How To Pack Clothes For Moving: A Complete Guide

Packing your clothes for moving is a sneaky difficult task. Although you don't have to worry about damaging them, which is the case with paintings and dishes, the process can still be equally tricky.

First, you need to properly pack shoes and clothes into moving boxes so they don't get all wrinkly. Aside from that, you also need to make the tough choice of throwing away the old stuff. Moving home is an excellent time to clean out your closet, but it also means you'll have to say goodbye to your favorite old jerseys.

In this clothes packing guide, we'll tell you how many packing materials or packing supplies you need and share some fantastic packing tips that will help you on moving day.

How important is packing clothes for a move?

Obviously, you can't just throw your suits and ties in a moving truck and hope for the best. Still, some people think there's too much emphasis on packing clothes when there are more essential items, furniture, and appliances to think about.

By properly packing your wardrobe, you can avoid getting it dirty and soaked and save space. Sometimes, moving companies have to travel hundreds of miles to a city with a different climate. When they reach the location, they might encounter rain or snow, which can soak your boxes and ruin the clothes within.

Packing clothes for the moving process is especially important if you have to work tomorrow. The last thing you need, after all the transportation stress, is to iron your suits the next morning. Alternatively, you will go to your new workplace or school looking all wrinkly. This will leave an awful first impression on your colleagues. 

Things to do before start packing clothes to move

Your job will be much easier with proper preparation. Here are all the small things you can do in advantage before putting your precious stuff into boxes:

Go through all the clothes

People often make the mistake of transporting too many or too few clothes. Some of us perceive it as a good opportunity to throw out just about everything in our possession. When we reach our new home, we quickly realize that we're lacking a few pants or shorts. The other extreme is packing old clothes that you haven't used in years.

We suggest that you take out everything from your closet and dresser drawers and categorize it based on item type. For example, you can put all types of clothes on your bed and sort them based on how often you wear them. Then, select the few best ones and throw away the rest.

Don’t get too emotional during the process. Pack only the things that you otherwise use. There are a few exceptions, such as old school clothes, your child’s baby clothes, or your wedding dress.

Assess the condition of these pieces

Another thing you can do is assess the condition of your clothes. For example, you might be wearing the same raggedy t-shirt for a while without realizing it has holes in it.

During this time, you can set aside pieces that you wish to throw away, those that you want to sell, and the rest for donation. As you can presume, you should simply get rid of the oldest ones as no one wants to wear pants with a big hole in them.

If you have a few solid, wearable items, you should consider donating them or selling them. Selling your clothes is a good choice if you have enough time. Otherwise, you can just go to a local shelter and give them to homeless people. Some charity organizations will even pick up the wardrobe at your home so you won't have to travel.

Set aside sentimental items

As mentioned in one of the previous entries, there are probably a few clothing pieces that you don't wear but have an enormous sentimental or monetary value. You obviously won't wear these items when you arrive at your new home, and instead, you'll once again put them somewhere in a closet.

Because of that, it's much better to pack all your sweet items together in the same box. It doesn't even matter if they're different wardrobe pieces, as you won't wear them anyway. By putting them all in the same place, you can prioritize unpacking other clothes that you otherwise wear and leave sentimental pieces for later.

Alternatively, you can deposit these pieces in local storage. Keep in mind this only makes sense if you're relocating within the same city.

Wash and clean the clothes that you're carrying

Once you've figured out what to do with old clothes, you can focus your attention on items that you're actually using. Start by washing the entire wardrobe prior to the trip while putting emphasis on pieces that you rarely wear.

Putting stale-smelling clothes with your favorite items will make them stink. Things can get worse if some of your old pants and t-shirts are damp, potentially causing mildew issues. Once you wash and dry your clothes, you can carefully iron them. That way, as soon as you reach your new home, they'll be ready for use.

While this seems like a major hassle, it can save you time later on. Always remember that you might have to wash your clothes once again if water somehow penetrates the boxes.

Moving supplies that might help you out

When moving to a new house, people usually think they need to pack everything in cardboard boxes, as seen in movies. However, you can pack non-hanging clothes in just about any compartment that will protect them from dirty and rough weather conditions. This includes duffel bags, garment bags, and suitcases.

For example, you don’t have to leave your travel luggage empty when you can put clothes in them. They provide extra protection for your most valuable clothing items and are generally easier to carry around. Here are a few methods you can use to transport clothes:

1. Cardboard boxes

Although cardboard boxes are suitable for the majority of your personal belongings, they don't always work for clothes. They can easily get soaked during the winter, forcing movers to carry your clothes in their arms. An excellent way to prevent this is by using double boxes.

These supplies are relatively cheap, and you can find them at any corner. Even if you don't want to use them for your clothes, you can use them for lots of other items.

2. Various types of luggage

If you already have to transport suitcases from your home, why don't you fill them with clothes? They provide excellent protection against water and dirt, and you can put lots of nicely folded clothes in them.

In fact, luggage is much better than boxes as it allows you to press down the clothes for packing. Unlike the boxes, which usually rip apart in you yank them too much, you can cram much more stuff in your suitcases.

3. Wardrobe boxes

If you have enough time, we suggest that you get wardrobe boxes. This is a special type of box; a wardrobe box allows you to pack hanging clothes on hangers. These mobile compartments are ideal for business clothes, but you can also use them for dresses, t-shirts, and, frankly, anything that fits on a hanger. The best way to move clothes on hangers is a wardrobe box.

The only issue is that they take up a lot of space. So, it might be wise to consult with movers before buying too many of them. Still, they're ideal for keeping your clothes neat and without any wrinkles. Don't forget to tip the movers for any extra service they provide!

