Moving House Checklist > Moving Boxes

The moment you move house is the moment you realise you’re a hoarder. While this may seem like an extreme statement, it rings true in the majority of cases. We’ve all laughed and mocked hoarders on TV, questioning why they keep all this useless junk that will never see the light of day. But, when you look in your attic, on your shelves or in your cupboards, are you really that different?

The biggest pain when it comes to moving house is packing. No one likes it, no one wants to do it, but – sadly – it’s unavoidable. Packing your suitcase for your holiday is bad enough, but packing up years of your life… well, that’s a whole different ball game. Why did you buy all those “Build Your Own Robot” magazines? Why do you still own floppy disks? And on what planet was buying Mini Disks (remember them?) ever a good idea?

We’re all guilty of collecting things we don’t need and this is one of the first things you’ll need to consider when you starting planning your move.

Packing Service or Do-It-Yourself

When it comes to packing up your things, you have two options: enlist a professional packer or do it yourself.

Using a packing service ensures your items are packed safely and securely. This reduces the risk of damage to valuables in transit, a risk that’s substantially higher if things have been thrown in a box willy-nilly.

Doing your packing yourself is a convenient way to cut costs. And if you’ve not got many high-value items, then you may not mind so much about the risk of damage or loss. However, doing your own packing can invalidate your insurance cover for your goods in transit.

For this reason, you should always talk to your home insurer and/or your removals company before taking the DIY route. Check out our recent post on Goods In Transit insurance for more info.

Before Moving: Weed Out the Trash

We’re constantly told that minimalism is the new way of living, with Mark Zuckerburg owning, like, 2 t-shirts or something. But while that may work for billionaires, the rest of us love nothing more than collecting random objects.

You may think you don’t own much, but when your thoughts move to the logistics of packing, your opinion of yourself will change. Whether you’re using a professional or packing yourself, you too have a large opportunity to save on your removals bill by weeding out the trash beforehand.

To weed out the rubbish from the worthwhile, you should look at the importance of the object: does it serve a purpose? Is there any form of sentimental value attached to it? If the answer to those questions is ‘yes’, feel free to pop them into a packing box.

If the object doesn’t serve a purpose or have any kind of sentimental value, then off it goes into the trash (or charity) bag.

There will, of course, be difficult decisions. Take that remote control car you got for Christmas one year, for example. You loved that toy, didn’t you? But, realistically, when was the last time you used it? All it does it sit in that box collecting dust and, despite what you may tell yourself, no one is really going to pay thousands of pounds for it in 10 years time. It’s time to part ways. In essence, only keep things you need or that have meaning.

How Many Packing Boxes Do I Need?

Now that you’ve managed to declutter your home and the trash is finally gone, another issue you have to contend with is: how many packing boxes do you need?

If you’re using a professional, don’t worry – they will provide the boxes, so you can sit back. But if you’re doing your own packing, there’s nothing worse than not having enough boxes. But you don’t want too many either!

Thankfully, if you’re using a reputable removal company, then they should be able to give you a rough estimation of how many boxes you will need per room in your house.

Most removal companies will do a pre-move survey of the home and will inform you of how many boxes they think you should buy. Of course, this advice is an estimate and it’s always best to be on the safe side of things, so maybe buy a couple more than they suggest. That way, you’ll have enough space for all your belongings and nothing will be left performing a precarious balancing act in the trunk of your car.

Sourcing Packing Boxes

So, you know which items you need to take and how many boxes are required, but how do you source your packing boxes?

Moving house is expensive and, understandably, we all want to cut costs when it comes to packing. Thankfully, there are ways to get your hands on free boxes, but be warned: don’t scrimp on quality for the sake of a few pounds.

If you’re looking for some free boxes to help with your move, check out local notice boards such as Freecycle and Gumtree to see if anyone is giving them away. Another outlet for free boxes is your local supermarket. Most supermarkets are happy to give away their fruit and veg boxes to you if you ask, with some even promoting the idea. However, while these boxes have their uses, many of them are shallow and have open tops, making them a bit of a hazard if transferring fragile goods. Local restaurants will also be happy to assist in your box hunt, with the majority of them receiving multiple deliveries of food a week, making them a great source of boxes.

Alternatively, you may have moved house in the past, meaning that it might be worth taking a look in your attic to see if you chucked any boxes up there. As we can all attest, the attic is often used as some form of vortex for items such as boxes and other bits, so there’s a high chance of finding some gold up there!

On a similar note, ask around friends and family to see if they have any packing boxes going spare, people often do and are more than happy to get rid of them in order to de-clutter their own home. Or, if you’re someone who likes to do a spot of online shopping, make sure you plan ahead and keep your boxes when your delivery comes – just try not to ruin them by tearing them open in excitement.

Once you have exhausted all of the above channels and are still after a few more boxes, there’s an abundance of retailers both online and on the high street that stock packing boxes at good prices. Make sure that the boxes are strong enough to hold your belongings and won’t tear due to too much pressure. The last thing you want is to quite literally air your dirty laundry in front of your new neighbours!

Top Packing Tips for a Stress-Free Move

You’ve selected what’s coming with you and you’ve got your boxes, now it’s time to pack! That’s right, it is time to put your life away into a multitude of murky brown cardboard boxes and hope that it will meet you safe and sound in a new destination.

There are many different approaches to packing your boxes: there are those of us who choose to just throw everything in, wrap it up in loads of tape and hope for the best. Others are a little more regimented and careful.

The “H” Method

If you’re looking to make your box as strong as possible, it’s best to adopt the “throw everything in” approach. When preparing your box for transit, it’s best to use the “H” method for sealing it.

To do this, fold the smaller flaps of the box down first and then fold the larger ones down afterwards. Once done, seal the box with a line of tape down the centre, where the two larger flaps meet. After that, seal the edges along the left and right-hand side of the larger flaps to form an ‘H’ shape with your tape. If you’re still unsure whether this is strong enough, reinforce the shape with more tape.

To make sure that your stuff is safe in transit to your new home, be sure to add bubble wrap, tissue paper or even newspaper to protect fragile items from breaking. If you do have boxes containing fragile objects, be sure to clearly label the boxes as fragile, just to prevent any unwanted accidents.

Make Sure You Label Your Boxes

Labeling your boxes is something that may not be the most obvious thing to do on your list, but it is extremely useful.

Whether you work best with colour codes or prefer numbers, be sure to mark your boxes in a manner that clearly shows what they contain and what room they belong in. For example, if you have multiple boxes for your living room, give them all a green label or a number ‘4’ so that you know where those boxes have to go once they’re in your new home. This will save you time and stress and will make moving in a lot more enjoyable.

Don’t Forget the Essentials Box

The last thing to consider when packing boxes is your ‘essentials box’, sometimes referred to as a moving-day survival kit. This is exactly what it says on the tin (or cardboard, for this matter): it’s a box of essentials.

When you arrive at your new home, it’s highly unlikely that you are going to unpack all of your belongings in one go. For this reason, you need an essentials box. This box should contain enough toiletries, food, pots and pans, cutlery and dishes, clothes and underwear to get you through the first few days in your new abode and make sure that you’re comfortable in your new surroundings. So it really is a worthwhile thing to do.


Moving house is stressful and nothing will ever change that, but there are things that can be done to make the process easier, and your approach to packing boxes is one of those things. If you are moving, plan ahead with your packing, stay calm and make sure you’re organised – it will make a world of difference. Other than that, enjoy your move and your new home!

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