How To – Pack Your Moving Boxes

  • So you’ve got a bunch of moving boxes in your living room - now what? Let’s pack! This is going to be a rough and ready guide to packing with less stress. Packing is not a one-way-fits-all kind of thing. Some people like to get their boxes early and slowly but surely pack up little by little with everything carefully and categorically organized so they never get too stressed. Others want to wait until the very last minute and pack in a flash, dumping whatever fits wherever they can - like ripping off a bandaid - the quicker the better. “Moving hurts and I don’t wanna think about it!” Most of us fall somewhere in between (though human nature tends toward the latter). So here’s a little essay on packing with less stress.

    We’ll break it down into Time, Setup and Strategy:


    • The biggest aspect of “how” here is “how fast?”. We recommend giving yourself ample time, based on your personality and lifestyle. More time means less stress, but these are both relative things - they’re different for each of us. Three weeks with a couple hours a day or a 36 hour packing ultramarathon?  That’s your call! We gently encourage you not to avoid the task, slow and steady will mean less stress to most of us.


    • Have an area with all your supplies that also has room to work around it
    • Designate areas to start stacking full boxes - start against walls and corners and in rooms/areas with least traffic.
    • You’ll want a marker and tape for each person building and labelling.
      • If somebody likes building boxes, give them the task! Or at least build them in batches rather than one-at-a-time as you go.
    • Designate boxes or bags centrally for donation/give away and for recycling/garbage - great time to cull your stuff.


    • Take boxes a few at a time to where the stuff is. Pack stuff right from where it normally lives and transport it to the area you designated for full boxes - out of the way.
    • Be methodical not distracted- pick an area and pack it completely rather than jumping around.
    • Labelling - label the side of the boxes so you can read them when they’re stacked up.
      • Write the destination room large - and as an option - list contents in smaller print. It’s more important to know where a box is going than what’s in it for quick unloading.
    • Start with the stuff you’re using least - typically offseason gear like winter coats and linens.
    • Pack an overnight bag for the first night - treat it like travelling so you’re not searching through dozens of boxes to find your toothbrush.
      • Have one box with essentials like medicine, passports, toilet paper, snacks, the book you’re reading, flashlight, etc - and make sure this is clearly labelled and stays with you.
    • Pack dishes standing up on their sides. And glasses standing up. Both are stronger this way.
    • Place a layer of crumpled paper (or some linens, clothes or bubble wrap) below and above breakables.

    Good to know

    • Stuff is heavy! Keep weight to not more than 35lbs (16kg) per box.
      • Mix contents to achieve an ideal weight - ie., books with linens
      • Use small boxes (2cu ft or smaller) for books and the heaviest items
    • Careful of wood or similar floors! Sliding boxes will likely scratch. Pick them up and place them. It’s no different than sliding a piece of furniture. Flatbed dollies are great for moving them around the house.


    • Leave the stereo or a boombox for last and play your favourite tunes - whistle while you work!
    • Have lots of healthy/hearty snacks on hand - don’t get hungry-angry, or “hangry” as the kids say!

    Rent your boxes?

    • One of the easiest ways to reduce the time and stress of packing is to rent reusable moving boxes from someone like FROGBOX. They deliver, you pack and move with sturdy, stackable boxes, and they pick up when you’re done.

    Thanks for reading and good luck! Here’s to happy moving!

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