by Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group
There's something about a big pile of boxes and spools of packing tape that is refreshing—here is your excuse to sift through all your stuff and meticulously wrap your valuables, so when you get to your new residence and commence unpacking the boxes it will feel just like your birthday when you were a kid. Fantasize for a moment that's how the whole scenario really develops, and you are not scampering through the house like a crazy person throwing heirloom crystal in with the set of encyclopedias, be sure you have the best packing supplies for your moving job.
Boxes and tape are some of the most critical supplies for packing, and all boxes and tape are NOT of the same quality. It is alright to throw a few coffee mugs in an old microwave box and put it in the top of the pantry, but to pack, stack, and move that box, it will breakdown like a house of cards and you'll wind up with a lot of broken ceramic pieces.
If you're packing your things on your own, conduct some research into the materials prior to getting started. If you're hiring a moving company to handle the actual moving, they will most likely have the right heavy-duty boxes, tape, and wrapping stuff you'll need. If not, storage facilities, big box stores, and the internet are decent sources to obtain your supplies, but since you cannot do tactile research online, don't depend on reviews to make your decision—everybody packs differently and "sturdy" and "solid" are highly subjective terms.
Seek out boxes that are corrugated--a layer of wavy fiber between the inner and outer layers of heavy cardboard. The corrugation gives the box structure and strength, so when you put them on the moving van they do not collapse. There are various degrees of rigidity within the corrugated department, so you should buy the box stability you need for a particular item--go with the strongest duty boxes for the most delicate and the heaviest items you'll pack.
While you are purchasing boxes, make sure and get plenty of the small ones--heavy items go in small boxes, bulky lightweight items go in the larger boxes. For example, books weigh quite a bit and should be put in a small box. Throws and throw pillows are comparatively light and can be placed in the bigger ones.
Purchasing cheap, low quality tape is where many DIY packers get frustrated. If it is cheap, it won't stick well. Worse, it will stick to itself when is comes out of the gun and splinter in small little pieces and then you have to pick at it for quite a while and attempt to get it to unstick in one piece. Be extravagant and purchase a high-quality gun or two with a padded handle—you will be pleased you did when you're eighty boxes in with a lot more to close. It's also a grand idea to buy your tape in bulk--it costs less and you can normally return what you might not use.
There are a few options for padding around the inside of the boxes. Old towels and linens are magic when you need something lining the box, like when you're packing shoes and do not want them crashing around.
Newsprint is definitely the best option for nearly everything--from wrapping mugs (thread a twisted end through the handle and stick the leftover inside once it's wrapped) to books to kitchen items.
Bubble wrap can get pricey, but buy the good stuff anyway, since those are the items that you'll use it for. The bubble size fluctuates, but a decent rule of thumb is for your bubble size to pair the item size—use the big bubbles for padding around the entire box. Touch the wrap before you purchase it, and see how strong it is when you push and pull it. If it is fragile or doesn't feel like the bubbles hold, try another brand.
If you have not moved for a while, and you go box shopping, prepare to be amazed at the options you have. When your parents moved, they might have bought their tape and boxes and had the whole neighborhood saving newspapers for months. Today, there are lots of specialty moving supplies you'll see when you go shopping—a few are really worth the extra cost, some are just reinventing the wheel—it is up to you to decide what's going to be best for you. Again, make positive you're getting decent quality--you do not want your mattresses in flimsy plastic sheeting.
- Dish packs are durable boxes intended for dishes. They might contain pieces of corrugated paper to keep between the pieces so you do not have to wrap one by one.
- Glass packs are like the dish boxes, except they have the lightweight cardboard insert that fits between the glass.
- Wardrobe boxes are also strong, tall, and have a bar for hanging clothes.
- Specialty boxes for mirrors and TVs are shallow and large.
Now that you have the boxes under control, make a plan for how you are going to get the heavy things out the door--the couch, the lawn mower, the grill--but do not be anxious, help is right around the corner. In order to move some of these things renting equipment is the easiest thing to do.
Your furniture is more delicate than you probably realize--surface dings and scrapes are super common when things come off the truck. You can negate this damage with some basic protection; again, make sure you are obtaining decent quality materials that hold up to a lot of wear and tear.
- Moving blankets are essential. You can buy or rent them. Most moving companies and storage facilities have them. Remember that while buying is cheap, renting could be the best choice. The blankets you buy are most of the time a cheap fabric with padding and are fine for some items, but if you're moving wood furniture of much value you are much better off with a heavy cotton blanket with more batting in the middle, which is best rented (you could pick them up and return them with the truck). If you think you will use ten, rent twenty—this is especially true if you decide to get the cheaper ones--double wrap.
- Shrink wrap that comes on a sizable, double handled roll keeps the blankets in place on the large items, and protects just about anything. Get an almost opaque plastic that is going to hold up against boxes and corners--get the most puncture-proof plastic you can find.
- Foam padding is excellent for corners, you can get a roll of heavy foam, but be careful that it is good quality and won't rip easily.
The last things you will want to have are for the big time heavy and bulky things. Unless you happen to have these already, it would be best.
- The best hand trucks are the heavy-duty ones that are appliance weight, and have straps to tighten down the thing you are moving. They also tilt, to give you better leverage against the weight of the couch or dryer or whatever you have strapped on.
- Dollies are flat pallets on rollers that really only work if there are not any stairs involved. They are good for smaller dressers or anything that's heavy and flat on the bottom; make sure the dolly you get is padded on the slats.
- Body straps help you to evenly distribute the weight of extremely heavy items on your body. They are typically utilized in pairs as to takes two people to move the big things, especially down stairs. When you obtain these, be sure the straps and buckles are easy to use, and not frayed or broken.
However you are moving your residence, your local moving company will be able to provide you with all of the speciality items you'll require to move. Just remember that you're putting your entire life in these boxes, so be positive that your moving supplies are acceptable to handle the task.