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Essential Moving Supplies

Jon Fesmire | November 23, 2020 @ 6:37 PM

In The Renter’s Bent, we strive to share information that will make your life easier. Since moving is so tough, we’d like to present you with a list of what we consider essential moving supplies. These are important for packing your trip and unpacking at your new home or office.

The steps you’ll take when preparing to move are another topic, and we’ve covered this in detail as well, so be sure to check out our essential moving checklist.


Boxes are the most essential of moving supplies. After all, you need something to put your stuff in so you can carry it easily. We recommend primarily using one box size for most items. You will want some variety, as we explain in our comprehensive cardboard box guide, but document boxes work great for most items. They’re sturdy and great for packing everything from books to toys to, yes, documents.

Alternatively, you can use plastic bins. The important thing here is that by using one main size, your boxes will stack well in your home, storage, or the moving truck.

Packing Tape

You’ll also need packing tape to seal those boxes. Document boxes and plastic bins come with lids that don’t need to be taped down, but you’ll want this for all your other boxes. Each person packing boxes should have a tape roller.

Stretch Wrap

This is not the same as Saran Wrap, though the idea is similar. Stretch wrap is specifically for moving. It comes in rolls, and you wrap it around dressers and other furniture to keep their drawers closed. It sticks to itself, keeping drawers from sliding out so you can more easily move the furniture.


Sometimes the teeth on tape rollers just won’t cut the tape. If you run into this problem, a good pair of scissors can make packing a lot easier. Just reach for them and use them to cut the tape. Scissors are also useful for cutting bubble wrap, stretch wrap, or packing paper to the right size and cutting tape once you reach your destination and need to open boxes.

Permanent Markers

It’s important to mark your boxes so you know where they belong in your new home, what’s in them, or both. In general, we think it’s best to label each box by room first, and major contents second. So, one box may say, “Living Room, Books,” while another may say, “Bedroom, Shirts.”

Writing from permanent markers is bold and easy to read.


If you are using plastic bins, or you don’t want to write directly on the boxes, consider getting sticky labels. There are a variety of labeling systems, though we think that basic labels are best. Then use your permanent markers to note the room and type of items in each box.

Packing Paper

Packing paper is environmentally friendly, as it can be reused or recycled and is biodegradable. It’s the equivalent of newsprint paper. However, do not use printed newspapers. Those can smear ink all over your belongings. Instead, purchase packing paper in sheets or rolls. You can wrap items in several layers to give them some padding, or crumple sheets to fill in the empty spaces in any box. This helps prevent items from shifting in transit so that they won’t bump into other items and take damage.

Bubble Wrap

For especially delicate items, like mugs, dishes, glasses, and figurines, use bubble wrap. Roll a layer or two around the item before putting it carefully into its box. You can then fill in the empty space in each box with crumpled packing paper.

A Basic Tool Kit

Just in case you need tools, we recommend having a basic tool kit. This means a toolbox with some important items. Include the following.

  • Duct tape

  • Cable ties

  • Wrenches

  • Pliers

  • A multi-head screwdriver kit

  • A hammer

  • Goggles

  • Work gloves

  • Nails and screws

  • A measuring tape

  • A utility knife

This will allow you to take apart and reassemble furniture, get your cables organized once you move in, and more. If you know of specific tools you may need that we haven’t mentioned, include those, too.

A First Aid Kit

It’s always a good idea to have a first aid kit. In the process of moving, you and your family are more likely to experience minor injuries than on a typical day, so make sure you bring one along. Your first aid kit should include the following. In fact, in Canada, these are the items required in a basic first aid kit, and this is what we would recommend.

  • Attendant scissors

  • Latex gloves

  • Non-alcohol based antiseptic towelettes

  • Tweezers

  • Cotton-tip applicators

  • Wound closures

  • Sterile telfa pads

  • Sterile gauze pads

  • Bandage strips or assorted adhesive dressings

  • Absorbent pads

  • Medical adhesive tape

  • Three or more cloth triangular bandages

  • Two or more crepe bandages

Overnight Bags

Each member of your family should have an overnight bag. This makes it a lot easier to get settled quickly in a motel or hotel. Each should have the person’s pajamas, a change of clothes for the next day, and toiletries, such as soap, shampoo and conditioner, and a toothbrush and toothpaste.

Activity Bag

We recommend that you each have an activity bag, too. In it, keep your smart tablet or laptop, a pair of headphones, a travel game or activity book, and a book to read. These will be great for the kids while you’re driving and will give you something to take your mind off the trip at rest stops or the end of the day. Your overnight and activity bags can be backpacks or whatever other types of sack works for you.

Another thing to keep in mind is that self storage can make your move even easier. If you’re not moving too far, use it to store your boxes as you pack them. Then, after you move, you can retrieve them at your leisure. We have listings for quality self storage facilities in your area.

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