How to Pack Clothes for a Move: 7 Steps for Easy Relocation

Olivia Elsher

Jan 6, 2024

clothes packed in boxes

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Are you planning to relocate soon? Before enjoying the scenery and vibes of your new abode, you must overcome the challenge of packing. It can be overwhelming, but with the right mindset, strategy and planning, you can make it less stressful. You’ll be able to settle in your new home with less worries. Learn how to pack clothes the right way for a move.

1. Declutter Your Wardrobe

The whole packing process can feel intimidating. Take it one step at a time to avoid stress, and start with decluttering your wardrobe. People who move don’t bring all their belongings to their new home since it’s a hassle. So before you put anything into your boxes, deal with your clothes. Separate the outfits you can and can’t wear. Purge, sell or donate gently used outfits you don’t intend to bring to your new home or haven’t worn in a year. Doing this will reduce the clutter you have to transport and give you a clear mind. 

2. Categorize Your Clothes

Next is to sort your wearable pieces by occasion, season or use. You won’t immediately get the time to unpack after the move, so categorizing your clothes means you can leave out-of-season items in the box and tackle them later when you have the time and energy. The best time to move is early spring or late fall to avoid the harsh weather of winter and summer. If you decide to relocate by this time, you won’t need your summer clothes until a few more weeks later. You can unpack what you only need, allowing you to settle into your new home with less stress.  

3. Launder Everything

Unpacking clean and freshly laundered clothes can make a huge difference in your transition, so throw all the clothes into the laundry. Include a washing and drying day before you move rather than after, as it can derail your schedule. After the move, you have several things to think of — such as what furniture to add or how to decorate the interior. By laundering your garments beforehand, you’ll have one thing less to worry about after settling.

4. Decide and Shop for Packing Supplies

You need different sizes and types of packing supplies for a smoother transition. Here are a few things to get. 

  • Sturdy moving boxes
  • Packing paper
  • Bubble wrap or cushioning
  • Garment bags
  • Label materials
  • Cargo straps or ropes
  • Furniture pads
  • Strapping tapes

You may already have some of the items if it’s not your first time to move. Your moving company will have these supplies, but feel free to get them at your local home improvement or office supply shop. 

Next, plan how to pack your belongings to estimate the number of boxes to buy. For example, if your winter clothes fit in 10 vacuum bags and one wardrobe box can hold all your office wear — you can get the correct quantity of packing materials and avoid wasting money. Ensure you get the right type of packing items to protect your clothes.

Use cardboard boxes to pack folded clothes. Alternatively, you can use duffel bags and suitcases. Wardrobe boxes are great for office uniforms or any outfit sensitive to creases when folded. Vacuum bags are perfect for bulky items like winter clothes and jackets. 

5. Start Packing

After securing every packing material you need, the actual job starts. Others may argue but packing can be an art. If you do it right, you can maximize your limited space, reduce the boxes to transport and make moving more efficient. Choose between these packing methods for a convenient move.

  • Folded method: The most common way to pack clothes is by folding them and stacking them on each other. It’s perfect for garments with delicate materials, such as dresses. 
  • Rolling method: This way of packing can save you a lot of space and minimize wrinkles. It involves rolling the clothes — like your casual wear — and neatly arranging them in the box or bag.
  • Compression bags: For winter coats, vacuum-sealed bags compress bulky times and save more space.
  • Dresser drawers: The most convenient way is to leave your clothes inside the drawers and transport the whole thing. It eliminates the need for packing and unpacking and saves you time. But make sure to remove any breakable items to avoid any damage during transport.

6. Use Suitcases and Luggage

Another way to save some bucks on moving is to use your luggage or suitcases instead of buying extra packing supplies. These bags are versatile and carry clothes, home decoration items, jewelry or gadgets. Use them to pack clothes that need extra protection, such as formal attire. 

7. Pack Hanged Clothes

If you have garments that can’t be folded, you can pack them in several ways. 

  • Using wardrobe boxes: These are costly but worth the investment if you need to pack suits or delicate garments that easily wrinkle. A small box costs between $1 and $1.70 while an extra large box costs around $3.75. Meanwhile, specialty box prices range from $12–$15. You can also use them to pack the bedding.
  • Garment bags: These come in different dimensions and materials, with some made of polyester and high-quality leather. Like wardrobe boxes, they hold suits and gowns. Just hang your clothes and zip it up. While these are great, your clothes may still get wrinkled due to the compression inside the bag. Use wardrobe boxes if you want to maintain your delicate outfits.
  • Rolling racks: Rolling garment organizers are the easiest way to transport clothes without lifting them. These hanging bars with wheels allow you to easily take the hung garments out of your wardrobe and transfer them to these racks. While they’re highly movable, they lack protection. 
  • Portable closets: These combine the first three options — a wheeled box with a hanging bar, frame and zipper covering. They can keep and protect your clothes in one place,  transporting them conveniently. However, they can take up space, which can be remedied if you know how to use every inch of space when arranging your things. 

Aim to Maximize Space When Packing Clothes

Learning how to pack clothes for a move can save you time, energy and money. It’s important to pack clothes accordingly to avoid any damage to them. For outfits that are not delicate — like casual wear — roll or fold them and store them inside cardboard boxes or luggage. Meanwhile, use the garment boxes or rolling racks for hanging garments. Moving can be stressful, but you can make it efficient and less overwhelming by planning how to pack your clothes.


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