The Ultimate Packing List Every New Yorker Should Follow When Moving to a New Borough

Written by: Amelia Mead

NYC locals are no strangers to relocation. The vast city provides many opportunities for moving within New York. But even if you’re not relocating for the first time, a move should be organized properly – and what better way than through a packing list. A checklist isn’t only a collection of everything you are going to take with you but should also work as a guide to packing for a move. Without further ado – here are some tips for creating it.

A thorough checklist will make your move twice as efficient

Why Make a Packing List Before a Move?

Whenever a person has to keep track of their entire inventory, bureaucratic tasks, and mental health (not to mention the usual duties such as food preparation, and work and family obligations) a lot of things can be forgotten. A move is one of such endeavors that might get you overwhelmed. To avoid postponing tasks a relocation to-do list is in order.

Because no two moves are the same (even if you are relocating just from one safe Brooklyn neighborhood to another) each efficient move requires special attention and organization, and of course – its own packing guide. A checklist like this helps you organize, as well as get you feeling more prepared for the tasks that await you. So, if you want to diminish relocation stress and avoid boxing up to move in a hurry, get a pen and paper – it’s time to get to writing.

Grab a pen and paper and start writing down the things you need to box up

Making a Packing List Starts With a Few Preparatory Steps

Before you start writing down things you will take to your new home in the best Manhattan neighborhood, you have to go through some preparations first. Truth be told – we all know how difficult apartment hunting in NYC can get. Living in Manhattan can be expensive, as the median rent for a one-bedroom place amounts to $3,872. So if you can’t afford a home that is much bigger than that you’ll have to pack in a smart way – that is, by taking only the things you absolutely need.

Decluttering of Your Inventory Is Always the Best Start

Whether you plan on living in Brooklyn or Staten Island, a move is a new chapter of your life. That means that you should reduce the number of things you own to make space for new ones. We suggest that you sell what you can to earn an extra buck for your relocation expenses checklist. For the rest, try to donate. Check out where to donate clothes in NYC, or even where to donate furniture. While throwing away things should be the last option, if you have to, try to do it in an environmentally friendly way, whether you are disposing of mattresses or small plastic cups.

The Next Step Is to Obtain Necessary Supplies

If you decide not to employ any of the New York City moving companies and invest in their packing services you will need to get the supplies on your own. However, don’t do this before you do a thorough declutter. Only afterward, you can actually know how much of which supplies and equipment pieces you will require. Usually, you will want to get the following:

  • Cardboard boxes in multiple sizes,
  • Markers in vivid colors,
  • Cushioning materials like foam peanuts and bubble wrap,
  • Packaging papers and plastic wrapping,
  • Dolly and straps to move large items,
  • Adhesive tape.


A declutter is one of the first preparatory steps of any move

Once You’re All Set, Start by Listing up the Non-Essentials to Pack

Here is a little relocation hack for you: contrary to popular belief, you should start your enlist with the non-essential stuff, just like you should your boxing up process. While these are not things that first come to mind when you think about packaging, the stuff you use daily will be needed up to the very last moment.

For this reason, we recommend beginning by boxing up books (of course, not the ones you are currently invested in), as well as CDs and artwork. Next on the menu should be vases, mirrors, and candles – things that have a more decorative function than a practical one. Once you pack these fragile items and they are out of the way, you will be able to more easily scan the room and figure out the rest of the process.

Start your checklist with stuff that is of decorative nature

Second in Line Are Clothes and Accessories

Again, it might negate logic – but you should pack shoes, clothing, bags, and accessories next – of course, the ones you don’t require daily. Here, you will have to think more in advance. Depending on how long before your move you take up packaging clothing, you will want to leave enough things so you have the stuff to wear up to the very last day. So get your fashion goggles on and let’s get to listing your top ten outfits.

Start This Section of Your Packing Checklist With Opposite Season’s Clothes

Even when it comes to clothing, you will want to deal with those that are not essential in the current season. That means that if you relocate in winter, you will pack up the summer dresses, swimsuits, and hats first. If your relocation is a summer one, take the shawls, the coats, and the boots first. A pro tip is to deal with specialty stuff like skiing equipment in the beginning. For more tips on how to package clothing so they take up the least amount of space, check out the following Marie Kondo technique.

