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Packing Basics - Tips On How To Pack Like a Moving Company Pro


Packing Room-By-Room


Never Pack An Unlabeled Box

Before you do anything else, write the room name on all sides. Once you've finished packing a box, seal it well and then write a description of the contents on the outside. A box labeled Mary's Bedroom could also say winter clothes, summer clothes, toys, records, etc. With this information, you can find things without opening every box, leaving contents protected until you unpack them. Incorrect packing is a prime cause of damage. When you've done it right, the box should weigh no more than 50 pounds and shouldn't rattle when moved. The sides shouldn't bulge, and the top should close without caving in. Use paper to fill empty spots, and don't hesitate to take out items if the box is too full. The heavier the items, the smaller the box should be. Keep this in mind when you're packing books and records.


There are two things you can do to protect breakable items. Don't mix them with heavy items and cushion them well. The bottom of each box needs a layer of crumpled paper, with additional cushioning layers in the middle and on top. Fragile items can be given extra protection by boxing them individually before packing. Make up or obtain "FRAGILE" stickers, to mark the outside of appropriate boxes. If a box must be kept right side up, indicate on the outside with stickers marked "THIS END UP."


Before you pack any rooms, take a few boxes and mark them "NEW HOME SUPPLIES" or "OPEN THIS BOX FIRST." What you pack in here will be a lifesaver when you arrive at your new home. Instead of having to rifle through boxes looking for various things, they'll all be in one place. Make a copy of our list, and add your own ideas to it. When you come upon an item for the box, put it in and mark it off the list. When the list is complete, remove everything and pack the boxes carefully. You will find your "NEW HOME" boxes to be the most useful ones you pack.


Things To Pack In The New Home Box:

  • Bedroom and Bath: sheets, pillows, blankets, shower curtain and hooks, lightweight curtains (not drapes), tension rods, light bulbs, fuses, candles, alarm clock, towels
  • Toiletries: bar soap, shampoo, toothbrushes and paste, toilet paper
  • First aid kit: aspirin, tweezers, adhesive bandages, antiseptics, prescriptions
  • Household/Kitchen Supplies: bottle/can opener, paper/plastic cups, plates, utensils, trash bags, paper towels, dust pan, broom, all purpose spray cleaner, sponges, liquid soap, coffee maker, tea kettle
  • Tools: flashlight, hammer, pliers, screwdriver, wrench, scissors, utility knife, thumbtacks, nails, screws
  • Personal: change of clothes for everybody, baby things, pet supplies

A good packing job does more than protect your belongings, it can actually make settling into your new home much easier. If you don't have the time to pack, or if your company is willing to pick up the cost, let the movers handle the packing. Professional crews are fast and careful. If you're on a limited budget, it makes sense to pack yourself. If you have some delicate or fragile items that you are nervous about, consider having the mover pack them. For a few items, the charge is minimal, and it can give you real peace of mind.

Packing is a time consuming process requiring a lot of pre-planning and thought. Besides giving yourself lots of time, you will also need a few materials:

  • Packing paper
  • Boxes of assorted sizes
  • Tape
  • Markers

Here are a few general rules to keep in mind:

  • Pack heavy items in small boxes, books and canned food are examples.
  • Save some linens, sheets, and towels to wrap around lamps and ornaments. Don't pack all of the sheets into a box. Wrapping delicate items (i.e., lamps) in sheets and towels will provide good protection, and pack your linen at the same time.
  • DO NOT PACK: Aerosol cans of any kind, paint or paint thinners, fuel of any kind or any dangerous chemicals or liquids. There are several reasons for these restrictions. First, by the letter of the law, it is illegal to transport any "dangerous goods" in any quantity without a permit. There are over 5,700 items classified as a dangerous goods. Chances are, they won't bother you about the can of liquid weed-eater in the back of your truck. However, propane tanks on barbecues or gasoline in lawn mowers pose a more realistic danger. Vibrations in the truck can cause valves or caps to open. This fills the closed moving truck with dangerous fumes. If you are moving yourself, you might take a chance. If you have a moving company move you, chances are they will refuse to take these items, so you will have to dispose of them or leave them behind.

In general, liquids do not travel well. Depending on where you are moving to and when, watch for freezing temperatures. Backs of moving vans are NOT heated. Cans or bottles of pop can explode on a cross-country trek.


One of the biggest reasons not to pack these items relates to moving insurance. Just about every policy to cover furniture in transit has a clause that absolves the insurer of liability if damage is caused by dangerous goods. If bleach spilled out of a box onto your teak dining table there's a good chance you won't get any compensation. You should not have had bleach in the truck in the first place. Refer to our insurance information for more details.


Valuables such as securities, furs, jewelry, coin or stamp collections and legal papers should not go into the moving van. Take them with you or make arrangements for their safe shipment. The same goes for items of great sentimental value, like baby pictures or your grandfather's pocket watch. Keep them with you, just in case.

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