How to Pack Toys for Moving

It’s alright to feel overwhelmed after looking at a room full of kids toys. There is the dread of bending over to pick up toys, only to find more toys stretched as far as the eye can see. Which eventually makes you wonder if you’re herniating some disc in the process. Also, one of the biggest fears that most parents wish to steer away from while packing toys has got to be stepping on lego blocks. We can all come in unison to agree that it is frightening and it really stings to step on one. All we’re saying is that you’re not alone and most parents are in the same boat of fears when it comes to the project of packing toys.

It’s also completely normal to actually get the jitters to just think about all the toys that have accumulated in your home over the years. And how they might be sneakily tucked away in different storage spots around the house. However, when it’s actually time to pack these toys for moving, few of your main priorities should be transferring all the toys safely in the same state they currently hold. And ensuring you’re not leaving a favorite toy behind. And we’ve pulled out just the tips and tricks, so you know how to pack toys for moving like a pro.

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Tips And Tricks To Pack Toys For Moving

  1. The Planning
  2. The Execution

Phase 01: The Planning

The first thought that probably enters your mind when you see your kids room might be similar to the feeling you get when it’s time to deal with a bunch of messy tangled earphones. But fret not, because with a little bit of planning and organization, you can block that thought and piece together this part of your moving project.

Also read: How To Move With Toddlers

Strategize And Create An Inventory

Packing the toys in your kids’ room is more like solving a rubik’s cube. You want all the colors on all 4 sides to come together for things to be solved. But for this outcome, you have to strategically plan and categorize the toys into sections. After you’ve scavenged through closets, storage spots like under the bed, and the basement for toys, the possible categories you’re going to be dealing with are:

  • Storybooks and Activity books
  • Craft supplies – sketch pens, paints, craft scissors
  • All the fluffy soft toys
  • All battery run toys
  • Bigger items – Chalkboards, doll houses, cooking play sets, skates or basketball sets.
  • Large items – Rocking chairs, slides, play swings, scooters, skateboard, badminton rackets, cricket bat, musical toy instruments or swing car.
  • Medium size activity sets – Science sets, racing car play sets, railway sets, magic crate boxes, doctor sets, play dough, clay sets, beach sets, mechanical or construction collections.
  • Board games and cards – Puzzles and even a chess box could fall in this category.
  • Lego sets and building blocks
  • Play mats, tents or a jumping pit
  • Breakables
  • Small miscellaneous items – tiny cars, collection of animals, dolls, slime bottles, numbers, alphabets, fruits and vegetables learning sets.

The key to getting this right is to bundle up similar items together. Yes, there’s going to be lots of different categories of toys in various odd sizes. So try pairing in terms of size and traits of breakability. You would want to be packing breakables as securely as you would pack your kitchen glassware. And with big soft toys, you can actually place them in boxes directly.

We suggest planning the inventory in advance, so you would be able to have a rough figure on the number of boxes you’re going to need. Try your best to pack things back into their original boxes, wherever possible. At this stage, you would also be able to gauge at the number of toys that are too large for boxes and need to be dismantled. So it’s best to work on a separate list for those as well.

Goals:

  1. Be able to identify the number of boxes you’ll need.
  2. Identity similar sized items and keep them together.
  3. Make a note of complicated large toys that need to be disassembled.

Create A Donation Box

While preparing the inventory, you’re bound to find toys that your child has either grown out of or rarely uses. Pick out the toys that have a good second life and place them into a donation box. During this stage, we’d also suggest giving a good thought about whether you really want to pack this item into the moving truck. For simplicity of the move, you may want to rethink about taking a play slide or the sandpit on the moving truck. This would entirely depend on the number of boxes you already have and whether you wish to reduce the weight it will bring to the moving truck. Make it a point to put some thought into everything you wish to take along with you to the new home.

Hospitals, churches, orphanages, childcare, shelters for underprivileged children are few of the places you should consider for donating your kids’ gently used toys.

See also: 5 Charities for Donation Pick-ups

Goals:

  1. Find a new home for gently used toys.
  2. Give a second thought about each toy you wish to take on the moving truck.

Clean The Toys

Once you’ve narrowed down on the toys you would like to take along to the new home, it is necessary to give all the toys a good wipe. Use a microfiber cloth to take out dust and food marks from the toys, so that you’re not packing dirty or stained items into the truck. Also, ensure you’ve air dried the toys before packing them. During the cleaning process, you even have to be mindful about taking out the batteries from toys that run on them. It isn’t safe to have batteries packed in the boxes, since it could melt and cause damage to other items, especially if this is a long distance move.

