May 7, 2018

Moving and Packing Tips: How to Pack so you can Find Your Stuff

We didn’t really plan on announcing this really (it was going to just be a “Surprise! Family news!!” after it happened thing) but I found that as people found out they had questions and wanted tips, as we’ve done this a few times now. (PS. #notpregnant) We’re moving! For the fourth summer in a row! But this move is just an in-town move to a new rental, hallelujah. But having moved three summers in a row (and this will make our 10th move in our married life), we’ve picked up some tips and tricks to make the process easier! Today I want to share packing tips so that you don’t hate life when it comes time to unpack!

Packing stinks. Unpacking really stinks. But this method really makes unpacking MUCH less of a headache, makes it go faster, and is way more efficient. I love this method while packing and unpacking. Cameron hates this method while packing (he’s a shove it all in a box and just worry about it later type of packer), but when it comes time to unpack he REALLY appreciates that I insisted on this method. He’s sitting here nodding. “True stuff.”

Supplies you will need: 

packing tips

Different colors of tape.
-I prefer the colored scotch masking tape, but this time around Walmart didn’t carry it, so we went with Duck Washi tape. The scotch tape sticks a little better, but washi tape works too! You’ll need one color for each room in your new house/apartment (or combine and just have one color for bathrooms, one for all bedrooms).

Permanent Markers

A Notebook and writing utensil

A cute little mascot to remind you that you can do hard things, whether that’s a cute little Showit Robot, a Reese’s Peanut Butter cup, or if you teach “You can do it!” to your 3 year old and tell them to chant it at you. Actually don’t do that. It doesn’t help much. But the Reese’s and mascot do!

Then all the normal packing supplies like boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap/newspapers/grocery bags.

Here’s the gist of it:

Each box will have a number (i.e. Living Room 1, Living Room 2, Kitchen 1, Kitchen 2, etc). You keep track of what is in each box with the notebook.

I start by making my notebook. It’s just a little 3×5 cheap notebook from Walmart. In the front cover I list the rooms and then list out their assigned color of tape. Then I label a page or two for each room with the room title and color (for example, “Living Room: Yellow”). The rest of the page will be used for a numbered list.

Then it’s packing time!

As you pack the box, keep a mental note of what goes in the box, so as soon as it’s full you can jot it all down in the notebook. I don’t list out every single item, but I try to make notes of things that I’ll want to know. If it’s just books, I label it as books. But if it’s kitchenware I label it “Cookie Cutters, Small cooking utensils, fridge magnets” so I know what’s in there rather than just knowing it’s “kitchen stuff”. Cameron laughs…that’s how he’d label it. My label is better. 😉

packing tips

Once you have the items written down in the notebook, grab the colored tape and the sharpie! You’ll write out the box number 5 times. Those numbers will then go in the top right corner (or left, really whichever you want) of the top of the box and each of the four vertical sides of the box.

packing tips


Ways this saves time and sanity:

  • You can quickly and easily locate the box that you need, so that you don’t have to rifle through all the kitchen boxes to find that one item you want to unpack. You find the item in the index, see what box number it is in, find the box, and open that one.
  • Because you have each of the visible sides labeled, the number is visible no matter how the box is stacked or carried! This makes it SUPER easy to find the box you need in the stack without having to move stacks around over and over again, or turning boxes to find where you wrote on it.
  • Sure, you could write what is in the box on every side so you can see it, but that takes extra time! Write the items once in the directory and then the numbers 5 times and it’s fast! You don’t even have to write the room name because it’s color coordinated.
  • If you’re like us and you have a stash of boxes that gets you through each move, then you just have to put the new piece of tape with the new box number over the old piece of tape – no scribbling out old writing on the boxes.
  • In addition, I also enter the list into my phone in the notes app so that we have a paper copy and a digital copy (and the app is synched to my computer, so the list is automatically there as well), and then the paper notebook goes into our “First Things First” box (our box of stuff we need right away like Toilet Paper, the index, flashlight, screwdriver, box cutter, and some granola bars).


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  1. Melody Tenney

    May 8th, 2018 at 8:25 am

    I moved last Saturday and used half this method. Amazon had a packing label set that is colored and then has the bame on it. It was great because I labelled all the new rooms too so when we got there all of the boxes got into the right rooms. But because we have to go out of town suddenly we aren’t able to unpack. It has been hard finding the things we need. The boxes are labeled on the top like “books” or “clothes” but finding them is hard because I have to lift the boxes that are all stacked up to see the top. Your number and note book idea would have saved me a lot of lifting. My only saving grace was that I made the kids pack a suitcase with 7 days worth of clothes before the move because I knew it would be like this. 🙂