Guide to Labeling Moving Boxes

Every packing tips list will tell you: Label your moving boxes.I’ve said this before and admittedly, I didn’t provide enough information on how to do this.

Here’s the definitive guide to labeling those moving boxes to help you have that stress-free move that everyone talks about but no one seems to have.

Let’s get to it.

Before You Start

You can’t label moving boxes if you don’t have any, so make sure you find some first. Have a look at our guides for buying moving boxes and finding free ones, and choosing the right type of boxes for your items, to see which options work best for your move.

There are a couple of other items you’ll need to label your boxes effectively.

Reliable Markers

It may seem obvious, but having high-quality markers will make a world of a difference to your moving labels. If you want your labels to stay the way you wrote them, choose markers that are:

  • Permanent
  • Waterproof
  • Colorful

Having multiple colors makes it easy to distinguish which boxes go in which room of your new home, and permanent and waterproof ones make your labels budge-proof.


You don’t have to buy labels because you can always write directly on the moving box. However, some of us like having a tad more control and organization amid the moving-time chaos. Your labels should be large enough that you can write everything you need and easily read it afterward.

If you’ve picked up used moving boxes, make sure you black out or cover all the old labels. No one wants to unpack the bathroom and find their canned goods!

How to Label Moving Boxes

You can label moving boxes in whatever manner works best for you, but there are two common methods to use: labeling by color and labeling by number.

How to Label by Color

Labeling moving boxes by color is both easy and visually appealing.

  1. Take your colored markers and assign a room one color. For example, you might label boxes for the bathroom with blue, the kitchen with red, your bedroom with purple, and the kids’ bedroom with green.
  2. Not only should you write the destination room on the label with its designated color, but it’s also a good idea to write down the general contents of the box. This will help you find the items you need quickly!
  3. If the contents of the box have special instructions like “fragile,” “this side up,” or “handle with care,” write it on the box in red so it catches the attention of the movers. If its designated color is red, then write the special instructions in black.
  4. Once you get to your new home, tape a piece of colored paper that matches each room’s color to each door. This will help everyone to place your boxes in the right room.

How to Label by Number

If you want to be an organizational master, labeling moving boxes by number will tell you where every item is and ensure nothing is lost.

  1. Start by creating a master packing list. Take inventory of every room and organize the list accordingly.
  2. When packing your boxes, group the items in each box together on the list and assign them a number.
  3. Write the assigned number on the box and its destination room in black or any other color you prefer. Write any special instructions in large, red letters.
  4. Keep your list either digitally or physically with you during the move so you know which boxes have the items you want to unpack first. It’s also a good idea to back up your list elsewhere, just in case.

Additional Tips

After you’ve chosen your method of labeling moving boxes, remember these tips to keep your labels accurate, visible, and secure during your move.

  • Label each box immediately after you finish packing them. Labeling beforehand won’t accurately describe everything in the box, and waiting to label later means you may forget everything in it.
  • Place a packing label on the top of each box and at least two sides. This makes it so that even when you stack your moving boxes, you can always see a label.
  • If you’re afraid the packing labels will peel off, cover them with clear packing tape. Of course, make sure you’ve written on your labels first!

Ready for the Most Organized Move of Your Life?

Once you have a system for labeling moving boxes, your move will be forever changed! It’ll be more efficient, and you’ll feel at ease with a bit more organization. After this, you may even start looking forward to your next move! If you want to learn more about how to choose the right type of moving box for every item, check out our full post.

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