4. Vacuum bags

Most families use vacuum-sealed bags for their old or bulky clothes. In fact, we bet that you have a few of them lying around your house as it is. They're the perfect solution for protecting your favorite pieces against insects, mold, and mildew. They're also nice for clothes that you don’t want to use immediately upon arrival.

The main issue we have with clothes inside the bags is that they might nullify all your ironing work. All your items will get pressed together, which might cause massive wrinkles. Nevertheless, vacuum storage bags are the optimal solution if you lack space in the moving truck.

5. Suitcase and Duffel bags

Most people don't think of these bags when we talk about packing and moving clothes. They're incredibly practical mobile compartments that homeowners can carry in their hands. In some situations, duffel bags might be better than suitcases, and you can get them in just about any department and sports stores

Of course, these aren't the only things you can use to keep the clothes. Some people also use plastic bins, drawstring trash bags, and even grocery bags to move around their belongings. However, these might not be ideal.

Anyway, a duffel bag remains your best option. It provides lots of protection, and you can stack them on top of each other. This will make it invaluable in a truck where boxes tend to tumble around.

Sort your clothes for moving

After going through all your clothes and buying the supplies, it's time to pack everything in boxes and suitcases. Ideally, you wish to categorize items so you can easily find them when you reach the destination. Proper organization and packing can also prevent tumbling and wrinkling.

Here are a few suggestions that will help you sort all the stuff:

Sort by season

As previously mentioned, you might not have enough time to unpack when you get to your new house. So, it's better to separate clothing items in advance based on what you’re going to wear in the upcoming weeks.

Put out-of-season clothes in separate boxes and unpack them at your leisure. This is not only convenient but can somewhat reduce the stress of moving.

Sort by type

No matter what you do, it’s crucial to separate your socks and delicate items from the other pieces. You probably use separate spaces for them, so it will be more convenient to pack them together and just pour them into a drawer.

The same goes for T-shirts and shorts that you wear around the house. These are some of the items you should prioritize, and it’s much better to put them in separate boxes.

Sort by size

Sorting by size is especially important if you're using several different compartments. For example, you might struggle to put oversized coats and jackets in your luggage, and it's better to save them for other vacuum bags.

Sorting clothes by size can also help you maximize your space. Unfortunately, this approach might cause issues when you start unpacking. It could make things more difficult if you placed your lingerie with dresses.

Sort by need

If you have a few favorite pieces, you should pack them all in one box. These are items that you can wear as soon as you reach home. This includes pants, shorts, t-shirts, hoodies, and whatever else that feels comfortable around the house.

You can also separate one box with your favorite suits, shoes, and ties. This is a clever trick if you have to go to work tomorrow.

Sort by material

Another thing you can do is sort things by material. In this particular case, you're grouping up clothing based on potential creasing. For example, it's an excellent choice to put your woolen sweaters together as they're resilient to wrinkles. Similar goes for polyester and other synthetic materials.

On the other hand, cotton, silk, and thin satin should be placed on hangers in wardrobe boxes. These types of materials need special care. Of course, sorting clothes by materials is meaningless if you wish to iron them upon arrival.

What is the best way to pack clothes?

The method for packing the wardrobe usually varies based on the supplies you’re using. Suitcases are much more straightforward than boxes, while vacuum bags need some extra work. Here is a step-by-step guide that will help you pack based on the compartment that you’re using:


Generally speaking, suitcases are the easiest ones to use. Most of them are made from impregnable materials that will prevent water from damaging your belongings.

Basically, all you need to do is fold clothes on top of each other and fit as many of them as possible. You can use extra space to squeeze small clothing pieces such as socks and undies. If you're transporting dirty clothes that you didn't manage to wash, you can separate them from the rest by using a plastic bag or packing paper.


Using boxes is a bit trickier. The unspoken rule of thumb is to use smaller boxes instead of big ones. The problem with large ones is that people often stuff them with their wardrobe, which can easily make them break down during transport.

After assembling the cardboard box, secure it with packing tape. You should also add bubble wrap on the bottom and extra protection on the sides that will keep your favorite fashion pieces dry and clean. A fantastic thing about the boxes is that you can write on them. Make sure to label each one of them, making it easier to unpack.

Duffel bags

The main issue and advantage of duffel bags is that they can easily fold. When packing your belongings, make sure to place sturdy cardboard on the bottom. You can also use something stiff on the sides so that the bag maintains its shape. Place sturdier and heavier items on the bottom, such as shoes and jeans.

It's much better to use the military method and roll clothes to save space when placing them in bags. This is why duffel bags are more suitable for materials that are hard to crease. Given they're a bit more vulnerable, you need to be careful when packing electronics. Wrap your cell phones and tablets into clothes to give them an extra layer of protection.

Vacuum or compression bags

In this particular case, you have the option of rolling or folding your wardrobe. Both of them are suitable, although rolling gives you some extra space.

Like with other approaches, you should place larger items on the bottom and smaller ones on the top. When you fill the vacuum bag, zip it but not all the way to the end. Instead, leave it a bit open.

Then, press down with all your weight to squeeze the air. After that, close it properly and use a vacuum to suck out the remaining air.

Wardrobe boxes

Like with regular boxes, you should first assemble this item and secure it with duct tape. Once you're done, place the container upwards and put the bar on the hangers. Then, slowly take your clothes and hang them on the bar. After that, you should gently close the box and seal it with duct tape.


There you go! These are the best packing tips and tricks that will help you move like a pro to a new house. They're especially important during long-distance trips. For example, they can be of great assistance when moving to Canada from the US.

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