How to Pack Clothes for a Move

Mar 31, 2023 / Alyssa Duranty

When professional organizer Kristin Bertilson coaches clients on how to pack clothes for a move, it’s often a mammoth sorting project. People squeeze a lot of stuff into their closets!

“We tend to collect a lot of clothes,”; said Bertilson of Queen B Organizing. “They’re what we use to represent ourselves to the world.”;

Whether you’re a clothes collector with some clutter in your closet, or just a mover with a few clothes you want to pack right, keep reading for tips from Bertilson and another professional organizer. They both specialize in helping less-than-organized movers minimize before its time to pack up the truck.

How to Move Clothes on Hangers

Taking all your clothes off their hangers to fold, pack and move can seem like a lot of hassle just to rehang them again in your new home. Instead, there’s a couple different ways to move clothes on hangers depending on how far you’re moving.

If you’re moving locally, call around to moving companies to see if you can rent a rolling rack for your clothes, said Bertilson.

“If you can rent one, packing is as easy as taking your clothes out of your closet, hanging them on the rack and putting it in the moving truck,”; she said. “It’s a time saver, because you don’t have to reorganize your clothes at your new home.”;

Wardrobe boxes can be a better option for long-distance moves, so you don’t have to worry about returning them to a local business. To know how many boxes you may need, measure the bar in your closet, said Annette Reyman of All Right Moves.

using measuring tape in closet

“The benefit of wardrobe boxes is awesome,”; she said. “You won’t have to deal with each separate article of clothing coming out of the box.”;

You can also fold your clothes with the hangers, if you want to save cash and opt to use regular cardboard boxes, said Reyman.

“Just don’t invest in new hangers before a move, because some will probably break along the way,”; she said.

clothes folded in a hanger for moving

How to Pack Folded Clothes for a Move

If you have clothes in a dresser, keep your clothes inside the drawers instead of emptying them into moving boxes.

“Leave the items in the drawers and use stretch wrap to cover the tops,”; said Bertilson.

She also suggests making notes of which drawer goes into the corresponding dresser hole, so your drawers will be in the same spot when you go to get dressed in your new home.

notepad to map out where items belong on dresser

If you have a lightweight dresser, you maybe be able to cover the entire piece of furniture in stretch wrap with the drawers still inside. This will also protect it from dings and scratches during the move, said Reyman.

“If the strongest person in your house can lift the filled dresser without a problem, then your movers should be able to get it out easily,”; she said.

Keep Clothes Smelling Fresh in Moving Boxes

If your clothes will be in boxes or in storage for a while, add scented dryer sheets to avoid unappealing scents sticking to your fabrics.

“We typically add them to the bottom of the boxes,”; said Bertilson.

Cedar balls will also provide a pleasant scent, said Reyman.

One or both should be used if you’re packing your out-of-season clothes early, which our experts said you should do if you have the time.

“I tell some of my clients: 'Let’s pretend that we’re going camping for two weeks. What do you need, and what can you live without?'”; said Reyman. “The earlier the better, when it comes to packing. Everyone underestimates that time it takes and the amount of stuff you have.”;

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