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How To Pack Clothing For A Move

What goes in wrinkled comes out wrinkled.

woman packing sweater in cardboard box
Photography by: JGI/Jamie Grill/GettyImages

In theory, there’s no wrong way to pack clothing for a move. Unlike dishes, clothes won’t break, so you could just toss everything in a box and call it a day.

 

But you’re forgetting something: “What goes in is what comes out,” says Cynthia Kienzle, owner of The Clutter Whisperer of NYC. “Packing haphazardly means chaos on the other end, and moving is stressful enough.”

 

Rather not spend the first week in your new home ironing shirts and hunting down socks? Check out these expert moving tips.

 

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Hanging Clothes

If you have some room in your box budget, wardrobe boxes are the gold standard for moving hanging items. Equipped with sturdy rods, they make moving from closet to closet a breeze. 


“Your clothing will arrive free of wrinkles, dust, and dirt,” says Kienzle. “They’re especially good for fine clothing and formal wear.”

 

Make sure to purchase tall wardrobe boxes for your dresses, suits, and pants. Smaller versions are available for shirts and shorter items.

 

For a cheaper DIY method, skip the pricey wardrobe boxes and buy a box of 30-gallon trash bags with pull strings. You’ll essentially be using these like dry cleaner bags: Create a small hole at the bottom of the bag, then pull the bag over your clothing, threading the hangers through this hole. Cinch the bottom of the bag with the pull string, then secure the hangers together with a twist-tie.

 

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Folded Clothes

In an ideal world, your moving company will allow you to keep your clothing in your dresser drawers. They’ll simply tape the drawers shut, secure the dresser in plastic wrap, and you’ll be set once it’s in your new bedroom.

 

However, not all companies are willing to move a dresser weighed down with clothing—and if you’re moving yourself, you may not have the manpower.

 

If this is the case, get your boxes ready. You’ll want medium sized boxes—clothes aren’t as heavy as books, but they can add up quickly, so resist the urge to throw everything in a giant refrigerator box. 

 

Line the bottom of the box with packing paper, then place your neatly folded clothes inside. You want to pack the same way you’ll unpack, so group your clothing as you would in your dresser, using a layer of packing paper to signal where one drawer’s contents end and another’s begin.

 

Be careful not to overfill or underfill the box—a stuffed box won’t stack securely, while an empty box is at risk of collapsing. Once your box is packed, top it off with a couple sheets of packing paper and tape securely shut. Label the box on the sides with both the destination (for example, “bedroom”) and contents (“sweaters”).

 

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Shoes

You love your shoes—so treat them like it when you move.

 

To maintain the shape, stuff each shoe with packing paper. Then, place one shoe at the edge of a piece of packing paper and roll to wrap; add the second shoe, and wrap that in the same sheet. Once the pair is wrapped together, secure the bundle with a piece of tape. Repeat for each pair of shoes.

 

After you’ve wrapped your shoes, you’re ready to box them up. Shoes are relatively light, so you can select a larger box. Line the bottom of the box with packing paper, then layer in shoes, placing the heaviest at the bottom and the most delicate at the top. Add more packing paper before taping your box shut and labeling.