How to Pack and Move Armoires, Cabinets and Wardrobes

Little girl surrounded by toys and shoes

Camille Tokerud / Getty Images

If you're moving house and have an armoire or wardrobe that needs to be moved, you'll know that these pieces are heavy, awkward and are difficult to move. Use this guide to help you prepare your armoire for the movers or to move it yourself.

What You Need

  • Tools (if removing the doors)
  • Shrinkwrap
  • Furniture padding
  • Tape (for the padding, not the wood surfaces)

Use the Space to Move Other Stuff

Armoires and cabinets are a great place to pack extra linens and pillows once you've removed all the contents. This will serve as padding and provide a great space to store bulky, soft items, such as sofa cushions and comforters. They fit in nicely and you'll never need to remember where you packed them.

Clear out the Stuff

Remove everything from inside. Pack all loose items separately, including the shelves if they are not permanently built into the cabinet. Not removing shelves could easily cause damage to the unit and to other items on the truck or during delivery.

Remove the Doors If They Might Break

Now, some people may want to remove the doors. If your cabinet or armoire has doors, especially if they're glass or in any way delicate, remove the screws that attach the hinge, making sure you keep these parts in a plastic bag that can be attached to the inside or bottom of the cabinet.

Remove the Drawers If They're Too Heavy to Move

If the armoire has drawers, you don't need to remove them unless you think they may come loose during the move or if they add too much weight to the unit. If you have drawers, you can keep some items inside if it isn't too heavy or the items aren't breakable. Just make sure you stuff a pillow, towel, or blanket inside to keep loose items from moving around.

Make Sure Drawers and Doors are Tied Closed

If you aren't removing the doors and drawers, make sure you let your mover know so they can determine if it's too heavy and may need special handling. Do not tape doors and drawers shut. Tape is so hard on wood surfaces and almost impossible to get off without removing some of the finish.

If you don't remove the doors or drawers, try to tie them shut or lock them if possible. Also, make sure your mover protects the armoire with moving padding so it is properly sealed and safe against bumps and breaks. If you're moving by yourself, you can purchase shrink wrap from a moving store or from an office supply shop.

If you've removed doors or drawers, make sure you properly pad and protect them. Wrap doors in furniture padding or an old blanket. If the doors are glass, use a mirror box and pack the doors as you would with artwork or a mirror.

For extra measure, wrap furniture padding or blankets around the unit. Sealing tape or twine will hold them in place.

For items that you removed from the cabinet, pack them into one box and properly label it as "cabinet contents." This will make it so much easier to unpack and to identify where the remotes are and the user's guides for when you need to re-set-up the stereo system.

Use the Right Tools to Move it

If you're moving on your own, you should use a moving dolly to make sure you can move the armoire without injuries. Use rope or bungee cords to secure the armoire onto the dolly, keeping it upright. If you have enough people to help, you may be able to manage to lift it without needing a dolly. 

More Tips

Don't use tape on furniture. Even masking tape will leave a residue and if you're moving between different climate zones, it can cause the tape to dry out, and it could become a permanent fixture on your favorite armoire.