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The Complete Guide To Packing

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Kinds of Packing Supplies
Plan Your Packing
Packing Methods

Even though most moving companies offer packing and unpacking services, a lot of people prefer to pack their belongings themselves. To pack properly, you need to know all you can about the proper procedures and materials to use to protect your belongings from damage.

Kinds of Packing Supplies

  • Packing Boxes:
    1. There are various types of packing boxes available that are designed for specific purposes and to hold various contents.
    2. For packing all your goods, you will need plenty of boxes in different sizes and shapes.
    3. Make sure all the boxes are in good condition with their tops on, so that they can be sealed once they are filled.
    4. The usual rule is to put small and heavy articles into smaller boxes and bulky items into bigger ones.
    5. Very lightweight items like blankets, pillows and toys are usually put in the largest of the boxes.
    6. A lot of self packers make the mistake of assuming that all boxes are the same and end up damaging a lot of their belongings in the process. Don’t make that mistake.
    7. To save some money, it is a good idea to start collecting cartons from the local grocery and liquor stores for non-breakable items.
    8. Take care while collecting boxes from grocery stores. Many grocery store cartons have their tops removed.
    9. Talk to the store manager to have him save cartons with the covers intact.
    10. Use liquor cartons for packing glasses and goblets. Liquor cartons have dividers in them that make them ideal for packing glassware.
    11. Another alternative is to buy packing boxes from your mover or from a packaging store. Buying packing boxes can be very expensive though.
  • Crystal/China Cartons: Small cartons used to pack very fragile and small items which are then put into other cartons.
  • Small/Medium Boxes: Used to pack heavy items like books, CDs, canned food and tools. The rule of thumb is to use smaller boxes for heavier items.
  • Large Boxes: Used to pack mid-weight and mid sized items such as pots, pans, clothes, shoes and non- perishable foods.
  • Extra Large Boxes: Used to pack bedding, linen, towels and toy-like items.
  • Kitchen Boxes: Dish box like cartons, used to pack items like dishes, pots, pans and china ware. They are usually double walled for extra protection.
  • Wardrobe Boxes: Extra tall boxes with metal bars for hanging clothes or packing large houseplants, dining room chairs and draperies.
  • TV/Electronic Boxes: Double walled boxes for packing TVs, microwaves and computer monitors.
  • Frame Boxes: Flat boxes used to pack paintings, photos and mirrors.
  • File Boxes: Specifically designed boxes used to transport paperwork and files.
  • Lamp Boxes: Tall and narrow boxes used for packing lamps, tall plants or golf clubs.
  • Mattress Covers: Different size boxes used to pack mattresses of every size.
  • Bubble Wrap: Used to wrap very delicate and fragile items such as crystals, china and glass. It also helps in protecting fragile surfaces such as mirrors, monitors; fish tanks etc. substitutes for bubble wrap include tissue wraps, foam sheets and Styrofoam peanuts.
  • Packing Paper: Used to wrap ordinary items to keep them clean and dust free. You can also use old newspaper instead of packing paper. However, if you use newspapers, the printers ink is likely to leave marks on your goods and will require cleaning afterwards.
  • Packing Tape: Plastic tape is usually used for packing purposes. Good quality packing tape can hold pressure very well. It is not advisable to use masking tape for packing. The packing tape should be at least 1.5” to 2” wide.
  • Labeling Markers: Used for labeling all the cartons so that it is easy to identify which box contains what articles. Also used for marking out boxes with fragile items. Use wide tipped markers of different colors.
  • Hardware Tools: Tools such as scissors and knives are useful for opening boxes and should be kept handy during both, packing and unpacking.
  • Miscellaneous Tools: Extra packing supplies such as blankets, pillows and clothing are not exactly conventional packing materials but make good buffers for breakable objects.

