How to Pack Up an Apartment in 8 Easy Steps

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Team Waffle
February 27, 2023
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Moving is always a stressful process, but it doesn't have to be difficult. In this blog post, we will dive into 8 easy steps that will help you pack up your apartment in no time! Whether you are moving across town or the country, these tips will make the process much smoother.

Step #1: Create a Packing Timeline

One of the best ways to make the moving process less stressful is to create deadlines for yourself. This will help you stay organized and on track. When packing up your bedroom, for example, give yourself a week to do it. That way, you won't feel rushed and you can take your time packing up your belongings.

To create your packing timeline plan, first, you must identify all rooms that need to be packed.

  • Bedrooms
  • Living Room
  • Dining Room
  • Kitchen
  • Bathrooms
  • Basement
  • Laundry Room
  • Garage
  • Closets
  • Extra Spaces such as Dens, Attics, etc

If you have multiple bedrooms in your apartment to pack, make sure to list them with phrases such as "My Bedroom", "My Roommate's Bedroom", etc. Be specific here to help with planning!

Once you develop this long list, you'll probably realize that there's so much to do! It's stressful to even think about. But don't worry - you're going to ace this process. Now what you need to do after creating the list of your rooms, you want to estimate how much time you believe you need to finish packing up each room.


  • My Bedroom - 3 days
  • My Roommate's Bedroom - 3 days
  • Kitchen - 1 day
  • Dining Room - 1 day
  • Bathroom #1 - 1 day
  • Bathroom #2 - 1 day
  • Hallway Closet - 1 day

After this, you need to DOUBLE your estimate. If you think it will only take you 3 days to pack up your bedroom, create a new deadline of finishing it within 6 days. Why do I mention this? Because we all fall victim to the unique phenomenon called planning fallacy. In other words, most will underestimate versus accurately depict the time it will take to complete a task.

Now that you have a list of your rooms and new deadlines, which rooms should be tackled first?

You want to start with packing up everything you won't need in a few weeks. For instance, you probably don't want to pack up your entire bathroom (you still need soap to wash your hands and a towel to dry with)! Tackle areas that you will not have a focus on in the few weeks leading up to your move. In my experience, I packed up everything in my bedroom first. Why? Because I had a TON of books that I knew I would not be touching, along with clothes in my bedroom closet. Keep in mind that you don't want to pack something up only to unpack it!

To recap the planning timeline process:

  1. List all rooms in your apartment
  2. Estimate how much time you think it will take to pack each room
  3. Double your estimate to escape the planning fallacy
  4. Decide which rooms to tackle first based on the rooms with items used the least

Step #2 Get All Packing Materials Needed

When moving, it's important to have all the necessary packing materials on hand so that you can pack your belongings securely. If you try to pack without them, you're likely to damage your items and make the moving process more difficult than it needs to be.

On top of that, it's a major annoyance to start packing up your apartment, only to realize: " we have any tape"?? This is your top priority to gather all packing materials before you even start!

First, go around your apartment & decide what might be needed. If you own a lot of fragile pieces - you may want to note "extra bubble wrap" or even towels to contain these pieces. If you're worried about packing your tv, there are even specifically designed packing boxes for that! Jot down important items & the type of items you have.

Now, it's shopping time!

Here are some of the most common packing materials that you'll need for your move:

Boxes - You can buy boxes from most moving companies, or you can get them from local stores or online. Make sure to get a variety of sizes, as you will likely need different-sized boxes for different types of items.

Bubble Wrap - Bubble wrap is great for protecting fragile items during transport. It's also a good idea to use bubble wrap when packing up dishes and glassware.

Packing Tape - Packing tape is essential for securing boxes shut. Make sure to have plenty on hand so that you can tape up boxes quickly and easily.

Scissors - scissors are helpful for cutting through packaging tape and other materials.

These are just a few of the most common packing materials that you'll need for your move. Be sure to stock up!

Step #3 Declutter Your Apartment

One of the best ways to make packing up your apartment easier is to declutter it first. This means getting rid of any items you don't need or use, and organizing the rest into designated piles. Not only will this make packing easier, but it will also make moving day much less stressful.

Here are a few tips for decluttering your apartment:

  1. Start with one room at a time. This will help you focus on the task at hand and avoid feeling overwhelmed.
  2. Be ruthless in your purging process. If you haven't used an item in months (or even years), chances are you don't need it anymore.
  3. Sort items into designated piles: keep, donate, or toss/recycle. This will help you stay organized and make it easier to pack up your belongings later on.

We all know that decluttering isn't particularly enjoyable. It's most likely not in your top ten things to do either! Need some inspiration? Here are some of the best organizing & decluttering shows to boost motivation:

Just know that you can do this! Start blasting music (without upsetting the neighbors of course) and declutter one step at a time.

