This is one of the most common questions people ask when moving: Can I keep my clothes in my dresser when moving? In this article, we explain when it’s ok and when it’s not ok to leave your clothes in your dresser drawers. We also go into a few other requirements for preparing your dresser for a move.

So, can you move a dresser with clothes in it? Here’s our answer from professionals in the moving industry:

You may keep your clothes in your dresser drawers when moving only if your dresser is sturdy and lightweight. If you have a solid wood dresser that is already heavy to begin with, remove everything. If you have a lightweight dresser that is in good shape, it should be ok to only leave clothes in – but don’t keep anything in there that will move around and get lost behind the drawers.

You may keep clothes in your dresser as long as it’s already not too heavy such as oak furniture. If the drawers come out, you may consider taking them out and bringing them to the first floor so the guys can move it easily without worrying about damage to the stairs and hallway going down, especially if it’s a tight situation. Furniture such as Ikea furniture is fragile and meant to be assembled in the room and moved as little as possible. You may want to empty these types of dressers and the movers will then stretch wrap it to try and keep its integrity. – Bill Bailot

Your movers are going to wrap your dresser in furniture pads and shrink wrap. This keeps the drawers and clothes from falling out of the dresser.

Your dresser isn’t the only thing you need to prepare for the moving company. Check out this article on:

Here is some more information you must understand when moving a dresser.

You Must Take These Items Out Of Your Dresser Drawers Before Moving

When movers pack your dresser, your belongings may get shifted around. Make sure you take out ALL of your personal belongings and valuables from your dresser before moving.

Dressers are not as simple as they look. Some have holes and panels where your items can get lost in when your dressing is being moved around. Below we have provided you with a simple checklist of items to take out of your dresser before having it moved.

  • Personal Belongings
  • Loose Clutter & Junk
  • Cash/Money/Checks
  • ATM Cards/IDs/Passports
  • Jewelry/Keepsakes
  • Medications
  • Liquids
  • Makeup
  • Bulky/Heavy Items
  • ANY Other Valuables
  • ANY Fragile Items

Will Keeping Your Clothes In The Dresser Harm The Dresser?

For the most part, leaving some clothes or other lighter linens won’t harm the dresser. But, if the dresser is packed full of clothes or other items, it will.

Movers are likely going to need to maneuver the dresser upstairs, around corners and have it up on its side. The more items that are in the dresser the more it will put stress on the drawers and hinges and sidewalls.

The absolute best way to ensure your dresser be safe is to take everything out. But, in many cases where your move is local, you have sturdy dressers, and they don’t need to be maneuvered upstairs, you can leave some clothes in there.

When To Not Keep Clothes In Your Dresser

Although most movers will allow you to keep your clothes in your dresser during a move, there are a few instances where you shouldn’t.

They include:

  • For Long Distance Moves – For the most part, when moving long distance you should take your daily clothes out of your dresser. You may leave some in there, but not the ones you need on a daily basis. If you keep them in the dresser and it takes several weeks to deliver, you won’t have the clothes you need. Instead, pack your daily clothes into suitcases as if you’re going out of town for a few weeks, just in case it takes that long for delivery.
  • When You Have A Dresser That Is Falling Apart – If you have an old dresser that is vulnerable to falling apart during the move, make sure you keep the drawers as close to empty as possible. The heavier the dresser, the more likely parts of it will break during your move.
  • When You Have An Oversized Dresser or Armoire – If you have large dressers or armoires that are already very heavy, again keep them as empty as possible. Some clothes are ok, but for the most part keep them more empty.

How To Pack Clothes If You Can’t Keep Them In Your Dresser

If your dresser is too bulky or if it has had its day, packing your clothes separately is the best option. Not only will it make sure your dresser does not fall apart it will also make sure that your belongings don’t get lost if something were to happen to the old dresser during the move.

Packing in general sounds like a nightmare to most people. Good news, it doesn’t have to be! If you utilize the resources that you already have for packing, it can be less daunting since you will be spending less money on packing materials.

Below we have put together a list of ideas on how to pack your clothes if you cannot keep them in your dresser on move day.

  • Use suitcases for packing clothes – Using your suitcases for clothes will save you money so you do not have to purchase too many moving boxes. To fi Take the clothes that are stored inside your dresser and neatly fold them inside your suitcase so you can fit as much as possible.
  • Buy wardrobe boxes for extra clothes and miscellaneous items – Wardrobe boxes are tall boxes that come with a metal rod for you to hang your clothes on. These boxes are convenient for clothes since you won’t have to worry about your clothes getting wrinkled. The best way to pack a wardrobe box is to fill the rod with clothes and then use the bottom of the box for miscellaneous items. To fill the rod, gather about 5 hangers with clothes and rubber band them together at the top of the hanger. Then, get a trash bag and cover the clothes while making a hole at the top of the bag for the hanger to poke through. Fill the rest of the rod with a few more bunches of clothes. Lastly, use the bottom space of your box for smaller lightweight items like shoes, sandals, and hats.
  • Use Small or Medium Boxes (Not Large) – If you’re going to pack the clothes you’re not keeping in your drawers into boxes, use small to medium sized boxes. Clothes can get heavy as you pile them up and you never want any box that can’t be lifted with ease.

How Is Your Dresser Protected?

Your moving company should have all the right equipment to protect and move your dresser.

The dresser should be wrapped with a few furniture pads and secured with either large rubber bands or tape. Then, the entire piece should be completely sealed with stretch wrap. Check out this image below for the proper way to protect a dresser.

Protected Dresser

In some cases, on a local move, if you’ve expressed to the moving company that you are moving on a budget and if your furniture is low quality, the movers may skip the furniture pad and just wrap the piece in stretch wrap. If this is the case, the movers may have you sign off on liability if the item gets damaged.