Of all the rooms in the house, the kitchen is perhaps the most daunting to pack. This is compounded when you are on a tight deadline as there are so many potential breakages (crockery, stemware, bottles, etc.) and spillages (wine, liquor, oil, vinegar, etc.) if care isn’t taken.
The good news is that if you are organized, have the right packing materials and follow a systematic process, you can pack up that kitchen/dining room quickly and safely – in two days max.
Before we start, this guide is based on the ‘room-by-room’ packing method whereby you clean out and set aside one room (garage, study, etc.) for storing the full boxes and then work your way around the house one room at a time.
It is usually best to get the kitchen packed early as it will give you a massive psychological boost!
What you Will Need
A lot of time can be saved by getting all of your boxes and packing materials ordered and delivered well in advance. Below is a list of what you will need for the average-sized kitchen. Aside from the boxes, the other materials should be bulk ordered to save money (you will need them for other rooms).
Don’t skimp on the materials. Running out tends to mean ‘making do’ with inferior alternatives and increasing the risk of breakages.
- 5 x large boxes (18x18x24). For light items such as plastic kitchenware and baking tins.
- 10 x medium boxes (18x18x16). For heavy items such as large appliances and cookbooks.
- 4 x heavy duty boxes for glasses and kitchen items that are fragile
- Dishpack box
- 5 – 10 x cell kits. These go inside boxes for packing stemware, liquor bottles, etc.
- Carton sealing tape and tape dispensers
- Unprinted newsprint paper
- Bubble wrap
- Labels and marker pens
- Furniture moving pads
- (Optional) Floor protectors, furniture protectors when loading large appliances
- (Optional) Dolly, if you are loading large appliances and furniture yourself
To streamline your packing, start by going through the room and separating items you will not be taking with you into three piles: donate, sell and recycle/trash.
Be ruthless and remove these items from the room ready to deal with when you have time.
Preparing Your Essentials Box
An Essentials Box is a carton you set aside to carry with you to your new home. If the moving truck is delayed (or you are too tired to unload it), your Essentials Box will see you through the first few days.
The Essentials Box can be taken with you from room to room and filled with the relevant items from each. In terms of the kitchen, items you should consider packing are:
- One dish, plate and bowl for each member of the family
- One set of cutlery each
- Easy to prepare food
Every family has different priorities so there is no set item list for an Essentials Box. However, the more things you add, the heavier it will be for you to carry.
Decide on a Marking Strategy
Some people like to write the entire inventory on each box while others are content to know which boxes go in which room.
The precise marking strategy can vary as you prefer just so long as it includes the following:
- A method to ensure the movers know which room the boxes go in (this can be written on directly or using a numbering/color system)
- Identical marking on all four sides and the top of the box
- ‘Fragile’ label where relevant
- ‘This Way Up’ label and/or arrows where necessary
Finally, it’s time to move systematically through the kitchen, packing as you go. The following order is recommended but feel free to vary it:
- Pack rarely used and decorative items first. For example, pack pictures, mirrors, vases, cookbooks, spare dishtowels and dishcloths, etc.
- Next, pack any unopened bottles you won’t need before the move. This might include wine, liquor, vinegar, oil, etc. Check with your moving company on their policy regarding food and drink transport. Consider leaving bottles of low value behind as the additional weight may cost you more.
- Next, pack those daunting drawers and shelves. Start with the messiest first. Keep cookbooks flat when packing them.
- Next, pack dishes and glassware. Use the dishpack box and cellkits.
- Nearly there! Pack up pots, pans and small appliances next. Wrap any fragile parts in bubble wrap.
- Next, pack up the pantry. Canned food is usually not worth transporting. Seal opened bags and discard or eat any perishables or frozen food.
You should now be left with just the large appliances and white goods. Modern appliances are designed to be simple to disconnect but if you are unsure, get a professional in. These can then be prepared for loading using furniture pads. Here is everything you need to know about moving pads.
Finally, you can sit back and relax until you feel up to packing the next room.