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Alex is the founder of 9Kilo Moving, which he started to help people easily find and choose the right moving company to make their move as stress-free and seamless as possible. He has spent over 20 years working in the moving industry, so he knows every aspect of the business and uses his knowledge to write about the industry and give moving advice. More on about us page

Pack clothes for moving

So many people say “moving would be a snap if I didn't have to pack (fill in the blank with your nightmare to pack.”) Every room in the house has its adherents, but the room that thoroughly annoys many of us to pack is the bedroom.

Boxes are rarely big enough to fit the bed linens and pillows. Nor do bedside table lamps fit in most boxes. There are dozens of trinkets and doo-dads that are impossible to pack. On top of all that, how do you pack clothes?

Luckily for you, we have a handy list of tips for packing clothes for a move. It covers everything from yard sales to donations to packing boxes with your clothes. Then we'll tackle what's left from the types of clothing to folding and hanging. In the end, you'll pack those clothes like a pro in no time with hardly any trouble.

Follow the below steps to know how to pack clothes for moving:

  1. Organize the Clothes
    1. Separate
    2. Organize
  2. Timing
  3. Clothing Packing Methods
  4. Folding Clothing


Step One: Organize The Clothes

We're going to tell you how to organize your own clothing, and then you can do the same for every other member of the family, especially kids. The first step is to separate the clothing into seasonal, special occasions, sporting clothes, and regular clothes. The second thing is to set up a “donate” box for Goodwill, a “yard sale” box, and a “for Mom or Sister” box.


Now that's done, go through each pile with an eye toward what you haven't used in at least six months, what you've never used, and what pieces are the first things for which you reach. What you've never used at all added to what you haven't used in six months go into the “yard sale” box.


Now go through the pile of things you wear the most. Be honest, now, which pieces are so ratty they need to be tossed altogether? Ratty means badly worn, holes in it, and faded. Toss those. You should have left a pile of clothing that looks pretty good. Go through these and decide which you want to keep and which go to Mom or Sister. Put them in the appropriate box.

Now let's take a look at the seasonal and sporting clothing. Do the same with these: separate the rarely used from the frequently used. Put them in the appropriate boxes.

Now go through the frequently used to separate the hard wear items from the good. Toss the hard used clothing. Go through the good to see what Mom and Sister get.

If you're reasonably sure you won't be a bridesmaid wearing royal blue and silver a second or third time, donate the gowns to Goodwill or sell them on Facebook Marketplace or on Etsy.

Every girl wants to keep her wedding gown, but if you need the money then sell it. Other special occasion outfits should be examined to see if they can be used again or put in the “donate” box.

Hold your yard sale. Donate what's left, or give it to Mom and Sis.


Step Two: Timing

You're going to be separating, donating, and giving away clothes when you first know you're moving or about six to eight weeks out. You won't get serious about packing other things for at least four to six more weeks. We're going to tell you how to use your clothing to (a) save you money on packing materials, and (b) pack fewer boxes, so don't pack anything yet.

Step Three: Clothing Packing Methods

Chances are good that if the clothing is hanging in the closet or folded in dresser drawers that the clothing is clean. Launder or dry clean items before you pack them. You can leave what's in dresser drawers in there.

Just be sure to wrap the drawers with plastic wrap so nothing falls out. You'll do this the day before moving day, so don't worry about it right now.

Hanging clothing can be joined with wire bread wrappers. Join perhaps four to six, and slide a trash bag over them for protection until moving day. They can be hung in wardrobe boxes.

Seasonal clothing is best stored in vacuum bags for the move. They can be stacked inside a box and left in their vacuum bags until they're needed at the new house. You can buy vacuum bags at any department store including Walmart and Target.

You can also use luggage, gym bags, and duffel bags to pack clothing. Remember you'll have shoes, boots, and heavy winter coats to pack. Suitcases and duffel bags are perfect for these. Additionally, they'll be packed away in a closet until you need their contents.

Wardrobe boxes are tall sturdy boxes with a wooden rod across the length of the box. These aren't only good for hanging clothing, but transporting delicate chandeliers as well.


Step Four: Folding Clothing

One of these three methods of folding clothing should suit your style and clothes. The first method of folding is the flat fold. Lay a shirt face down on a table or bed.

