How to Pack Your Home in 3 Days

It has been more than a year at our current house so my body, at a very cellular level, is screaming at me to start  getting ready for a move to who-knows-where in a very short amount of time.

Moving, in general, is an undertaking and one not to be taken lightly. When one has moved as much as I have, it is executed in a scientific way. These steps will work. But you have to do them. Its science.

  1. Start months in advance, whether you’re planning on moving or not. What? This is the most crucial part of the whole process. You must be streamlined as much as possible in your daily life. Stuff bogs you down anyway. Even if you have no intention of moving, just having stacks of “things” subconsciously makes you heavier. It is the most wonderful feeling to take carloads of extraneous stuff to Goodwill or to the garbage heap. Here is an interesting phenomenon too: you will get rid of things and within two weeks you won’t even remember you had it. Truly!
  2. Organize what you do have. I use a lot of plastic totes. Memory boxes, winter clothing, and kids clothing make up the majority of my storage totes. By organizing, labeling and keeping the totes uniform, order maintains itself because I can find things quickly, easily and they are painless to put away. The totes are also at-the-ready to load for a move.
  3. Create a staging area. Pick a spot that is out of the way, but preferably in close proximity to an outside door where you can start stacking boxes and belongings that are finished and ready to load. Pick somewhere that can be closed off so there is no danger of injury to kiddos or pets.
  4. Invest in good boxes. This is a must! I realize the initial sticker price of buying boxes is a little traumatizing when set against the costs that moving incurs, but let me tell you…it is worth it. My favorite boxes are from Lowes. They come in wonderful sizes: large, medium, small, and a heavy duty box. The best part about these boxes? They will last you a solid three, maybe even four moves before you need to get a new set! Yes! The best size is the blue mediums. They are the perfect size to fit lots of items, without getting too heavy. Pro tip: If you can get it in a box, do it! Boxes are so much easier to handle, pack and transport then randomly sized or weird shaped items.
  5. Get a packing tape gun. You will forever love it, and use it in many different situations. There was a point in my life that I kept my tape gun under the back seat of my pickup. Hardcore, I know.

Now to move on to the actual packing portion, which will now truly take you three days. Maybe even less!

  1. Create a suitcase of necessities and clothing for each person. Get the things that you will use and need on an immediate daily basis. Get these suitcases packed and out of the way while everything is still out and while you have clarity of mind.  (You will lose some of your mind in my 3-day system. Sorry. It happens.)
    • don’t forget towels
    • set aside a box with paper plates, bowls and towels, plastic cutlery, some garbage bags, a frying pan and spatula, as well as a can opener. You will not regret setting this aside and will regret it if you don’t.
  2. Pack one room at a time. If you’ve put in the work beforehand organizing and streamlining, this will go so fast it will surprise you. Pack things efficiently. Use blankets, stuffed animals, clothing and other soft items to wrap around breakable and fragile items (which saves you time, money and space!) As you put things in the box, label the contents of the box *exactly*. This is beneficial in two ways: first, you won’t have to open and paw through dozens of boxes to find something specific. Secondly, when you re-use your moving boxes, the boxes are already labeled and it is easy to simply replace things, speeding up your process ten-fold!
  3. When a room is done, it is done. After you’ve packed a room, clean it, move the boxes to your staging area, and close the door. It is done. I have found that I do not forget things and I always get my cleaning deposit back by sectioning each room like this. I have the time and ability to move everything out and then do a through job of vacuuming and wiping. It is also much less arduous to break the days up instead of doing one great big dump of packing, then one big miserable dump of cleaning.
  4. Load.  By far the most stressful portion of the job, but made easier by the uniformly sized boxes, the sturdy taping, and the consolidation of all your belongings. Depending on how many people you have at your disposal, it is best to have one to two people fitting boxes into the truck or trailer. Now this is made even more fun if you call it what is is: a life-sized Tetris game. The rest of the people should be carrying out boxes and furniture so that the people packing the trailer can plan ahead and use what they need to maximize space.
  5. Take a photo. This may seem like a strange step to round out my 3-day plan but it is still important. Take a picture of those last few moments, leaving a house full of memories, your mark forever etched into the walls and floors. Years later you will stumble upon that picture and those memories will rush back and you will allow yourself just a moment or two to relive that time in that house. Both bad and good, but an all-important piece to your life puzzle.


  1. Kayla W.

    February 9, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    Gosh, this reminds me of how much I hate moving. I hope I’ve settled for life this time.

    1. Katie

      February 9, 2018 at 9:18 pm

      I sincerely hope you’ve settled for life now too!

  2. floatinggold

    February 10, 2018 at 9:57 pm

    Really solid advice.

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