Get the Kitchen Ready to Pack & Move

How to Get Organized Before You Start Packing the Kitchen

Open cardboard boxes kept in an empty kitchen
George Doyle / Getty Images

If you're like me, packing the kitchen is one of those things you really hate to do, simply because there are so many small items and stuff you don't know if you should pack and move. In my own efforts to ease all kitchen-packing woes, I now prepare each room, especially the kitchen, before I even wrap the first dish. Try to do this as soon as you know that you're moving. Since the kitchen usually contains the most items, and sometimes the hardest to pack, it's a good place to start.

Sort, Select and Simplify

First, decide what needs to be packed and what can be gotten rid of, perhaps at a garage sale, or sell it online or donated to a friend or a charity. This is an easy decision for larger, more expensive items such as appliances, glassware, flatware and pots and pans. Some things are cheaper to move than to replace, while others weigh a lot, but are inexpensive to purchase. If the cost of your move is based on weight, then this is something you need to consider. For example, spices are expensive and usually they've been collected over a long period of time, so to replace them completely would take a lot of effort and money. So pack and move them. Also, look at where you're moving to, space and location-wise and what you'll need.

Just before you move, dispose of all perishables and frozen foods. Unless you're moving a short distance, these items cannot be packed. Special attention should be given to these items if you're moving to another state. Most states, such as California, has very strict guidelines to what can be and can't be taken over the border. Fresh fruit and vegetables will be seized.

Sort out all cleaning supplies. Make sure you leave behind opened containers that shouldn't be packed. Give these supplies away or if you can't, make sure you dispose of them properly

Prepare the Essentials Box

This should actually be the last box you pack, but it's a good idea, while you're going through your cupboards, to identify what you'll need for the first few hours/days in your new home. This box will be the first box you open and should be able to provide small meals, clean, and possibly entertain you until you unpack the rest of your kitchen supplies. Label the outside with "Kitchen" and "#1" to indicate its priority for unpacking.

What to Include in the Essentials Box

  • Dish soap
  • Dishtowel
  • Dishcloth
  • Cleaner (unopened)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Coffee
  • Coffee filters
  • Coffee maker
  • Toaster
  • Jar of pasta sauce and pasta (or some easy food item for one dinner or lunch)
  • Unopened small jar of jam/peanut butter
  • Radio
  • Mug, plate, fork, knife, spoon for each member of the family
  • All purpose cutting knife
  • Scissors or craft knife (to open the rest of your boxes)
  • Small emergency kit
  • Flashlight/candles/matches

You may not be ready to pack your essentials box yet, but that doesn't mean you can't start making a list of items to include. Rule of thumb is to include all essentials that you'll need for at least 24 hours. Presumably, there's a grocery or convenience store nearby, but just in case you should have some food stuff on hand that you can quickly prepare for your family.

After you've prepared your essentials box, take it with you in the car or in the cab of the moving van if you're moving yourself. Again, this will be the last box packed, and the first one you open!

So, now that you've prepped the kitchen, you can start packing. Let the fun begin!