The Only Moving Supplies List You’ll Ever Need

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How Important Is It to Have a List of All the Supplies I Will Need for My upcoming Move?

Planning is key when it comes to moving, especially during these uncertain times. Don’t make the mistake of becoming overwhelmed by simply guessing at what supplies you will need for your upcoming move. Packing with durable moving boxes, padding, wrap and tape helps you to secure your treasured belongings during a move.

From packing up all your belongings to coordinating the transport of your household items, moving is a huge undertaking. It’s a lot to think about, but you don’t have to go it alone! Below is a comprehensive list of the items we recommend if you are self-packing; however, always remember that if you don’t have the time or energy to pack, United offers both full and partial packing services for your move.

Ready to get moving? Use our model moving supply checklist to start packing today.

Girl carrying a moving box in her home

How Many Moving Boxes Do I Need?

Moving boxes stacked in a corner

When it comes to determining how many cardboard boxes you will need, it’s better to err on the side of overestimating. You don’t want to chance running out of small boxes and compromising your belongings by over-stuffing your large boxes. Also, packing for most people comes down to the wire, and you don’t want to have to make a “box run” and waste precious time the night before your big move.

Keep in mind that large items may require large or extra-large boxes, but heavy and/or fragile items should be placed in as small a box as possible. Conversely, lighter, bulkier items — such as blankets and pillows — can be packed in large or extra-large boxes.

Since every household is different, every move is also unique. To that, there’s not an exact formula when it comes to determining how many boxes you’ll need to prepare for your move. However, here’s a good baseline: A typical three-bedroom house will require anywhere from 70-150 boxes for a move, depending on your personal packing style and how full your rooms are.

Aside from appliances and furniture, most of your belongings will be packed in boxes, and determining just how many boxes you will need, can be a little tricky. So, before you go “box shopping,” take a look at the following six factors that will help you determine the number of boxes you will need for your move:

1. Number of rooms
In general, the more rooms you have in your home equates to more items you will likely need to pack. The number of bedrooms in your home is typically what online moving box calculators use to determine the estimate.

2. Number of years in the home
A house you have lived in for 20 years versus two years, will have accumulated more items, which means more boxes. This might be a good time to consider decluttering — see factor #6.

3. Number of people
Again, it’s all about the numbers: The more people living under one roof, the more personal belongings there will be to pack.

4. Square footage
Consider the amount of overall space in your home. A three-bedroom apartment with a smaller footprint may not have as many items as an average-spaced three-bedroom house.

5. Kind of lifestyle
You may be surprised to find the number of moving boxes you will need depends on this. No judgment here, but you will want to get personal with your personal belongings, and ask yourself which one of these lifestyles you fall under:

  • Collector: Are you nostalgic and find it hard to throw away your dried corsage from Junior Prom? If so, you’ll want plenty of boxes.
  • Modest: Are you modest when it comes to acquiring personal and household belongings? If so, you’ll need the average number of boxes.
  • Minimalist: Do you have few material possessions? If so, you’ll require fewer boxes on the average.

6. Change of lifestyle
Have you converted from a collector lifestyle to a minimalist by having a pre-move garage sale or purging items that you no longer use? Or, are you downsizing and don’t require as much for your new residence? Decluttering before you move is a great idea, and even more so, it means fewer cardboard boxes you’ll need to purchase!

Moving box packed with dishes and padding as part of moving supplies checklist article

What Are the Different Types of Moving Boxes I Will Need?

Understanding what kind of box to pack up your household goods helps you prepare for your move. Depending on what size and type of item you are packing, the moving box you choose can make all the difference in how well it is packed.

Small Moving Boxes

Small boxes are ideal for heavy items such as books and fragile items (e.g. collectables) that must be packed on their own. Make sure you stock up on small boxes as they are easy to handle and are perfect for items like kitchenware and pantry goods.

Medium Moving Boxes

Medium boxes tend to be among the most commonly used moving boxes. They are ideal for small appliances and other household items. These boxes are often most compatible with dish pack and glass pack inserts for glassware.

Dish Pack Kit

Dish pack kits are compartmentalized to accommodate dinner plates, salad plates, saucers and bowls. Many kits include foam padding to enclose and isolate each piece.

Glass Pack Kit

Glass pack kits are compartmentalized to accommodate glassware, crystal and stemware. Many kits include foam padding to enclose and isolate each piece.

Large Moving Boxes

Large boxes are ideal for lightweight and medium-weight goods like lampshades, throw pillows and clothing.

X-Large Moving Boxes

X-Large boxes are ideal for bulky yet lightweight soft goods like comforters, blankets, clothing and pillows. Wardrobe Boxes – A wardrobe box is constructed with a hanger bar so that you can transfer shirts, blouses and suits directly from the closet into the box without folding your clothes. These boxes come in several heights to accommodate longer items such as dresses and pants.

