How To Pack a Kitchen

One of the most difficult places in your entire home to pack is the kitchen. With fragile items like glassware, and dangerous things like knives all over, you need to know just how to approach the part of your moving preparation that involves packing up your kitchen. Here are ten steps our experts have come up with that will ensure you and your kitchen are all ready on the day the movers arrive. Keep these steps in mind and you’ll get through this process easily.

1. Weeding Out: Just like with every other aspect of the move, weeding out what you don’t use, what you won’t use, and what you don’t want anymore can really help reduce the amount of goods that you are ultimately responsible for packing. Don’t forget to leave out anything that shouldn’t be packed as well, since many of these items are in the kitchen itself.

What do you do with all of this stuff you are getting rid of? Consider offering usable items to your friends and family, or simply have a garage sale and put these things into a pile along with other items you are weeding out before moving day. If you can’t think of anything else, don’t just throw them away; donate them to a local charity or thrift shop who can put them to use again.

2. The Travel Box: The kitchen is one place where you go every day and use things as part of daily life. When everything is packed, as it will be before and after a move, it is hard to live. For this reason, pack at least a set of what you’ll need for two days, for each family member, in a travel box that will stay with you rather than going with the movers. Include things like a dish towel, silverware, plates and cups, the coffee maker and toaster, cleaner, and soap.

3. Gather Materials for Packing: Packing is always easier if you have everything you’ll need on hand before you begin. While the size of your kitchen may vary, most average sized families will need about the same setup. This setup should include at least five large boxes for bulky, light plastics and tins, ten medium boxes for pans and heavier items, five heavy, double walled boxes for more fragile items, unprinted newsprint and bubble wrap for padding, at least five cell kits for packing glasses and bottles, and three rolls of packing tape. Gather all of this and create a packing area where you can keep it all together.

4. Start the Process: Start packing by packing things that you don’t use on a daily basis. Look in the drawers and cabinets that you don’t go into often. Some things that often fall into this category are extra towels, small appliances, cookbooks, special dishes used for certain events, pans for baking, and special utensils as well. You should also be cooking with the move in mind, and avoiding leftovers, so you should also include food storage containers in this category.

5. Wine and Liquor: If you have a stash of unopened wine and liquor bottles, now is the time to pack them. You can also pack goods in sealed glass containers such as olive oils or food staples that are not opened and that don’t need to be refrigerated. Be sure to use the right packing materials – double walled boxes – for this, as broken glass containers can get very messy in the middle of a move.

6. Drawers and Shelves: Since you’ve already packed your travel box, the next thing you should pack is everything else. Start with the drawer where your silverware is and move around the kitchen. Keep in mind that now is a good time to part with anything you’ve not used in the past six months if you haven’t already cleaned all of this out. Once you finish with the drawers, move to the shelves and pack it all away. By now, your kitchen should start looking almost empty!

7. Dishes: The next step involves packing your dishes, so you should move to this stage only after you have gotten the rest of the move in order. When moving day is only a week or two away, packing the dishes is a real consideration. Be sure to wrap each dish carefully to help protect it from breakage. Use unprinted newsprint to fill in any gaps in the moving boxes at this point so that the dishes don’t shift while in transit.

8. Cookware: Now you can pack your cookware as well. It’s recommended that you leave at least one all purpose pot out and include it in your travel box, but everything else should be packed. Be careful and use padding as needed to ensure the safety of breakable cookware and lids. You can also use packing paper to prevent scratches on teflon and other such materials.

9. The Pantry: At this point in the process, the pantry should be well prepared for the move and everything you aren’t taking should be cleaned out. Only what you are taking – unopened and nonperishable goods – should be left to be packed into boxes. Start with the larger items and pack everything, leaving the spices and smaller things for last. Plan to eat any perishable items before moving day or set up someone to give them to before the movers arrive.

10. Appliances:  Within a day or two of the actual move, get your appliances prepared for the movers. In some cases, this is as simple as unplugging and cleaning them, but in other cases, you need to take time to disconnect gas lines or take other steps. If you have any questions about this stage of the process, contact a professional who can help you.