Whether you’re moving across town or across the country, the right supplies make all the difference. While the exact items you need will vary depending on your household and the specifics of your move, there are some essential supplies that every person who’s ever packed knows they must have.

Boxes are a must, along with bubble wrap and packing paper. Other useful supplies include trash bags, furniture pads, and a dolly or hand truck.

1. Tape

Having the right supplies for moving and storage will help protect your belongings and make the process easier. The last thing you want is for your boxes to fall apart during transportation. Flimsy boxes and weak tape can damage your items and cost you more in the long run. A long-distance moving company would help if you ever need extra help.

Large Rubbermaid containers and backpacks make excellent moving boxes, and you can often find them on sale after Halloween or Christmas. Keep extra tape on hand to secure these containers.

A roll of stretch wrap will have many uses, from bundling items together to keeping drawers closed on nightstands. It is also good to have a utility knife on hand to open boxes. It is helpful to color code boxes with markers or stickers to indicate their contents and destination. This will save your movers time and prevent them from having to ask you where things go in your new home.

2. Bubble Wrap

Bubble wrap keeps fragile items protected during the packing and shipping process. This material, made of air trapped inside two fused plastic sheets, provides an extra layer of cushioning, prevents chips and scratches on glass shelves or table tops, and helps keep out dust and dirt.

It’s also relatively inexpensive and can be reused when moving again. You can complement bubble wrap with other protective materials like packing peanuts, newspaper, towels or t-shirts to keep your breakable items safe and secure during the move.

Other useful wrapping materials include stretch wrap, which can be used to bundle items together or keep drawers closed on dressers and nightstands. You can find this material at most hardware or home stores. It’s also a good idea to have a box cutter or pair of scissors to cut through bubble wrap and boxes as needed.

3. Boxes

It’s impossible to move without boxes, and you will likely need a variety of sizes. You may even need specialty boxes for items like flat screen TVs, guitars, and mattresses.

Plastic bags of all sizes come in handy for separating items and organizing loose knick-knacks. They are also great for packing toiletries, clothing and bedding.

Packing foam is an inexpensive way to protect fragile items from scuffs and dents. You can purchase sheets or rolls of the material at most home improvement stores. Also, put out a call to local businesses to see if any have cardboard boxes they’d be willing to give away for free. They may also have other helpful moving supplies, like bubble wrap or packing paper. You can also purchase these supplies online.

4. Labels

One of the most important moving supplies you can have is a set of labeling pens that are permanent and waterproof. You never know what the weather will be like on your move day and without these pens, your box inscriptions could smudge or fade.

You can get a large set of clear packing tape from Kmart or your local craft store that is useful for securing and reinforcing your labels on the boxes you are packaging up. You may also use coloured stickers to indicate room, category and contents.

Consider preparing your labels in advance by writing out room names and numbering them. That way, you can be more efficient and organized on the day of the move. This will help you avoid a frustrating unpacking process! You can even prepare an “Open Me First” box of essential items you’ll want to have immediate access to, like toiletries and basic kitchen utensils.

5. Trash Bags

There are lots of fancy moving supplies to make your move go smoother, but the humble trash bag is an essential one. It’s a great way to collect loose, non-fragile items like clothing and towels and it can also be used to protect pillows.

If you don’t have a wardrobe box to pack your hanging clothes, simply slip a garbage bag over each one to keep them free from moisture and wrinkles. You can do this for shirts, pants and dresses as well as linens and soft toys.

Trash bags can be used as a much cheaper substitute for bubble wrap. Line the bottom and sometimes sides of a cardboard box with a large trash bag to protect delicate household goods and cut down on moving costs. Also, you can use a bag to hold screws, bolts and washers when disassembling furniture.

6. Paper Towels

A roll of paper towels can be a lifesaver on move day. They can be used to wipe down shelving, tables and electronics before packing them to avoid dust buildup. They also work well to stuff empty spaces in boxes and secure them with tape. They are also useful for cleaning glassware, dish packs and picture frames.

Large trash bags are great for storing clothing on hangers, blankets and other light items. They also make a good substitute for expensive specialty boxes for things like mirrors and picture frames. Twist ties from bread packaging can be helpful for keeping cords secure and prevent tangling during transport.

If you don’t want to invest in furniture pads, rent them from a moving company instead. At the very least, get mattress bags and couch covers to protect your furniture.

7. Tape Measure

A tape measure is one of the most helpful tools you can have when moving. Whether it’s for ensuring that you have enough boxes or making sure that your furniture fits into your new place, this tool can save you lots of time and frustration in the long run.

Other handy supplies that you’ll want to have include twist ties (like those used in bread packaging) for keeping wires and cords together so they don’t become a tangled mess during transit, as well as permanent markers for labeling boxes and writing down inventory lists.

High-quality supplies can make the difference between a successful move and a disastrous one. Be sure to stock up on these essentials before starting your next move!

8. Dolly/Hand Truck

A dolly is a tool on wheels that helps you transport heavy items without straining your back or hurting yourself. Dollies are especially important when moving large, bulky items like furniture or appliances.

Whether you’re looking for a standard utility dolly or one with tire-like rubber inflatable wheels, both will help reduce the strain on your body while navigating stairs or bumpy surfaces. Professional movers estimate that using a dolly can cut the load-in/load-out time of a move by 50 percent.

To use a dolly, simply place the top plate of the dolly under an item and slide it forward to transport the item to its new location. Some items, such as desks or horizontal dressers, can be easier to transport on a dolly by standing them on end (just make sure you empty or wrap the drawers). Then just tilt the dolly back and continue to roll it along its way.

9. Packing Paper

Besides tape, packing paper is one of the most important supplies you’ll need to secure your belongings during a move. This packing material is soft enough to protect fragile treasures from getting scratched and takes up less space than bubble wrap.

It’s also hygienic and can be used to wrap around electronics or other sensitive items. It can also help prevent rust on tools and hardware during transport. Just make sure to get packing paper that’s clean and ink-free so it doesn’t stain delicate surfaces.

Ask friends who have recently moved for their old packing paper, and keep a stash at home in case of emergencies. You can also save shredded paper from your shredder or recycled documents from office shipments to reuse as packing paper for items like picture frames and dishes. Alternatively, you can buy honeycomb packing paper at moving supplies stores.

10. Ziploc Bags

A large bag of ziploc bags can be a lifesaver during your move. Use them to keep items like cords organized, bind desk drawers closed, and wrap soft furniture pieces to prevent scratches.

Foam sheets and rolls are useful packing materials for moving fragile items. These thick sheets help reduce damage to dishes, glassware, picture frames, and other delicate items during the move. They can be purchased at most home improvement stores for a reasonable cost.

If you’re on a budget, consider asking friends and family if they have any bubble wrap or packing paper that they’re willing to get rid of. You can also use towels, linens, and clothes to cushion items in boxes and reduce the amount of packing material you need to purchase. These are eco-friendly options that produce less waste than plastic foam or packing peanuts.