Electronics Boxes

Electronics boxes are specially sized for your home entertainment devices such as streaming media players, surround sound stereos and gaming systems.

Heavy-Duty Boxes

Heavy-duty boxes are reinforced with thicker walls for heavier applications. These may be ideal for packing electronics, book collections and dishes.

Man using moving supplies and tape gun to tape a moving box

What Kind of Tape Will I Need?

When it comes to packing, not all tape is created equal. Make sure you choose a quality tape that is durable and has good adhesive power. Also, make sure to get a tape dispenser to speed progress. A tape gun will lay seams straight down and help you keep your fingers clear of a sticky mess when cutting.

Here’s a quick overview of the different kinds of tape you may want to have for packing:

Packing Tape

This is the most common type of tape used for sealing boxes for moving purposes.

Shipping Tape

Shipping tape may be used in place of packing tape.

Masking Tape

Masking tape is often used for labeling boxes.

Strapping and Duct Tape

Duct tape can be used for reinforcing and closing heavier boxes.

Painter’s Tape

If you’re not sure if your furniture will fit into a room, use this tape to stage it and lay out the dimensions. It can also be used for labeling electronics and smaller items.

Person's hands squeezing bubble wrap moving supplies

What Can I Use to Protect My Items and My Home During the Move Process?

Unprinted News Wrapping Paper

Unprinted news wrap is an ideal and inexpensive way to wrap fragile items during a move. Unprinted, undyed paper stock provides the added advantage of a cleaner, ink-free move.

Bubble Wrap

A large roll of bubble wrap goes a long way on moving day. Bubble wrap can be used to enclose fragile items and to insulate voids along the sides of boxes.

Stretch Plastic Wrap

An industrial-strength version of your standard kitchen plastic wrap, this wrap is used to bind items together (e.g., electrical cords, dresser drawers, couch cushions, etc.). Plastic wrap might help offer some barrier to furniture from scratches, dust and some types of damage.

Furniture Pads

Frequently used to cover large appliances and furniture, you don’t have to worry about getting these durable, thick blankets dirty.

Plastic Tarps or Cardboard Sheets

Tarps and cardboard sheets can be used to protect floors in highly trafficked areas.

Photo of moving scene with boxes, moving supplies, plants and table

What Other Tools Will I Need for My Upcoming Move?

Permanent Markers

Permanent markers are necessary to label your boxes and keep track of your belongings. Label boxes on the sides of the boxes according to room; you’ll be glad you took the time to do so when you start unpacking.


A pair or two of scissors will make your life a lot easier during the packing process.

Box Cutter

You’ll come to appreciate a sharp box cutter when it comes time to unload. Tape, adhesive and cardboard can dull your knife faster than you think.

Plastic Baggies

As you disassemble electronic and hardware, place screws, bolts, washers and small hardware in sandwich-sized plastic baggies. Make sure they are labeled and keep all these bags in one place. Use gallon-sized bags for larger things like cords and cables.

Tape Gun

Having a few tape guns on hand will save you time and frustration. Using these handy devices can make taping up your moving boxes easy and fast.


You will want tools like a wrench, screwdriver, drill and pliers close at hand for assembly and disassembly of furniture and electronics. Don’t forget to gently remove nails from the walls.

Picture of cleaning supplies for preparing for a move

What Disinfectants and Cleaning Supplies Should I Use?

Before you pack everything away, make sure you have the following accessible: broom, dustpan, vacuum, sponges, paper towels, garbage bags, mop, bucket, multi-purpose and glass cleaners.

Having difficulty obtaining disinfectants and cleaning solutions for your upcoming move?

If you’re having trouble finding disinfectants from retail stores and/or online vendors, diluted household bleach solutions may be used if appropriate for the surface.

Pay close attention to the safety instructions when using cleaning and sanitizing products. For example, never mix bleach with ammonia or any other cleaner; wear rubber gloves and other protective wear, if indicated; increase ventilation by opening windows and doors to allow in fresh air.

Lastly, if you’ve hired a professional moving company for your upcoming move, make sure you’re aware of their non-allowables as there are many household cleaners that can’t go on the moving truck.

A smooth packing and moving experience requires gathering the necessary supplies. Get your moving supplies ahead of time so you can enjoy a safe, well-organized move. If possible, prepare for this step six weeks before your move date.

For more information about moving supplies and packing, take a look at Packing 101, our Moving & Packing Checklist Library and our packing videos.

Are you interested in United packing for you? Learn more about our packing and unpacking services here.

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