Move on to the Furnishing Pieces in Your Living Room

After decorations and clothing, the next thing to write down and subsequently pack is the furniture. Already we are getting repetitive but, start with the non-essential living room furnishing – the small tables, the armchairs, and the tabouret. Take your dolly, plastic blankets, and straps to the lounge, and box up your TV while you’re at it. You’ll be able to live without it for a few weeks.

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After That Pack up the Bedroom and the Kitchen

When you’re done with the living room you can continue to box up the spaces you use on a daily basis. Consider where you can take up multipurpose (and easily packable) alternatives instead of the objects you’re used to. For example, if you own a laptop you can box up the computer as soon as possible. However, the bed you will probably want to leave for last.

Next up is the kitchen space. Start by boxing up glasses and other dishes you use for special occasions – flutes, coupes, and fancy wine glasses. You may want to box up pots and pans as well, but ensure you leave a few out ’till the final day. You’ll require some to make a few fast meals when the going gets tough.

The Bathroom Holds Most of Your Essentials, so Leave It for Last

The final space to pack is the bathroom. Luckily, it’s an easily packable one although the one with most essentials. If you still have a few months left before you move, we have a relocation hack/minimalist experiment you might want to try: around two months before the move, box up the entire bathroom and take out some stuff only when you need them. This way you can be sure that once you get to the big day, you won’t have to go back and box up any essential items.

Move from the most used to the least used space when boxing up

Find Out Which Stuff New York Movers Won’t Move and Box Those Up as Well

Each of the New York moving companies has its own rules and regulations about what items their movers won’t move. If you are planning on employing professionals, consider what stuff you will take yourself. Most often, the checklist at hand will include perishable materials, dangerous stuff, cleaning chemicals, and valuables. If you don’t want to declutter these, consider the best ways to tackle their transport. Here are the most common things you will need to bring yourself:

  • Weapons, dangerous objects, and ammunition,
  • Perishable foods and drinks,
  • Plants,
  • Cleaning materials,
  • Documents that contain personal or sensitive information,
  • Medicines and recipes for them.
Movers are of great help, but still, there are some things you'll have to take care of yourself

Last But Not Least: An Essentials Bag Is in Order

You might have noticed that in each room you dealt with so far, you had to sort out the items that are non-essential and those which are. This is because one of the final steps will be to create a bag that will carry the latter. It should store everything you would take on a weekend getaway. Here are our recommendations on some of the items it should cover:

  • Documents, credit cards, and money,
  • Smartphone, laptop, and chargers for both of them,
  • Medication and medical recipes,
  • Enough food and water for the trip and the first day in your new home,
  • A toothbrush, toothpaste, and shower gel,
  • Some clothing,
  • A pan, a few plates, glass, and mug,
  • A small coffee machine,
  • Some detergent and a sponge.

You Should Always Have Personal Documentation on You

No New York City movers will carry your sensitive data, such as IDs, financial records, and other personal documents. Even if that was not the case, you would still want to move these yourself since they are too important to take a chance with. List up all your records and get a binder to store them in. Make sure you’ve packed the following:

  • Passport and personal ID,
  • Driver’s license,
  • Birth and death certificates,
  • Marriage license,
  • Medical records, recipes, and receipts,
  • Financial records and statements from banks and credit card companies.

Carry an Essentials Bags for Each Family Member, Including Your Pet

If you have small children, they might not be able to get themselves ready for the trip. The same goes if you’re moving with a pet. Most people move their own furry companions, which means that they have to get them ready for the relocation day as well. Bring enough food and water for the trip (in portable bowls, of course) so that your loved pet doesn’t miss its essentials.

As you probably know, travel can be stressful for animals, especially if it’s a long drive. So ensure that, especially if they are closed off in their carrier, they have their favorite toy to keep them company. If their anxiety runs high, you should check with their vet if your loved animal can and should take some medicine to calm them down.

There should be an essentials bag for each family member - including your dog

Hire a New York Moving Company for a Safe and Easy Move

Relocation is considered to be one of the few most stress-inducing experiences a person can go through, and doing it completely on your own is no walk in the park. So before you decide to take up all this work, consider employing one of the best moving companies in New York. When it all adds up, professional help almost always turns out to be a good idea, no matter what your reason to move might be.

That being said, whether you are planning a residential relocation or you need commercial relocation help, our local movers in New York will be at your service. Twin Brothers Movers is known as a reputable company that puts its customers first. With us, you won’t have to worry about a thing, even more so because insurance is included in our pricing. To get your free estimate of costs, we urge you to contact us today. You can be sure that we’ll give you a fair price, and the best service.

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