You Should Pack a Kitchen Cabinet Before Anything Else When You Move

published May 17, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Amy Eckert/Getty Images

Eve Ward, founder and CEO of relocation consultant firm Bond and Des Voeux, has one major piece of advice for people moving into a new place. If you ever want to know how long it’ll take you to move, pack a single kitchen cabinet. It’s almost guaranteed to take longer than you think.

Ward calls this tactic “effective planning.”

“Have you noticed how you tend to underestimate how long tasks will take?” she says. “The kitchen won’t take long to box up. The bookcase will only need a couple of boxes. It’s a planning fallacy. The more the timings go out of sync with our expectations, the more stressed we get. So, that’s why we always talk about effective planning. If we avoid those pitfalls, we start forming more realistic estimates.”

She suggests starting with a small box and packing something like mugs — something you won’t be needing between packing time and moving time. So first, write down how long you think it’ll take you. Then start packing.

Credit: kitzcorner/Shutterstock

Track how long it takes you to wrap the mugs and pack them tightly into the box. You may also start with a junk drawer in the kitchen, tracking the time it takes to sort through everything. Separate it all into garbage, donations, and things to keep — then pack it all into the box.

When you’re done, compare the time it took to the time you estimated. How different were they? That’ll give you an idea of how long it’ll take to pack the kitchen, which can be extrapolated onto how long it will take overall to pack the rest of your home.

Ward says that a small box generally will take about 15 minutes to pack. A medium-sized box will take up to 25 minutes. And large boxes, or boxes with breakables, can take about an hour to pack. 

“We normally say a kitchen will take us five hours,” Ward says. “And that’s an average kitchen.”

Of course, if you have a large kitchen or completely overstuffed cabinets, it could take substantially longer. Ward notes kitchens usually take the most time to pack anyway, due to all the breakables there. And you don’t need to — nor should you — pack it all at once. Take your time and pack a box or two a day until you’ve finished. 

“It’s like hiking,” Ward says. “If you don’t take a break, you’re going to just end up throwing something at the wall because you’re just so frustrated.”