There is an exciting element to a big move, but there is also a stressful element to it. Follow these packing tips for moving and you’ll find that organization and a process relieve the angst. These tips for packing a shipping container will save you time, protect your personal belongings and keep you organized……and that relieves your stress!

There is an art to packing a shipping container. Very often we hire people to do this for us so we have the confidence our possession will arrive at their destination safely. In this article, we are going to discuss how YOU can do that for yourself. Even if you choose to hire someone, you will know what to watch for to ensure the job is done to your satisfaction.

Within the stress of a move, especially if you are moving internationally it is important to have a plan. With a plan you relieve your stress and go about the process of knocking things off your ToDo list.

Moving Hack: Purge before you pack


Make A Plan

Start by listing belongings. 

  • Large pieces of furniture
  • Medium size pieces of furniture
  • Small and large appliances 
  • Unusually shaped pieces 
  • Mattresses
  • Items that require special attention (dishes, collectibles, art work, mirrors)
  • Items that will go into boxes 

As you pack you will select items from each category in a planned approach to loading. This will also help you determine how much space you need.

Next, let’s consider a strategic approach to how belongings will be loaded:

  • What do you want access to first when you unpack. Beds and kitchen items will matter. 
  • List those large items that you will have to pack around
  • List the heavy items that will provide balance in weight distribution
  • List items such as mattresses, couch cushions….they can be used to protect things.
  • Consider how you want to unload things into your new home. What do you want to move in first?
  • Don’t forget that as you are packing your household up, you need to hold some things back. Clothing, food, beverages….put some thought into what you may need in the short term.

Moving Hack: use household linens to cushion items inside boxes and wardrobes or cabinets to hold lamp shades, electronics or other fragile items. Towels and plastic wrap can be used to protect artwork and mirrors.

Now It’s time to go shopping for supplies

Once you dive into packing you want all the supplies on hand. You will need

  • Moving boxes in a variety of sizes.
  • Wardrobe boxes/suit cases for clothing
  • Packing tape
  • Bubble Wrap/packing paper/newspaper
  • Sharp blade or scissors
  • Moving blankets/household linens
  • Ratchets and ropes to secure sections in the container
  • Flat cardboard
  • Stretch Film Wrap
  • Mattress Bags

As your belongings are securely stored away, don’t forget that you’ll still need access to food and some comforts of life. Consider also, some things are better left behind. Household cleaners and items from the garage could damage your belongings in transit, they  can be replaced easily. Remember, that as your shipping container departs for your new destination, how ever it is being transported (air, ground, ocean) it will experience movement. Preparing for possibilities could save your wardrobe or couch from a bleach spill.

Packing Tips for Moving Part 1 – Household Items into Containers

As you start packing, think about unpacking. What might you need first at your new home. 

  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Bedding
  • Kitchen Items

If you are storing for the long term, consider access. You may need to remove things before you’re ready to fully unpack.

  • What you might need access to in the short term, for instance you might want Christmas Decorations to be accessible. 
  • Stage your boxes as you are preparing them to get loaded. what items will you want to organize first. Kitchen? Bedding? You’ll need to eat and sleep 
  • As you pack the boxes take care to ensure they are tightly packed. Boxes will be stacked on top of each other. A little bit of forethought will have you packing like a pro – tightly so they are uncrushable. Use packing tape to ensure they are stable.
  • Label the boxes. There is no way to overstate how much you will appreciate this when you are unpacking.

Packing Tips for Moving Part 2 – Pack The Container Securely and Strategically

  • Most storage containers have anchors placed several feet apart. As you fill each section think about where the next ratchet or rope will be used in the anchors to stabilize that section. Is there a mattress or other large item you can place in that spot to secure the items behind it once the ratchet is tightened?
  • Sort items by weight. Heavy, sturdy boxes on the bottom. It is important to distribute the weight evenly. Don’t place all the large heavy items at one end, and boxes in the other. Distribution matters as your container is transported and subjected to movement in transit. 
  • Awkwardly shaped items….what items can you use to support them. Ensure they are secured with ropes or ratchets.
  • Use empty spaces inside wardrobes and cabinets to store items. Lampshades, lamps, collectibles or small electronics and cushion them with packing paper, household linens or newspaper.
  • As you pack items protect them from damage. Cover the coffee table with blankets, or flattened cardboard. Use bubble wrap and packing tape to protect artwork and mirrors.
  • Pack similar size boxes together. Make sure they are packed tightly to hold their shape and make them crushproof. Packing tape is your friend here. 
  • Use the space inside your container efficiently. The list you made at the beginning of this plan will come into play now. What items can you place on top and what items will go on the bottom and what goes in between. Be strategic. This is a puzzle for you to solve.
  • Stop periodically and consider. Can you see any sections where items may shift in movement. What do you have that can fill that space efficiently? This is where pillows, cushions, household linens can save the day.
  • Don’t forget to take advantage of vertical space. Your couch can stand vertically instead of horizontally. This will protect the integrity of the furniture too, as you won’t be loading weight on it.
  • Ensure that all items that can open (drawers, cabinet doors) are secured. Packing tape will ensure everything stays put.
  • Consider putting some dehumidifying packs in the container if there will be changes in temperature or humidity
  • Finally, as you load the last few things, ensure you use ratchets or ropes to secure the items right in front. Things can move and settle in transit. 
  • Ensure that important documents are secured in waterproof containers


Your container has arrived, you have arrived. It’s time to unpack and since you followed our packing tips for moving you are set! Yay! First thing you must consider is…open your container carefully. If things shifted in transit, you do not need them falling on you as you are getting ready to unpack.

  • Now is the time to get those beds set up, because you had a great plan and packed properly you can have a comfy place to sleep on your first night. You’ll be tired!
  • You will also want access to some kitchen necessities for beverages and meals.

By following these packing tips for moving and talking to the experts in container shipping at World Cargo, you can be confident your personal or business items will ship correctly and safely. World Cargo will help you take care of all necessary documentation and adhere to international shipping rules and regulations. There is always someone waiting to talk to you by phone or email. We can help you decide on the best method for transport and we can certainly advise you on packing, packing materials and what goods should be left behind. You can reach out to us here:  Contact World Cargo