All set and ready to move? While packing clothes and other knick-knacks around the house won’t be such a big deal, there’s one area in the house that most of us find quite daunting – the kitchen. The reason is simple – there are so many different categories to pack!

You have perishable items, items that can get spoilt during transit, items that can break easily, and appliances that are expensive. What do you start first and how do you get through such a large and varied pile?

We’ve got your back here! With our comprehensive step-by-step guide to packing your kitchen, you can take a deep breath and be sure that the process will go smoothly. But first, let’s get this question answered –

How Long Before Moving Should You Start Packing?

When it comes to packing your kitchen, we suggest that you start backing non-essential items at least two weeks in advance. These include items from your china cabinet, appliances you won’t be needing at all, and accessories and décor items around the space.

But there’s one thing you must do and that’s making an inventory of the things in your kitchen well in advance. If you write down what you have by grouping them into categories, you’ll have a better idea of where things are and how you want to go about packing them. At the same time, packing a kitchen gets tricky because oftentimes you’ll end up packing something and forgetting all about it, only for it to get spoilt during transit. So, having a list even before you start packing makes the process smoother.

Items like dishware, glassware, pots, pans, and your pantry are something you can start packing a week before you move. You can refer to your inventory, make a checklist and start ticking items off as and when you pack those boxes.

Packing Your Kitchen – The Initial De-clutter

No room can be packed without an initial de-clutter and sorting through, and the same goes for your kitchen. While it’s an area in your home that’ll be the most organized, you’ll be surprised to find items in small nooks and crannies that you didn’t know you had!

For example, there might be a packet of flour that’s a year old lying in a cabinet or a few non-stick pans that are now ruined. You might also have an absurd amount of glassware that you don’t really need but you only collected more and more of. Remember – when you’re moving, the aim is to reduce clutter so that you can reduce the amount you move significantly. After all, the fewer the items, the less you have to pay for space in a moving truck!

Start by going through each cabinet and making piles of items that you will keep, donate, recycle or throw. Most items in your kitchen can be recycled, so don’t just throw them in your garbage bin! Items that are in good condition can be donated to charities like Goodwill and The Salvation Army, and someone in need can make use of them. This is also a good chance for you to repair any appliance that doesn’t work and analyze if you actually want to use it or if it’s better off if you donate it.

Decluttering will also give you a chance to make a final list of your inventory, so don’t skip this step! You don’t want to end up in your new home with things that are broken, have gone bad, and could have been replaced.

Related: How To Declutter Your Home Before Moving

Time To Gather Your Packing Supplies

When you’re packing your kitchen, you’ll definitely need a large amount of packing supplies for the different items in your cabinets. Gathering all the necessary supplies is the first step to the process which you can only do once you have an idea of the size and type of items in your inventory. Let’s take a look at the general packing supplies that professional movers use to pack kitchens:

  • Cardboard boxes/special dish boxes
  • Packing paper
  • Bubble wrap
  • Packing peanuts
  • Packing tape
  • Labels and markers

As a rule of thumb, have a lot of packing paper at your disposal. This you can stuff in the empty spaces in the box when you’re packing fragile items like dishes so that they don’t shift during transit. You can also use packing peanuts but remember that they’ve to be packed tightly or it serves no purpose.

Another thing you can do if you don’t want to purchase everything is looking for these materials online or at local stores. You’ll definitely find used boxes on websites like Craigslist that you can reuse. Don’t forget to visit local grocery stores, bookstores, and liquor shops because they usually have cardboard boxes lying around.

Finally, gather all those materials that you have lying around in your storage that you can use for packing. Also look for the boxes that appliances like coffee makers and toasters originally came in, because they’re the best to pack the items pack into.

Prep Those Boxes

You have to prep your boxes, no matter where you got them from. Don’t skip this step if you don’t want to end up with open boxes and broken stuff after your move. First and foremost, tape the bottom of the cardboard box multiple times using packing tape especially if you’re putting in heavy items like dishes.

Secondly, add padding to the bottom of those boxes that will have fragile items in them like china or glassware. To do this, you can either place at least four to five layers of packing paper after crumpling them into balls or you can place thick blankets.

Also See: Get Cheap Moving Boxes for Packing

Time To Pack – One Category At A Time

Now it’s finally time to actually start packing, but as we said before, your kitchen will have a multitude of items, all of different types and shapes. So, how do you actually pack each category because it’s all going to be different! At the same time, you can’t pack your pantry first and then move on to your glassware, it all has to be done in a particular order. Not to worry though, just read our guide below and get packing.


Once you’ve de-cluttered and repaired what you need to, it’s time to pack your smaller appliances. Since these are electronics that are of high value, it’s best to be extra cautious when you pack them into a box. The first thing you need to do is wipe them down cleanly and see to it that there’s no moisture whatsoever. You can then process to take out loose parts and put them in ziplock bags.

Don’t forget to refer to user manuals that come with the appliances because they have details about everything from disassembling to storing the appliances. You can tape this manual to the bottom of the appliance itself so that you don’t misplace it.

Wrap your appliances or any other bigger loose pieces with packing paper or bubble wrap and then place the appliance on a layer of cushioning that you’ve already created in the box. Stack the smaller parts on top and don’t forget to stuff packing paper balls or cloth in empty spaces.

Tape the top of the box and use markers to write what the box contains with a “THIS SIDE UP” sign for reference. You can also make a marking that indicates that the box should be unloaded and brought to the kitchen.

Tip: Avoid wrapping your appliances or any other dishware in newspapers since many of them have ink that bleeds and will transfer. Instead, you can use newspapers to fill empty spaces in the box.