Plan Your Packing

  • Professional packers are capable of completing packing within a day, but self packers should allow themselves more time to complete packing. Most self packers work in packing between their daily activities.
  • In order to complete the packing in a satisfactory manner, you will need to plan it out properly. Before you begin packing, sort out all your stuff to decide what you will be taking with you and what you will be leaving behind or giving away. Sell some of the items if you have to.
  • Sorting your belongings gives you the perfect opportunity to donate to charity. Call your local charity or the Salvation Army to give away those goods which you have outgrown or replaced.
  • Those who do their own packing should remember that the moving company is not liable for damage due to faulty packing since the packing is not done by them. To ensure the safety of your items, inform your movers about which boxes have been packed by you. They will inspect all the boxes before they are shipped. Your driver has the right to reject any box that is improperly packed. If the movers insist on repacking a box, they will charge extra.
  • A good option is to do the bulk of your packing on your own. Non-fragile items such as books, linens, clothing, shoes and other replaceable items can be packed easily by you. Leave the delicate and extremely heavy articles to be packed by the movers.
  • You need not empty dresser drawers or chests for moving. Most movers ship them with their contents intact. However, search through the drawers for breakable items and remove them. Also, make sure that the contents of the drawers are not too heavy as they could damage the furniture in transit.
  • Pack sentimental and important items such as photographs, wills, jewelry, home videos, and any other important documents separately, so that you can carry them with you on moving day. You might also consider putting them in a safety deposit box until the move is completed.
  • To be on the safe side, the movers are not going to disconnect appliances themselves. Unplug all major appliances such as your refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, washing machine and dryer and keep them ready for packing before the movers arrive.
  • Start gathering boxes early. Buy packing supplies and strong boxes for your packing session. Get boxes that are of uniform size and shape that can be stacked easily. Get plenty of boxes--most people underestimate the number of boxes needed for packing. In fact, it does not hurt to get more boxes than you think might be needed. This way, at least you can be sure that you won’t have to make several trips to get boxes.
  • It might be necessary to purchase a few specialized boxes from your mover. Specialized cartons include wardrobe cartons, mattress covers, containers for large pictures and mirrors (telescoping boxes), and maybe some large size cartons for tall table lamps (lamp boxes).
  • Cartons can be stored by opening both ends and flattening them out. When you need to use them again, simply open them and reseal the bottom with packing tape.
    Be sure to complete all packing by moving day. The first areas where you can start packing are those which are not used frequently. Cellar, attics, garage and closet shelves are the first to be packed. Include family members who are old enough to do their own packing. In order to make the packing organized and faster, prepare a workspace. Designate a room for packing. Cover the working surface with a large blanket or quilt and line up all the things to be packed.
  • Separate the boxes according to size and place appropriately sized boxes in each room. Line up all the packing supplies next to the boxes while packing. Place all the packed and sealed boxes in a separate room. This reduces disruption during the packing as well as loading process. It is better to designate a room that is closer to the main door. In case that is not possible, make sure that the path is clear so that the loading process is over efficiently.
  • Pack your goods on a room-to-room basis. Do not mix items of one room with those of another room as it will cause a lot of confusion while unpacking. Boxes with related articles should be kept together so that they end up in the same room in your new house.
  • Tape your boxes at the last moment in case you need to add some items later. 
  • Wrap miniature items in bright paper so that they are not mistakenly thrown out with the packing paper.
  • Box labeling is very important. To label boxes like a professional, you need to assign numbers to each room. Write the numbers on the sides of the boxes using a broad felt tipped marker.  It is easier to use numbers rather than spelling out each room separately, especially if you have many rooms In case you can’t avoid mentioning the items on the surface of the box, make sure you do not include anything that might tempt someone to open the box and steal your belongings.
  • Use different colored markers for each room and mark the door of each room with the designated color. Use red markers to single out boxes containing delicate articles and label them FRAGILE and THIS END UP.

Packing Methods

Packing with the knowledge of proper techniques leads to an easier move.
  • Don’t ever over pack any container.
  • While packing a large box, place heavy items at the bottom and lighter ones on top. The most fragile items should be kept right at the top.
  • Items of similar size and weight should be grouped together and wrapped individually using bubble wrap or packing paper to prevent damages.
  • Pack each box to the top so that they are not crushed when they are stacked. But be careful that they do not bulge or sag.
  • Plates, books and other things having similar shapes should be packed vertically so that their structural strength is maximized.
  • Keep large items clean and sanitary using mattress covers, furniture Bags and stretch wrap.

Fragile Items: Fragile items need to be individually wrapped with packing paper or bubble wrap. You can also stuff the boxes with paper, blankets, sheets, pillows or towels. This prevents shifting, rubbing or possible breakage. Mark the boxes FRAGILE and always stack them at the top of the piles.

Packing Tape: Use packing tape on the seam where the two flaps meet. Use more strips of tape in the same direction. For additional reinforcement, use two perpendicular tape strips at equal distances from each other. Once the boxes are full, tape the top of the box tightly. Apply more tape as needed.

