Packing Tips

Read these 19 Packing Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Moving tips and hundreds of other topics.

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How should I pack small appliances?

Packing Small Things

Packing big things may seem difficult and people may worry more about getting the large items packed appropriately and forget about packing small items the correct way. It is important to pack small items the right way to ensure that they arrive safely at your new home.

  • Pack any small appliances in the original box. Didn't save that box? You can purchase small appliance boxes at retail stores or moving stores that should fit most small appliances. Make sure you wrap the appliance as well.
  • Books should be packed in a box securely without the box exceeding 30 pounds. Anything over that is just too heavy for lifting safely and too heavy to keep the box from breaking.
  • Your collectibles, such as Precious Moments, Lladro or even baseball cards should be wrapped with plenty of padding or put back in original boxes and then packed in box with "top load" written on it so that nothing is set on top of the box, thus potentially causing damage to your items.
  • Kitchen dishes and china will need each piece individually wrapped with lots of padding on the bottom of each box the dishware will go in. Don't set the dishes flat inside the box, instead put the plates on their sides and put the bowls and glasses around them.

   
How can I pack big items?

Packing Big Items

If you are doing a self move you will need to pack your big items. A general rule of thumb is to pack the following big items in your home:

  • Bed or bed frame: It is best to take apart your mattress and box spring from the bed frame. Experts recommend tying the pieces of your bed frame, two at a time, together. Make sure to put labels on each piece as to where it goes when assembling the bed again.
  • Table: Your kitchen or dining room table may come apart. This is really helpful when moving it. Take the legs off the table and wrap with bubble wrap, pack in a box if it fits. If the legs don't fit, tie or tape the legs to the tabletop. You can even tape the screws and bolts to the bottom of the tabletop so that you don't lose them.
  • Appliances: Most people leave their stoves and dishwashers when moving, but many take their fridge. If you are moving a refrigerator, make sure you start the process well in advance. Remove all food, defrost the freezer and drain any excess water. Remove any drawers to keep them from sliding out. Once that is done, protect any blades by covering with a towel. Then wrap the fridge in blankets and tie them.
These are just some of the big items you may be moving in a do-it-yourself move. If you are moving a large item that isn't listed here and aren't sure how to pack it appropriately, try doing an Internet search for packing and that specific item's name.

   
What packing supplies must I have?

Packing Supplies

When you are packing for a self-move, you will want plenty of the appropriate packing supplies. Self-moving can be quite a detailed process, but if you are prepared with the right supplies for packing, the move will seem much smoother.

You will need the following supplies when packing:

  • Boxes: Obviously you will need lots of boxes of various size and shape in which you will pack your household items.
  • Tape measure: A tape measure comes in handy when moving and packing in order to measure the size of objects to see if they will fit through a doorway or into a box.
  • Bubble wrap or packing peanuts: These are needed to wrap breakable items before placing them in a box or to add extra padding to a box.
  • Tissue paper: Many people use newspaper, but it is recommended that you wrap breakable things in tissue paper along with bubble wrap, to protect the item. Newspaper often leaves black smudges behind from the newsprint.
  • Marker: A permanent marker works well for marking the tops of boxes with what is inside after closing the box. You will want all of your boxes labeled with what is inside and what room the box should go to when unloading.
  • Packing tape: Packing tape is necessary for taping together the bottom and the top of each box you are packing. You can buy packing tape that has a sharp piece attached to it, which will cut the tape when you are done taping the box, otherwise you must use scissors to cut the tape, and so have those handy as well.
Do- it-yourself moving is something you must be prepared for; having all the necessary items is a must!

   
What should I pack last?

What to Pack Last

There are certain things you want to pack last, in order to make sure you have the necessary items you need to live day-to-day when everything else is packed into the moving truck.

Pack your toiletries in a separate box that is clearly marked. You will want to take this box with you so that you have the things you will need to get ready each morning. Keep pain relievers and other first aid supplies separated as well.

You will want to pack your coffee maker (if you are a coffee drinker) last, so that you can get to it first. Pack cleaning supplies last as well; you will want to clean when you arrive at your new place, so make these items easily accessible in the moving truck.

