For many people, moving can be one of the most stressful life events they face. Recently, it has been estimated that approximately more than 32 million Americans move each year. As you prepare for moving day, many feel as if their to-do list is growing by the minute. Reduce some of the stress by gathering moving supplies well ahead of moving day. Particularly if you plan to get some or all of your packing done ahead of time. Here is an extensive list of supplies you should consider collecting as you prepare for your upcoming move:

1. Boxes: If you are trying to keep moving costs down, consider collecting sturdy used boxes well in advance of your move day.

Boxes will likely be the item on your moving supplies list that will take the longest to collect, but where you can save the most money.  A few sources for boxes include:

  • Local stores may have a supply of cardboard boxes from product shipments they are more than willing to part with.
  • Craigslist sometimes has listings for free or very low priced used moving boxes. 
  • Check your workplace for extra cardboard boxes from office supply shipments. Also, ask your friends and family to keep an eye out for boxes at their workplaces as well.
  • Ask your professional movers if they carry a supply of gently used boxes. Some may provide this as a free service for their clients.

Wherever you end up sourcing your boxes from, collect only boxes in good condition. You do not want to use boxes with holes, tears, and odd smells. Boxes with good structural integrity will do the best job in protecting your belongings.   Also, be sure to collect boxes in a variety of sizes. Smaller boxes are better for heavier or more fragile items. Larger boxes work well for lighter, less fragile items or larger oddly-shaped things.  

You may realize on moving day you underestimated the number of moving boxes needed. Luckily, most professional moving companies will come prepared with a small supply of them for purchase. With enough notice, some may be able to provide reusable moving bins to borrow at a reasonable cost. This may be worth the added moving supply cost if you are environmentally-conscious and have items that need extra protection.

2. Packing Tape: Just as the structural integrity of a moving box is important, using a reliable high-quality packing tape is just as crucial.

Some cheaper packing tape won’t provide the strong bond needed to keep the boxes together or closed. A higher grade tape will be stronger and have greater adhesion.

Heavy-duty shipping or packing tape is the best type of tape to use when constructing and sealing your moving boxes. For even stronger support, look for special packing tape with embedded nylon threads.

Avoid using duct, masking, or electrical tape to build and close your moving boxes. These types of tape do not adhere to cardboard very well and are weaker than packing tape. 

You may consider using colored packing tape somewhere on each moving box to help movers deliver it to the correct location in the home. Depending on the size of your new home, each color can represent a different room or level.

For efficiency, invest in a packaging tape gun. Using one will prevent the need for scissors and will decrease the likelihood of the tape ending up in a useless tangled mess.

3. Packing Paper or Bubble Wrap: Protective wrap is important to safely transport your delicate items.

Undoubtedly you have fragile or breakable items you are looking to move. Whether you have delicate dishes, irreplaceable knick-knacks, expensive high-tech gadgets, or all of the above, protective materials will be necessary items on your moving supply list.

If you are sourcing your moving boxes from someone who recently moved, many times they will have packing paper or bubble wrap they are looking to get rid of as well. If this isn’t the case, first consider using pillows, towels, bedsheets, and even clothes to cushion breakable items in the moving boxes. Doing so will decrease the amount of cushioning or protective material you will need. 

Another option is to ask friends and family to save packing paper or bubble wrap from purchases they had delivered via mail.

All of these are eco-friendly options that produce less waste.

4. Moving blankets: Whether used to protect furniture, other large fragile items, or fixtures in your home, moving blankets are essential items to have on your moving supplies list. 

More often than not, professional movers will provide them as part of their service. However, to avoid any risk of damage on moving day, you should verify that they will have enough available for your move. If not, or if you would like to have some extras on hand, there are many places you can purchase them from both online (Amazon, ULINE) and in-store (Home Depot, Lowe’s). Most moving truck rental companies will have them available to rent. 

5. Permanent Markers: A plentiful supply of permanent markers is a necessary item to include on your moving supply list.

Despite its small size, it is a crucial tool in ensuring an organized move. Ballpoint pens, pencils, and color art markers are not cut out for the task. You want your boxes labeled with dark, bold ink that will not smudge or smear in the event the box gets wet. 

