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How to Pack Clothes for Moving Without Losing Your Mind

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Whether your wardrobe is bursting at the hinges or more of a minimalist closet, it’s good to know how to pack clothes for moving. If it sounds overwhelming, don’t worry. We’ve gathered the best ways to get your clothes from point A to point B, no matter how many outfits you own.

How to Prepare to Pack Clothes for Moving

Before grabbing your clothes and packing them in a rush, take some time to organize. The extra prep will ensure you only pack the clothes you really want and that they’ll be unpacked in a jiffy.

Decide what you’re keeping

Avoid lugging clothes you’ll never wear again from one home to the next. Want to know how to pack clothes for moving that you’ll actually wear? Go through your wardrobe and separate your clothes into three piles. One for donating, one for clothes you’re selling, and another for those you’re storing.

Sifting through your clothes can be a struggle. Outfits you love but don’t fit anymore can be hard to part with. When deciding which clothes to take and which ones to let go of, keep in mind how good it’ll feel to have the extra space.

Donate your clothes

Donating your clothes to charity or your local church is a great way to help your community. Clothes that you haven’t worn in over a year but are still in good condition can get a new lease on life. Plus, you’ll free up space in your new closet.

Sell your clothes

Do you have expensive jeans that don’t fit? Or a designer handbag you don’t want? If you have items hiding in your closet that you’ll never wear or use again, sell them online or at specialty thrift stores.

Store excess items

For items that are too special to get rid of, like a wedding dress, don’t shove them back into the depths of your closet or back under your bed. Instead, set them aside. If you’re tight on space in your new home, put items into a storage unit for safe keeping. If storage isn’t an issue for you, pack these clothes first.

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Prepare your clothes for packing

If you know how to pack clothes for moving correctly, you’ll avoid stress later on. Before packing, wash all your clothes. You can then put them in order of what to pack first. To keep things easy, pack the clothes you use the least first. Unless you know you’ll need them before moving day, start with packing cocktail attire and out of season clothes. If you’re moving in the summer, for example, you probably won’t need those scarves and coats.

Sort clothes before packing by material, type, or season

Want to know how to pack clothes for moving in the most organized way? Make unpacking easier by sorting your clothes before packing them. You’ll be able to see how much you have in each category and put your clothes away easily. We recommend dividing your clothes among these categories – material, purpose, or season.

Material of clothing

If you have a lot of wool sweaters or cashmere cardigans, you may want to keep them together. Deciding to pack your clothes by material lets you treat each fabric carefully. For example, you can protect natural fabrics from moths as you move by packing them in plastic. This strategy is especially helpful for the clothes that you’re storing. Keep them fresh and intact by packing clothes made out of the same materials all in one box.

Type of clothing

Different types of clothes have different needs. You wouldn't pack a sundress the same way you’d pack shorts, so it’s a good idea to separate them. Use this method if you have many different types of clothes. If you’re more of a t-shirt and jeans person, separating your clothes by type may not be as useful.

Seasonal clothing

If you live in a region with fluctuating seasons, this is the best way for you to sort your clothes. Simply divide your clothes by each season, starting with the season you’re furthest from. If it’s winter now, you’ll start packing summer clothes first.

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How to Pack Clothes for Moving by Type

You’ve pared down your closet and separated the clothes you have left. Now we can get into the nitty-gritty of how to pack clothes for moving. From hanging clothes to shoes, each item should be packed in a specific way. Here are the best ways to pack and move each category.

How to pack hanging clothes for moving

Chances are, you have a lot of hanging clothes. Between shirts, pants, and formal outfits, hanging clothes often dominate household closets. Since they tend to wrinkle easily it’s important to move them properly. You don’t want to spend a whole day ironing. These are the four most efficient ways to pack hanging clothes without adding extra creases:

1. Wardrobe boxes

The best way to pack hanging clothes is with wardrobe boxes. These rectangular boxes come with hanging rods that are ideal for moving clothes on hangers. They’re sturdy enough to hold a lot of clothes and their shape makes it easy to keep wrinkles at bay. They are often expensive, but for many, they’re worth the cost. If your budget allows, be sure to add a few wardrobe boxes to your list when deciding how many moving boxes you need.

2. Garment or trash bags

Protecting your clothes when you move is a no-brainer. Depending on their price, knowing how to pack clothes for moving with garment bags can be worth your while to protect your clothes from dirt and dust. Moving without professional movers and need to save space in your vehicle? Garment bags are easy to hang in your car and can lay on top of other boxes. If you’re on a tight budget or a time crunch, you can substitute garbage bags for garment bags.

3.  Portable hanging racks

Want to know how to move clothes on hangers? Hanging racks are the way to go. You can purchase these at large home supply stores. Given their size, hanging racks work best when you’re using a moving truck. All you have to do is move your hanging clothes from one rack to the other. You may want to protect your clothes on the rack with trash bags or sheets, just to be safe.

How to pack non-hanging clothes for moving

When it comes to learning how to pack folded clothes for moving, you’re usually dealing with a chest of drawers. The best way to pack clothes already in dresser drawers is to leave them there and tape up the drawers. This can make moving your furniture very difficult, though. Depending on your moving company (or the strength of your friends), you may have to empty the dresser.

If this is the case, you need medium-sized boxes and some packing paper. Line the box with the paper and stack your folded clothes inside. To make unpacking a cinch, use the paper to divide your clothes as they were split across your drawers. Be sure to fill empty space in the boxes with exercise clothes or towels to keep everything in place.

How to pack shoes for moving

Your shoes go through enough, so be sure to protect them during the move. Stuff each one with packing paper or socks to keep their shape. Then wrap your shoes individually with packing paper to prevent scuffing. Depending on how many shoes you have, you can pack them in small or medium-sized boxes.

To protect your shoes, pack them toe-to-heel or sole-to-sole as you go. Also, be sure to put your heaviest shoes on the bottom of the box and lighter shoes on top. This way your snow boots won’t crush your sandals.

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How to Pack Clothes in Bags and Suitcases

You may want to use duffel bags and suitcases for the clothes you’ll wear moving week and those you’ll want easy access to. Since suitcases are made to hold clothes, they’re easy to pack. Plus they can save you money on moving boxes. When deciding how to pack clothes for moving with a suitcase, look for ways to save space. Fold everything well and roll socks and small items to fit inside shoes.

If your bag doesn’t have wheels, be careful not to make it too heavy. You want to be able to carry it, so make life easier on yourself and keep it at a reasonable weight.

How to Pack Clothes in Garbage and Vacuum-Seal Bags

If you opt for garbage bags, you’re in luck. The whole process is pretty simple. Pick up a box of 30-gallon bags, making sure they have drawstrings. Tie 5-10 hangers together at a time or wrap them with an elastic band. Poke a hole in the bottom of a garbage bag. Then slip it over the stack of hanging clothes, threading the hangers through the hole. Be sure to tie the bag to secure your clothes inside and keep the dirt out.

When packing a vacuum-seal bag, roll or fold your clothes flat. Pack your larger items first and top them with smaller clothes. Once the bag is full, seal it shut and grab your vacuum. Lift the valve cap and place your vacuum nozzle on top. Turn on the vacuum and suck out the air. Once all the air is out of the bag, close and secure the valve cap. You’re done!

Be careful not to store your clothes in vacuum sealed bags for too long, though. They can damage clothing left inside for six months or more.

Want to know more? We have plenty of packing tips and tricks to get you ready for your move. Once you’ve packed your clothes like a pro, be sure to use our guides and moving checklists to master your move!


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