Pack like a pro
If you decide to do your own packing, it can be a real money saver. However, it takes extra time and energy to get the job done right. The following guide will provide ways for you to free yourself from moving stress and pack like a professional!
To get started, make sure you have ample supplies of:
- Tissue paper
- Packing paper (plain newsprint)
- 2″ packing tape
- Permanent markers
- Professional quality boxes
- Utility knife and scissors
It’s All About the Boxes
Using new, quality packing materials specifically designed for moving can ensure that your property arrives safely. Uhaul, home improvement stores has a wide range of boxes and professional packing materials available:
- 5 cu. ft. cartons Small carton for heavy items such as books, files, music CDs and DVDs/video tapes
- 0 cu. ft. cartons Medium utility carton often used for pots and pans, toys, and small appliances
- 5 cu. ft. cartons For bulky items, such as linens, towels or toys
- 0 cu. ft. cartons For large, bulky, or lightweight articles, such as pillows or large lampshades
- Wardrobe cartons A “portable closet” that keeps clothes and draperies hanging on a built-in bar
- Mirror cartons Several sizes of telescoping cartons for framed pictures, mirrors or glass
- Mattress cartons Available in queen/king, double, single (twin) and crib sizes. A separate carton is necessary for box springs
- Dish-pack: Heavy duty carton used for dishes/china, crystal and glassware.
- Double-wall cartons Extra protective cartons made especially for fine china, crystal, and other high-value, hard-to replace items
- Stretch-wrap: A special plastic covering that safely adheres to furniture and protects it from snags, tears, and dirt.
You will generally find poly-vinyl chloride (PVC) packing tape to be the most effective to seal boxes. Do not use masking tape or narrow cellophane tape.
When packing your-self, have everything properly packed and ready for loading the evening before moving day. Leave out only the things you’ll need that night, the next morning, and immediately at your destination for last-minute packing.
Basic guidelines to make packing a snap:
- Make a schedule, allowing enough time leading up to moving day
- Pack items in the basement, garage, or attic first – these items usually aren’t needed right away
- Stay organized by packing room by room
- Designate work areas in each room
- When a room is completed, sort boxes by light, medium, and heavy – limit your heaviest boxes to 50 pounds each
- Clearly label boxes or items that you do not want to transport on the truck
Here are a few more suggestions for a successful pack:
- Empty drawers of breakables, liquids, non-transportable items and anything that would puncture or damage other items
- Keep all parts or pairs of things together – for example, curtain rod hangers, mirror bolts, and other small hardware items should be placed in plastic bags and taped securely to the article to which they belong
- Pack small, fragile, individually wrapped items separately or a few together in small boxes, cushioning with paper. Place small boxes in a single large box, filling in spaces with paper
- Put a special mark on boxes you want to unpack first.
Use newspaper only for cushioning; never place it against items, as the ink will rub off. It can even get embedded into fine china, so be careful!
What Not to Pack
You should transport valuable and irreplaceable items with you rather than on the truck. In addition, there are several items that cannot be put on the truck, such as explosives, compressed gases, flammable liquids and solids, oxidizers, poisons, corrosives as well as radioactive and other hazardous materials.
Typical examples of items that cannot be moved include:
- Paints and paint thinners
- Propane cylinders
- Lighter fluid
Other items not recommended for transport in the truck include:
- Family photos
- Food in glass jars and perishable foods
- Prescription drugs needed for immediate use
Transport items of personal importance or sentimental value with you, such as:
- Collections (i.e., coins)
- Important personal papers (i.e., deeds, wills)
- Negotiable papers (i.e., bonds, stocks, certificates)
- Moving documents
Each and every moving box should be labeled using the following techniques:
- Use a broad, felt-tipped marker.
- Clearly mark the contents and the room it will be placed in.
- Indicate “FRAGILE” on delicates; “THIS END UP” where appropriate.
- As you finish with each moving box, list the contents on the side of the box (for easy viewing while stacked) and in a special notebook. You might want to number the moving boxes as well.
- Indicate the room to which each moving box should be placed in new home. Tape a sign on the door of each room at destination corresponding to the box labels so movers can get the boxes into the proper rooms quickly.
- Put a special mark on moving boxes you want to unpack first.
Tips from the Pros
- Start with out-of-season items. Next, pack things used infrequently. Leave until the last minute things you’ll need until moving day.
- Empty drawers of breakables, liquids, non-transportable items and anything that would puncture or damage other items while moving.
- Pack similar items together. Do not pack a delicate china figurine in the same moving box with cast-iron frying pans, for example.
- Keep all parts or pairs of things together. For example, curtain rod hangers, mirror bolts, and other small hardware items should be placed in plastic bags and taped or tied securely to the article to which they belong.
- Wind electrical cords, fastening them so they do not dangle.
- Wrap items individually in clean paper; use tissue paper, paper towels, or even facial tissue for fine china, crystal and delicate items. Colored wrapping paper draws attention to very small things that might otherwise get lost in a moving box. Use a double layer of paper for a good outer wrapping.
- Place a two- or three-inch layer of paper in the bottom of boxes for cushioning.
- Build up the layers, with the heaviest things on the bottom, medium-weight next, and lightest on top.
- As each layer is completed, fill in empty spaces firmly with paper and add more paper to make a level base for the next layer, or use sheets of cardboard cut from moving boxes as dividers.
- Cushion well with paper; towels and lightweight blankets may also be used for padding and cushioning. The more fragile the item, the more cushioning needed. Be sure no sharp points, edges or rims are left uncovered.
- Pack small, fragile, individually-wrapped items separately or a few together in small boxes, cushioning with paper. Place small boxes in a single large box, filling in spaces with paper.
- Avoid overloading moving boxes, but strive for a firm pack that will prevent items from shifting; the cover should close easily without force, but should not bend inward.
- Seal moving boxes tightly with tape.