doing it well rather than just getting it done, and your moving experience will be a great start to the memories that await in your new home.