7 Tips for Packing Your Kitchen Like a Pro

Barbara Bellesi Zito
Updated January 4, 2022
A family packing plates in the kitchen
Photo: AleksandarNakic / E+ / Getty Images

Don’t leave a crumb or a cup behind with these kitchen packing tips

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The kitchen is probably one of your favorite places in your home, so it’ll be one of the first places you’ll set up in your new place. However, it’s likely also going to be the last one you pack up as you get ready to leave your current space—unless you’re looking to rely on takeout for a few weeks. 

If the idea of packing up your glassware and every last spoon has you stressed out, here are some helpful tips for how to pack your kitchen when moving.

1. Decide Which Items You’ll Keep

Many of us end up with quite the stockpile of kitchen gadgets, accessories, and dinnerware over the years, and moving is a great time to make some decisions about what to keep and what to toss. 

It could be time to scrap those old plastic leftover containers in favor of some fresh new ones when you arrive at your new place or to finally upgrade that rusty old toaster. It’s no use packing away things that you’ll want to get rid of soon. 

Once you start packing, make a note of what you got rid of so you know what you may need to replace once you get settled in at your new place.

2. Secure Small Appliances

Unless you had the foresight—and the storage space—to keep the original boxes of all your appliances, you’ll need to get sturdy boxes and bubble wrap to pack them up now. Clean or wipe them down first, then cushion the items with newspaper or dish towels. 

If an appliance comes apart, wrap components separately. Otherwise, use painter’s tape to secure any cords or moving parts so they stay in place. If you still have any of the original user manuals, you can tape them inside the box for safekeeping.

3. Stack Cookware

Use large boxes to pack your pots and pans, placing smaller items in the larger ones wherever possible to save space. It’s worth wrapping individual pots and pans in bubble wrap or packing paper to prevent scratches.

 If you’ve got something heavy like a Dutch oven, that might need a box of its own, but you could fill the pot to help pack your spices or other small household items when moving.

4. Individually Wrap Fragile Plates and Glassware

A senior woman packing plates in the kitchen
Photo: kazoka303030 / Adobe Stock

Ideally, you’ll want to get corrugated boxes with plate or glass dividers for these delicate items. Otherwise, opt for small to medium-sized boxes and wrap each item individually. Choose plain packing paper instead of newspaper so you don’t get ink on your dinner plates. Better yet, you can use that pile of dish towels to separate plates or glasses. 

As a reminder, mark all of these boxes FRAGILE and make sure they don’t end up at the bottom of a pile of other boxes.

5. Pack Sharp Utensils Safely

If you keep your flatware in one of those drawer dividers, you can wrap the entire thing in plastic wrap or bubble wrap for easy packing. Otherwise, you can put all of your forks and spoons in sealed plastic bags. You should wrap sharp knives separately. If you don’t have a sheath for a butcher knife, try inserting it into an empty paper towel core and then wrapping it securely in tape and packing paper. 

For large cooking utensils like tongs or wooden spoons, bunch them together with a rubber band or even a hairband and toss them in one of the boxes with your cookware.

6. Label Things as Specifically as Possible

This tip is especially important if you know you’ll be using up dozens of boxes for your impressive kitchen collection. While it might be tempting to just write “kitchen” on every box and call it a day, the more specific you can get with your labels, the easier it will be once you’re in your new space and looking for your favorite mixing bowl. 

Try labels like “dinnerware” or “baking tools,” depending on what type of tools are most prevalent in your kitchen. You may also want to consider making a first-night box full of a few plates, cups, and other essentials you’ll need right away. 

7. Donate or Use Up Food Before Your Move

In a perfect world, you’ll have prepared a final meal using every last bit of food in your fridge and pantry. But moving is stressful, and cooking is likely not high on your list of priorities right now. So if you’ve still got some full cupboards and snack drawers, here’s your plan of action:

  • Check expiration dates and discard anything past its prime.

  • Use small boxes for canned goods and bottles. Be sure to wrap any glass bottles in plastic to avoid leakage in case they break.

  • Pack a cooler with any frozen or refrigerated food.

  • Use tote bags to carry sealed, non-breakable items.

If your budget can handle it, skip packing any food and consider donating unopened items to a local food bank.

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