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How to Pack a Kitchen

Many movers who are learning how to pack a kitchen for the first time are surprised by the amount of planning needed. Kitchens have many challenges that other rooms don’t, from heavy appliances and delicate glassware that require special care to necessities that you’ll use every day until the move. With planning and preparation, packing a kitchen can still be relatively simple.

Here's everything you need to know about how to pack a kitchen to move:

Step 1 - Downsize and Get Organized

Before you start throwing items into different boxes and calling it a day, consider going through your kitchen essentials and sorting out items you no longer use. This is a great opportunity to donate, sell, or throw away old pots and pans, extraneous dishes and cups, china you’ve never used, and duplicate items. 

Once you've decided what stays and what goes, organize your belongings into eight categories:

  • Dishes and bowls
  • Fragile items and glassware
  • Mugs and cups
  • Silverware
  • Kitchen appliances
  • Cookbooks and recipes 
  • Pots and pans
  • Miscellaneous

All items in these categories must be packed differently to ensure everything arrives safely at your destination. 

Step 2 - Gather Your Materials

Now that you know what you’re bringing with you, you'll need to buy moving supplies. You'll need a few boxes of every size, packing peanuts, tape, and a marker to get started. 

At North American Van Lines, we offer high-quality moving supplies to help you tackle the question of how to pack a kitchen. We also have free resources like moving guides, packing tips, and movers checklists you can use to stay organized throughout your relocation.

Start with the Basics

It can be easy to go overboard with packing supplies and materials. While having a few options to pick from can help you stay organized and prepared, it can also put a dent in your budget and leave you with more than you need. 

Most household kitchens could benefit from the following items:

  • 5 large boxes (18 x 18 x 24): Ideal for lightweight items and small appliances. 
  • 10 medium boxes (18 x 18 x 16): Great size for pots, pans, cookbooks, and other heavy kitchen essentials. 
  • 5 heavy-duty boxes (18 x 18 x 28): Designed to keep fragile items and glassware safe during transit. 
  • 5 lbs of unprinted newsprint paper or packing paper
  • Packing tape
  • Markers or labels

Depending on the size of your kitchen, you may need a few additional boxes. Always reference your inventory to decide what you'll need to pack your kitchen. 

Step 3 - Get Packing!

Once everything is organized and you have your supplies, it's time to start packing your kitchen and preparing for your big move. Each of the eight categories needs to be handled differently. 

Learning how to pack a kitchen to move will help you maximize your space and keep your items safe during transit.

How to Pack Pots and Pans

Pots, pans, and similar items should be wrapped and packed in medium-sized moving cartons. Depending on their weight, these may be used for either the bottom or middle layers.

How to Pack China and Glassware

Wrap all pieces individually using unmarked packing paper (newspaper ink can rub off). Start from the corner, wrap diagonally, and continuously tuck in overlapping edges.

  • A generous amount of paper padding and cushioning is necessary for moving china and glassware.
  • For outer wrapping, a double layer of newsprint serves well.
  • Label moving cartons with the room, contents, and "FRAGILE - THIS SIDE UP."

How to Pack Cups, Mugs and Stemware

Wrap cups individually in a double layer of paper. Place them upside down (on the rims) in a row on an upper layer (don’t pack items on top of them). For mugs, make sure all handles face the same direction. Top off the layer with wadded newsprint. Wrap china cups individually first, protecting handles with an extra layer of clean paper — this is important, even if you’re using a dish pack.

How to Pack Silverware and Flatware

Silver pieces should be enclosed in newsprint or plastic wrap to protect them from tarnishing during moving day. Hollowware should be wrapped carefully, like fragile items, and packed like china.

  • Loose flatware may be wrapped by itself or in sets, in paper, clear plastic bags, or small gift boxes secured with tape.
  • If your silverware is in a chest, you may still consider wrapping the individual pieces or filling the gaps with newsprint.

Packing Small Appliances

Radios, clocks, and other small appliances should be wrapped individually and packed in a moving carton cushioned with crushed paper.

  • Make sure cords are wrapped.
  • Empty steam irons of water.

Packing Bowls and Odd-shaped Items

Depending on their weight, these may be used for either the bottom or middle layers. Wrap the same way as flat plates.

  • Stand shallow bowls (soup plates, etc.) on the edge of the moving carton and deeper ones nested two or three together, upside down on their rims.
  • Wrap sugar bowl lids in newsprint, turning them upside down on top of bowls. Wrap both together in newsprint, followed by a double outer layer. Place all upright in the moving carton.

Packing Cookbooks

  • Place books of the same size together in small book cartons.
  • Pack them flat or with the spine touching the bottom of the moving carton.
  • Wrap expensive bound volumes.

Packing Figurines and Other Delicate Items

Be sure these items are well-protected with plenty of cushioning for moving.

  • Wrap in tissue paper, paper towels, or facial tissue, then wrap carefully in paper that has been wadded and flattened out.
  • Small mirrors, plaques, and pictures should be wrapped individually in tissue paper with an outer layer of newsprint.
  • A bath towel or small blanket makes excellent outer wrapping and padding for glass.
  • Place flat items around the edge of the carton.

Make Moving Easy with North American

Learning how to pack a kitchen to move is a big task to handle on your own. If you need help packing, loading, or unpacking your belongings, lean on the expert movers at North American Van Lines for assistance. 

Contact us today for a free estimate for your upcoming relocation.