how to pack drawers for moving

The good news is that many of your drawers don’t have to be packed before you move. In fact, keeping certain drawers full, and inside the dresser saves room in the moving van or truck and means less time unpacking once you’ve moved into your new home. 

Keep in mind that not packing drawers for moving allows the contents to move around during the move, which means they’re less protected. Moving contents can also damage the interiors of the drawers. On the other hand, removing items in drawers offers more protection, but that also requires more time, more packing equipment and can result in needing a larger moving truck (more $$).

 Are You Getting Ready To Pack Drawers For Your Move?

Don’t forget that you can always consult with a professional, Bay Area moving team before deciding how you’re going to pack what. In the meantime, here is information about what can – and shouldn’t be – left in drawers when you move. 

When to Pack Drawers Before Moving 

There are situations where we recommend taking the time to pack the contents of your drawers before you load the truck. 

If the furniture isn’t sturdy enough 

Is the furniture more flimsy than sturdy? It’s hard to understand the toll moving takes on furniture and furnishings. In addition to the loading and unloading, and the blankets and pads used to cushion things, the act of driving creates continuous vibrations that can disrupt the furniture’s structure, or damage the walls of the drawers 

If your dressers, armoires, entertainment or game cabinets, etc. aren’t sturdy, you may want to remove the drawer contents to alleviate the weight and stress the furniture undergoes during the loading, transportation, and unloading processes. 

Will you be able to lift and move the piece? 

We’re professional movers and, even with our dollies, we don’t move any piece of furniture that individually weighs more than 200 lbs (pianos are the exception). You should adhere to the same safety premise if you’re performing a DIY move 

If your loaded dresser is approaching the 200 lb, mark – think twice about leaving the drawer’s contents inside as you may find you can’t load it, unload it, or maneuver it into your new location – especially if you’ll be going upstairs. 

One way around this is to leave the drawers intact, but remove each one and move the pieces separately into the truck before reassembling them – reversing the process at your destination. 

Are there fragile or heavy items inside? 

We recommend removing any fragile, sharp, abrasive, and/or heavy objects and packing them separately. This not only protects the fragile items, but it also protects the rest of the drawer’s contents or the drawers themselves from being damaged en route. 

Is the drawer full of smaller, loose items? 

Desk drawers and “everything drawers” tend to be full of small, easily lost items that can shift around quite a bit during the move. Tavoid a big mess on your hands once you arriveit’s better to pack those items securely, so they don’t rattle around, leak, or cause damage to one another. 

Is the drawer(s) part of your bed frame? 

If so, pack them up – or move them into your other drawers for now. Bed frames need to be broken down to move them safely and to save space in the moving truck. 

Filing cabinet contents 

These drawers are so spacious, and their hanging folder design, means drawer contents need to be packing securely into boxes. We recommend using banker boxes, which are perfectly-sized to accommodate standard file folder dimensions. 

When they contain cash, jewelry, or other valuables 

Valuable items, including cash, jewelry, or collectibles should never be left loose in a drawer. They should be carefully and securely packed. Ideally, they’re better left in your care whenever possible. 

When to Not Pack Drawers Before Moving 

Then, there are drawers with contents that are ideal to remain in place during the move. Drawer contents that can stay in place include: 

Soft, lightweight items 

Clothing drawers, linens, towels, etc., can be left in place because they don’t cause damage when they shift around during the moving process. 

Non-fragile items without much empty space 

Have drawers filled with pads of paper, books, notebooks, or other items that are non-breakable and that don’t have much wiggle room? They are probably fine to leave as is as long as you feel the dresser or cabinet (and the drawers themselves) are strong and durable enough to handle the weight of the drawer’s contents. 

If you are able to keep the contents inside the drawers, we recommend securing the drawer in the closed position by securing it with painter’s tape. This easily removable tape won’t leave goo behind when you remove it and is safe to use on paint and finishes.

Ask Us All Your Moving Questions

Have questions about which items can stay in the drawers, and which drawers should be packed for moving? Schedule a consultation about how to pack drawers and everything else that goes along with a move here Jays Small Moves, (415) 999-6795 or (510) 501-5800We’ve provided trustworthy, stress-free local and long-distance moving services in and around the Bay Area for more than a decade.