Making Moves: The Ultimate Packing Guide

You found your dream home, settled on a price, and are ready to move in—all you need to do now is pack. But as one of the most difficult and time-consuming parts of the moving process, it’s a challenge to determine the best strategy.

Before you start, be sure to check out this guide so you can avoid the inevitable pitfalls of a big move!

How many boxes will I need?
Depending on the size of your home and how long you’ve lived there, you will probably need a decent amount of boxes and packing materials to make sure your belongings are safe.

Studio: 10–20 boxes
1 Bedroom: 20–40 boxes
2 Bedrooms: 40–60 boxes

2 Bedrooms: 60–80 boxes
3 Bedrooms: 80–100 boxes
4 Bedrooms: 100–120 
5 or more Bedrooms: 120+ boxes

How much will boxes and packaging material cost?
The cost of your packing materials will vary depending on how much you need, but you can estimate based on the average cost per unit of materials.

Standard Corrugated Box (4 inches to 48 inches): $0.20–$5.00
Double Wall Box (items more than 40 pounds): $0.90–$9.00
Plastic Storage Bin: $3–$60.00 (depending on size)

Packing Material
*Estimated cost for filling a standard box

Bubble Wrap: $0.24
Packing Peanuts: $0.30
Polyurethane: $3.75

How can I ensure my items are safe?

  • Aside from cardboard boxes, stack-able plastic bins work wonders for keeping things organized and protected, and they are relatively inexpensive.
  • Keep hanging clothes as is, and pack them in a wardrobe box to save time. Each box holds about 2 feet of hanging clothes.
  • Allot one roll of tape for every 15–20 boxes, and be sure to tape every box on the top and bottom.
  • Consider packing electronics, like televisions and computers, in their original boxes.
  • Always wrap fragile items, like mirrors and ceramic decorations, in bubble wrap before placing in boxes. Cover furniture in blankets for some extra cushion.
  • When packing essential items you will need right away, keep them toward the top of the box or, better yet, together in their own box.
  • Don’t forget to label boxes with a list of the items inside, as well as the room they belong in.

Small Expenses That Add Up When Moving

So you’re moving, congratulations! Whether your lease ended on your current apartment or you just closed on a new house, this is a big life change (and one to be proud of). However, it’s crucial to be mindful of all that moving entails—especially when it comes to finances. Here are some areas where expenses can really add up, along with some tips that will keep the moving budget intact.

The time of year

Summer is known as the most popular time to move, and therefore you most likely will be paying more for professional movers. If you can help it, pick another time of year to move to alleviate this pesky upcharge. Also, compare different prices from various moving companies so you’re getting the biggest bang for your buck.

Decor items

Ask yourself: do you really need that throw pillow, or that bar cart, or a customized light up neon sign? In the moment, these items might seem like a necessity, but save money for the moving costs that actually are a necessity.

Packing supplies

Things like tape, boxes, labels, bubble wrap, and the like will add up before you know it. Only buy what you know you need!


While these aren’t necessarily small expenses, they’re expenses that can easily be forgotten before you sign papers and are still in the early stages of moving. For renters, don’t forget about first month’s rent, the security deposit, and a pet deposit (if you have a pet).

Travel fees

Gas, food, a hotel if necessary—these are all expenses that you want to prepare for before the big move. Set aside the money you need before you’re going to need it.

Moving is stressful enough, don’t make it harder on yourself by neglecting to consider all the financial costs surrounding this life change.

Check out for more moving tips!