No matter how well-intentioned your packing process is, how organized you are, or how good of a schedule you come up with—or how well you manage to stick to it, even—when you’re packing for a local or long distance move, you can expect that at least one thing will not go as planned. By the end, there’s a good chance you’ll just be shoving things into boxes hoping nothing gets left behind. Then when you can’t find what you need when you need it because you accidentally already packed it, things get even more complicated.
So, how do you avoid this situation? Simple: by strategically not packing specific items until the very end. In this post, we will outline 9 items people need most often in the midst of a move, distinct from our recommended items to keep handy on moving day, so you know what should be kept out of the boxes until the last possible minute.
Let’s dig in.
What Not To Pack
1. Television (or laptop)
Do not underestimate the need for a distraction during a move. Whether it is unwinding at the end of the day, keeping kids entertained, or having it on in the background while you pack, having your TV or laptop (or whatever show-watching screen you utilize) available until the day of your move will help ease the process.
If you’re moving long distance, you may consider selling or donating your TV as you near the moving date to save space on the truck. You can always watch your favorite show on your laptop in the meanwhile.
2. Media player and/or streaming device
With most people no longer using traditional cable services, you may also need your streaming device (or DVD player) to stay entertained. If you’re relying on DVDs to stay entertained (and you haven’t already decluttered your DVD stash), we recommend box sets for TV shows with many seasons—they’re easy to let play in the background, and if you’ve seen them before, you may not find them as distracting as something brand new.
If you’re moving long distance, these devices may be worth bringing along. Streaming devices don’t take up much space, and if you have a DVD player or even a VCR, you may not be able to easily replace them.
3. Internet router & modem
For most people, going without the internet—even for a day—is impossible. Keep your router and modem plugged in until the last box is packed and loaded onto the truck. Take it with you in your car so it can be one of the first things you unpack or so that it is easy to drop off at your internet service provider if returning it is part of your agreement and you’re moving out of state or switching to a new provider.
In the days leading up to the move, you likely won’t have the time or energy for much cooking. Even if you’re moving long distance and plan on selling or donating it to save space in the truck, keeping your microwave available until the end makes it easier to reheat leftovers or heat up frozen meals, saving you the hassle of food prep and cleaning dirty dishes.
5. White noise machine
Sleep is important in this stressful time. If you use one, make sure you keep your white noise machine out of moving boxes until your final sleep in your soon-to-be former home is over. These devices are usually small, so packing them up with your bedroom stuff is worthwhile even for long-distance moves.
The argument for keeping lamps unpacked until the end is pretty straightforward. To ensure you can see everything as you’re packing, you need light in your house outside of the in-home fixtures. So, save your lamps for the end of the packing process to ensure you don’t miss any items on your way out.
Lamps are also notoriously awkward to pack, so if you’re moving locally, you may find it easier to simply unplug them and collect them together to move individually rather than packing them into boxes. If you’re moving long-distance, it may be easier to donate or sell them instead of trying to find space in the truck.
7. Printer & scanner
While many services have switched to online signature verification, not everyone will accept that, or even photographs of your signed documents. You never know what you’ll unexpectedly need to print out and sign, scan, and send back leading up to a move. From mortgage documents to home insurance papers, you may need your printer and scanner up to the day-of.
Printers and scanners can be costly to replace and you may need them as soon as you arrive in your new home, so if you can, you may want to bring these with you even if you’re moving out of state. If you have a separate printer and scanner or your device is just too old or too big to move, libraries often offer free access to scanners and can be a good alternative while you replace your old tech.
8. Smart home devices
If you have a smart home assistant in your home, packing it up too early can render some services you rely on unusable, such as thermostat control and lighting. Leave your smart home devices unpacked until moving day unless you really won’t need them.
Learn more about how to move your smart home devices.
9. Clothing items and accessories for possible bad weather
While it can be tempting to pack up all of your clothing and accessories related to inclement weather, resist the urge. Having access to the proper rain or cold-weather gear up to moving day is important. You never know when bad weather might pop up and you should be prepared. Set aside a special box for these items.
Whether you are in the orderly, early stages of planning out what to pack when, or you have come to the frantic shoving-of-things-into boxes stage of moving, make sure you leave these items unpacked till last:
- Media player and/or streaming device
- Internet router and modem
- White noise machine
- Printer and scanner
- Smart home devices
- In-season clothing items and accessories
Get more Outside the Box packing advice:
Moving Long Distance?
TSI specializes in long distance and out-of-state moves.