Moving to a new place can be exciting – but before you move, you have to pack. And if you’re envisioning all you need is a few sturdy boxes and a roll of tape, think again.

Having the right packing and moving supplies on hand before you get started can be the difference between a move that goes smoothly, and one that leaves you swearing, “I’ll never do that again!”

In keeping with our mission of making moving as stress-free as possible, we’ve created this checklist of essential moving materials that will help you prepare for any move, whether it’s cross-town or cross-country.

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Moving Must-Haves

Packing is a massive task, and one you shouldn’t take on without planning and organization. Here are the moving necessities you can’t go without.

  • Boxes: Boxes are, without a doubt, the workhorses that make every move possible. First, use the Packing and Moving Calculator from our friends at to take the guesswork out of figuring out how many boxes you need. It’s a good rule of thumb to get a variety of different sizes and types of boxes to make your packing process more manageable, and don’t forget boxes with dividers for protecting fragile items like dishware.

It’s also a smart idea to slightly overestimate the number of boxes you’ll need – the last thing you want is to run out at midnight, with your kitchen still half-packed and the moving crew scheduled to arrive at 8 a.m.

  • Packing Tape: Boxes and tape go together like peanut butter and jelly. It’s worth it to spend a little more on tape that has sticking power –literally! – to ensure none of your carefully packed boxes come un-taped during the move. As with boxes, it’s safe to assume you’ll probably use more tape than you initially expected, so buying in bulk is a prudent move in the long run.
  • Markers or labels: Once you’ve got all your boxes packed and taped, be sure to label them, so you’ll remember what’s in them when you arrive at your new home. Any well-organized move requires lots of labeling, whether you choose to color-code by room or write the contents of the box.

How to Protect Larger Items

Not all your belongings will go in boxes. When preparing to move furniture, it’s smart to make sure you have these supplies on hand.

  • Furniture pads and covers: To protect larger pieces from damage during the move, use furniture pads or plastic covers. These help keep items clean and prevent scuff marks, stains, or other blemishes.
  • Stretch wrap: You might be surprised how many practical ways plastic stretch wrap comes in handy during your move. One useful application is to use it to keep dresser drawers closed since tape can damage your furniture’s finish.

Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning is an inevitable part of moving. When you make your moving supplies checklist, make sure to include these three items.

  • Trash bags: Buy plenty of heavy-duty garbage bags in preparation for moving day. You’ll be able to use them for everything from last-minute packing to sorting out unwanted items you want to donate. Plus, trash bags will immediately come in handy at your new place, too.
  • Buckets: Buckets are essential tools for deep cleaning. It’s easy to find inexpensive five-gallon buckets at most hardware stores. When shopping for buckets, make sure to look for ones that have snap-on lids. After you finish cleaning, you can use them to pack goods inside.

Let Home Team Make Your Next Move Easier

We hope you’ll use this checklist as a helpful starting point to make your move manageable. If you’re looking for a dependable team of movers in Pittsburgh, Columbus, or Cincinnati, book your hassle-free move today!

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