The Complete Checklist of Moving Supplies

Finding a moving company and finding packing materials are important to do before a move. To make packing easier, we’ve compiled a list with the most popular moving supplies. From packing materials and plastic wraps to accessories for moving large and small appliances, you’ll find it all.

This article will cover:

  • Packing essentials
  • Furniture and Appliances
  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Smaller supplies

Packing essentials

A list of packing essentials can help reduce the stress associated with deciding what to buy. Here are the items that you simply cannot do without. It’s worth noting that not getting enough moving supplies is one of the most common moving mistakes people make when preparing for a move.


The boxes are the most essential moving supplies you will use. To make packing easier, we recommend getting different sizes and types of boxes. Get small boxes to pack heavy items such as books, and large boxes to pack bulky, light items, like blankets or pillows. For fragile items such as dishes, medium boxes with box dividers are ideal.

Also, you can find moving boxes for free in grocery stores, recycling centers, and office supply shops. Post a request on social media for boxes. Be aware that used boxes may not be as structurally sound as new ones, so you should pack them carefully if this is your choice.


Obviously, you don’t just want to throw everything into a box. Foam wrap sheets can be used to protect delicate items, such as your dishes. Bubble wrap is great for larger items or those that are oddly shaped.

Newspapers are also a cheap, but less effective option. Hold on to your paper for a couple of weeks or ask your neighbors for their newspapers after they finish reading. Remember that newspapers don’t cushion as well as proper packing materials, so you shouldn’t use them for delicate items.

Man writing on boxes with markers

Labeling materials

Label your boxes while you pack. Each person has their own way of doing things: some prefer to write on the box while others use colored stickers. Consider using colored labels on boxes for a solution that is highly visible and easy to understand. Label the moving boxes on both sides, no matter what you choose. This makes it easier for whoever is carrying the box into your new residence to know where it needs to go.

Packing tape

Spending a few extra dollars on high-quality tape is worth it. Cheap tape can be too thin and not have enough sticking power to be used easily. You should stick to the brands that you are familiar with. Buy your packing tapes in bulk to save money. Although you may not need a lot of tape, you will use more than expected.


While you could open boxes with scissors, we still recommend having a box cutter handy for that. Use scissors for cutting packing paper, bubble wrap and packing tape. This is one of those things most people don’t think about, but wish they did. Ensure that your scissors are sharpened to avoid injury.

Cargo straps and ropes

Use cargo straps or ropes to secure your items as you load the moving truck. Unsecured items can (and probably will) cause damage. You can use cargo straps to secure your belongings to the truck’s side or to one another. Make sure that your straps have enough thickness to hold heavy furniture securely without breaking.

Move your furniture and appliances

These moving supplies and equipment are essential if you’re moving furniture.

Furniture pads

Protect your large pieces with furniture pads. A pad on your dresser can make the difference between it looking like new and having a large gouge that you see every time you go to get clothes out of it.

Renting furniture pads is a better option than buying them. A moving company will usually rent you a dozen pads between 10 and 20 dollars, which is about the same price as purchasing a single pad. You can also use blankets to save money. If you choose this option, don’t expect blankets to last the move completely undamaged.

Furniture covers

The plastic covers are designed to be placed over the furniture and protect it. These covers are not very cushioned, but they can keep your furniture clean and prevent surface damage. These covers can help preserve the warranty of expensive items such as mattresses. Get at least mattress bags and couch cover. Slide the covers over your couch or mattress, and tape them closed.

Furniture dolly

Dollies and hand trucks

Renting hand trucks or dollies is a better option than purchasing them unless you are planning to move furniture (or other large items) frequently and have the extra storage space. Renting a hand truck or dolly costs less than $20, which is much cheaper than buying one.

Consider wearing moving straps rather than a dolly if you will be moving heavy items up and down many stairs. These straps will make it easier to move heavy objects with a friend. Just be sure to read the instructions before using them to avoid injury.


You may not have intended to take apart your dining room table. However, when trying to pack everything into the moving truck, you could change your mind. With a basic set of tools, you can easily disassemble any table or other furniture. These tools will definitely come in handy when you move.

Stretch wrap

Stretch wrap is useful for a variety of things. Use it to keep drawers on dressers and nightstands closed. Use it to protect wood furniture from surface damage and scratches. You can also use stretch wrap to bind smaller items together.

Floor protectors

When you’re moving heavy furniture, it’s easy to scratch the floors in your home. Now, “floor protector” can refer to a couple of different things. On one hand you can lay floor coverings down to protect flooring throughout the move. Heavy duty rolls of paper specifically made for this use exist.

