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Best Packing Materials that You Already Own

packing materials

If you’re preparing for a DIY move, you probably already have money on your mind. Moving house on a budget, however, does not stop at renting a moving truck and calling in your strong-armed friends. Packing supplies like Styrofoam peanuts and bubble wrap are not only expensive but also highly harmful to the environment. On the other hand, you can’t afford to have your breakables break, can you? Time to get imaginative and memorize this list of packing materials for moving you already have at home:

Sandwich Bags

Use these to pack the tiny nuts and bolts from your disassembled furniture and shelves, or fill them with air to create puffy cushions that you can use as fillers. Wash, dry and reuse them after you move in if you want to be a real environmental hero.


Throw your shoes, boots, toys and miscellaneous middle-sized bulky items into the hamper and secure on top with a plastic sheet or pillowcase.


Suitcases with wheels are perfect for packing heavy electronics, games, DVDs, and books. Suitcases without wheels are great for packing shoes and boots if you haven’t already stuffed all of those in your hamper.

Towels & Linens

Use towels to wrap plates, serving platters, vases, or breakable décor. Make sure you keep one out to pack in your overnight bag, though! Heavy blankets are great to pad your big screen TV or computer, and sheets can be used as a wrapper for almost anything, especially wooden furniture, to keep it from denting.


If you’re wondering what the best packing material is and how you can get it on a budget, look no further than your sock drawer. Not too heavy and not too soft, socks are a perfect filler for boxes as well as a protective wrapping material for fragile dishes and stemware. Balls of socks are an eco-friendly replacement for peanuts and other costly products to keep your stuff from bouncing around in the box.


T-shirts, tanks, and sweaters can also be used to wrap fragile items. A nice soft sweater or sweatshirt is ideal to line the bottom of the box. This will provide cushioning in case the box gets placed down a little too hard.

Twist Ties

Use these to stop cables and cords from getting tangled.

Trash Pail

Give your garbage canisters a quick wash and use them to transport cleaning supplies, detergents, and other heavy items.

Beer Boxes

There are three reasons to use beer boxes. First, they are very sturdy and can hold a lot of weight. Second, they have handles on the sides, which make them easy to carry. Third, you get to drink the beer to empty the box.


Most people have at least a few empty Rubbermaid containers lying around. Use these to pack heavy pots and pans, small kitchen appliances, dry goods from your pantry or your pets’ bowls, leashes and toys.


Decorative baskets should not be stacked and moved. These are great packing materials, too. Use them for trinkets, cards and all those little things that don’t seem to belong to any specific category. These smaller items are ideal to pack in your car while the movers are hauling out the heavy stuff.


Use every bag you have for packing- gym bags, backpacks, and even gift bags. It’s sort of counterproductive to pack a box full of bags, isn’t it?

Trash Bags

How do you pack your entire wardrobe in under ten minutes? Easy- just stuff your clothes without removing them from their hangers into big, heavy duty garbage bags. Each bag will typically fit 10 or more items. And don’t forget to reuse the bags once you’ve moved in for their original purpose.


With the exception of clothes you do not necessarily want movers peaking at, most clothes can stay in your dresser drawers. Simply cover them with Glade Press’n’Seal. If you plan on doing this, do check with the moving company to make sure they don’t have rules about not handling unboxed items.


Newspapers, junk mail, office paper waste- all these can be used to fill boxes and pad breakables. Just crunch them up and use for padding before sending them off to be recycled.


Cardboard boxes are moving’s most basic necessity. You might not have these at home already but here’s where you can find moving boxes super-easy. And free!

For more advice on planning a budget-wise move, check out this blog post.

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Unpakt Team