Moving is a lot like spring cleaning. Some things have to go, but others can just be packed up in an organized manner to make your next month even better. Let’s talk about how to pack your kitchen for a move—whether that’s from your parents’ house into your first apartment, from the home you raised your family in to your retirement villa, or anything in between. Getting to experience your new home is exciting no matter what life stage you’re in, and packing up your kitchen is an art that you can learn to perfect.
Out with the old!
Also like spring cleaning, moving is a great time to get rid of old items. If you were looking to upgrade or replace something in your kitchen already, why not do it as you move? That lets you leave the old item behind, sell it secondhand, or donate it to a local charity shop. Then, you can start at your new place with the updated version—no packing or wrapping necessary.
Some items that might need a replacement during a move include things like magnetic knife strips, shelving organizers, and utensil trays. These are often purchased to fit into a specific space. Find out in advance if your new kitchen needs a different organizational setup so you aren’t left moving items you won’t be able to use.
Moving is a great time to upgrade your small appliances to a cohesive set, too. Moving from your bachelor pad to your first standalone house? Maybe it’s time to switch from a two-slice to a four-slice toaster. Look into matching small kitchen appliances from brands like KitchenAid and Breville to see where you want to save and where you might like to splurge.
How do I pack my kitchen so nothing breaks?
Unfortunately, there’s no way to guarantee that nothing will break during a move. However, there are lots of ways to pack a kitchen that will minimize both breakage and back strain.
Pack your kitchen in sections so that everything coming out of one box will be set up in about the same area in your new kitchen. Then, make an effort to mix light and heavy objects. Stack pots and pans in the bottom of your boxes, making sure to use a soft material in between each nonstick finish. Kitchen towels are great for this—they have to be packed either way, and they’ll protect your more fragile surfaces. Then, once a box is about 70% as heavy as you can comfortably lift, fill the rest of the box with lighter items. These might include pantry items like crackers, tea, or extra paper towels.
If you run out of kitchen towels or dishcloths to pack your boxes with, use other household linens like pillowcase covers and facecloths. When those run out, old newspaper, fliers, and even styrofoam sheets or plates from the dollar store work well.
When it comes to finishing up your packing process, you can never have too many boxes or too much packing tape. Make sure each box is filled to the brim with light, impact-resistant packing materials. Then, close everything up tightly with packing tape or stretch wrap. Label generously (on multiple sides), too!
How to pack your kitchen appliances
Major appliances like fridges and stoves should be measured in advance, then moved by professional movers. These items are both fragile and heavy, some with components (like refrigerator coolant) that could be dangerous if exposed to the air. I’ve written a guide for Best Buy on how to move your major appliances, which is worth checking out if you plan to bring any with you. You’ll want to make sure you can take them off the property first, then make sure they’re packed securely before they go anywhere. (Make sure to take things like shelves out before wrapping up any appliances!)
Smaller appliances should be packed with their weight in mind. If you still have original packaging, awesome: That’s the safest way to move any small appliance. If not, pack your heavier or more delicate appliances into a sturdy box and line it with big bath towels in every crevice. This method works great for moving items like kitchen mixers and espresso machines, but typically isn’t necessary for heartier items like microwaves and toasters, which have very few moving external parts.
What goes first when you pack your kitchen?
Kitchens pack really well with a “last in, first out” mindset. Anything you’ll need right away is likely to be something you’ll need up until the last minute. This is helpful when it comes to deciding what to pack first and last. Pack occasional-use dishes and appliances first, then things like refrigerated foods close to last.
I recommend packing one final bag or box of kitchen items that goes in the car with you while you drive over to your new place. This box should have the basics—nothing fancy. Pack enough utensils for every person that’ll be living in your new residence, plus one cup and one plate each. Your goal here is to have the bare minimum on hand. You don’t need to be able to cook or furnish with anything in this box; it’s just enough to make sure you can have a glass of water before bed and some takeout when everyone gets hungry from moving boxes all day.
If you have pets in the home, include a day’s worth of their food and treats in this box too, plus a water dish (and kitty litter, if applicable). Finally, add the other essentials that you’ll want on hand, even if they’re backups: One roll of paper towel, some dish soap, and a roll of toilet paper. Pack this final box directly into the car or cab with you. Don’t leave it with movers and don’t put it in with all of your other things. This box contains your water glasses and emergency toilet paper; do not let it leave your sight!
When that last box closes up, you’re ready to move your kitchen into a brand-new space. Good luck with your move, and enjoy!
Shop kitchen & dining online at Best Buy today.