Moving and Packing Tips

When Should You Start Packing for a Move

Image source: – Yuri A /

Moving to a new place comes with a great level of excitement about starting a new phase in your life. On the other hand, it also comes with its fair share of anxiety about the packing and moving process itself. If you think about everything you have to do all at once, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed—happens to the best of us! That’s why you need to focus on particular steps and timelines.

Starting to pack from 6 weeks to 2 months before the move could be considered as the perfect time. It still depends on the size of your home and belongings in it. The 2 months period is ideal when moving out from a bigger family house, while 6 weeks is more suitable for packing a small apartment. In all cases, 1 month is the minimum timeframe.

Let’s see what else you need to know if you’re wondering when to start packing for a move and how to do it with ease.

What to consider before deciding when to start packing?

There are a few important factors that could influence your packing strategy and decision on when to start packing for a move in the UK. Check them out below. 

Complexity of the move

Whether you’re moving locally or overseas directly affects when you should consider starting to pack the house. The type of move affects your overall strategy when packing items, which essentially affects the time it will take you to get the job done.

Overseas or international moving is a more complex move, so extra time is needed to pack before the move.

Size of your home

The size of your house or apartment is a very important factor, since we’ve already established that a larger home means more rooms to cover and more stuff to pack. Make a list of the number of rooms that need to be packed and you’ll have an idea of the timeline you need to finish all of them.

On average, 1 whole day is enough to pack 1 room but that depends on the amount of belongings inside the room which is the next important factor.

Number of belongings that have to be packed

Keep in mind the amount of belongings around the house before deciding when you should start packing to move. There’s usually a lot of stuff in the kitchen or within large wardrobes and storage rooms, for example. These will take extra time, as they are the hardest areas to pack.

Furthermore, maybe the kids’ rooms have various toys and stationary that need to be neatly packed, which takes a lot of time, too. This also stands true for large furniture and appliances, whose packing and disassembling can be a pain; they require some time to do it right and avoid any damage during the move.

You may also like:
Moving and Packing Tips
Moving Made Easy: 8 Ways to Save Space When Packing

Need to declutter

Although optional, decluttering may prove a necessary step to take before packing since it allows you to significantly reduce the amount of belongings to pack and subsequent moving costs. Feel free to either donate, sell, or throw away things you don’t need.

Still, if you have decluttered the house recently, then you’re probably good to go. However, if you haven’t done it in a long time, it is wise to make some time for it in your plan. This is your chance to leave all the extra and unnecessary stuff behind and start fresh.

Time availability

How busy you are on daily basis is a very crucial factor to consider as well. If you have a very busy schedule, you will need to plan carefully when to squeeze in time for decluttering, packing, etc.

Try and make note of your work schedule or your personal/family commitments for the months prior to the move out that might affect your timeline. This way you won’t find yourself falling behind before moving day.

Besides, this will also determine if you can do the whole packing and moving yourself or you will need to recruit friends, family, or a professional packing service to get it all done on time.

You may also like:
Moving and Packing Tips
How Much Does a Packing Service Cost in UK?

Access to reliable packing supplies

With an estimate of what needs to be packed, you will have an idea of the number of boxes and other essential packing supplies you’ll need to get in advance, too. If you don’t already have them, make sure to take the time to find sturdy supplies to buy.

Here’s an average breakdown of the number of boxes you may need based on a size of a property:

  • Studio apartment: 20 boxes of varying sizes (at least 2 large ones)
  • One-bedroom flat: 32 boxes of varying sizes (at least 4 large ones)
  • Two-bedroom apartment: 50 boxes of varying sizes (at least 6 large ones)
  • Three-bedroom flat and a garage: 92 boxes of varying sizes (at least 12 large ones)
  • Four-bedroom apartment and the garage: 126 boxes of varying sizes (at least 16 large ones)

Of course, these numbers may vary, depending on the factors we mentioned in the beginning of the article. The golden rule is that it’s best to overestimate the number of packing supplies you need to avoid many trips during the packing process, scrambling for more supplies and losing valuable time.

Need help moving?

We provide packing, moving and storage services!

Learn more

Need help moving?

We provide packing, moving and storage services!

Learn more

How far in advance to start packing based on the type of move

Are you moving to a nearby place or across the country to a different area? Or are you moving to another country altogether? These scenarios make your packing timeline different accordingly. Check the following guide for an average estimate of when to start packing before moving house for each one.

Local or long-distance moves

If you’re moving house within the same city or across the country to a different area, consider the below steps and timeline before moving day:

  • Two months: It’s recommended to start to clean out and organise areas of the house like the attic, basement, garage, and closets 2 months before the move. You can also declutter during that process if you haven’t already done it recently.
  • One month: Start buying essential packing materials and boxes after listing your belongings and making an estimate of how many boxes, bubble wrap and other materials you’ll need.
  • Three weeks: This is your chance to start packing anything you don’t need at the moment before moving, like out-of-season items or decorations.
  • Two weeks: Pack everything else! Only leave out essential items/clothes you may need.
  • One week: All essentials should now be packed except what you may need daily during the last week such as toiletries and main clothes which will be packed on the final day.
You may also like:
Moving and Packing Tips
Green Thumb’s Guide: How to Pack Plants for a Safe Move

