How to pack a van for moving house: an expert’s guide

two men with a van demonstrating how to pack a van for moving

Moving house is a huge task that takes effort and preparation to ensure it runs smoothly. On average, it will take 1-2 days to relocate all of your belongings. If you have lots of furniture and boxes to move, doing this yourself can be a huge cost saving. However, before you start thinking about how to pack your van for moving you need to seriously consider if you are up to the task. It might well be physically demanding, and you need to make sure you have the patience to see the job through to the letter.

Before you pack a van for moving

One thing you will want to get right, and there is a real skill to, is packing the van correctly so that you use up all the space available and keep your belongings safe. But first, there are a few considerations you need to think about beforehand.

Picking the right size van

The thing that ultimately determines what size van you need is how much stuff you need to move and the size of the stuff you need to move. However, journey distance can be taken into consideration too. If your move journey distance is long, then you want to do the move in as few loads as possible so a bigger van will be the best option here.

Vans for smaller moves

If you are trying to save money and you don’t have a lot of items, then a small van could be suitable as they are cheaper to rent. If you do have lots of items though, the bigger the van the better – it will save you time and money on fuel expenses, trust us on that!

If your van is too small

If you do choose a van and it is not big enough to fit all of your belongings in at once, 99 times out of 100 this is going to waste your valuable time and money. If you are moving further than round the corner, time will add up as you will be constantly loading, unloading, and driving back and forth. It will also cost you a lot more fuel and be a lot less environmentally friendly.

If your van is too big

On the other hand, if your van is too big for transport then your items will l move around more during transit unless you load and secure them properly. Ensure if there is a lot of moving room that items are secured and not able to move around.

Organise your things

This is the first step in ensuring the van is loaded well. If you organise your belonging into piles to keep, donate, dispose of and store then this will make the packing process easier.

It is important not to rush when organising your belongings. Any items which are valuable or too big to fit into boxes should be set aside and stored in a safe location as long as they’re not required for immediate use.

When packing your items you should clearly mark what items are fragile as you will need to know this when packing the van in order to preserve them. You don’t want to be loading fragile items such as glasses into places in the van where they could be easily damaged.

two movers showing how to pack a van for moving

What do I need when I pack the van for moving house?

You may need materials and equipment depending on what you are packing into the van. Having the right materials and equipment is essential as it will ensure your belongings are protected throughout the whole removal and so that you can move and load/unload items safely.

Boxes and paper

If you have a lot of individual small items you will want to box these up and label the boxes so you know where they are. You will want to use wrapping paper to line the top and bottom of the box as well as fill in any voids. This will stop the items from moving around and prevent them from being damaged.


You will need these to cover anything that is exposed such as sofas, beds, wardrobes etc. Covering furniture in blankets protects it from getting scuffed and scratched during transit. They also double up as a handy way to move furniture by sliding them underneath.

Trolley or dolly

Depending on the type and size of the furniture a trolly or dolly may be required. If the furniture is too heavy to pick up and walk with over a distance, you will want a trolly or dolly. Not only will this prevent the furniture from getting damaged, but it will also ensure you do not injure yourself trying to move, load and unload the furniture.


These are a necessity to stop items from moving around during transit. Securing your load should be a priority as it will stop items rolling about during transit and consequently causing damage to other items and the van too.

What to pack the van with first

house movers showing how to pack a van for moving house

Heavy items first

It is essential that you always put the heaviest items in first. This means that anything like wardrobes, sofas and white goods need to go in before smaller good and to be put in the back of the van.

You should then secure them with straps to ensure there will be no movement in transit. You don’t want these items moving around or falling over in transit. This will be a costly mistake that will damage the item, crush others and potentially damage the inside of the van.

Long items

These need to be lifted into the van once the heavy furniture is loaded and secured. Anything like tabletops, mattresses, headboards etc. should be loaded on the side of the van.

Again, you need to secure these items with straps to ensure they do not move in transit and damage other items. By putting these items to the side, you will leave space in the middle of the van for other items.

Heavy boxes

Remaining floor space in the van should be filled with your heaviest boxes. This is to protect the items packed in those boxes and keep them safe and snug during the journey.

If there is still room for these boxes to move around then you need to secure them using straps. A good way to secure boxes is to put them in spaces such as underneath tables, in wardrobes or drawers.


For any items which are fragile such as wood finish furniture or glass items then you will need padding to protect them. Blankets are great for protecting furniture from scuffs and scratches and bubble wrap, thick tarp, bedding or any other soft materials are good for protecting fragile items during transit.

Disassemble furniture

Disassembling furniture will help to save space in the van. It’s much easier to load pieces into a van than large pieces of furniture. Make sure you keep all pieces together and labelled and also any screws, nuts, bolts etc. in a labelled bag.

Lighter boxes

With all the heavier items now in the van, you can begin to think about loading in the lighter items. Use up all the available space that you can and stack boxes as high to the ceiling as possible. Make sure that all boxes are secure and there is no wriggle room otherwise this can lead to damages.

Fragile items

These are the items which you need to take extra care with. They should be labelled “fragile” so everyone moving them knows to be careful when handling them. You need to find space in the van where these items will have no wriggle room at all. They need to be placed somewhere secure such as under tabletops and chairs.

Last items

These final items should be things like clothes, shoes, curtains, mats etc. You should be able to fit these remaining items into suitcases, boxes and the final small bits of space left within the van. If there is a little too much you may have to put the last few items in your car with you or in your hand luggage if you are travelling by public transport.

Hiring a company to do it for you? Choose VanaMango

If you’ve decided that moving house without professional help is not for you then that’s fine! Leave it to the professionals to make your move a stress-free experience.

VanaMango has thousands of trained professionals able to carry out your house move wherever you are across the UK and at whatever time suits you. Now you know how to pack a van for moving the job will be smooth as silk, allowing our transport providers to move your items quickly and efficiently.

Give us a shout

Don’t hesitate to get in touch now by either getting an instant quote on our website or giving us a call. We promise to give you an unbeatable price and an excellent service. Check out our reviews to see what customers think!