Clothes are a big part of the packing process for many of us. It’s a big task, made even more significant if you have a packed closet. It’s easy to skip packing clothing until the last minute or pack haphazardly.
If you’ve ever taken a disorganized approach, you know it’s not the best way to go about moving clothes. Sure, it saves you time in the packing process. But once you arrive at your new home, it’s clear that it wasn’t the best strategy. You find yourself digging through boxes, hunting for the things you want, and lamenting, not just taking a few extra moments to plan.
It doesn’t have to be that way. With a few easy steps, you can pack your clothes for moving in a way that makes unpacking easier. And believe it or not, it won’t even take more time.
Declutter, organize, launder
First things first, and this goes for everything in your packing process, not just clothes: don’t pack what you don’t need.
It’s frustrating to get to your new home and find yourself unpacking and finding a place for things you just don’t want, need, or use. Why spend time packing and unpacking items that you could just let go of? Not only does it cost more to move boxes of clothes you haven’t worn in years, but you’ll find yourself stuffing things in the back of your new closet as soon as you arrive.
Give yourself a fresh start and declutter your wardrobe. Take an honest look at your clothes, and decide whether you truly should take them with you. Sure, you lived in that dress once upon a time. But when’s the last time you wore it?
Downsize your belongings, and you’ll feel a weight lifted. You might even get some cash for your moving budget if you can sell some items or put them at a consignment store. Selling things takes time, so don’t wait until the last minute.
Make piles for items to sell, donate, and keep. Find an organization you’d like to donate to, and make sure you understand their donation policies and times for receiving. Say goodbye to your old clothes, shoes, and accessories, and let them find a happy new home.
Next, organize the things you plan to keep. It’s up to you to decide how you want to do it. We recommend organizing by room first, so the boxes you pack can go to the right bedroom when you arrive. Then, you can separate the closet items from the ones that go in your dressers. Keep things together to help keep your boxes organized when it’s time to pack.
Separate by seasons, particularly if your new home is in a place with drastic wardrobe differences to accommodate high or low temps. Have clothes for sports like snowboarding or surfing? Keep these separate, too.
Save yourself the hassle and do your laundry before you pack. The best part of this step is that you can do other things while waiting for a load. Well, maybe that’s second best. The best part is having clean, fresh-smelling clothes for a fresh start in your new place.
Wash your dirty clothes, of course, but check the clothes that have been sitting a while as well. If anything is a bit musty or needs freshening up, put them through a wash cycle. It’s better to seal in freshness in your boxes than the smell of stale sweaters or well-worn gym socks.
Prioritize based on the season
When it’s time to start packing, you don’t need to pack everything all at once. Don’t worry about having a marathon packing session; instead, give yourself time to take it in stages. You’ll need clothes, undergarments, and shoes for the time remaining in your home. Start with the things you need the least.
If you’re moving in summer, you won’t need those parkas, winter boots, and scarves any time soon. If you’re not planning on unpacking these things when you arrive, make sure you pack them with the proper protection from things like moisture and insects, so they’re safe in storage.
Don’t forget an essentials box
You’ll need something to wear in the first week in your new home. Don’t put extra pressure on yourself to race through the unpacking process. Instead, set up an essentials box for the clothes you’ll need.
Each family member should have their own duffel, suitcase, or box for their first week in the house. Don’t forget pajamas, socks, and underwear. Adults should pack clothes they’ll need for work, and clothes for leisure time. Depending on their ages, kids should have enough changes to get through time spent outside or messy meals.
Choose your packing methods
Depending on how far you’re moving, you may choose different packing methods for different types of clothing. Wardrobe boxes allow you to keep hanging clothes on their hangers, making packing and unpacking much more manageable.
If you have professional movers helping with the job, you may be able to leave clothing in your dresser drawers. Not only does it save space and packing materials, but you also save time. Check with your movers to decide whether the drawers will stay in the dresser, or it’s best to remove them and wrap them in plastic for transport.
You can still leave clothes on the hanger without a wardrobe box. Take small bunches of 5-10 hangers and tie them together for easier transport. If you want to protect them from dust or dirt along the way, cover them with a large garbage bag.
Vacuum-seal bags are great for seasonal clothing you won’t need for a while. They’re particularly helpful for bulky items as these bags will compress them and save space. Your clothing will need to breathe if you’re packing it away for a more extended period, but these bags are great in the short term.
Pack your delicate items and your shoes in their boxes away from your other clothes to prevent damage. If you have silk or other fabrics that need extra care, wrap them in tissue.
The weight of clothes really adds up. Make sure to use smaller boxes, even if that means using more of them. Oversized boxes will get heavy fast and will be more challenging to move. Instead of boxes, use what you have on hand. Duffels, suitcases, laundry hampers, and other bags are great for packing clothing items safely.
Labels are your best friend. In the packing and unpacking process, they are, anyway.
After doing all of this hard work to ensure you pack thoughtfully and set yourself up for smooth unpacking, don’t cut corners and skip labeling. Labeling boxes will help ensure they arrive in the right rooms, and that you can easily unpack them into their rightful place. Be sure to label your boxes on multiple sides and the top, so your movers can easily see what goes where.