What to Pack First, Pack Last, and Leave in the Dumpster
May 9, 2022

What to Pack First, Pack Last, and Leave in the Dumpster

You’re not alone. Every year, 40 million Americans pack up everything they own and move homes. For many, this means panicked late-nights of shoving odds and ends into cardboard boxes foraged from alleys, quadruple taping them and scrawling “MISC” across the top with the only pen they could find that wasn’t dried up. 

It doesn’t have to be this way. Despite what you may have heard, packing correctly isn’t just for organization nerds. In fact, best practices for packing can be employed and enjoyed by all manner of nerds and non-nerds alike. 

At Banana Box, we geek out on the best ways to approach moving. If you’re looking to simplify your packing experience, you need to know what to pack first and last, as well as what to leave behind. Let us tell you. 

1. No Immediate Purpose? Pack it First(ose). 

The easiest way to start packing is by boxing up what you use the least. Start with your storage and the least-used spaces and get that stuff out of the way. Then, go room-by-room and hit your surfaces: shelves, cabinets, the top of your dresser, walls, etc. Say “see ya later” to the stuff that adds color and flavor to your daily life. We’re looking at you, tchotchkes, books and framed setlist Uncle Steve swiped from a Replacements concert. We promise you’ll see them again soon. Set aside some dishes and a pan, and pack up the rest. You weren’t going to use that quesadilla maker in the next week, anyway. Closets and drawers are next. Pick out the essential clothing and shoes you’ll need to get you through the move and banish everything else to your moving boxes, where they’ll remain until the time is right for their triumphant return. Use a backpack to pack things you’ll need to have right away in your new home, like medication and clean undies, so you can keep those things separate as your move takes shape. As you go along, you may find yourself asking, “Do I need this?” Unless your brain shouts, “Yes, of course, you fool!” set it aside to consider later. You don’t need to have all the answers right now. 

2. Need it, Friend? Wait Until the End!

While you’re moving, you still exist as a human in the world. The last leg of your packing journey is for important creature comforts and daily essentials. Wait to pack technology like your television and computer until the bulk of your packing is done. It’s hard to pack your life into moving boxes without some bingeable content playing in the background. When you know you won’t need them anymore, pack your laundry stuff and that pan you kept out even though you’ve had pizza for every meal. Reserve a box or two for those items you set aside to get you through the moving experience, like the clothes you’ve worn while packing and ideally have laundered. On the day of your move, you can pack your pillows and blankets, the bathmat and your pizza plate. Hygiene items like soap, towels and toothpaste will need to stick around until close to the end. You don’t want to gross out your moving company, though no one will judge you if you pack your dental floss early. The very last thing you should pack for your move are cleaning supplies. You’ll need those to avoid bad karma and secure your security deposit. 

3. Don’t Need it No Mo’? Let it Go!

We aren’t trying to be mean, but you don’t need all this stuff. When was the last time you wore that t-shirt? You only used that quesadilla maker the day you won it playing trivia with your work friends. That dog painting is actually bad. Go through the “do-I-need-this?” pile you made, and take a long hard look at yourself. If you don’t need it, donate it, sell it, or dump it. Find six hammers? Maybe keep two. Go through your junk drawer and dispose of old sauce packets and dead batteries. Keep a dedicated trash bag by your side while you pack your kitchen and bathroom. Mindlessly packing cupboards and fridges is why you still have beans that expired in 2017 after moving apartments in 2020. Trash any stale, freezer-burned or expired foods and spices. If you find duplicate products while packing your kitchen and bathroom, consolidate what you can, and get rid of redundant containers. Moving is a chance for a fresh start. Don’t bring your baggage.

Make Your Move with Banana Box

The best practices for packing start with ditching cardboard. Banana Box is a Minneapolis company that provides moving boxes and supplies to make your life much, much easier. Made from sturdy plastic, our boxes are waterproof, durable and stackable to make packing, hauling and unpacking simpler and safer. We want moving to be a positive experience, so we drop off and pick up your boxes at your convenience free of charge. In addition to moving supplies, we can help connect you with local moving companies to help with the heavy lifting. 

Whether you’re moving apartments or into a new house, our packages can accommodate big moves and small. Schedule your move with Banana Box today.