All Moving Supplies Are Not Created Equal

by Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group 

Moving SuppliesThere is something about a big stack of boxes and rolls of packing tape that is invigorating—here is your chance to go through all your possessions and carefully box your prized possessions, so when you get to your new residence and commence unpacking the boxes it will feel just like Christmas morning when you were a little one. Imagine for a few seconds that's how the entire scenario actually develops, and you're not running around the house like a loon tossing heirloom china in with the bowling balls, make sure you've got the best packing supplies for your moving task.

Boxes and tape are a few of the most vital equipment for packing, but all boxes and tape are NOT created equal. It's acceptable to put random coffee mugs in an old toaster box and store it on the top shelf of the pantry, but to pack, stack, and move that box, it will collapse like a house of cards and you'll wind up with a lot of broken crockery.

If you're packing yourself, do some research into the materials prior to getting started. If you're employing a moving company to handle the actual moving, they will probably have the right heavy-duty boxes, tape, and wrapping stuff you'll want to use. If not, storage facilities, big box stores, and the internet are good places to get your supplies, but since you cannot do tactile research online, don't rely on reviews to make your decision—everybody packs differently and "sturdy" and "solid" are highly subjective terms.

Find 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 support, so when you put them on the moving van they don't cave in. There are various amounts of toughness within the corrugated world, so you should get the box strength you require for a given item--go with the most rugged boxes for the most delicate and the bulkiest items you will pack.

While you are buying boxes, load up on the small ones--heavy items go in small boxes, bulky lightweight items go in the larger boxes. For instance, books weigh quite a bit and should go in a small box. Blankets and throw pillows are comparatively light and can be packed in the larger ones.

Purchasing cheap, low quality tape is where a lot of DIY packers get frustrated. If it is low-quality, it won't adhere well. Worse, it will stick to itself coming out of the gun and splinter in tiny little pieces and then you have to work at it and aim to get it to unstick in a single piece. Be extravagant and purchase a decent-quality gun or two with a padded handle—you'll be pleased you did when you're seventy-five boxes in with a hundred more to go. It's also a grand idea to purchase your tape in bulk--it costs less and you can normally return what you might not use.

Moving SuppliesThere are lots of options for padding inside the boxes. Old towels and blankets are amazing when you need something lining the box, like when you're packing shoes and don't want them banging around.

Newsprint is definitely the best option for pretty much everything--from wrapping mugs (thread a twisted end through the handle and put the rest inside after it is wrapped) to books to kitchen items.

Bubble wrap can get pricey, but purchase the good stuff anyway, since that is what you'll use it for. The bubble size varies, but a fair rule of thumb is for your bubble size to match the item size—use the big bubbles for padding around the entire box. Feel the wrap before you buy, and observe how strong it is when you squeeze and pull it. If it is weak or does not like the bubbles hold, look for a different brand.

If you have not moved in a while, and you go hunting for boxes, be ready to be astounded at the choices you have. When your parents moved, they got their tape and boxes and had the whole neighborhood keeping newspapers for months. Today, there are bunches of specialty moving supplies you'll see in the stores—several are really worth the extra money, some are not—it's up to you to decide what is going to be best for you situation. Again, be positive you are getting acceptable quality--you don't need your mattresses in unsubstantial plastic sheeting.

  • Dish packs are heavy duty boxes intended for dishes. They could include pieces of corrugated paper to keep between the pieces so you don't have to wrap each piece.
  • Glass packs are like the dish boxes, except they include the lightweight cardboard insert that goes inbetween the glass.
  • Wardrobe boxes are also strong, tall, and include a bar for hanging clothes.
  • Specialty boxes for mirrors and TVs are shallow and large.

Now that you've got your smalls under control, make a plan for how you are going to move the bulky items out the door--the dressers, the lawn mower, the grill--but don't be anxious, help is on the way. For moving several of these items renting equipment is the easiest way to go.

Your furniture is more susceptible to damage than you probably realize--surface dings and scrapes are entirely too common when things come off the truck. You can sidestep this damage with some simple protection; again, make sure you are obtaining decent quality materials that hold up to the rigors of moving.

  • Moving blankets are crucial. You can buy or rent them. Most moving companies and storage facilities will be able to help you with them. Although buying is inexpensive, renting could be a better alternative. The ones you purchase are most of the time a cheap fabric with padding and are alright for some things, but if you're moving wood furniture of a lot of value you will be better off with a heavy cotton blanket with more batting in the middle, which are usually rented (you could pick them up and return them with the truck). If you calculate you require ten, get twenty—especially if you choose to buy the lower quality ones--double wrap.
  • Shrink wrap that comes on a large, double handled roll secures the blankets in place on the big items, and covers just about anything. Look for an almost opaque plastic that is going to hold up against boxes and corners--get the most puncture-proof plastic you are able to find.
  • Foam padding is best used for corners, you can buy a roll of heavy foam, but be careful that it is high density and will not rip easily.

The last supplies you'll 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 item you're moving. They also tip backward, to give you better leverage against the weight of the sofa or washer or whatever you have strapped on.
  • Dollies are flat pallets on wheels that are ideal if there are not any stairs that you will have to navigate. They are excellent for smaller dressers or anything that's heavy and flat on the bottom; make sure the dolly you rent is carpeted on the slats.
  • Body straps assist you to evenly distribute the weight of really bulky things on your body. They're usually used in pairs as to takes two people to move the big things, especially down stairs. When you obtain these, make sure the straps and buckles are easy to use, and not frayed or broken.

Whatever method you are moving your household, your local moving company will be able to provide you with all of the speciality items you'll require to move. Just keep in mind that you're packing your entire life in these boxes, so be positive that your moving supplies are acceptable to handle the task.