How to Pack Your Garage in 5 Easy Steps

Dawn M. Smith
Written by Dawn M. Smith
Updated October 28, 2021
The interior of a modern garage all tidied up
imaginima/E+ via Getty Images

With some pre-planning and the will to let some stuff go, a packed garage is doable in less time than you think

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The garage is often saved for last, but consider making it your first place to pack. Because it takes a lot of time sorting and boxing unwieldy items, it’s a great task to put behind you. After finishing, you’ll love having the newfound motivation to take on the rest of the house. These step-by-step tips will help you pack your garage in just days instead of weeks. 

Difficulty: 3/5

Time: A full weekend  

Tools and Materials Needed to Clean Your Garage and Box Your Items:

  • Broom and dustpan

  • Heavy-duty trash bags

  • Recycling bins

  • Moving boxes

  • Eco-bubble wrap

  • Moving blankets

  • Packing tape

  • Packing paper or newspaper

1. Throw Out (Responsibly) What Can’t and Shouldn’t Be Moved

Start the garage packing process the easy way and give or throw away any items that can’t be transported safely or legally. If you’re using a local moving company, they’ll also have a list of items they won’t ship, so take a look sooner rather than later.  

Talk with your local fire department or trash management company about the correct way to dispose of the following flammable and hazardous items:

  • Aerosol cans

  • Gas

  • Paint

  • Paint thinners

  • Charcoal

  • Propane tanks

  • Fertilizer

  • Pesticide

  • Cleaning supplies

Then, gather heavy-duty construction trash bags and recycle bins, and get to work sorting the clutter that you don’t want to move to your new garage, such as:

  • Broken toys, collectibles, and furniture

  • Unusable construction materials

  • Newspapers, magazines, and cardboard

  • Any items ruined by mildew or moisture

  • Refrigerated food items

2. Schedule a Garage Sale or Donation Pick-Up and Drop-Off Dates

A garage sale with vintage glassware and clothes in the background
Katee Dee/iStock/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

The lighter the load, the better the move, so think hard about each item you intend to pack and if it could earn you some moving money. If it's a go, set it aside and move on to the next items. Now is the time to sell anything you don’t need, like the stroller used for your now 10-year-old, the growing collection of past-season sports jerseys, and unwanted tools.  

Pick a charitable organization, like Habitat for Humanity ReStores, and donate any items you didn’t sell or want to go directly to benefit someone in need. Some non-profits provide online scheduling for free pick-up or you can call to find out the best days to drop off donations. Try contacting:

3. Get the Right Moving Boxes and Supplies

Pairing the right boxes and supplies with the correct packing methods is essential to the success of your move. Before loading the boxes, layer the securely taped bottoms with packing material to soften any accidental drops. 

Many items in the garage are heavy and oddly shaped (looking at you, toboggan), so you might have to get creative with moving blankets and joining multiple boxes together. If you hired a moving company, they’ll have everything you need for large, hard-to-box items. 

For a DIY move, have the following on-hand to safely box up your items:

  • Boxes: Gather sturdy, recyclable cardboard moving boxes of various sizes.

  • Eco-bubble wrap: Use biodegradable eco-bubble wrap to protect items.

  • Moving blankets: To save money, try to borrow or buy these secondhand from online marketplaces.

  • Packing tape: Avoid disaster and secure every box’s top and bottom with packing tape for additional strength to prevent splitting. You’ll need approximately one roll of tape for every 15 to 20 boxes.

  • Packing paper: Ordinary newspaper works fine for some items, but do note, newspaper’s print runs, meaning you might have extra clean-up at your new home.

4. Pack Garage Items

Garage tools lined up on a peg board
miodrag ignjatovic/iStock/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

Even after the great garage purge, you’re probably still a little overwhelmed with the number of items to pack. But hang on. These tips will help you pack up the rest of your items efficiently and securely:

  • Leave small hand tools—such as screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, or hammers—in your toolbox and securely lock.

  • Wrap any items with sharp blades with a few layers of eco-bubble or old towels and blankets. You may also want to label the box as an extra moving precaution.

  • Bundle large garden tools, like shovels and rakes, together with tape and wrap them with a large moving blanket or in wardrobe boxes.

  • You’ve kept the boxes for years, now it's time to pack power tools in their original container. Remove any detachable parts, including the batteries, and pack them in the same box.

  • Empty the fuel from gas-operated machinery, such as lawnmowers and chainsaws.

  • Stack outdoor chairs and disassemble other outdoor furniture when possible. Remove the cushions—clean and dry them first, then pack in boxes.

  • Cover clean plant containers in eco-bubble or box with packing material.

  • Clean, defrost, and dry refrigerators and freezers. Wrap them with moving blankets for protection.

  • If you prefer or need more packing space, disassemble bikes as much as possible, starting with the handlebars and wheels. If you can, ask a local bike store for an original bike box.

5. Label Every Box

Remember that memory card game you played as a kid? It was always hard to find those two matching elephants in rows and rows of cards. Prepare for that brain game again if your unlabeled boxes get shuffled during the move.  

For a successful move, label each box with a general description of the contents inside and the location where the box is going, whether it's the living room, kitchen, or bedroom. If you’ve asked people to help you move, this directs the flow of boxes without asking you where each one goes.

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