Plates, Bowls, Glasses, And Mugs

While packing dinnerware, always remember to have a thick layer of cushioning at the bottom of the box as we mentioned before. Also, don’t forget the basic rule of placing heavier items at the bottom. We’ll tell you the best technique to pack each of these items:

  1. Plates

If you’re packing plates, we suggest you use a smaller box instead of a long elongated one since you don’t want the box to get too heavy!

Start by placing a sheet of your packing paper on a flat surface and then place your plate at the center of this sheet. After this, fold the sides of the packing paper inwards over the plate and do so till the entire plate is adequately covered. You can use some packing tape to secure the paper in place.

Once done, start stacking these plates vertically in the box to minimize any risk of damage. Be careful not to leave any room to the sides for the plates to shift. Also, stack the same-sized plates next to each other and add some crumpled packing paper to the top of the box before you close, and seal it with packing tape. Don’t forget to write “FRAGILE THIS SIDE UP” on top of the box before you move on to packing the next box.

Did you know? Stacking plates on top of each other is not recommended because they’re more likely to break under pressure, no matter the amount of packing you’ve done.

  1. Bowls

You’ve to follow a similar method to pack bowls – place the bowl at the center of the packing paper and start folding inwards. Once you’re done, you can move onto other bowls and then stack them on top of each other. Why we don’t recommend grouping these bowls and then packing them is because that’ll end up creating scratches on the surface which you definitely don’t want!

Since bowls are odd-shaped, you’ll definitely have a few empty spaces which you’ll have to fill. Once you’re done packing, write the “FRAGILE THIS SIDE UP” sign and you’re good to go.

  1. Glasses And Mugs

There’s one thing you can do differently with glasses and mugs and that’s stuffing the insides with packing paper for extra safety. You can also use packing peanuts for this purpose, but don’t skip this step.

To wrap these items, you’ll have to place each one horizontally on one side of the packing paper and roll it with the paper to the other end. You can then stuff the ends of the packing paper within and around the glass or mug. In the box, stack them in a vertical manner and place items that are more or less of the same height next to each other. Don’t forget to put a “FRAGILE THIS SIDE UP” sticker or write the same on the top of the box!

See Also: Packing Glasses for Moving

  1. Stemware And Silverware

To pack stemware, you’ll have to follow the same method you did for glasses, but you have to be more cautious and use much more padding. Stuff the insides of the stemware with packing paper and place it horizontally on one end of the packing paper. After this, start rolling the item with the paper till it reaches the other end and see to it that no edge of the stemware is exposed and poking out. With stemware, you can use two sheets instead of one, or even bubble wrap for extra safety.

For silverware, take items that are similar like spoons and secure them together using rubber bands or strings. This way you won’t have a carton full of silverware just dumped for you to sort out in your new home. Once you’ve secured it in categories, place this in a shoebox or any long box that it’ll fit in, and don’t forget to label the same.

Read Also: How To Move A Grill?

Tip: Double-box when you’re packing stemware and add crumples packing paper inside the outer box for extra safety!


Last but not the least is food. Go through everything from your pantry to your refrigerator to check what items you can take, what won’t get bad, and what needs to be used. If you’re making an inventory list as we suggested, you can take some space to plan meals for the days before the move so that food lying around the house can be used.

Doing so will also help you understand how much you can’t use so you can give it away to friends and family, instead of waiting for it to go stale and then throwing it away. You can also donate food to local food banks in your area!

For food that you won’t be able to use and you aren’t giving away, put them in tote bags and carry it along with you. It’s best not to put it in boxes that sit at the back of moving trucks because temperatures vary and food can get stale pretty quickly!

Also Read: Many things People Forget to Pack While Moving | How To Move A Refrigerator?

Additional Tips For When You Pack Your Kitchen

  1. Pack An ‘ESSENTIALS’ Box: We’re sure you’ve heard of this before, and it’s something you have to do for clothing, toiletries, and food. Pack a box labeled ‘ESSENTIALS’ to be used on the day of your move and on the day when you move to your new place. When you’re sorting through your kitchen, keep things that you’ll need aside like a few dishes, spoons, bowls.
  2. Keep An Eye On The Weight: When you’re packing things from your kitchen, don’t let the weight of a box exceed 45 lbs, especially if it has glassware or dishware. The reason is simple – the heavier the box, the bigger the risk of the dishes inside shattering.
  3. Load Items With Kitchenware Carefully: When it’s time to load, try placing boxes with fragile kitchen items under heavy furniture like dining tables to ensure that they don’t shift during transit.
  4. For Pots And Pans: Place pots and pans in nesting groups which means place them one on top of the other with the smallest at the bottom followed by pans that are bigger in size.


As you might think, packing your kitchen isn’t very complex if you start the process early and go through it in an organized fashion. Be mindful enough to sort through in advance so that you don’t let food or other items go to waste. In the end, pack fragile items carefully, add as much padding as possible, and label them all!

Also See: Best National Moving Companies in America


How many moving boxes do I need for a kitchen?

You’ll need more boxes than your initial estimate, that you can be sure about. You can keep around 5 to 6 large boxes and 15 to 20 medium and small-sized boxes for a family-sized kitchen. We still suggest making this decision after taking stock of your inventory.

Is bubble wrap or paper better for packing?

Packing paper saves space and ensures that the surfaces of the items you pack don’t get scratched. On the other hand, bubble wrap provides better protection and ensures that fragile items don’t break. So, make the choice depending on what you’re packing.

How do you pack dishes for moving without paper?

Instead of paper, you can use clothes like T-shirts, soft and thick towels, and even socks to pack dishes. All you have to be extra cautious about is seeing that they’re tightly packed in the box so that they don’t shift.

What is the hardest room to pack?

It’s obvious – your kitchen is the hardest and most tedious room to pack because there’s so much to pack and also because it’s also a room that you use till the end.