I’ve lived in four countries and in many homes, and learned through trial and error how to best move my wardrobe. International moves are tricky because you can wait up to six weeks for your wardrobe to ship across the world. In that case you pack a substantial travel capsule that will see you through to the time the rest of your wardrobe is with you. And when it finally arrives, it’s like Christmas.

There are many ways to move a wardrobe. Strategies will differ depending on the size of your wardrobe, where you’re moving to, and how you’re moving. We recently moved two miles down the road to an apartment in downtown Seattle. It wasn’t far to move, but we still had to pack everything.

I’ve done these types of short home moves before and knew exactly how I was going to tackle packing up my moderately sized wardrobe in an efficient, effective and practical manner. Here’s my process in case it’s useful to you.

1. Mega Edit

I can’t stress this point enough: make sure your wardrobe is thoroughly edited before you begin packing it up. That way you have less to pack and move, know exactly what you have, and can start fresh and organized in your new home. It’s an extremely practical and liberating process. Be sure to pass on wardrobe items in a responsible way.

I’m in the habit of editing my wardrobe extremely frequently, so this part was done before I even started packing.

2. Begin a Week Before Move Day

I started packing slowly but surely three weeks before move day, but left my wardrobe to the last week so that I could use and enjoy it to the fullest. Leaving it in its zen state helped things stay organized and neat amidst a house full of boxes and packing chaos.

3. Pack Off-Season Items First

A week before our move, I packed the items I wasn’t wearing at the moment, like Autumn & Winter clothing and accessories, occasion wear, duplicated wardrobe items, and excess sleepwear/ loungewear. They went into a gigantic duffle bag that the movers could take in their truck.

4. Pack Workout Items Next

I wasn’t working out a week before move day so I packed my yoga capsule into a much smaller duffle bag and popped it next to the gigantic one full of off-season items.

5. Pack Footwear and Bags into Boxes

Next, I packed my footwear and my handbags. We used very handy Bankers Boxes to move our items, which are assembled without tape. With lids and handles they are THE best moving boxes because you can pick them up with ease, and access the contents by removing the lid. I wanted easy access to my shoes and bags throughout the last week and the first few days at the new digs amidst packing and unpacking chaos. This was an ideal way to do it.

6. Pack Current Items into Suitcases

I filled a medium sized suitcase with current clothing and basics that I would be wearing for the next ten days. This was like packing a travel capsule without the shoes and bags (because they were already packed up in Bankers Boxes.) I kept things very neat, tidy, clean and folded, because the suitcase was my closet for the week before our move, and for the first couple of days in our new home before my wardrobe was fully unpacked and organized. I kept a separate bag for dirty laundry, much like when I travel.

7. Pack Hanging Items into Wardrobe Boxes

I packed the items that hang in my closet and the coat closet into three garment boxes. That way they didn’t need to be folded and rehung, but could go straight into the new storage areas on the same hangers. The garment boxes kept the items relatively crease-free. I kept the garment boxes open so that I could access clothing throughout the week.

8. Fetch Remaining Items from the Cleaners

I fetched items from the dry-cleaners and packed them into the suitcase and garment boxes the week before we moved. I also paused online shopping for a while because of being between shipping addresses.

9. Laundry till the Second Last Day

I was vigilant about laundry, right up until the day we moved. The last thing I wanted was a pile of dirty laundry on top of moving mess in our new home. I was doing laundry and packing away clean items until the morning of the move. This helped me feel organized and in control of the process.

10. Set Aside Move Day Outfit & Seal Wardrobe Boxes

The night before we moved, I put out my moving outfit and taped up the wardrobe boxes. The morning of the move I packed the last bits of clean and dirty laundry and zipped up the suitcase. Everything was ready to go when the movers came to move the contents of our home at 8am.

We moved without a hitch and the wardrobe packing process worked well. For this type of move, I wouldn’t have done it differently. I thought of maybe moving part of my wardrobe to our new home before the big move day but was glad I didn’t. Our wardrobes stayed dust-free, dry and safe packed up in boxes, bags and suitcases. And it turns out that I needed to have my entire wardrobe out in the open and in one place in order to figure out how to best pack it into the storage spaces of our new home.

We moved on a Friday, and our wardrobes were fully unpacked and organized by Sunday afternoon. More about that process tomorrow.