Use new, high-quality packing materials specifically designed for moving to better ensure your items will safely arrive. Professional moving cartons come in a variety of shapes and sizes that are specifically suited to fit a variety of household goods. Look into barrels, for example, as they are great ways of loading a lot of odd-shaped items into one large container.
- Bundles of packing paper (clean, unprinted newsprint)
- Bubble wrap, tissue paper or paper towels for delicate items
- Rolls of PVC tape (don't use masking tape or cellophane tape)
- Tape dispenser
- Broad-tipped markers for labeling
- Scissors or sharp knife for cutting cartons
- Notebook and pen or pencil for listing contents of cartons as they are packed
- Labels or stickers for identifying boxes
Wrapping How Tos
Before packing cartons, you'll need to wrap most items to protect them from scratching and breakage. There are a variety of materials available, including bubble pack, foam peanuts and tissue.
Start by placing a small stack of paper on a flat, uncluttered table or countertop. Round glasses and jars can be rolled up in two or three sheets of paper; always begin from a corner of the sheet and fold the sides in as you roll. Large or odd-shaped items require a similar technique. Place them in the center of the sheet and bring the corners together. (It may be necessary to flip the item over and wrap it again from the other side.) If in doubt, use more paper! When the corners come together, secure them with tape.
Before packing each carton, line the bottom with a few inches of wadded paper for padding. Then place large, heavy items on the bottom and lighter, more fragile items on the top. Plates, books and things of a similar shape, should be loaded vertically to utilize their own maximum structural strength. Don't overload cartons; keep them to a manageable weight. Fill in any voids and top off loaded cartons with wadded paper.
Imagine packing away a truckload of boxes. How can you tell what box goes where? Because you've labeled them.
Follow these tips to thwart confusion:
- Use a broad, felt-tipped marker.
- Clearly mark your name, the room it should go to and contents on each box.
- Indicate "FRAGILE" on delicates; "THIS END UP" where appropriate.
- If available, include your bill of lading (or invoice) number on every box.
Tips From the Pros
- Most movers suggest you start with out-of-season items. Next, pack things used infrequently. Leave until the last minute things you'll need until moving day.
- Empty drawers of breakables, spillables, non-transportable items and anything that would puncture or damage other items.
- Pack similar items together. For example, don't pack a delicate china figurine in the same carton with cast-iron frying pans.
- Keep all parts or pairs of things together. For example, curtain rod hangers, mirror bolts and other small hardware items should be placed in plastic bags and taped or tied securely to the article to which they belong.
- Wind electrical cords, fastening them so they do not dangle.
- Wrap items individually in clean paper; use tissue paper, paper towels or even facial tissue for fine china, crystal and delicate items.
- Colored wrapping paper draws attention to very small things that might otherwise get lost in a carton.
- Use a double layer of newsprint for a good outer wrapping.
- Use newspapers for cushioning only. The ink can rub off and embed itself onto fine china.
- Place a two- or three-inch layer of crushed paper in the bottom of cartons for cushioning.
- Build up the layers, with the heaviest things on the bottom, medium weight next and lightest on top.
- As each layer is completed, fill in empty spaces firmly with crushed paper and add more crushed paper to make a level base for the next layer, or use sheets of cardboard cut from cartons as dividers.
- Cushion well with crushed paper; towels and lightweight blankets may also be used for padding and cushioning.
- The more fragile the item, the more cushioning needed. Be sure no sharp points, edges or rims are left uncovered.
- Pack small, fragile, individually wrapped items separately or a few together in small boxes, cushioning with crushed or shredded paper. Place small boxes in a single large box, filling in spaces with crushed paper.
- Limit carton weight to about 50 pounds. Avoid overloading cartons but strive for a firm pack that will prevent items from shifting; the cover should close easily without force, but should not bend inward.
- As you finish with each carton, list the contents on the side of the carton (for easy viewing while stacked) and in a special notebook.
- You might want to number and/or code the cartons as well. Indicate the room to which each carton should be delivered at destination.
- Put a special mark (the number 1, or the letter A) on cartons you want to unpack first at destination.