The Top 10 Essential Packing Supplies For DIY Movers

Eriks Draiska
Published on June 13, 2019

The Top 10 Essential Packing Supplies For DIY Movers


Moving into a new house is a major milestone in everyone’s life. In recent times, more and more savvy people are foregoing the full-service moving companies and embracing the do-it-yourself (DIY) moving attitude.

DIY moving can save you a lot of money while letting you have control of the whole process. Moving can be a very painful and stressful experience especially when it is not well planned for.

However, DIY moving can be very simple when well planned. You must start out on the right foot by having some essential supplies that will help you keep your sanity when packing and unpacking.

Sure you will need boxes, but also take into account the following essentials so as to move like a pro.

As you are likely moving a lifetime of possessions with personal as well as monetary value. We recommend checking with your insurance company to see who’s responsible or liable should something untoward happen.

1. Packing Boxes & Containers

Heavy-duty Boxes

As the day of moving gets nearer and nearer, you are probably dreading the task of purchasing the moving boxes.

However, this can be a very easy task when you know which boxes are to be used to move your prized possessions safely.

While most boxes may be fine, it is important that you invest in the best heavy-duty boxes. You may also need professional moving boxes that are specifically suited for a variety of households.

These include the kitchen boxes, mirror and picture boxes and the wardrobe boxes.

Get boxes of different sizes as there is no point filling a large box with say books or other heavy items which cannot then be moved without risking injury.

Check to see if you have any original boxed that appliances and such came in when you bought them.

Be mindful that all the boxes need to be safely moved.

Mattress Bags

Most people do not have the special canvas mattress bags or large cardboard mattress boxes to help in keeping the mattresses clean.

An option is affordable plastic mattress bags that can easily be purchased in local storage and hardware stores. These bags will provide great rain and dust protection.

Remember, never set the mattress on a wet surface even when a cover protects it.

They are not always necessary but can be handy if your circumstances suit.

Small Sealable Plastic Bags

For keeping small items together, such as screws and brackets for shelving. (Look for the variety with a white stripe for writing labels.)

Plastic baggies

As you disassemble furniture, put screws, bolts, or washers in small plastic bags, then label the bag so you know what the hardware goes to. Keep all these bags in one convenient place so you can quickly find the hardware you need when it’s time to reassemble. Snack- or sandwich-sized bags work best for this.

You can also use large zip-lock bags to hold cords and cables. As you pack your entertainment center, for example, put your console cords in one bag and your receiver cables in another. As always, don’t forget to label.

Large Garbage Bags

For gathering up your belongings when you are done!


An essential for identifying boxes! Choose a labeling method that will work best for you—color coding, numbers, categorized by room, etc.—and label the top and two sides of each box.

Write directly on the boxes or use labels, stickers or masking tape.

Note: You want to ensure that the label is visible on at least one side so that the boxes are readable when neatly stacked together.

Include ‘where’ the boxes are to go when they arrive. For example Kitchen, Pantry, 3’rd Bedroom, Garage, Toolshed and so on. This way they are not just all stacked up in a central location and will minimize double handling.

Permanent Markers

Again, for labeling boxes. You never know what the weather will be like on your moving day, so it’s always a good idea to be prepared for rain.

We recommend using waterproof marker pens so that inscriptions on the sides of the boxes won’t smudge and become illegible.

Notebook & Pen or Electronic Device

To record whichever system you use and take notes before, during and when you arrive at your destination.

2. Packing Tape

After purchasing the boxes, you will need lots of packing tape. You must use real packing tape and not the weak masking tape.

Packing tapes that are sturdy enough can be very expensive, but remember cheap is always expensive when something breaks.

These packing tapes and tape dispensers can be ordered online or picked up at office supply and hardware stores. It is easier to tape up the boxes earlier than to do it at the last minute.

3. Cushioning

Moving blankets.

You must protect your most prized assets with high quality moving blankets. Moving blankets are used especially to protect furniture from getting damaged during the move.

They ensure that your furniture doesn’t get any strains, tears or scratches. It is said that moving strikes fear in the hearts of the bravest of souls. However, the more moving blankets you have, the lesser the fear.

You can also use your own blankets, quilts, linens, pillows and cushions as padding where applicable. They need to be moved anyway and will not take up extra space if they were packed separately.


Provides a frugal, if less effective, option than packing paper. Just hold on to your newspaper for a few weeks, or even ask your neighbors for their papers after they’re finished reading them.