Another type of protection are the furniture sliders that go under the feet of your sofa (for example) so you can slide it around without worrying about damaging the floor.

Cleaning Supplies

These cleaning items will help you leave your home sparkling and get your deposit back.

Garbage bags

Trash bags are gonna be one of your most used items. Of course, you will likely have lots of trash to dispose of as you empty out your current residence. However, they can also be used to pack loose, non-fragile items, such as clothes, towels, and certain toys. They’re perfect for protecting pillows. You can always use extras if you happen to have them. Make sure to keep any garbage bags that make the trip unscathed to be used at your new home.


Buckets come in handy for deep cleaning. You can clean with inexpensive five gallon buckets that are available at most hardware stores. You could even get a lid for the bucket so you can store items in it after cleaning.


You probably already have a broom in your home. Make sure to keep it close by during your move. It will be useful to clean both your old home and your new one. It’s also a good idea to use it to clean out your rental vehicle after moving to get your deposit returned.

man opening box with box cutter

Small but important supplies

These small, inexpensive items can make a big difference during your move.

Utility Knife

Opening boxes is much easier with a utility knife or a box cutter. Be careful when using your knife and always retract the blade before you put it down. If you have packed your boxes all the way to the top, you can accidentally cut your belongings if you try to slice through the tape that holds the box closed. So just be sure to press gently as you cut.


Nearly all your possessions will be in the moving truck. Protect them with a quality padlock. You can buy cheap padlocks in any supermarket. However, we recommend investing a bit more on a padlock that is hefty and resistant to picking. Although it costs more, the cost is still far less than replacing everything you own. Plus, a good padlock is always good to have around.


You want to know one way to make your move harder and more annoying? Don’t use gloves so you can cut or scrape your hand. Invest in a pair of work gloves to prevent cuts, scrapes and punctures. And if you buy the right gloves, they will even have a rubber coating that will give you a better grip when carrying your belongings.

Ziploc bags

These bags are great for the screws, bolts, and washers you will have as you disassemble your furniture. All these bags should be kept in one place to make it easy to find them when you’re ready for a reassembly. This is best done with snack- or sandwich-sized plastic bags.

Use gallon-sized bags for cords and cables. When packing your entertainment center, you can, for instance, place your console cables in one bag, and your receiver cable in another. Of course, make sure to label the bags so you know what’s what. Trust me, you won’t remember.

Permanent Markers

As mentioned above, labeling is essential for any well-organized move. Always have a few permanent markers to label things quickly. Sharpie multipacks are great for leaving a marker in each room. You have more important things to do during your move than search for a marker.

Moving supplies recap

Prepare for the best possible moving experience by assembling the necessary supplies. Use our list to determine what you already have and what is needed. Get your moving supplies well in advance so that you are prepared for the professional movers. This is especially important if you plan on ordering your moving supplies online.

It’s always better to overestimate. It’s not a good idea to cram your delicate dishes into a small box in order to save space. And you really don’t want to run out of boxes the night before moving day.

Couple packing dishes into box

Moving Supply FAQ

How many moving boxes do I need?

Online calculators can help you estimate how many boxes to buy. You may need to adjust your estimate based on the size of your room and your packing style.

How much do moving supplies cost?

This amount can vary widely. If you already have many of the things on this list and you acquire some free boxes from the methods mentioned above, you could spend as little as $50. If you need to buy everything, you could spend up to $500. Most people will fall somewhere in the middle.

Your moving supplies cost will vary depending on what you choose. You might not need to use a padlock if you are moving locally, as you will not be leaving anything in your truck overnight. You may also already own some items like cargo straps and tools.

The more stuff you’re moving, the greater the number of supplies you will need. If you hire a moving company that offers full residential moving service, the moving package may include all supplies.

What type of moving box should I use for my clothes and what size?

Experts recommend using a wardrobe box for your clothing. This specialty moving box comes with a rack for hanging your clothes. If you are able to fold your clothing easily, regular boxes can be used. Keep in mind, wardrobe boxes are large and take up a lot of space.

Some people only use them for dresses and suits, as well as other expensive clothes. Clothes can also be packed into trash bags quickly and cheaply. However, trash bags do not stack and your clothes will likely be wrinkled upon arrival.

What is a moving blanket?

Moving blankets are thick pads that cover heavy items when moving. Some moving companies offer moving blankets (either included or for an extra charge). Of course, you can also use your own blankets to protect your items.