- Before you start packing, determine the items you want to throw away, give away or sell. Moving is a good time to get rid of items you no longer need. You will save money and have less to pack and unpack. Give yourself enough time to make these decisions.
- 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, spillables, non-transportable items and anything that would puncture or damage other items.
- Pack similar items together. Do not pack a delicate china figurine in the same carton 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 carton. Use a double layer of newsprint for a good outer wrapping.
- Place a two- or three-inch layer of crushed paper in the bottom of cartons 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 crushed paper and add more crushed paper to make a level base for the next layer, or use sheets of cardboard cut from cartons as dividers.
- Cushion well with crushed 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 crushed or shredded paper. Place small boxes in a single large box, filling in spaces with crushed paper.
- Avoid overloading cartons, 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 cartons tightly with tape except for those containing items that must be left open for the van operator's inspection. Always use proper packing cartons and wrapping materials. Use only strong, corrugated cartons with covers. We can supply you with specially made cartons, for everything from mattresses to clothing and mirrors. The added protection of mover-provided cartons may avoid damage that results from the use of poor-quality packing materials. Use professional packing tape, which is a wide, strong, clear or brown tape. Masking tape is not strong enough to support the weight of a fully packed carton. Tape all cartons closed on the top and bottom – don’t just fold the end flaps closed. Use crumpled, unprinted newspaper to pack items in boxes.
- Label the contents on the outside of all boxes, along with the rooms to which they should be delivered in your new home. When packing fragile items, clearly mark “fragile” on the outside of the box, with arrows on the sides to indicate the correct upright position.
- Indicate boxes holding essential items such as cooking utensils, bedding, linens and toiletries that need to be opened first by writing “open first” on the box and making sure these are the last boxes to be loaded onto the moving van.
Specialized Packing Tips
Dishware: Select a medium-sized carton (or mover provided dish pack) and line the bottom of the carton with crumpled packing paper. With packing paper stacked neatly in place on a work table, center one plate on the paper. Grasp a corner on several sheets of packing paper and pull the paper over the plate until sheets completely cover the plate. Stack a second plate on and, moving clockwise, grasp a second corner and pull sheets over the second plate. Stack a third plate. Grasp remaining two corners, folding two sheets of each corner (one at a time) over the plate. Turn your wrapped stack of plates upside down onto your packing paper. Re-wrap the entire bundle: start with one corner of packing paper and pull two sheets over the bundle, cover bundle with next corner, then the third corner; and finally, the fourth. Seal the bundle with packing tape. Place the bundle of dish-ware in a medium-size box so that the plates are standing on edge. Use this process on all saucers, bread and butter dishes, and other dishware. When packing smaller dishes, you may choose to stack in greater quantity.
Cups: with packing paper in place on the work table, position one cup six to eight inches from one of the corners. Now pull the near corner of the paper up and over the cup. Nest a second cup directly on top, with handle to left (second cup should "nest" itself in packing paper folded over the bottom cups). Pull the two side corners up and over, one at a time, and tuck corners inside the top cup. Hold the bottom and top cup in position and roll cups to the remaining corner. Fragile mixing bowls may be rolled in the same manner. Delicate cups, like china, should be wrapped one at a time. Antique glass or china should be stuffed with crumpled tissue and wrapped one at a time.
Glasses and Stemware: stuff glasses and stemware with crumpled tissue or packing paper before wrapping. Lay on the corner of packing paper and roll it one or two full rotations (depending on size); pull sides of packing paper up and over glass/stemware and continue rolling to the far corner. Corrugated paper rolls or cellular boxes may be used for added protection. Place glasses and stemware toward the top of your box. Heavier items (dish-ware, pitchers, etc.) should be placed toward the bottom of the box. Delicate glassware and stemware should be placed in an upright position, not on its side.
Dressers, Cabinets, Closets, and Desks: all drawers are to be emptied prior to move. Clothing and linens should be packed into medium sized boxes (linen boxes). We suggest not packing clothing in garbage bags, seeing as they are generally not strong enough to withhold the pressure throughout the duration of the move and tend to tear. If you opt to move clothing in duffel or carryon bags, it is suggested all of the bags together be placed in a Wardrobe Box on the day of move. This will help avoid misplacing many small bags, and will also save a great deal of time. Wardrobe boxes are available on the day of the move for hanging garments in the closets. For every 2 ft. of closet bar you will need one wardrobe box. Shoes, bags, and other such loose items may be placed in the bottom of the wardrobe boxes.
