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The Most Efficient Ways to Pack a Car for Traveling and Moving
Home & Garden

The Most Efficient Ways to Pack a Car for Traveling and Moving

Whether you’re heading on a weekend getaway or moving into a new home, these are the best ways to pack a car efficiently.


4 min read

November 23, 2020

Whether you’re embarking on a fall road trip with your family or moving to the Bay Area for a new job opportunity, packing a car efficiently is one of the most important factors. Getting everything in your vehicle may look like a mission impossible, but with handy car-packing tips, you just might be able to fit everything in there. Efficient packing optimizes the process and utilizes the limited amount of space you have to your advantage, which means you’ll no longer have to make multiple car trips when moving or stuff so many things in your car that you aren’t able to clearly see out of your windows. So, the next time you have to relocate and you don’t want to hire a moving company, make use of these tips when packing a car.

Car-Packing Tips

Get efficient when packing and purchase an auto rooftop cargo carrier to hold the extras.

Get an auto rooftop cargo carrier

One of the best inventions was the auto rooftop cargo carrier. Making extra space for small cars, a rooftop cargo carriers allows you to store your things safely while protecting them from the weather. Investing in a quality overhead carrier is a sign of efficient packing. If your vehicle is too small to fit all the things you’re taking, simply make use of the top part of your car to add more storage space. Although carriers are rather expensive, which may discourage you from purchasing one, you just might change your mind when you’re packing your car. An overhead carrier will be useful for you even after your move is over, especially since it protects your items during long car rides. For the cross-country road trips, you can even fit your California-made luggage in there.  

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Clean out the interior of your car

It goes without saying that you need to get your car cleaned before spending hours driving and moving all of your things. Empty your vehicle of all unnecessary items to make room. Clean up the car seats and the spaces around them with a vacuum cleaner (a portable one is just fine) to create a tidy and pleasant environment for your trip; cleanliness is next to godliness. This doesn’t only apply to moving—whether you’re going on a Pacific Coast Highway road trip or a romantic getaway in Wine Country, it’s always important to have a clean and tidy car. 

When packing the car for your big move, it's all about packing efficiently and smartly. Do so and you'll have less work cut out for you.

Make use of all the space in your car

Your car offers more storage options than just the backseat and trunk. There are numerous hidden spaces that can be utilized, such as under the front seats, the areas behind the seats, inside the spare tire compartment in the trunk, and the footwells beside the passenger seat. These compartments are ideal for stashing additional backpacks, water bottles, snacks, and books you might want to bring along on your journey. However, ensure nothing is placed in the driver’s seat footwell to avoid interference with driving, and always keep your windows clear to maintain good visibility.

Efficient ways to pack When Moving

Vacuum packing your clothing and bedding items will save you a ton of space, making it easier to fit all of your belongings into your car.

Opt for vacuum storage bags instead of luggage

If you still have trouble making space in your car, vacuum storage bags are here to save the day. Cutting the space your clothes take up in half, they come in handy when you’re packing your car for moving. If you’re willing to replace your luggage with these useful bags, you’ll be doing yourself a big favor. They’re inexpensive and offer the best solution for fitting more into a tight space. You can shrink some of your bulky items (such as bedding and clothes) down to a much smaller size and optimize the space in your car with this efficient packing trick. 

Sell some of your things

If your items are still in good condition, why not sell them? List some of your items online or hold a neighborhood garage sale to defray a portion of your moving costs. Not only will you save space when packing your car, but you’ll also have extra gas money. It’s a win-win situation!

One of the best ways to give back to the community while reducing the number of things you need? Just donate items you no longer wear or use.

Donate things you don’t need

Let’s face it, you probably won’t be using the lava lamp that your aunt gave you when you were in middle school. And it’s probably too old to even sell, so why bother keeping it around when you can donate it? Before you even start packing your car, you have to get rid of all the things you don’t need or haven’t used in a long time. Make a system out of it—if you haven’t used them in six months and they have no significant value, then it’s time to say goodbye. The last thing you need when packing a car is cramming it with useless items. Donate these things and let them find a new home.

Wrap breakable items in clothes and towels

The chances of you breaking a thing or two while packing your car are high, and you’re taking towels and clothes with you anyway, so why not combine the two for efficient packing? Instead of spending more money on bubble wraps, opt for an eco-friendly trip and use your clothes as a substitute. You’ll make room in your luggage and protect your fragile items from breaking. 

Ditch the usual moving boxes and pack your items in flexible moving bags to maximize your space.

Don’t use boxes, use bags

Every time we watch a moving scene from a movie, we see trucks loaded with tons of cardboard boxes; that’s fine if you’ve hired a moving company, but in what world does cramming your family car with boxes mean efficient packing? They take up way too much space, and eventually, you’ll end up playing real-life Tetris in the trunk of your car trying to squeeze in all of your things. Instead, use bags—they’re pliable and easier for packing in a car. Cardboard boxes are bulky and won’t conform to the shape of your space. Bags, on the other hand, are flexible and fit well around other things. 

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