The Dos and Don’ts of Labeling Boxes for an Interstate Move

February 9, 2024

Why Proper Labeling is Important When moving across the country, proper labeling of boxes is essential for a smooth transition to your new home. Taking the time to carefully label each box will save you time, reduce stress, and minimize the chance of lost items. In this guide, we'll unravel ...

Why Proper Labeling is Important

When moving across the country, proper labeling of boxes is essential for a smooth transition to your new home. Taking the time to carefully label each box will save you time, reduce stress, and minimize the chance of lost items. In this guide, we’ll unravel the dos and don’ts of labeling boxes, emphasizing the significance of partnering with the best interstate moving companies. Here’s why good labeling is so important.

Saves time when unpacking and finding specific things – After a long move, you want to be able to quickly unpack and find what you need. Labels let you identify contents and rooms so you don’t have to open every box. 

Reduces chance of losing items – With dozens of boxes, it’s easy for items to get misplaced. Clear labels reduce this risk so you know what’s in each box and where it should go.

Helps movers know which room boxes should go in – Labels allow movers to sort boxes into the correct rooms as they unload. This gets items in the right spot from the start.

Allows you to prioritize essential boxes – If key items like toiletries, medications, or kitchen supplies are clearly labeled, you can ensure those boxes get unpacked first.

Proper labeling takes some time upfront, but saves much more time and frustration later. When moving across states, it’s an essential step for a smooth transition. Take the time to clearly identify each box’s contents and destination room – it will make the entire process easier.

Labeling Methods

When packing boxes for an interstate move, using a good labeling system is crucial for keeping your belongings organized. Here are some key methods for labeling your boxes:

Use Permanent Markers, Pens, or Labels

Make sure your labels are written with permanent marker or pen that won’t smear or fade over time. You can also use pre-printed labels or stickers. Avoid using masking tape and markers since these can peel off.

Color Coding 

Color coding your labels is an easy way to designate which room each box belongs to. For example, use blue labels for kitchen boxes, yellow for bedroom boxes, etc. This makes it easy when unloading boxes into the new home.

Room Names

Write the room name clearly on each box, such as “Kitchen” or “Master Bedroom.” This helps movers know exactly which room to take the box to.

Numbering System 

Number each box and keep a list detailing the contents of each numbered box. This helps you track and account for all of your belongings.

Label Position

Place labels on the top and at least one side of the box. Avoid putting labels only on the ends of the box since these may be obscured when boxes are stacked during transport.

What to Label

When packing boxes, be sure to clearly label each box with key information to keep your belongings organized during the move. Here are some tips on what details to include:

Designate room – Write what room the box belongs to (e.g. “Kitchen”, “Bedroom 1”, etc.) This will make it easy to know where to unload boxes at your new home.

Contents – Briefly list the contents on the box (e.g. “Plates and cups”, “Linens”). Don’t go into too much detail, but give enough info so movers can handle fragile items with care.

Priority – Mark boxes that contain essential everyday items you’ll need right away with a special symbol or label like “Priority.” This helps movers unload your critical items first.

Fragile items – Explicitly mark boxes that contain breakable items with a “Fragile” label or sticker. Use bold lettering and clear placement so it’s obvious. Also list the fragile contents (e.g. “Fragile: Glasses“).

Proper labeling takes time but is worth the effort for a smooth move. Clearly designate boxes by room, contents, priority status, and any fragile items. This will keep your belongings organized and safe during the packing and transport process.

Labeling Fragile Items

When packing fragile items for an interstate move, it’s crucial to properly label these boxes so they are handled with care. Here are some tips for labeling fragile items:

Mark “Fragile” clearly on all sides of the box in big, bold letters. Use a thick permanent marker so it stands out.

Indicate which side is the top and bottom. Use large UP arrows pointing to the top of the box.

Draw arrows on the sides pointing up to remind movers which direction to carry the box. 

Double box fragile items for extra protection. Place wrapped items in a sturdy inner box with plenty of cushioning material. Then put the inner box inside a slightly larger outer box. 

Seal fragile boxes with packing tape. Make sure all box seams are tightly taped shut.

Include what room the fragile box should go in at the destination. Write “FragileKitchen” or “FragileMaster Bedroom” for example.

List any super fragile items separately on the inventory sheet. Highlight extremely delicate items like crystal vases or mirrors.

Taking these precautions for marking and packing fragile items will help ensure they arrive safely at the new home without damage. Proper labeling is a must for fragile goods in an interstate relocation.

Packing Smaller Items  

When packing smaller items like toys, books, kitchen supplies, etc., be sure to group similar items together in boxes and label accordingly. This will make unpacking easier.

Books can be packed together in book boxes. Label the box “Books” and include which room they belong in – “Living Room Books“, “Bedroom Books“, etc.

Likewise, pack toys together in a “Toy Box“, labeling by room. 

Kitchen supplies like utensils, bakeware, spices, etc. should each get their own box. Label in detail – “Kitchen Utensils“, “Bakeware“, “Spices“, etc.

Don’t forget about the bathroom! Toiletries, cosmetics, medications, and cleaning supplies should be packed together and labeled as such.