Packing China and Kitchen Appliances: Cushion your boxes before packing dishes with old linens and towels. Use wadded packing paper on the sides and corners. Pack the dishes in a manner that they don’t bang against one another during transit. Fill up the gaps with Styrofoam and crunched up newspaper. You can also use dividers to pack dishes. Using packing paper to wrap each dish individually and never stack them on top of one another. Other kitchen appliances should be similarly packed too. Remove the lids of jars and ceramics before wrapping packing paper around them. Bubble-wrap all kitchen appliances and seal boxes with plastic tape. While packing packaged food that has been opened, seal the containers with sellotape so that insects cannot get at them. However, if your shipment is going to take a long time then it is better to get rid of the food.

Mirrors, Lamps and Paintings: To pack mirrors, paintings or lamps you will need special boxes meant for packing these items. Before packing a mirror, use tape to mark out an “X” across the mirror surface. This will keep the glass in place in case the mirror breaks. Wrap bubble wrap around the mirror and tape cardboard around it. Place it in the box and fill up the gaps with wadded paper. For paintings, use packing paper to wrap them and then use bubble wrap. Paintings with glass should have a tape “X” across it. Place the frames inside the designated boxes. Lamps need to have their shades removed before packing. You can put 2-3 lampshades together in a single box by nesting them. Protect the lampshades from each other by placing packing paper between them. Remove the cord of lamps and wrap it around the base. Use several sheets of packing paper to wrap your lamp. The wrapped lamp should be placed in the center of the carton and the gaps filled up with Styrofoam.

Packing Clothes: Regular clothes can be packed in suitcases, garment bags and boxes. But, clothes like dresses and coats should be packed in wardrobe cartons. This will prevent the need for laundering later on. If possible leave your clothes inside the dresser or put them into garment bags. Use mothballs to protect your clothing from insects and other pests. You can toss in shoes at the bottom of the wardrobe box.

Furniture: All furniture which can be disassembled needs to be taken apart before packing. All the nuts screws and bolts should be put together in a plastic bag and secured. Mark the various unassembled pieces so that they are easier to put back together. Wrap all wooden parts with plastic, paper or bubble wrap and put large pads around headboards and footboards. To pack armoires all you need to do is close its doors, pad it with blankets and secure the blankets with rope or tape. Chairs are packed in the same manner.

Packing Books and CDs: Pack books in small boxes as they can be very heavy to lift. Fill in the small spaces with paperbacks. Place the books flat and alternate bindings to prevent damage. CDs should be placed on end instead of in stacks. Mark the boxes clearly.

Packing Electronics: Electronics are best packed in their original cartons. In case you don’t have the original one, use a carton of appropriate size. Wrap all electronic goods in bubble wrap and place them inside the box. While packing computers make sure you have back up discs for all your files and programs. Make sure the motherboard is well protected while packing the CPU. The system should be packed upright or on its side with the motherboard side on the bottom.

While packing your TV or VCR make sure it is disconnected and cooled. It usually takes a TV half hour to cool. Use foam forms to pack your TV and protect its ends. Keep the box upright and mark it with “THIS SIDE UP”. The same is to be done for stereo components. Mark all cables and wires so that they don’t get mixed up on arrival and roll them carefully and secure with bands so that they don’t get tangled.

Packing Large Appliances: Before packing large appliances go through the user manual for any special instructions on packing. Movers will not disconnect your appliances to protect themselves. Make sure all your appliances are unplugged and dried for the move. Drain all the water out of washing machines; dry your refrigerator, washing machine and dishwasher. Take out all the accessories and fittings out of the machine and put them in a separate bag. Pad the outer surfaces of the appliances and secure them properly.

Disconnect all hoses and ducts and pack them separately. For refrigerators, you need to clean out the draining pan, clean the refrigerator walls of mildew or any other residue. Empty it of food and disconnect it before leaving the door open for the inside to dry out. A lot of refrigerators have "Leveling Rollers," which are wheels that raise and lower each corner of the refrigerator so it is even. Read the manual to know if the leveling rollers need to be raised or lowered. Once the inside is dry, remove the shelves and tape them together. Remove any other loose parts and tape them on the outside of the fridge.

Once all your belongings are packed and ready to be loaded, make sure that the items you will need most on arrival are packed last of all. Never pack any inflammable, combustible or explosive items. Corrosive items should also be left behind. Take care while packing and have a successful move!

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on May 27, 2015 - Moving Expert
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