Goals:

  1. Making sure the toys are sparkling clean before they go into boxes.

Pack An Essentials Bag

Since you won’t really be unpacking as soon as you reach your new home, it’s best to pack an essentials bag with toys your kids use most often. It could be their favorite storybook, coloring book, a soft toy obsession, a favorite blankie or just something to keep them entertained on moving days. We’d also recommend trying to keep the actual packing of your kids room as the last one. You will really thank yourself for taking this decision as it ensures that their room is still functioning for their playing, meals and bedtime, while you work on sorting the other rooms at home.

See also: Moving with Kids | Unpacking after Moving with a Baby

Other things that you need to pack in the essentials bag are:

  • Pairs of clothes
  • Sipper or a water bottle
  • Favorite munchable snacks
  • All of their bath items
  • Any medications

You can also install a few games on an iPad to keep them distracted, when you really have to handle a few time sensitive tasks associated with the move.

Goals:

  1. Have a survival bag ready with toys and things that make the move comfortable.

Get Supplies

Post cleaning, purging and donating, it is time to get your hands on the packing supplies. Staples, Walmart, HomeDepot, U-Haul are the top places where you can head to get the right amount of supplies. If you prefer, you can even order the supplies via Amazon or simply drop by a home improvement store in your vicinity.

Now even though it’s best to get a brand new set of packaging supplies, when it comes to toys, you can actually consider repurposing things at home to pack it all up. Especially if you have a good set of huge storage plastic containers, you can definitely use those as it does the same job as a box. You can surely get creative with this. Gather plastic bags, ziplock bags and pouches at home itself to fill them up with the small miscellaneous items. Small pouches and bags would definitely be handy to pack things like puzzle pieces, learning cards, small animal toy sets.

Overall, you want to be strategically using all the space in the moving boxes. For this, we would also highly recommend settling for 3 types of boxes, as toys come in a variety of odd shapes and sizes. You can consider getting vacuum bags to ensure certain toys aren’t taking up too much space. Another addition to your supplies can be Cling Wrap, since it holds together pieces, while also ensuring they aren’t moving too much during transit. Huge shopping bags that you’ll easily find lying around at home could also be of huge help to toss odd shape toys that aren’t fitting well with the other toys in boxes.

Here are the things you’ll need in a nutshell:

  • 3 sizes of corrugated boxes (small, medium, large)
  • Plastic storage containers
  • Packaging tape
  • Bubble wrap for breakables
  • Packing paper
  • Markers and stickers to label boxes
  • Vacuum sealable bags
  • Pouches
  • Clingwrap
  • Frakta bags

Goals:

  1. Successfully make a trip for supplies.
  2. Have a staging area ready.
  3. Be creative with alternatives for boxes.

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Phase 02: The Execution

Prepare The Box

Before you actually begin packing, it is important to secure the bottom of the box to avoid an escape chute situation. You can do this by securing the bottom with tape. Follow the alphabet ‘H’ method to tape the bed of the box. Once you’ve done that, you can then start packing the items from your inventory sheet. The packing method to follow is to start with smaller items and then move to bigger ones. And always place the small items over the heavier ones.

Begin Packing

For the packing phase, you want to ensure you have a proper staging area with all your supplies readily available. Start dealing with one category at a time. Choose bigger boxes for outdoor toys and large activity sets. If you have toys that are already packed in cardboard boxes, you can simply place these directly into the box. Just ensure that you’re alway using up the space wisely. Once you’ve finished packing, lift the box to understand if it has been overpacked and then put items accordingly.

Your main priority with packing toys for moving is to:

  1. Have all the small miscellaneous items in ziplocks in the small corrugated boxes. Similar weighted items can be placed together, even if they aren’t all taking the same shape. It’s best to place heavy items at the bottom, and then layer it with lighter items above.
  2. You want to avoid toys swaying around in boxes, so you have to fill up gaps and empty spaces with packing paper.
  3. To avoid friction and damage of toys, always wrap the toys in packing paper or use cling wrap. Also, keep plastic bags and ziploc bags handy.
  4. For larger outdoor toys, disassemble the piece before placing them into a box. It is much easier to deal with the toy once it’s broken down. Watch tutorials on fixing these toys to understand how it could be dismantled.
  5. Handle fragile and breakable toys with much more care. Use bubble wrap instead of packing paper to secure these toys.
  6. Pack electronics like video controllers and battery run items separately. Like we said earlier, you have to make sure the batteries are taken out before wrapping them.
  7. Label each and every box that gets packed, you can take things a step further and write down a little more about what would be in the box.
  8. Use vacuum seal-able bags for items like soft toys or anything that is taking too much place in the moving box.
  9. Double check if there’s any droplets of water left in the few of the toys you washed. Use a dry rack to make sure it is completely dry after cleaning.
  10. Lastly, do a final walk around the room to see if you’ve left any soldier behind (Yes, we’re referring to toy soldiers and other toys).