Fold one side and sleeve to match the other side or fold in half. Tuck in the sleeves, fold in half, and you're done. Place in drawer, box, or suitcase.

The second type of fold is the third fold or what some people are calling the KonMari fold. Lie the shirt face down on a table or bed. Fold one side one third into the shirt.

Fold the other side one third into the shirt. Tuck in the sleeves, fold in thirds from the bottom up, and you're done. Place in drawer, box, or suitcase.

The third fold is the military roll. Fold pants in half. Fold shirts in one of the folds explained above. Place atop pants. You can always place a pair of socks and underwear atop these in order to have less to pack.

Beginning at the legs of the pants, roll the bundled shirt and pants. Place roll in drawer, box, or suitcase. Smooth wrinkles out of all these folds as you go along.


See also: How to Pack Hangers and Hanging Clothes for Moving

About That Timing

Now you've gotten your clothing (and the kids' if any) organized, sold some of it, given away some, and now it's the day before the move. You've got other things to pack, but we said not to pack up the clothes just yet. Here's why.

You're going to be using some of your clothing and winter coats along with bed linens and towels as wrapping and cushioning in boxes. You'll mainly be wrapping dishes and other kitchen items like glass lids for pots and glassware. Here are some kitchen packing tips:

  • Place flatware in socks before packing in a box
  • Place drinking glasses in socks before wrapping them in bubble wrap
  • Wrap glass lids to pots and pans in shirts before wrapping in bubble wrap
  • Take the blade portion off the electric can opener and place in a sock before packing both into a box
  • The mixer blades will fit in a sock before packing it and the mixer into a box
  • Tuck your knives in winter gloves or a hat before wrapping them in bubble wrap to pack in a box
  • Socks are handy for packing measuring spoons and measuring cups before packing in a box

Use thick clothing like heavy winter shirts or winter jackets as cushioning on the bottom of a box. Place dishes end up in the box and put another piece of clothing on top for more cushioning.

Related Tips

Make sure you get enough boxes and they're heavy enough to hold the clothes. Stacks of clothing aren't light, so they might fall through the bottom of the box and become spoiled. Use something as cushioning so moisture doesn't get inside the box to harm the clothing.

Seal delicate fabrics like silk and velvet in plastic bags before packing with the rest of the clothes. These you might want to take in the car with you. Pack shoes and boots in their own dedicated box.

Clearly label boxes with colored Post-It notes or colored Sharpies to include what's inside for ease of unpacking. Carry valuable clothing in the car with you such as wedding gowns, fur coats, and other special clothing. You want to make very sure they don't get damaged.

Packing clothing isn't difficult, and the organization will stand you in good stead for your next move. Just keep these tips in mind, and you'll pack clothes like a pro!


Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Best Way To Pack Clothes For Moving?

Make sure you follow the four steps to packing clothes that we’ve listed out; picking the right time, organizing, packing and folding. You may want to get a wardrobe box for hanging clothes that you can’t afford to spoil or get crumpled, and make sure you stock up on good plastic wrap to protect your clothes from the elements.

Where To Start Packing When You Are Moving?

Packing can be overwhelming and confusing, which is why it’s recommended to start packing the items that are in storage. If you don’t have anything in storage, start with the messy rooms like the attic and the garage.

What Is The Fastest Way To Pack For A Move?

While you’re packing, make sure you get rid of any and all items that aren’t of use to you, are old or are simply unused. The less you have to pack, the better. You won’t have time to sort everything neatly, so skip that step and just get to packing everything in sight. Leave your clothes in their dressers and wardrobes, and use thick sheets and linens as padding. Alternatively, if you have the cash to spend, hire professional movers and opt for their packing services. There are certain movers that do same-day and next-day moves i.e. moves on short notice.

Can I Leave Clothes In Drawers When Moving?

Clothes are best not left in drawers when moving, and some moving companies even state that you must empty the drawers. But if the company is okay with it, then you can leave soft items like clothes and sheets in drawers. Make sure the drawers aren’t overstuffed, and preferably put a film of plastic wrap around the clothes as added protection. Finally, ensure the drawers are fastened shut and won’t accidentally open during transit.