Just remember that newspaper won’t have nearly the cushioning ability of proper packing supplies, so avoid using it for really delicate items.


Paper towels, Tea towels & Bathroom towels can all be used.

Vases, mugs, and other fragile equipment can be stuffed with towels,  so as to protect them. Towels can also be placed between the fragile utensils, appliances and cookware to prevent them from breaking.

Paper towels can also be used in cleaning up the spills.

Bubble Wrap

Bubble wrap is a very important tool when packing fragile items. You only need to put layers of bubble wrap between each bowl. Use small bubbles for the more small and delicate appliances.

Make sure that you place the heavier items at the bottom of the box.

Loose Cardboard Sheets

Come in handy to provide a sturdy way to separate items and avoid them damaging one another whilst they are being carted.

*Remember, it all needs to be packed securely, The contents will shift around slightly as people carry the boxes and containers as well in the moving truck, trailer or vehicles themselves.

4. Floor and Carpet Protection

Although you are moving out of a house, you still need to protect the floors. This is even more important if you are moving during poor weather conditions like rain or snow.

Carpet protectors are essential so as to ensure that the carpets are not damaged during the moving. You can purchase these protection films that stick to your carpet and protect them against spills, water, and dirt.

5.Tarps & Plastic Sheeting

If you are moving your belonging in an open trailer or such, these are imperative if there is a chance of rain, dust or bad weather.

If it’s a simple move on a glorious day you may not need them. If they are used, however, ensure they are securely tied down as it’s easy for the wind to get under them particularly at speed and they’ll get ripped off.

6. Cargo straps or rope

As you load your moving truck, use cargo straps or rope to keep your items from shifting around.

Unsecured items can move and cause damage. Cargo straps let you secure your items to the side of the moving truck, trailer or to each other. Just make sure your straps are thick enough to secure heavy furniture without breaking.

Also consider string or twine, tie-downs and bungee cords to keep boxes and furniture in place

7. First Aid Kit

A small medical kit is advisable. Small cuts and injuries are a possibility when packing or unpacking so you’ll want to keep a good supply of bandages, gauze and ointments close at hand.

8. Step Ladder

Step ladders come in different sizes; the most popular sizes that you may need during DIY moving are 4, 6, and 8 feet.Step ladders make it easier and safer to take boxes down or move them high up.

Instead of trying to reach up and losing your balance, make sure you use a step ladder.

9. Dollies & Hand Trucks

A dolly is an essential tool when moving heavy items. A dolly is basically a platform with wheels, and there are different varieties. Some dollies are even designed to go upstairs.

You can either build yourself a dolly, borrow, or purchase at your local store.Just make sure to check the dolly’s weight limit.

10. Handy Tools

Utility knife

aka box-cutter or Stanley knife can really come in handy when opening the strong seals. They cut off the seals and tapes cleanly without creating any mess. Remember to use brightly colored knives since they are easy to spot amidst any mess.


What’s harder than carrying all your boxes and furniture to and from a moving truck? Carrying all your boxes and furniture with an injured hand. Invest in some work gloves to protect yourself from scrapes, cuts, and punctures. Your hands will thank you.


Keep the following on hand for quick repairs and easy furniture disassembly.  A hammer, a four-way screwdriver, measuring tape, saw, putty knife, cordless drill, pliers, an assortment of nails, screws, hooks, wire, plus goggles for safety.


A good quality pair can serve you well for years if you know how to clean, sharpen, and care for your scissors. In a move, use yours for cutting bubble wrap and tape.


Your moving truck will hold almost all of your earthly possessions. Protect them with a sturdy padlock. While you can pick up cheap padlocks at any supermarket, we recommend splurging a little on a hefty padlock that resists picking and cutting.

Torch and Candles

It’s a good idea to pack some kind of emergency lighting just in case something happens to the power. Oh! remember the matches as well.

More moving tips can be found here, here and here.

Cleaning up…

Keep your vacuum cleaner and extension cord handy.

Also ensure a bucket & mop, broom, hand broom & dustpan, cleaning products, sponges and cleaning wipes are close on hand and not all packed away.

You may like to ensure that tea, coffee, sugar, water, kettle, milk and so on are left out so you and your family and helpers take refreshments when getting a break in the big move.

Are there any other essential packing & moving supplies that you cannot do without? Please, tell us about them.

Got questions, comments or feedback? Email [email protected]

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