Cords, chargers, and electronic accessories should always be labeled clearly. Use small ziploc bags if necessary and tape the label directly on the bag. 

For any small loose parts or pieces, seal them in a bag with a label of what they go to. This prevents them from getting lost during the move.

Proper labeling of boxes with smaller items will make unpacking a breeze and prevent lost items. Be as detailed as possible.

Electronics and Appliances

When packing electronics and appliances, be sure to clearly label each item with the model and serial number. This ensures easy identification of your belongings when unpacking. 

Indicate if cords, remotes, and other loose pieces are packed within the appliance box. Tape a label directly to the cords with details. This prevents cords and pieces from getting misplaced during the move.

Don’t forget to pack manuals, chargers, and other accessories within the boxes as well. Label which item they belong to, so they can be reunited easily on the other end. Packaging loose papers into a ziplock bag first can help keep them organized and clean.

For large appliances like washers, dryers, and refrigerators, indicate on the label if they will be moved fully assembled. If possible, have appliances serviced for the move to ensure they are in working condition.

Take extra care when securing TVs and monitors. Use original packaging if possible or invest in TV boxes from the moving company. Wrap each TV securely with a furniture pad or bubble wrap. Indicate the model, fragile nature, and orientation of the TV on the box.

Labeling Furniture

When packing furniture for an interstate move, proper labeling is crucial to ensuring your belongings arrive safely and can be easily identified for unloading. Here are some key tips for labeling furniture boxes and items:

Tag chairs and tables – Use tags or stickers to indicate which chairs and tables are part of a matching set. Number the pieces as well (i.e. 1 of 5 dining chairs). This will help movers keep furniture sets together. 

Indicate matching pieces – Similarly, place a sticker on chests, nightstands, or other items that are part of a matched bedroom or living room set. Note which item it is and the total pieces in the set.

Label hardware – Tape all hardware like screws, bolts, and Allen wrenches to the furniture pieces they belong to. You can use painter’s tape or masking tape. Secure all moveable parts like drawers so they don’t shift around.

Proper labeling takes time but is worth the effort for a smooth move. Make sure labels are large and clear. Use permanent markers that won’t smear or fade. Place labels in noticeable spots movers will easily see when loading and unloading.

Outdoor Items 

When packing up outdoor items like garden tools, patio furniture, grills, and more, correct labeling is key to keeping things organized during an interstate move. Here are some tips:

Garden tools: Pack shovels, rakes, hoses, and other lawn care items together in sturdy boxes labeled “Garden Tools.” Use paper or bubble wrap to prevent damage.

Patio furniture: Disassemble sets into individual chairs, tables, etc if possible. Label each piece clearly with “Patio Furniture” and a description like “Patio Chair 1/2” so movers can reassemble properly. Wrap or pad furniture to prevent scratches.

Grills: Clean grills thoroughly beforehand. Let the grills cool fully before boxing. Place grills in boxes labeled “Grill” along with a note like “Handle with care” if the grill has fragile parts. Put all accessories like covers, utensils, propane tanks in a separate “Grill Accessories” box.

Covers/cushions: Store patio furniture/grill covers and cushions together in a labeled box like “Patio Covers & Cushions.”

Taking time to correctly label all outdoor items will keep your move organized and prevent any important items from getting misplaced or damaged during the interstate move.

Labeling Clothing Boxes 

General clothing

When packing clothes for your move, use generic labels like “Clothes” or “Bedroom Clothes” on boxes with general clothing items that don’t require any special care. This will allow the movers to quickly identify boxes with basic clothing that can be packed anywhere in the moving truck.

Special care items  

For delicate items like silks, cashmere, or items that require special washing or dry cleaning, use a more specific label like “DelicatesHandle with Care“. Add additional details like “Dry Clean Only” if certain garments have cleaning requirements. This alerts movers to be extra cautious so special care clothing arrives in perfect condition.


It helps to group accessories together in boxes by type and label accordingly e.g. “Shoes“, “Belts and Scarves“, “Hats and Gloves“. Not only does this keep similar items together, but clear labels let movers instantly spot boxes with fragile accessories so they can pack them securely in the moving truck.

Final Labeling Checklist 

Before the movers arrive, be sure to double check that all your boxes and furniture are properly labeled. Walk through each room and ensure every box has a label indicating the room it belongs in and a brief description of the contents. Pay extra attention to ambiguously labeled boxes like “Bedroom” or “Kitchen” – try to provide more specific information like “Bedroom – Clothes” or “Kitchen – Plates and Cups“.

It’s also a good idea to create a typed or handwritten inventory list of all your boxes and larger items. Include the label contents so movers can reference it if a label falls off during the move. Provide this inventory list to the lead mover when they arrive.  

Finally, give the movers a quick overview of your labeling system.Transform the complexities of an interstate move into a harmonious experience with the guidance of the best interstate moving companies, including the reliable services of Two Men and a Truck. Explain any shorthand or abbreviations you used and point out important boxes that are fragile or contain valuables. This will help ensure your belongings get safely transported and end up in the right rooms at your new home. Proper labeling requires some effort upfront, but it will make the moving process smoother and give you peace of mind on moving day.