How to Pack for a Cross-Country Move

August 18, 2010

Not to brag… but for the move out to Boston I fit everything I own into 3 suitcases and 8 boxes! Sure I didn’t have to take any appliances or furniture, but it’s still pretty impressive. Here’s how I did it:

Purge, purge and purge again. Literally as I packed every little thing I asked myself do I need this? Do I use it? When was the last time I wore it? If I hadn’t used it or worn it in more than a year I knew it didn’t need to make the trip with me. I sent a box to my sister full of clothes I no longer wore and sent another large bag to Amvets.

I packed all my books, cds, dvds magazines, etc… into the bottom of several boxes making sure to pack things as tightly as possible. Then I added a couple thick winter sweaters on top of that to make sure the boxes weren’t insanely heavy. Also, boxes that contain forms of media can be sent through the Postal Service at a discounted rate. So it is worth packing those things together.

My clothes I packed by season. All my winter stuff in a couple boxes, all my summer stuff in the others. I made sure everything was well folded and used tank tops and scarfs to fill the random gaps that exist. The folding, or rolling, ensures there is WAY less ironing to do once everything is unpacked. Plus, when you pack by season you know which boxes should be unpacked immediately and you know which ones can be put off a little longer.

For my cosmetics, I laid them all out on my desk and then went through. The ones I don’t use I put in a basket. The ones I still use I put in ziplock bags and packed them that way. It’s amazing how many things can be purged when you sincerely ask yourself when was the last time you used the product. I threw out hardened eyeshadow that was more than 7 years old. Gross!!

For clothes hangers, I reverted back to my old retail days and packed them in the formation the hangers always arrived from the warehouse. These stack so well, take up hardly any space and don’t get tangled. Nor will they snag your clothes this way.

And then A LOT of packing tape! And when I say a lot I mean, I went through 4 rolls on the 8 boxes. Um, yeah, that much. Just in case.

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  • Reply Melissa August 18, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    You are my hero with packing!!! These are great tips.

    Purge, purge, purge – this can be the most difficult of tasks and the most time-consuming, but the most helpful too!

  • Reply Courtney August 18, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    I didn't know that configuration for hangers. I'll have to try that next time I move.

    The best way thing I've found is to start early. If I know I'm moving far enough in advance, I often start packing two months in advance.


  • Reply Keely August 18, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Wow! I think we just have too much stuff! My clothes don't even fit in 8 boxes. I have been purging though and I'm just moving across town – to a larger house no less. Hope the move went well.

  • Reply annie August 18, 2010 at 4:57 pm

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  • Reply Kristin August 18, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    Where were you when I moved? Packing by seasons=brilliant!

  • Reply rlutz August 18, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    you are an amazing packer!! The books on the bottom and lighter clothes on the top is brilliant for not making things too heavy to carry and for postage!

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  • Reply MChen August 19, 2010 at 9:05 am

    Katie, I never thought that you had that much cosmestics!!!!!!! wow! good luck with the move. and Let us know how things go over there in Boston!

  • Reply Angeline August 20, 2010 at 4:43 am

    Wow, what great tips! This will definitely come in handy for me (we're moving cross-country, destination TBD, next year).

  • Reply daisybabie August 21, 2010 at 1:04 am

    oh wow! the hanger tip is great! mentally noted for when i move next.

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  • Reply Amarante Ford August 25, 2015 at 9:51 am

    Really impressive – 3 suitcases and 8 boxes! I could never pack everything I own in such amount of suitcases and boxes, not because I have too much stuff, but because I’m not good at packing at all. I don’t have too much clothes, shoe, or cosmetics indeed, but last time when I had to move to another state it was a small disaster. Love your post and I’m very glad I found it. My next move is in February and I’ll have your you tips in mind while packing. Thank you!

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