12 Highest Packing Mistakes To Avoid When Moving

12 Highest Packing Mistakes To Avoid When Moving

One of the most difficult, yet important, aspects of moving is packing up your household belongings. It can be overwhelming, daunting, stressful, and generally disturbing, but it doesn’t have to be.

There is a lot to packing than just putting items in moving boxes. If you tackle packing with the prepared mindset and are also fully armed with the knowledge to make it go well, you will end up with efficient and easy packing. If you want to move your belongings into another house with convenient parking and easy unpacking, make sure you avoid these mistakes as much as possible to help yourself and remain focused, organized, and have a stress-free and seamless relocation to your new home.

Below, we will discuss top packing mistakes to avoid and how to go about it.

1. Lack of Actual Packing Plan

Packing is both a mental and physical exercise. The more of a plan you have entering the process, the better prepared for success you will be. Sadly, people usually enter into packing without having any actual idea of how they will efficiently and safely pack their belongings. The outcome is always a wasted time, wasted effort, and a packing process that is highly difficult than necessary.

How to avoid it

A few days before you plan to begin the process, gather a game plan for how you want to pack up your home. You don’t have to write it out, although, doing so is helpful. The purpose is to have some kind of blueprint for the upcoming few days of packing, which includes the priority of packing and how items will be packed. When you now start the work, you will not only be properly prepared, you will also be highly effective in your work.

Check our Best Packing Checklist When Moving

2. The Use of Boxes of the Wrong Size

One of the popular mistakes made by homeowners is the use of random-sized moving boxes. While it is a smart move to recycle old liquor or fruit boxes, it sure makes it hard to gain a better uniform pack job in the moving truck. To save you the stress of sorting items out, make use of designated boxes that are available in three major sizes: small, medium, and large. This makes it easier to stack the moving boxes and you won’t find it difficult to sort things out when you are unpacking.

How to avoid it

You must have the right-sized boxes for the items you are moving. Allow simplicity and endeavor to follow the three different sizes, rather than a combination of old liquor and fruit boxes. This makes sure a highly uniform pack job in the moving truck. Remember to get packing tape, packing paper, and a marker to label each box.

Read Buy Cheap Moving Boxes

3. You Don’t Create Enough Time for Yourself

This ranks as one of the worst packing mistakes even if you don’t fall into every other mistake on this list. If you fail to allow yourself enough time to pack, you will end up stressed and overwhelmed. Not to talk of the fact that not having enough time to pack is also the cause of most packing mistakes discussed in this article. The less time you create to pack the more stressful the entire process will be, so you will surely want to put in your best to create appropriate time.

How to avoid it

Be real when determining your timeline and assume that everything will take much more time than you are planning. It is even better to opt for creating excess time for the move than not enough.

Generally, you will need around 2 to 3 days to pack a studio or 1-bedroom home, 2-4 days to pack a 2-bedroom home, and 5-6 days to pack a 3-bedroom home (add one more if there are more bedrooms in your home). This, of course, is an assumption that you are packing all day, which is usually not possible when you consider jobs and other responsibilities.

This method of providing yourself enough time is to overestimate the number of days you will need, especially if you can’t allow a whole day to do the job, and to work without distraction during the times you are focused on packing.

4. Over-Packing

Another mistake made by people is packing heavy stuff in one box. This doesn’t only make the box hard to carry, but it also reduces the integrity of the moving box too. Over-packing a moving box can cause ripping, which can then cause losing precious belongings in the process. How frequently have you seen people carrying a much heavy box and suddenly, the items begin to fall from the bottom? 

How to avoid it

Share heavy belongings in different moving boxes and make sure the boxes don’t weigh beyond 40 pounds. While you may be tempted to fit your entire kitchen gear inside one box, if you have excess, share it among two or more boxes. As long as you label the boxes, you will have no problem.

5. You Don’t Have Enough Supplies

We’ve all been in this shoe: you are packing, maximizing productivity as you fill each box until suddenly and unexpectedly, you’ve exhausted your packing supplies. Running out of supplies means being forced to halt the process, hit the store for extra belongings, which reduces the precious time from what you are supposed to be doing and makes it harder to return to the actual space when you later get back to the task.

How to avoid it

Similar to timing, know that you will need more than you planned for when it comes to packing materials. Begin with our moving box guide, which will provide you a brilliant idea of the number of boxes you will need depending on the size of your home, the number of items you own, and your packing style.

It will also say a lot about the amount you need as regards supplies, packing paper, markers, packing tape, and bubble wrap. If you are not an experienced mover or are not organized when it comes to packing boxes, you may want to buy a little excess than recommended.

6. Not Disposing of Items

Regardless of how much time you’ve spent in your current home, there are always items that you can dispose of. Organizing (and disposing of) the belongings that you don’t need anymore is one of the best methods to simplify packing boxes and will save your time and money. And not disposing of items just means you are wasting the two.