Having an ample supply of markers available is also essential. With the chaos of packing, more likely than not, markers will get misplaced or lost. You do not want to waste time searching high and low for your labeling tool.

6. Trash bags: Whether used for packing or purging, trash bags should be included on your list of moving supplies.

Heavy-duty trash bags could be used to pack soft items such as stuffed animals or toys, pillows, or comforters and blankets. However, be sure not to overstuff these bags as it will, not only make it heavier, but it will stretch the bag and weaken it. This could result in torn bags that leave the items inside unprotected.

Having trash bags on hand will help the move process less chaotic. Trash and items you decide are no longer needed can be contained instead of spread out all over counters and floors. Consider purchasing clear bags for items you are moving and black bags for items for the dumpster. You do not want to accidentally throw any of your belongings away.

7. Smaller Sealable Plastic Bags: A box of smaller sealable plastic bags will prevent little items from getting lost in larger moving boxes.

Include sealable food storage bags in sandwich, quart, and gallon sizes on your moving supplies list.

These bags are great for packing a variety of smaller items including kitchen utensils, plugs and cords, small office supplies, and screws from disassembled furniture. Be sure to label all the bags, particularly those for plugs, cords, and screws so there is no confusion where they belong once you begin unpacking.

8. Plastic Furniture Covers: While moving blankets provide some cushioning, some furniture may not need it.

Plastic furniture covers protect softer furniture pieces including sofas and mattresses. These furniture pieces require less protection from scratches and gouges and require protection more from the dirt and dust while being handled and in transit. These covers also provide protection from possible wet weather conditions.

When adding these covers to your moving supplies list, be sure to take a careful count of the quantity needed. You do not want to risk having to move an uncovered piece of furniture.

9. Stretch wrap: A roll of stretch wrap comes in handy when preparing your items to be moved.

The clinginess of this plastic film, when used in layers, makes it a reliable way to keep larger items together. For example, it can be wrapped around a dresser or desk to keep the drawers in place while it is being moved. It also is used to keep cushions on a sofa in place so they do not have to be transported separately from the base or frame.

For larger fragile items, it can be used to keep protective moving blankets in place.

They come in larger rolls that are not too difficult to handle. Because of the clingy nature of the plastic, it does require some care to keep the stretch wrap from becoming a tangled mess.

Many professional moving companies will have some on hand on moving day. However, it is a useful item to add to your moving supplies list if you are getting some packing done ahead of time.

10. Smaller Toolset: A smaller toolset will come in handy as you prepare your belongings for moving day.

It is particularly helpful when disassembling furniture. Some tools to have on hand and to include on your moving supplies list are:

    • Philips and flathead screwdriver
    • Allen wrench set
    • Power drill
    • Tape measure
    • Utility knife
    • Socket wrench set 

Be sure to have a tool bag or box to corral all the pieces in one place. Tools can be easily misplaced and get lost in the shuffle.

11. Work Gloves: Coated work gloves can keep your hands protected as you deal with all the moving day tasks.

Not only will it shield your hands from the tools you use, but it can give you a better grip on furniture or moving boxes. Adding a reliable pair (or two) of coated work gloves on your moving supplies list will keep you and your belongings safe.

12. Moving Dolly: Not everyone preparing for a move will need to include a dolly on their moving supplies list.

Professional moving companies will bring their own on moving day. However, if you are moving any boxes or furniture before moving day, you may find yourself needing one to save your back and complete the work more efficiently.

If you plan to use a dolly to move some things in preparation for moving day, be sure to add cargo or moving straps to your moving supplies list. These will keep your belongings securely strapped to the dolly as you move them.

13. Accordion File Folder: Save a spot on your moving supplies list for items that will help you stay organized during the move process.

An accordion file folder will keep all the necessary paperwork handy in a safe and organized manner. Things kept in your file folder may include your moving company contract, moving day checklists, rental agreements (for moving equipment or your new home), furniture assembly/disassembly instructions, and technical equipment installation instructions.

Being prepared and organized for your move will help make the process run more smoothly. 


Reynolds Transfer and Storage would like to help make a potentially stressful situation more manageable. Learn more about our residential moving services and then contact us to find out how we can tailor our services to best meet your needs.