Pack kid toys and bedroom furniture last as well. Setting up your child's room first can help her feel more at home in her new place- just knowing her things are all there for her to enjoy.

Make sure when packing and loading these items that you have them clearly labeled as "Load Last" so that they aren't placed on the truck until the end.

   
What things can't go on a moving truck?

What Not to Pack

There are a few things you must not pack when moving, either a do-it-yourself move or a move where you pack and someone else drives for you, you must not put the following items on the moving truck.

Explosives or flammable items such as: aerosols, acids, ammunition, propane tanks, matches and motor oil. The list for this type of item is extensive; you should check with the moving company or rental truck company for a complete list of items.

Perishable items such as: food, plants and animals. Food that is perishable can be packed in a cooler and driven by you to your new home; moving companies rarely take food that is perishable. Plants need air to breath, grow and live, and the inside of a moving truck is not conducive to this, therefore no live plants on moving trucks. Of course your animals should never be packed and sent on a moving truck, all pets should travel with you in your vehicle.

Some moving companies may agree to move your perishables if you are going a short distance, check with the moving company to find out their rules on this subject.

   
What should I wrap my valuables in?

Don't Use Regular Newspaper

Use only unprinted newsprint paper or bubble wrap to wrap your items. Regular newspapers are messy and can soil and ruin your possessions.

You can use filler items such as socks, pillows, t-shirts, towels, blankets, and sheets to wrap your items in and fill space in boxes.

It's worth spending the extra money to protect your possessions during the move.

   
When should I start packing?

Pack Room By Room

Start packing several weeks before your move date, taking it one room at a time. Begin with things you use less frequently, such as books and knick knacks.

Pack each room in separate boxes and label each box with its contents. This will make it easier to unpack and have the boxes left in the correct room.

   
How do I pack up all my dishware?

Packing Up The Kitchen

When packing plates, serving platters, and dishware, each piece should be individually wrapped in either packing paper or bubble wrap and placed on their edge not flat in sturdy boxes. Dishes are stronger when placed vertically and have less a chance of breaking and shifting.

Purchase "dish pack" boxes or small boxes for packing breakables. Wrap Fine silver should be wrapped in cloth or silver paper.

   
Whats the best way to pack and move my furniture?

Packing Furniture

Disassemble any items and furniture you can, to save you time and space during your move.

- Pad furniture with moving pads, blankets or bubble wrap, securing firmly.

- Remove furniture legs when possible.

- Place wing nuts or screws in bags taped to underside of furniture so they won't be lost.

- Stand sofas on end and secure to minimize space used in rental van or moving truck.

- Place loose cushions in bags and use as filler between pieces.

- Do not unpack dresser draws. Move dressers with drawers full to avoid re-packing and to conserve moving space. Secure drawers from opening during transit.

   
How do I tape boxes so they won't open when moving?

How to Tape Up Your Boxes

When putting together the boxes for packing, more tape does not mean it will be more secure.

Simply tape the bottom center seam of the box and tape the two edge sides, this is sufficent for any box. Do the same when sealing the top of the box. This will also help keep your packing tape costs down.

   
How heavy should my boxes be?

Make Moving Boxes Movable

Moving Boxes come in a variety of types and styles. There are small, medium, and large boxes, as well as item specific boxes such as:

- wardrobe boxes for clothing on hangers

- dish packs for your kitchenware and breakables

- picture boxes for your framed pictures

- book boxes for heavy books and photo albums

- TV and electronic boxes for electronics and media items, file boxes for your desk files, and lamp boxes for lamps and shades.

When choosing box sizes for your move, make sure you use the right boxes for the appropriate material. You don't want to load up a large box with books and heavy objects. You want the boxes to be no more then 25-30 lbs each to make it easier for the movers to handle.

Heavier boxes are easier to drop. Keep your boxes on the lighter side to prevent your possessions from falling and getting damaged.

   
How do I keep my box from being turned upside down?