Step #4 Time to Start Packing Your Apartment

Packing stuff in a box can be tricky, but with a little bit of organization and planning, it can be done quickly and easily. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  1. Decide what items you want to pack first. Start with the items that you use least often or that are the most fragile. Make sure when packing fragile items - those are within their own boxes!
  2. Pack each item tightly in the box so that it doesn't move around during transport. You don't want your belongings getting damaged in transit! You can use towels, bubble wrap, or newspapers to keep them in place.
  3. Make sure the box you are packing is not too heavy! It's better to have multiple smaller boxes packed to a brim than to have a large box that is halfway filled but very difficult to carry. Monitor the weight of each box while packing.

Step #5 Labeling Boxes

It's essential to label your boxes correctly so that you can easily find what you're looking for when you unpack. Not only should you include what's inside the box, but also where it goes in your new home. This will help make the unpacking process go much more smoothly.

We've all committed packing box crimes before. You know, the one where we might have rushed the packing process by tossing everything we see into random boxes, say "done", and then relax on the couch to binge-watch our favorite tv show. Only for moving day to come around and we're frantically opening ALL boxes trying to find our toothbrush & toothpaste. No? Just me? Okay.

Even if you have not committed a packing box crime like the above, it's always best to keep in mind & follow through on labeling processes when packing.

Here are some pointers on how to label your boxes correctly:

  1. Use a permanent marker and clearly write on the outside of each box what is inside and where it goes. Make sure the writing is large and easy to read!
  2. If there are any fragile items packed in the box, be sure to write "fragile" on the side so that movers know to handle it with care.
  3. Pack similar items together in one box. This will make it easier for you to unpack later on and will keep your belongings organized during transport.
  4. Label each box as you pack it, rather than waiting until all boxes are packed before labeling them all at once. This way, you'll know exactly what's in each box and won't have to search through dozens of unlabeled boxes when it comes time to unpack.
  5. Once done with the above, stack boxes in designated areas so you can easily grab them when needed.

Labeling boxes can seem like a tedious process, but trust me, it's worth it!

Step #6 Make a Plan for Large Furniture

If you're like most people, your furniture probably takes up a lot of space in your apartment. And when it comes time to move, figuring out how to pack and transport all that furniture can be a daunting task. But with a little bit of planning and preparation, it can be done quickly and easily. There are a few things you can do to get started:

  1. Decide which pieces of furniture you want to pack first. Start with the larger, heavier pieces and work your way down to the smaller ones.
  2. Disassemble any furniture that can be disassembled ahead of time. This will make it easier to transport later on.
  3. Use packing blankets, sheets, or towels to protect the furniture from scratches or damage during transport.
  4. If you have access to a moving truck or van, use it to transport your furniture instead of trying to carry everything yourself. It will save you a lot of time and energy!
  5. Take your time packing the furniture - rushing through the process could lead to damages or injuries.

Step #7 Take Your Time and Be Patient

I've mentioned this so many times that you might be sick of it. But here I am about to repeat one more for the folks in the back - TAKE YOUR TIME AND BE PATIENT.

Rushing can cause mistakes, accidents, damage to furniture or your most prized possessions, and even injuries. No one wants to get hurt. No one wants to tell grandma that you accidentally knocked over her favorite vase. Seriously, be as thoughtful and mindful as you can within the packing process. You will thank yourself later!

When it comes to packing up your apartment, patience is key. By being patient, you'll avoid costly mistakes and ensure that your belongings are packed safely and securely.

Step #8 When You're Finished, Congratulate Yourself!!

So you've finally finished packing up your apartment - congrats! It's not an easy task, but you did it. Now it's time to take a deep breath and congratulate yourself. You've just packed up everything without any stress or headaches. :)

When it comes to moving, there's a lot of work that goes into it - packing, cleaning, organizing. Sooooo now what? There's only one answer. It's time to celebrate! Here are a few ways to mark the occasion:

  1. Have a party! Invite friends and family for dinner or drinks and celebrate your accomplishment.
  2. Treat yourself to something nice. Maybe buy yourself a new book or take a day trip to the beach.
  3. Relax and enjoy your new space. unpack everything slowly, savor your accomplishments, and take some time for yourself.

BONUS: Buy Affordable Renter's Insurance

After moving, one of the best things you can do is buy renter's insurance. Renter's insurance protects your belongings in case of fire, theft, or other disasters. It's a small investment that can provide peace of mind and security in case something goes wrong.

Here are a few reasons why you should consider buying renter's insurance after moving:

  1. Your belongings are valuable and deserve to be protected.
  2. Renter's insurance is affordable and easy to get. You can get coverage in under 90 seconds through Waffle!
  3. It provides protection in case of accidents or disasters.
  4. It can help you recover from losses quickly and easily.
  5. It's an important step in securing your new home.

If you're looking for a way to protect your belongings after moving, renters insurance is the perfect solution!