Please note, garbage bags are not accepted for long distance moves:
Canned Goods and Other Non-Frozen Food: pack upright with no more than 24-30 cans per carton. Don't attempt to move perishables. Wrap glass containers and boxed foods individually and pack in small cartons.
Frozen Foods and Plants: because of the delicate and perishable nature of these items, your mover is prohibited from accepting these packed items when your shipment is being transported more than 150 miles and/or delivery will not be accomplished within twenty-four (24) hours from the time of loading. Frozen food shipped within these guidelines must be packed in a freezer which at time of loading is at normal deep-freeze temperature.
Clocks: remove or secure pendulum in large clocks. Grandfather clocks should be prepared for moving by expert servicemen.
Drapes and Curtains: hang drapes over crossbars in wardrobe cartons, or pack folded in clean cartons. Remove curtains from rods, fold and pack in cartons or bureau drawers.
Flammables and Combustibles: flammable liquids and aerosol cans must not be packed. Changes in temperature and pressure can cause them to leak, or even explode. For your own protection, you should know that if you pack these items and they cause damage to your shipment or others, you, not your mover, may be held liable.
Lamps and Lampshades: remove bulbs, harps and shades. Roll up cord. Pack lamps with bedding or wrap separately and place upright in clean, tissue-lined carton. Wrap harp and finial (decorative knob) with packing paper and tape to inside wall of carton that contains shade. Wrap shades in tissue, not newspaper. Place upright in large, tissue lined cartons.
Medicines: seal caps with masking tape. Wrap and pack upright in small cartons. If needed during travel, carry with you.
Mirrors, Paintings and Pictures: tell your relocation consultant about valuable paintings for special care. Wrap small mirrors, pictures, paintings, and frames and place on edge in cartons. Place large pictures and paintings on edge in heavy cardboard containers. Large wall or dresser mirrors will be taken down by the movers and placed in special cartons. For added safety, place tape diagonally across mirror to protect better against damage. Do not place newspaper directly against paintings.
Electronics, Televisions, Audio/Visual/Stereo Equipment, Computers: it is suggested these items be prepared by our professional movers. A custom cardboard crate will be created on-location on the day of the move from cardboard sheets and boxes. The inside the cardboard exterior will be padded with white paper and bubble wrap as needed. All wiring and cords should be disconnected and units should be unplugged and disconnected from each other prior to movers arrival.
If you decide to pack it yourself, pack valuable electronic equipment in original cartons when available. Otherwise, use strong, corrugated cartons and place protective padding on the bottom of the carton. Wrap an old blanket or protective pad around the item and place it in its carton. Place additional padding between the carton and the computer or video recorder. Wrap cords separately; label to identify usage and place in a plastic bag away from delicate surfaces. Non-detachable cords should also be wrapped. Place cords between the padded computer or video recorder and the carton.
Silverware: wrap each piece in cloth or low sulfur content paper to prevent tarnishing. Use an old blanket or moving pad as a wrap to prevent scratching the silverware chest.
Tools: drain fuel from power tools (do not ship Flammables under any circumstances). Pack tools in small, strong cartons. Wrap separately if valuable.
Waterbed Mattresses: drain all water from the waterbed and, grasping internal baffle systems with external vinyl, fold mattress 20 inches at a time. Adjust folds to avoid making creases across individual baffles. Consult your owner's manual for special instructions concerning the care and transportation of your mattress. Do not place your mattress in a carton with sharp or pointed objects.
Cars and Motorcycles: cars and motorcycles shipped on the moving van should be drained nearly empty of fuel. Motorcycle batteries should be disconnected. Automobile antifreeze should be ample to protect against severe cold in winter.
Barbecue Grills and Propane Tanks: wrap grates and briquettes separately in a newspaper (or place all briquettes into a grocery bag) and place parts in carton. Pad carton with paper to reduce movement of contents. Propane tanks cannot be moved. Consult your local gas grill distributor for the safest method.
The list of individual household items is endless. Most can be packed by following our general packing advice. If you need instructions on how to pack a specific item, call us at 800-224-0906.