Tips for Making the Move to Hawaii as Easy as Possible

Below are several tips to help you with your move to Hawaii. Not only will they help you save time, some will also help save you some money too.


Just imagine this kind of scene while you pack up your house

Before Packing

1. Consider selling the items you don’t need to bring with you. This means having a good old fashioned yard sale. It will put some money in your pocket while simultaneously allowing you to decrease the amount of stuff you own and will have to ship. This process saves you money all around.

2. Visit your local grocery store or wine store and ask for boxes. In order to avoid buying brand new boxes to move with, simply visit a local store and ask if you can reuse theirs. This is a great way to save some extra money. It is usually nice if you give them a little notice (a couple of weeks), so they can put some aside for you. If you will be needing larger boxes, you may want to visit a furniture store or some place similar and ask if they would be willing to give you some.


The following are some recommended packing tips:

3. Pack room by room. It’s easiest if you put a couple of different size boxes in every room. That way you’ll be motivated to start. By packing room by room you’ll not only make the packing process easier, you’ll also make unpacking just as easy. Start with the room you use the least; maybe the office, the hall closet, or the second bathroom. The last room you’ll probably want to pack is the kitchen. If you take it room by room, it won’t be so overwhelming.

4. Use the correct size box. There are a couple of reasons to think about what size box you will want to use to pack your items. It is recommended you put heavier items in smaller boxes and lighter items in bigger boxes. This will keep the boxes from falling apart, or having all of your things fall through the bottom, and will also allow for easy lifting when you move them. Your future self will thank you for putting extra thought into this step. By using boxes that fit your items, you will also eliminate damage. Oversized boxes can cause your things to shift around – which is not ideal. Remember, your things will be put on a ship and transported across the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii – they will shift around.

5. Pack your belongings in each box tightly to avoid shifting of contents during transport. Use bubble wrap and packing paper in between fragile or important items. Also, be sure to reinforce the bottom of boxes with packing tape.

6. Pack similar items in the same box. In order to keep tabs on the weight of a box, and to keep things better organized, be sure to pack similar items in the same box. Pack all of your bathroom items together, all of your clothes and linens together, DVDs, etc.

7. Label everything. You will want to mark all of your boxes with the name of the room where the box should go. (Ex., kitchen, master bedroom, bathroom, etc.) Make sure you not only label your boxes, but label them on all sides and on the top of the box. It really makes things go more smoothly and will save you some time when loading the boxes into a container and again when you are unpacking. Don’t forget to label boxes with “fragile” if there are breakable items inside.

Taking a nice walk along the beach is the Hawaiian way to start and end the day

8. Color code your boxes. Color coding with markers or colored labels is also an option, and takes a little more time, but you’ll appreciate how much time it saves you when you’re unpacking. You can put a colored label/sticker, or draw a small circle, on each box to help identify them.

You can color code based on room, or based on the importance of the box. For example, you can decide on a color for each room, like yellow for the kitchen, and put the color yellow on all the boxes that belong in the kitchen. If you run out of colors, you can use two different colored stickers or two of the same color.

You can also decide on what boxes you want or need to open first and color code them accordingly. For example, green labels can mean necessary items, or items you’ll need to use immediately, yellow labels can be of less importance, and orange labels can mean not important at all. You can also use red labels on your more fragile boxes.

9. Number your boxes. It’s a good idea to number each box and write down in a notebook a brief summary of what items are in what number box. This way you won’t be searching through every kitchen box trying to find the drinking glasses. You’ll know right where they are. This will also be extremely helpful if you won’t be opening your boxes right away, as you may forget what items are in what box.

10. Disassemble furniture to allow for tighter packing, and for easier moving. Wrap all items in furniture pads.

11. Wrap your furniture and larger items. This will ensure they not only are protected during the move, but will keep them clean. Several moving companies sell wrapping material just for this purpose. You can also coat fine wood furnishings with wax to prevent against scratches.

Note: For additional information on packing, please see Step 3: Start Packing.


Hawaii is the only state in the nation that grows coffee, has tropical rainforests, and is made completely of islands

A Week Before the Move

10. Buy paper plates, cups, and plastic utensils to use the last week before the move. This way you will not only be able to pack your kitchen dishes, you will also give yourself a break on some of your regular chores, like washing the dishes.

11. Plan a week or so of meals before the big day. This will take a little more stress off of you. You can cook them ahead of time and store them in your freezer, or just know what you will be making so you can plan accordingly and know what kitchen items you can pack. This is also extra helpful if you have children or a spouse that doesn’t cook. If you know you will be busy the week before the move, you will be glad to know your family is still eating well and having some sort of similar routine.


12. Make sure you get the right size container. You don’t want to pay for space you’re not using, so try to have a good idea of the amount of space you’ll need before you get your container. On average, belongings from a 3-bedroom house should fit inside a 20′ container.

13. Be conscious of where you place items inside a container. Place the heaviest items on the floor and distribute weight as evenly as possible. Avoid putting the heaviest items to one side, and put extremely heavy items in the middle of the box. Stand sofas and mattresses on the end and disassemble bed frames to maximize space.

14. Avoid empty space and stack items to the ceiling of the container. This will avoid load shift. Fill empty spaces with sofa cushions, bagged pillows, or furniture pads.

15. Make sure you have a ramp for loading up your container. No, not all containers come with a ramp and almost all of them are lifted off of the ground. Some containers are flat on the ground, but be sure to inquire about this when having a container delivered to your home.

16. Make sure you have the necessary equipment to secure your belongings, like tie-downs. Again, most of the time when you receive a container, you only get the container. Make sure you have tie-downs, packing materials, ladder, etc. to ensure a smooth experience. Also, make sure you secure all rows of furniture and boxes with tie downs and rope.


Colorful Hawaiian sunsets are another bonus to island living


17. When shipping a vehicle, you will need to make sure it is completely empty. Nothing can be in the car. It will be inspected prior to it being shipped. Sometimes you are able to keep jumper cables or a child car seat in the vehicle, but always ask first.

18. Eliminate shipping costs as much as possible. Shipping belongings to Hawaii can get pricey. Typically it costs more to ship things to Hawaii than it does to ship things to different states on the Mainland. Packing as much stuff as you can into a container is the most cost effective way of moving your belongings to the islands. A common price for shipping belongings from a 3-bedroom house to Hawaii is around $5,000.

19. Research different shipping companies before deciding on which one you will use. Not all shipping companies have the same standards, customer service, or quality control. The cheapest way to go is not always the best way to go. Make sure you ask around and check out customer reviews before deciding on a company.

20. If you are moving with very little, you may want to consider mailing your possessions. If you live in the continental U.S., you can send items via USPS, FedEx, and UPS. USPS is the cheapest while UPS is the most expensive; however, by mailing your items, you are able to get them here in as little as 3-6 days, can track them, and insure them.


I promise you’ll never tire of these kinds of views

Additional Resources

Moving to Hawaii: The Ultimate Guide to Shipping Your Belongings
How to Move Your Belongings to Hawaii
Moving to Hawaii – Planning the Move vs. Hiring a Moving Company
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Shipping Your Belongings to Hawaii
Moving Your Belongings to Hawaii: Recommended Shipping Companies
Moving Your Pet to Hawaii – The Complete Guide

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Ricky Bowman

January 18, 2021

I would like to know if you haft to write on the boxes and say what is in them. Thank you

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