by Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group
There's something about a large stack of boxes and spools of packing tape that is refreshing—here's your opportunity to sort through all your things and gingerly box your prized possessions, so when you reach your new residence and commence unpacking the boxes it will seem just like your birthday when you were a kiddo. Fantasize for a moment that is how the entire scenario truly unfolds, and you are not running around the house like a loon throwing heirloom crystal in with the bowling balls, be sure you've got the right packing supplies for your moving task.
Boxes and tape are some of the most important equipment for packing, and all boxes and tape are NOT of the same quality. It's okay to throw random coffee mugs in an old shoe box and stick it in the top of the pantry, but to pack, stack, and transport that box, it will breakdown like a house of cards and you'll wind up with a lot of broken mugs.
If you are packing packing your own stuff, do some research into the materials before you get started. If you're employing a moving company to execute the actual moving, they will most likely have the best heavy-duty boxes, tape, and wrapping paper you'll want to use. If not, storage facilities, big box stores, and the internet are good sources for your supplies, but since you can't do tactile research online, don't count on reviews to make your decision—everybody packs differently and "sturdy" and "solid" are highly subjective words.
Look for boxes that are corrugated--a layer of wavy fiber between the inner and outer layers of heavy cardboard. The corrugated gives the box structure and strength, so when you put them on the truck they do not cave in. There are varying degrees of toughness within the corrugated world, so you can buy the box stability you need for a given item--go with the sturdiest boxes for the most fragile and the bulkiest items you will pack.
While you are purchasing boxes, be sure and buy some of the small ones--heavy items go in small boxes, bulky lighter items go in the larger boxes. For instance, books weigh quite a bit and should be packed in a small box. Throws and pillows are comparatively light and can be placed in the bigger ones.
Buying inexpensive, low quality tape is where a lot of DIY movers get discouraged. If it's low-quality, it won't stick well. Worse, it will stick to itself coming out of the gun and tear in tiny little slivers and then you have to work at it and attempt to get it to unstick in a single piece. Be extravagant and purchase a good-quality tape gun or two with a padded handle—you will be pleased you did when you're eighty boxes in with a lot more to go. It's also a good idea to buy your tape in bulk--it costs less and you can generally take back what you might not use.
There are several alternatives for padding around the inside of the boxes. Old towels and linens are magic when you require something lining the box, for example when you're packing shoes and do not want them banging around.
Newsprint is hands down the best option for almost everything--from packing mugs (thread a twisted end through the handle and stick the leftover inside once it's wrapped) to books to small appliances.
Bubble wrap can be pricey, but buy the good stuff anyway, since that is what you will use it for. The bubble size fluctuates, but a good guideline is for your bubble size to pair the item size—save the big bubbles for lining around the entire box. Feel the wrap prior to purchasing it, and see how strong it is when you squeeze and pull it. If it's not strong or does not like the bubbles hold, look for a different brand.
If you have not moved for quite some time, and you go looking for boxes, prepare to be astounded at the options you have. If your parents moved, they probably bought their tape and boxes and had the whole neighborhood keeping newspapers for a long time. Currently, there are bunches of specialty moving supplies you will find in the stores—some are actually worth the extra expense, some are not—it's up to you to figure out what's going to work best for your move. Just remember, make sure you're getting decent quality--you don't need your mattresses in unsubstantial plastic sheeting.
- Dish packs are heavy duty boxes intended for dishes. They could have pieces of corrugated paper to keep between the dishes so you do not have to wrap one by one.
- Glass packs are like the dish boxes, except they contain the lightweight cardboard insert that separates the glass.
- Wardrobe boxes are also sturdy, tall, and include a bar for hanging clothes.
- Specialty boxes for mirrors and TVs can be shallow and large.
Now that you've got the smaller items under control, make a plan for how you're going to move the big stuff out the door--the dressers, the lawn mower, the grill--but don't be anxious, help is on the way. For several of these items renting equipment is the easiest course of action.
Your furniture is more fragile than you might realize--surface dings and scratches are overall very common when items come off the truck. You can sidestep these with some basic protection; again, make sure you're getting decent quality materials that hold up to the rigors of moving.
- Moving blankets are essential. You can purchase or rent them. Most moving companies and storage facilities will be able to help you with them. Remember that while buying is cheap, renting might be the best choice. The ones you buy are usually a thin fabric with padding and are alright for some things, but if you're moving wood furniture of much value you will be better off with a heavy cotton blanket with more batting in between the layers, which is best rented (you can pick them up and return them with the truck). If you think you require ten, get twenty—especially if you decide to purchase the cheaper ones--double wrap.
- Shrink wrap that is sold on a sizable, double handled roll secures the blankets in place on the big items, and protects just about anything. Look for an almost opaque plastic that's able to hold up against boxes and corners--get the most puncture-proof plastic you are able to find.
- Foam padding comes in handy for corners, you should plan on buying a roll of heavy foam, just be mindful that it is good quality and won't rip easily.
The last items you will need are for the really heavy and bulky stuff. Unless you happen to have these items already, you’ll want.
- The best hand trucks are the heavy-duty ones that are appliance weight, and have straps to secure the thing you're moving. They also tilt, to give you better leverage against the weight of the couch or washer or whatever you have strapped on.
- Dollies are flat pallets on wheels that work best if there are not any stairs involved. They're perfect for smaller chests or anything that is heavy and flat on the bottom; make sure the dolly you rent is padded on the slats.
- Body straps assist you to evenly distribute the weight of really heavy things on your body. They're commonly utilized in pairs as to takes two people to move the big things, especially down stairs. When you get these, make sure the straps and buckles are in good repair.
Whatever method you are moving your home, your local moving company will be able to help you with all of the speciality items you'll require to move. Just don’t forget that you are moving your whole life in these boxes, so be positive that your moving supplies are acceptable to handle the task.