How to avoid it

Before you begin to pack, enter each room and remove all the things you don’t plan to move with you to your destination home. This includes items like clothes and documents, furniture, and decorative materials. Sort them out into three separate piles: recycle, donate, and dispose of.

Plan to donate as many items as you can, and ensure you designate some time in your plan for gathering your donations or other disposal means. It is kind of additional work from the start, but you will surely appreciate what you did when you are packing (and unpacking) for your move.

7. Poor Box Labeling

Using labels on your moving boxes makes it very easy to point out its contents. The problem is, many people get it done wrongly. Normally, the label’s size should be a minimum of 2 inches in height and should have the list of the items packed in the box.

How to avoid it

When you are labeling moving boxes, make use of white stickers and black ink market. Be sure to place the label on the side of the box so you can easily determine the content even when the boxes are stacked on top of each other. Print all labeling 2 inches high on both sides of the box and the top. With a black wide tip marker, print your name, the room the boxes go to, and a list of items in it. Number every box and cross-reference it to the list of contents you have on a home inventory. Any additional or special instructions, like “top load” or “keep upright” should be marked on the entire four sides.

8. Leaving Free Spaces in the Box

While we don’t recommend packing your boxes in excess, you should also don’t leave any space inside the box. Empty spaces imply that your belongings will shift more often during transport, which can end up causing damage to delicate items.

How to avoid it

Avoid leaving space in your moving boxes; block all spaces with packing material. You want to prevent your items from shifting too much on the move. If you are unable to fill the gaps with extra items, make use of packing peanuts instead. Packing peanuts offer a cushioning layer to protect your items from moving and shifting while on the move. 

9. You Get Lost in Perfectionism

If you are a perfectionist in other aspects of your life; it is reasonable that you would be applying a similar mindset to packing. However, making effort to perfectly pack is a waste of time and an important origin of moving-related stress. No one is judging you on how nicely and neatly you pack your boxes or how clear your labels are. You want to ensure things are packed functionally and safely, but there is nothing to achieve from getting overwhelmed by the details.

How to avoid it

There is no ideal way to pack aside from the effective way that moves all of your belongings to your new home. Do all that you can with your time and resources, and avoid wasting time on things that need more effort than they are worth. If you have enough time, proceed and ensure things are well packed and labeled in the best way ever, but even if they are not, as it is not the end of it all.

10. Not Taking Good Care of Large Household Belongings

It is not just your smaller belongings that need to be rightly packed for relocating, your appliances, and other large household belongings you plan to move to your new home also require proper preparation and much protection to survive the moving on good condition. Not remembering them is one of the major mistakes to avoid as you are packing for a move.

How to avoid it

Get furniture ready for moving: Empty the contents of your large furniture pieces and disassemble them as much as you can. Pack each piece with great care (especially glassware) and secure the hardware parts with their respective furniture; keep them in sealable nags and secure them to the furniture with tape. Get moving blankets and plastic wrap and cover the furniture in it and ensure it is properly held in the moving truck.

Get your home appliances ready for moving: Empty and clean the appliances in your kitchen a few days before your move. Hold their doors using tape or plastic wrap to prevent them from sliding or opening while on transit and hold any hoses, power cords, and so on behind the appliances. Wrap the whole items in protective materials;

Pack your electronics for your move: Arrange and label your electronic devices’ cables and protect the screens using pieces of cardboard held in place using plastic tape. Wrap the whole device in moving blankets and apply many bububble sraps to make sure it is safe.

11. Not Wrapping Items Before You Pack Them

Packing boxes is about wrapping your belongings and is similar to positioning them into place. Follow the normal process and wrap the items as necessary, especially delicate and sharp items. This can cause so many damages which include broken items and dangerous-to-move/unpack boxes.

How to avoid it

You have a lot of options when it comes to supplies needed to wrap up belongings, and some of them you likely have in your home. Buy some plastic wrap, packing paper, and air-filled plastic padding, but you can also use items like towels, blankets, and linens, which can add to the cushioning and padding where it is mostly required.

12. Handling it on your own

Avoid seeking help when packing your household goods. Packing is not a one-man task and it needs a team effort to make it successful. The more people you can enlist their help, the easier and smooth the packing process will become.

How to avoid it

If your family and friends are not available, you can bring in professional moving companies to handle the entire work for you. It is easy, safe, stress-free, and the best part is that; you will only sit back and relax till the process is completed.


Avoiding the popular mistakes that people make when packing moving boxes is a major step in having a smooth move. If you don’t want to handle packing at all, just hire a full-service moving company.   

Adam Palme - Author
Adam Palme

Adam grew up in military family, which meant he moved more than 20 times before he graduated high school. The experience taught him a lot about adaptability (and loading boxes), which he leveraged into a career in the moving and storage industry 7 years ago. He’s been working in sales and customer service management for 20 years, and he uses his own experiences to write content about moving, storage, leadership, and teamwork. Outside of work, Adam enjoys coaching youth football in Miami and enjoying some beach time with his dog. Go Dolphins!

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