How to Pack Your Car for a Move

Woman standing beside car, putting suitcase in open boot
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Whether you're moving across town or across the country, packing the car is something you'll need to do especially if you're moving a long distance. Make sure your car is packed right so you can not only squeeze in everything you need to but that all your passengers are happy and safe.

Figure out What Needs to Get Moved

The first step is to sort, shrink (get rid of stuff) and then pack. Sorting through your things and selecting only the stuff you need will help when it comes to packing.

If you're only packing a few items — items that you don't want to pack in the moving truck — then determine what can be packed into a box, what is fragile and the stuff that won't break no matter what. If you can, pack your electronics by car since they're heavy and can cost a lot to move. They're also fragile and require some tender-loving care. If you do want to move electronics in your car, remember that if you're moving long distance, you'll need to stop overnight. So make sure your electronics are safe from theft.

Use Overhead Carriers

The first trick to packing more in your car is to pack it on the outside. Overhead carriers are the best invention for people on the move. They allow you to store your cargo safely and easily while ensuring that they're secure from the weather and are protected should you have to spend a night on the road.

Vacuum Storage Bags

For items that take a lot of room, such as bedding and clothes, these bags are the perfect solution for fitting more into a tight space. They're fairly inexpensive and can shrink bulky items down to a small size that will fit between other packed items in the back of your car or in the overhead carrier.

Use Bags, Not Boxes or Luggage

If you don't like the idea of purchasing vacuum bags, use ordinary garbage bags (clear garbage bags will do) for items that can be squeezed into small spaces such as under the seat or in trunk corners. Luggage won't conform to the shape of your space so any items that are soft should be packed in bags.

Use Small Boxes When You Can

For items that need protecting, try to use small boxes. Small boxes can be fit into more awkward spaces than large and will allow you to make room in the back so the driver has clear visibility. If you do invest in an overhead carrier, use it to store the boxes and fragile items — things that you're less likely to need during your journey. That way, you won't need to unpack and pack every day.

Make Use of Every Space

It's amazing how many hidden spaces are in a car. The spaces under the front seats are an ideal spot to store extra water bottles, snacks that are packaged and books. In the trunk or the back of the hatch, the wheel wells are perfect places to store backpacks, bags of clothes and even shoes.

The area around the spare tire can also be used, although you should make sure the tire is easy to get at. If you need to change a tire at night, the last thing you want to do is to dig for it. Keep footwells clear especially on long trips. Small items can be stored at your feet, but make sure you and your passengers are comfortable and safe.