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How to Pack a Moving Box Like a Pro: The Basics

Posted in: I'm Moving, How To Pack

We’re just going to take a shot in the dark here and assume that you probably don’t have “expert packer” on your resume. Just a lucky guess that a majority of you are like us…you have no flippin’ clue how to efficiently pack a moving box. But don’t feel bad, because after today’s post you just might be able to add that new skill to your resume alongside “effective communicator” and “team player.”
Pack a BOX

But now you’re thinking, “Wait a minute, what do the DIY Playbook gals know about packing?” We assumed you might not take our advice seriously (you smart reader you!), that’s why we chatted up an actual packing expert. Seriously…”expert packer” is most definitely on this man’s resume. Kevin Kato is an experienced packing professional and we went right to the expert to get the real scoop about how to pack a moving box like a pro.


  • Boxes: Be sure to buy a variety of sizes.
  • Tape
  • Paper: Many people opt for old newspaper, but Kevin recommends using newsprint so your items don’t get inky. He says, “Newsprint, meaning the same paper without the ink, can be had online or at some home centers. Or check with a couple of local moving companies, they might be willing to sell you some from their inventory.” Certain items (like TVs and large frames) may need bubble wrap, but for the most part newsprint will work on most everything.
  • Utility Knife
  • Markers: These will be used to label the contents of your boxes. Or you can take your boxes to the next (cuter) level with this washi tape technique.


  • Stay in 1 or 2 rooms: If you want to be efficient, Kevin suggests packing the items from a room in the same box. Instead of running around your home looking for a perfectly sized item to fill the empty space in a box, you should focus on the items in the room you’re in. Most rooms have a variety of large and small items, so stay with this technique.
  • Large then small: When you start filling up your box, put a few large items in first. Then fill in the empty space with smaller belongings. But don’t go overboard…you don’t want it to get too heavy.
  • Tightly packed = Strong: Kevin says, “Remember that a tightly-packed box is a strong box. Make sure breakables are adequately protected, of course, but aim to pack each box well enough so nothing inside can move or shift around.” Sounds like our expert is urging you to fill those babies up to the very top!
  • Use free padding: Use your own belongings (towels, blankets, clothing, tablecloths) to pad and protect the other items in the box. You’ll save money and have less boxes of belongings for the moving truck.


  • Pare down: Now this tip we already knew (read more about getting rid of your junk here and here)…but it’s great to have another reminder. The less you have, the less you need to pack. Prioritize your belongings and donate what you don’t need.
  • START! It will take longer than you think: Kevin says, “Pack first those things you know you can do without in the run-up to your move: books, pictures, CDs, DVDs, knick-knacks, seasonal clothes, extra linens blankets and bedding. By doing this you get a lot of stuff out of the way quickly and you’ll begin to get a sense for how many boxes you’ll really need and how long it will take.”

So there you have it…real tips, real advice, and real suggestions from a real moving pro. We’ve gotta say we both already feel a heck of a lot more confident for our next packing experience. But we may still have some practicing to do before we officially update our resumes to include “expert packer.”

Read more from Kevin Kato right here (like how to pack up a large mirror!)


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