Ready, Set, Start: What Should You Pack First?

We've written about the packing process. But not starting the packing process. Here's everything you need to know about diving in.
Ross Sapir
By Ross Sapir
5 Min Read

Starting a move can be surprisingly tough. And we don't mean bringing the first box up the stairs, though that can be difficult too. 

We mean really starting. Starting from scratch. 

If you're looking at an apartment full of stuff and know you have to pack it all, procrastination can set in pretty quickly. Where do you even start? Should you start small and work your way up to the big stuff? Or the other way around, so you can get the worst parts out of the way from the beginning?

We've talked a lot about what to use to start packing, and broader ideas to lean on during the packing process. But we've never gotten into the nitty-gritty of how to actually pick up the first thing in your place and pack it. 

Here's how to jump into your move with confidence and precision.

List-making is a key step to planning your move day. They help identify where to start and more importantly…how to win the day!


Before doing anything, make a list of everything you're going to need to pack for your move. 

This'll make the packing process feel fun, almost like a game where you cross stuff off a list and win a new home at the end. But it'll also make it feel completely manageable. When you see your life on a list, you'll begin to realize how possible it is to transport it. 

You'll also be able to figure out whether you need to streamline and get rid of any of your belongings. If you realize you've got 30 plates and only use 6, this might be the time to donate them or give them to a friend during the holidays.

Making a decision about what to pack first is impossible without this list. It'll just be too daunting, too impossible.

So get that pen and paper out and start writing!

Sometimes the first steps to moving is to consolidate your items. Let clutter means less to move into your new place!

Start Small

We recommend starting with the smallest items first.

That means your toothbrush, your paperclips, and your socks, for example. In our years of experience advising clients on the packing process, we've noticed that people tend to have way more small objects than large objects. So when they start with small items, which are less difficult to pack, they find they actually pack the majority of their stuff without really even realizing it.

Small things like stationery and silverware take up what seems like a huge amount of space. So you might not think they're so easy to pack. But once you start, we promise you'll be shocked at how productive you're bound to feel. 

Starting with small items helps you create a solid tone to your move, one of productivity of focus. When you start with big, heavy items, you're bound to get discouraged and want to keep putting everything off. And even though packing the bigger items first might make it look like you're making more progress, trust us: most people's lives are built from tons of small stuff!

So take a look at that inventory and start to cross stuff out from smallest to largest.

Think Ahead

It's extremely important to think about what you'll want to put in your moving truck first, too.

What you put in the very back of the truck will be what you move into your new place last. And when it comes to move day itself, starting with the big stuff is really helpful.

So you'll want to put the boxes of smaller stuff towards the back of the truck, and your larger stuff closer to the doors. This works out perfectly with our method of packing the smaller stuff first! 

That way, when you're full of energy and ambition on move day, you'll be able to tackle your most difficult items first and really get them out of the way. 

When you do this, you'll be giving your new apartment a kind of framework onto which you can add the smaller stuff. And you'll also be adding some extra surface space, because when you start bringing the smaller boxes in, you can stack them on your sofa and chairs while you're working, which is always helpful.


The packing process all comes down to finding ways to feel productive

When you start with small stuff, you create opportunities for little wins with every box. And because small stuff is so easy to pack, you'll get into a productive flow state that'll help you make way more progress way more quickly than if you started with your furniture. 

This is the method we've seen work best. But if you think getting the heaviest stuff out of the way first is right for you, then don't feel tied down to what you've read here. It's all fluid, and it's all about you.

Reach out to get started on a move with us, and check out the rest of our blog while you're at it!

You're invited!

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