Keep Your Boxes Upright

If you are packing a box of fragile items or simply want the box to remain upright and not get turned on it's side or upside down during the move, clearly mark with a bold arrow on all sides of the box indicating which end is up. This will prevent the person handling the box to flip or turn over box.

   
How should I pack up my stereo for the move?

Packing Electronics

When packing electronics, use orignial boxes for computers, stereos and televisions if possible.

- Wrap each piece with bubble wrap or foam packing material and immobilize any moving parts.

- Remove all cables and cords and label them for easier re-installation.

- Tape electrical cords to back of electronics to prevent plug damage.

- Remove CD's and DVD's from the players to prevent them from rattling and getting stuck in player.

   
What is the best way to go about packing for a move?

How to Pack

Packing your home for a move has its perks, you are completely in control of the entire process, which means you can pack how you like and when you like. If you are aware of some general packing tips you can pack your home in a no time flat!

When packing, pack only one room at a time. Don't start one room and then go to another. Stick with one room and pack that entire room until the room is completely packed.

Go through all desk and cupboard drawers and pack any of those items. Do this when you first start packing a room; take care of the drawers first.

Pack your heavy items in smaller boxes rather than stuffing many heavy items into a huge box. Small boxes are easier to carry even when filled with a heavy item.

When packing a box make sure the heavy items are on the bottom and the lighter things on top.

   
What is a moving container?

Moving Containers

Moving containers are a great way to pack your items, especially if you are moving a small space such as a dorm room or an apartment. A moving container holds about one room full of boxes and is ideal for someone who wants to put those items in storage, or moving from a small space to a larger one. A moving container company, such as Upack, will deliver the cube to your home, dorm or apartment, and because the cubes aren't large, they will leave the cube in a parking space near your home. You will then load the cube with your packed belongings, lock the cube and keep the key. The company will come back for the cube and transport it to your new location, whether that is a new house, a storage facility or another apartment. You will then unload your items once they arrive.

These moving containers are fantastic because everything is at ground level. No walking up a ramp to load items, you simply step into the cube, set your box where you need it and then continue loading. Plus, you don't have to worry about transporting your items; the company takes care of that for you! The price is reasonable as well; contact a moving container company for a free quote!

   
How can I pack odd shaped items?

Packing Odd Shaped or Bulky Items

Everyone has those odd shaped items that they wonder how they will ever pack to move it. Things such as: bulky chairs, your lawn mower, your patio furniture and your bicycle. Is there even an appropriate way to pack all of these things? Expert movers recommend the following:

  • Bulky chairs should be wrapped in bubble wrap around the arms and legs and then moved. If you want extra protection, wrap the chair in a blanket as well.
  • Lawn mowers technically won't be packed, but you can't move a lawn mower on a moving truck with the gasoline in it. Please empty all the gas from the mower and double-check your mower for any leaks. You can then pack it in your truck.
  • Patio furniture is bulky, but it probably can be taken apart, wrapped in bubble wrap and then put back together at your new home.
  • Your bike is an odd shaped item to pack. Experts suggest that you loosen the handlebars on the bike and then cover the bike with blankets to keep it from being damaged and damaging other items.

   
How can I find important paperwork I may need when moving?

Transporting Irreplaceable Items

Put together a box of personal irreplaceable items such as photos, financial papers and assets (bank checks, insurance policies, stock/bond certificates, etc.), legal documents (wills, passports. etc.), valuables, jewelry, coin and stamp collections, medical and family history records and personally transport them yourself to ensure they wont get lost during the move.

   
How do I prevent my fragile items from being crushed?

Label Fragile Items

When packing fragile items such as lamp shades, glass items, and fragile knick knacks mark boxes as "Fragile" and write "Do Not Top" on the box, this assures the person loading truck will not stack heavy boxes on top of these fragile items.

   
How do I pack up my entire house?

Pace Your Packing

Packing is time consuming. Start packing up things you don't use daily as soon as possible. Start packing several boxes or cartons each day, a few weeks prior to your move. Try living in less rooms, so you can pack the rooms you use less. Keep everything you need daily in one area. By pacing yourself, you'll be more organized and the job won't be so overwhelming.

   
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