Ways To Make Packing Toys Convenient

Play Music: Music is a great way to deal with the stress of sorting through piles of tiny toys. It can also help ease the overall mood of the moving project.

Keep Kids Distracted: It can be difficult to have your kid jumping around the room and maybe even clinging physically on your back, when you’re in the frame of packing. During these times, you could either keep your kids busy with coloring books, an iPad with some of their games on it, or ask them to decorate a moving box in the most creative way possible.

Ask For Help: When you’re moving homes, there’s a high chance you’re going to be dealing with a ton of other projects and tasks simultaneously. This can make it tough to have the mental energy to sort through toys. In times when things are too stressful, it is best to hire a sitter or reach out to friends and family for a little assistance with keeping the kids company.

Set Boundaries: Everytime you’re sitting to pack away something fragile or breakable, take a moment to keep your kid away from the room. We suggest marking a territory for packing in advance. Moreover, make sure your kid understands that this is one section of the house they shouldn’t be approaching. After all, it is for their own safety and well being.

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Conclusion

Packing toys is probably just one project among the numerous others you would practically be dealing with when you move with little ones. At times, things can get mildly infuriating, especially when you have to pack the miscellaneous items with your kid throwing a tantrum. So we’d highly recommend taking your time with this project and dealing with the room little by little. Moreover, moving homes can be a very difficult concept to digest for your kid, so do take adequate time and measures to make things more favorable for your little one.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you package toys?

Always clean and disinfect the toys before packing them and disassemble toys which need to be handled in that manner. Since toys can be of different shapes and sizes, you will have to sort or categorize them before you pack them. Make sure that you pack similar items together. For example, soft toys can be packed together and electronic toys separately. Prepare your moving box by creating a soft base using lots of crumpled paper balls. Next, wrap each toy with packing paper or bubble wrap and secure it with packing tape. After you’re done wrapping all the toys, place them in your box and fill in the empty spaces with crumpled paper or packing peanuts. Finally, seal the box using packing tape.

How do I organize my moving toys?

To organize toys for moving, you first need to sort or categorize them according to their shapes and sizes. You can use bins and labels and keep similar toys together. You don’t necessarily have to label all the bins. Label the bins with toys which are in a good condition and can be used for a long time.

How can I ship toys cheaply?

One of your best options to ship toys is USPS (US Postal Service) as they have quick delivery at affordable rates. You can also consider First Class Package or Weight-Based Priority Mail where you get to track your items which are out for delivery.

How do you pack soft toys?

To pack soft toys for moving, you will need large and medium size boxes and sealable or zip-lock bags. First, prepare your box by placing bubble wrap or packing paper at the bottom and sides. Next, keep the soft toys in sealable or zip lock bags to protect them from moisture. Finally, place the bags in the box and seal the box using packing tape.  

How do you pack a playroom?

Start things off by sorting and organizing your toys. You can do so by discarding the ones that can be donated. Of course, you should make sure you clean all your toys before you start packing them. Categorize your toys based on their size, type and fragility and pack similar toys in a single box. With the help of packing paper or bubble wrap, wrap each toy and secure it with packing tape. You can use bins and labels to organize your toys, especially the most expensive and fragile ones. Don’t forget to seal your boxes with packing tape.

How do you pack small toys?

You will need small moving boxes to pack small toys. You could also make use of standard sized corrugated boxes and wrap each tiny toy individually in bubble wrap or packing paper, depending on how fragile they are. Once you do that, you keep it all inside the same box with sufficient padding between each of them and inside the box in whole. Basically, wrap each toy with packing paper or bubble wrap and secure it with packing tape. Before you place the toys in the box, create a soft base using crumpled packing paper or newspaper balls. Then seal the box using packing tape and don’t forget to label it.

Written by


Rostislav Shetman is the founder of 9Kilo Moving. He has been in the moving and relocation industry for more than 25 years, making him an expert in his field. Rostislav started as a helper, dispatcher and driver and has worked his way up to owning his own company. He takes great pride in his work and enjoys helping people relocate across the United States of America. When he's not working, Rostislav enjoys spending time with his family and friends. They are the light of his life and bring him happiness every day.