International move

Moving to another country has its own set of challenges you should take into consideration when deciding when to pack up the house. Here’s an average timeline for an international move:

  • Three to four months: Do your research! Get to know your destination country in terms of customs and important regulations that might affect your move. Settle on the company you will use to move your things internationally and ask them about their regulations and budget.
  • Eight to ten weeks: This is the best time to declutter your stuff. Decide on whether you want to sell, donate, or throw away some things you don’t want packed.
  • Six weeks: Packing starts now! Here’s your chance to have ample time to pack any non-essential or currently unused items and clothes.
  • One month: Start packing everything else, including any important documents you want packed safely. Large items like furniture are best disassembled (is possible) and packed a month in advance if you’re not using them. If you’ve decided on renting a storage space because your new home is smaller or for any other reason, you should rent it now and start moving items there.
  • Two weeks: Pack all essential items.
You may also like:
Moving and Packing Tips
Save on Your Move Abroad: Understanding International Removals Prices

Where to start when packing to move?

Now that you have an idea of an average packing timeline for your move, it’s easy to wonder where to actually start. You have a lot of things you want to pack, so here’s a simple guideline to avoid feeling too overwhelmed:

Start with the decorations and rarely-used items

Think only about items you have hanging on the wall, decorations that you can pack early, books and magazines, items that are already stored away in wardrobes, clothes that are out of season, and any kitchenware not used every day.

Don’t feel too stressed about packing clothes

This process doesn’t have to be a pain. An effective low-budget method to pack hanged clothes is using draw-string trash bags to cover them during transit. Put the clothes inside a large-sized bag while holding on to the hangers and simply close it off around the hanger’s hooks with the string.

If you cannot get a hold of those with strings, use a normal trash bag and cut a small hole at the bottom. Then cover the hanged clothing item and slip the hook in the hole you created.

On the other hand, it’s time to get a bit creative with the way you choose to pack folded clothes. First, you need to sort them all out according to type. For items such as dress shirts and sweaters, the traditional folding method will do. However, make sure you maximise on the space inside the moving box by making sure your fold is as neat as possible.

With casual clothes (T-shirts, jeans, etc.), you need to consider the rolling method in which they will be very tightly rolled to maximise on space as much as possible.

Furthermore, another popular option is using vacuum or compression bags. Vacuum-sealed bags are great to save space. Simply fold and stack any bulky clothes inside the bags and follow the provided instructions to suck the air out. You don’t have to use them on every item of clothing you have, yet they are perfect for winter clothes.

You may also like:
Moving and Packing Tips
26+ Packing Tips for Moving House

Take care of liquids

There are various types of liquids around the house that will need to be packed in the right way to avoid the nightmare of having something spilled everywhere. Here are a few pointers:

  • Opt for a plastic bin for any chemicals since plastic provides a better protective layer than cardboard boxes in case of a spill.
  • For extra protection, especially in long-distance moves, you can surround the bin further with a towel or garbage bags.
  • The best way to seal each liquid container is the most obvious. Use tape over the top of each sealed container to close it off. Moreover, if you’re feeling extra cautious, you can remove the top first and cover it with plastic wrap, then seal it and finally cover it with tape.
  • Use resealable zipper storage bags for several bottles if you don’t want to use tape. This can be used for smaller bottles of shampoo and conditioner, for instance. Make sure the bag is tightly closed and try to position them standing upright inside the bin.
  • Once everything is inside the bin, close it off with tape.

Use proper packing techniques for fragile items

Take your time to pack glass properly and anything breakable. You’ll be grateful for it later. There are several materials you can use depending on what items you are packing.

  • Packaging peanuts are usually used to fill out any empty spaces inside the moving box. It will withstand any shocks or vibrations around the box. You can use it with small glass items or large fragile items like a TV.
  • Bubble wrap is a very common and essential material to use when packing for a move. You can choose different sizes according to what you want to pack. Simply wrap it around the item and place it neatly in the box.
  • Paper is a very affordable way to protect items like glassware. Wrap paper around breakable items and place them inside the box using cardboard dividers.

Make sure to pay extra attention to the bottom of a moving box that contains breakable items. You can use tape to seal it more firmly and use a towel or piece of cloth to pad the bottom from the inside as well.

Label everything

Each box needs to be labelled with what’s inside and the room it belongs to. This will help you out tremendously when unpacking.

Separate valuable items and have them with you

Make sure your valuables and important documents are put aside and placed in the bags that you will have with you while travelling.

Choose between professional moving services or doing it yourself

Depending on the complexity of the move, you should decide how you’ll be moving your things. Professional movers can save you time and stress during the whole process, especially if your schedule is too tight and you have a lot of belongings to take care of. Going at it yourself is perfect if you’re moving nearby. 

Let us give you a hand with the packing!

We can provide packing supplies, prepare your belongings and transport them.

Add a valid postcode e.g. SE1 2TH


  • Consider important factors like how far you’re moving, how many belongings you have, the size of your home, and how busy you are into your packing strategy and timeline.
  • Declutter your home before packing so if you haven’t done that recently, add it into your timeline.
  • Buy all your packing materials beforehand and overestimate the number of boxes you will need.
  • Make sure to pack everything correctly to avoid any damage to your items during transit.
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x