How to pack your food when moving?

a photo showing how to pack your food before moving

When relocating, it’s so easy to get caught up in logistics and let smaller details slip your mind. This is especially true when it comes to the excess food in the kitchen, as it’s often something we remember at the last minute. Emptying out the pantry, fridge and freezer then turns out into a hassle, especially if they are piled up. So, how do you go about transporting them to your new home? Worry not, as we’ve compiled the most important pieces of advice for when you have to pack your food when moving. Read the whole procedure below and you’ll be all set on the moving day.

Create a food inventory list

Truth be told, we rarely realize just how much food we’ve stored until it’s time to relocate. Pantries are almost always full to the brim and usually disorganized, so who knows what hides in there. And, yes, we all know a common fact that empty freezers are energy wasters. But now all that stocking up is coming back to bite you, so how do you sort through these piles of food? The best solution is to grab a pen and paper and write your inventory. Of course, due to packaging, you’ll need to think of different ways to pack your food when moving. That’s why dividing them according to different categories is the best strategy. Here’s an example you can follow:

  • Frozen foods
  • Refrigerated perishable items
  • Canned goods
  • Baking and cooking supplies
  • Boxed items
  • Glass bottles

You can also write down the expiration date next to each item, so you know which ones to use up first.

pen and paper
Writing down your food inventory will help you sort through it faster

Secure opened packaging

Looking at the list above, you might conclude that only bottled food is at risk of being spilled during the transit. But, this isn’t true, as there are other types of packaging that can tear just as easily and make a mess during relocation. Yes, unopened boxes and canned food are relatively easy to store, but what about food that’s been opened? Still, this is no cause for concern, as you can secure them with packing materials. For example, plastic sandwich bags can separate items and keep them in a container where they can’t spill over.

Another challenge comes with packing paper bags of essentials such as flour or sugar. The packaging is tricky and even when they’re sealed shut, the paper can tear apart easily. In order to pack your food properly, you can secure them with extra plastic grocery bags. This is still not a guarantee, and you can invest in clip-top plastic boxes if you want to be 100% certain they’re all safe during the move.

grain sacks
Pack your food in such a way that you avoid spilling or crushing it during transfer

Protecting bottled food

Just like saving time and money by getting your estimate online is going to speed up your move, learning the right information about packing will make you feel more at ease during the process. In other words, you’ll be much more relaxed once you know how to handle each step along the way. One of the biggest concerns when it comes to how to pack your food has to do with glass bottles. Indeed, the fear of wine stains all over your belongings isn’t entertaining at all. That’s why they should be packed separately. In fact, most moving companies are aware of this risk and usually have no food policy. This means you’ll have to keep them with you in your vehicle. It’s usually not recommended you place them in a box, since they may easily break. Still, with enough blankets or plastic wrap as security, you can tuck them in safely. However, the best way to transport bottles is to use waterproof ziplock bags.

In case the bottle is open, you can wrap the tape around the cap to secure it in place. If it’s not a bumpy ride, you won’t risk any spill disasters.

Preparing canned food for the move

Now that we’ve covered the daunting part of food packing, packing canned goods will come almost effortlessly. The best part about cans is that they are actually made for exactly this purpose – easy transfer. That being said, they fit into boxes just right and it’s really no challenge at all to pack them up. Not to mention that there is no risk of them spilling, so movers will gladly transfer them for you. However, most of them are pretty heavy, so this is where you’ll need to be careful. Pack them up in small to medium boxes so the movers can carry them with ease.

Another great advantage to canned food is the long shelf life, but precisely because of that we tend to store piles of them. That being said, check the expiration date before placing them in a box. You don’t want to pay extra for relocating them to your new home just to find out they are no good.

canned food
Canned goods are easiest to pack, but can be quite heavy, so use smaller boxes

What about perishables?

Okay, but what do you do about all the food you have in the fridge? Most of it will go bad if the move is not a local one, and throwing it away is wasteful. This will largely depend on how many days there are until the moving day. If you have at least one more week before you relocate to your new home, then using up the food you have is a top priority. Adding a bit of fun and creating a goodbye party with your neighbors and friends will surely help. On the other hand, if you’re conducting a short-notice move and can’t pack your food, then you can donate it to a local food bank. And, no matter how wrong it feels, some items you’ll have to throw away. We all have those not-quite-empty ketchup bottles hiding behind milk cartons in the fridge, don’t we? Nothing compares to a clean fridge and a lighter load during the move, so letting some perishables perish isn’t that big of a deal.