Cheap Moving Supplies List

Here it is again, our 5th move in just as many years. I’ve picked up some knowledge along the way and I want to share it with you along with my inexpensive moving supplies list.

A lot of these cheap packing supplies can be found in the store, but I will also show you the online options for reference. Also, if you’re a fellow military family as well, take a look at my guide and experience of PCSing overseas.

Items wrapped in brown paper for moving and title text of Cheap Moving Supplies

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Moving Tips

Major changes in life such as this can be really stressful. What helps to navigate the craziness is having a plan of what to do and being prepared. Here are some tips of things to do that I hope can help you with this.

Moving Binder

  • Create a moving binder to organize your paperwork. I purchased plastic sleeves to put the papers inside and dividers to separate by category.
  • It’s recommended to hand-carry important documents such as your:
    • Driver’s License
    • Passport
    • Social security card
    • Birth certificate
    • Marriage certificate
    • Medical records
    • Vet records
    • Vehicle Title/ Registration


  • Go through your home and declutter before moving. If you didn’t remember you owned it, you probably don’t need it.
  • This is also the time where I finally go through all of the papers that are no longer needed and put them through the shredder.


  • Take photos and create an inventory of everything! It will be beneficial if you are using movers and/ or items get stolen.
  • Use something like this paper to create labels and put them on the outside of each box. For our military move, I included our names, duty station, and email in case things end up in the wrong place. It can also be an easier way to identify what’s in each box and prioritize when unpacking.


  • Separate and organize small items into zip lock bags.
  • Buy a bunch of these vacuum-sealed bags to safeguard clothes. 
  • Buy different colored duct tape to easily identify the boxes for each room. 
  • These yellow top totes are a popular option to store items and even use as checked baggage at the airport. You can also buy them for less than half the price at Costco.

Other Tips

  • When using movers, ensure that you separate anything that shouldn’t be packed into a room that you block off. 
  • If you move often or will be moving soon, keep the original boxes for fragile belongings.
Glass cups packed in a box

Packing Essentials For Moving

These are the items that I like to use when preparing for my moves. Many of the things on this list can also be bought at the dollar store.

1. Mattress Bag

The thought of the movers putting their hands all over my mattress or dragging it on the floor was enough motivation to purchase this mattress bag for protection.

Queen mattress in a blue trap bag

2. Boxes

You can purchase boxes for your move, but the cheapest place to get moving boxes is by searching community pages for free used ones or getting some from stores after they stock the products.

3. Packing Tape

I believe packing tape was cheaper at the dollar store as well. However, if you need a lot, it may be more cost-effective to buy the longer rolls elsewhere.

4. Colored duct tape: 

Using brightly colored duct tape is an easy way to make boxes more identifiable and sort them by rooms quickly when unpacking.

Colored duct tape from Dollar Tree

5. Painter’s Tape

This painter’s tape is an easy way to wrap and label items without leaving the sticky residue that others do. I also use it to wrap the cords for devices together and write what they belong to.

6. Pen and Sharpie Markers

Get a set of small and large Sharpie markers or an off-brand to label boxes clearly.

7. Packing Paper

Instead of buying packing paper, I recommend using newspapers or your linen and clothes as a cheaper option. 

8. Desiccant packets

My most recent moves have been overseas and back. Due to the long transit times and humidity, these silica packets help to avoid mold growing in the shipment.

9. Shrink wrap

Shrink wrap is great for making sure items stay together, such as keeping drawers in the dresser! The cheap kitchen plastic wraps are also good if you only need it for small items.

10. Binder

As mentioned previously, creating a moving binder is a great way to keep your documents safe and organized.

11. Zippered Binder Pockets

These zippered pockets can be used to add things in the binder such as passports, cards, etc. It is also an item you can keep for years and add to your emergency go bag.

12. Vacuum-sealed Bags

I use the vacuum-sealed bags found at the dollar store to keep my clothes and linens clean when moving. I also used it to seal all of my seasoning bottles.

13. Heavy-duty Trash Bags

At some point, you might get tired of putting all of your clothes in vacuum-sealed bags. Another good option for keeping clothes clean is to put them in strong trash bags. You can easily bag them while still on the hangers for greater ease. TIP: I like to use the scented bags from Costco along with throwing in some dryer sheets and silica packets for freshness.

14. Adhesive Printer Labels

Get paper for labeling boxes; these can also be bought more inexpensively at the store.

15. Plastic bins 

Bins such as these popular yellow top totes are great for organizing items. They can even be used as checked baggage on flights

Stacked items wrapped in brown paper and yellow-lid bin


Moving costs add up fast, but you can use cheap packing materials I mentioned above to cut down on costs. Instead of buying everything you need, go for the free options and see what people are giving away from their recent moves.

Many people are all too ready to get rid of the boxes for free.

When you’ve found a new home, look at this shopping list for moving into a new apartment or house. It’s filled with the essentials needed and the cheapest way to get them.

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