by Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group
There is something about a large stack of boxes and rolls of packing tape that is rejuvenating—here's your chance to sort through all your things and carefully box your treasures, so when you get to your new residence and start unpacking the boxes it will feel just like your birthday when you were a kiddo. Fantasize for a few seconds that's how the entire master plan actually unfolds, and you are not scampering through the abode like a crazy person tossing heirloom china in with the bowling balls, be sure you purchase the correct packing supplies for your moving task.
Boxes and tape are a few of the most critical equipment for packing, and all boxes and tape are NOT similar in quality. It is acceptable to throw some coffee mugs in an old toaster box and put it in the top of the pantry, but to pack, stack, and transport that box, it will collapse like a house of cards and you will wind up with lots broken crockery.
If you are packing packing your own stuff, conduct some research into the materials before you get started. If you are employing a moving company to handle the actual moving, they will most likely have the best heavy-duty boxes, tape, and wrapping stuff you'll want to use. If not, storage facilities, big box stores, and the internet are good sources to get your supplies, but since you cannot do tactile research over the internet, do not depend on reviews to help you make up your mind—everyone packs differently and "sturdy" and "solid" are very subjective terms.
Seek out boxes that are corrugated--a layer of wavy fiber between the inner and outer layers of heavy cardboard. The corrugated allows for structure and stability, so when you load them on the moving van they do not collapse. There are varying degrees of toughness within the corrugated world, so you should get the box stability you need for a specific item--go with the most rugged boxes for the most breakable and the bulkiest items you'll pack.
While you're purchasing boxes, be sure and buy some of the small ones--heavy items go in small boxes, bulky lighter ones go in the larger boxes. For instance, books are relatively heavy and should be packed in a small box. Afghans and throw pillows are comparatively lightweight and can be placed in the bigger ones.
Picking up bargain, low quality tape is where a lot of DIY movers get frustrated. If it's low-quality, it will not adhere well. Worse, it will stick to itself when is comes out of the gun and tear in tiny little slivers and then you have to pick off the needle end and attempt to get it to unstick in one piece. Splurge on a decent-quality tape gun or two with a padded handle—you will be glad you did when you are sixty boxes in with a lot more to pack. It is also a grand idea to purchase your tape in bulk--it costs less and you can normally take back what you don't use.
There are several options for padding inside the boxes. Old towels and linens are magic when you need something lining the box, such as when you're packing shoes and don't want them thumping around.
Newsprint is definitely the best option for pretty much everything--from swaddling mugs (thread a twisted end through the handle and stuff the other ends inside after it's wrapped) to books to small appliances.
Bubble wrap can get costly, but get the good stuff anyway, since that is what you'll use it for. The bubble size differs, but a fair guideline is for your bubble size to match the item size—use the big bubbles for padding around the entire box. Touch the wrap prior to purchasing it, and see how strong it is when you twist and pull it. If it's not strong or does not like the bubbles hold, try a different brand.
If you have not moved for a while, and you go looking for boxes, prepare to be astonished at the options you have. When your parents moved, they might have bought their tape and boxes and had the entre neighborhood retaining newspapers for months. Now, there are lots of specialty moving supplies you'll find in the stores—several are definitely worth the extra expense, some are not—it is up to you to discern what is going to work best for your move. Again, make sure you're buying good quality--you do not want your mattresses in flimsy plastic sheeting.
- Dish packs are strong boxes intended for dishes. They may include pieces of corrugated paper to separate the dishware so you don't have to wrap individually.
- Glass packs are like the dish boxes, except they include the lightweight cardboard insert that separates the glass.
- Wardrobe boxes are also heavy, tall, and include a bar for hanging clothes.
- Specialty boxes for mirrors and TVs can be shallow and large.
Now that you have your smalls under control, you need to think about how you're going to get the bulky items out the door--the couch, the lawn mower, the grill--but don't fret, help is right around the corner. In order to move some of these items renting equipment is the best way to go.
Your furniture is more susceptible to damage than you probably realize--surface dents and scratches are entirely too common when items come off the truck. You can avoid these issues with some key protection; again, make sure you are buying or renting decent quality materials that stand up to the rigors of moving.
- Moving blankets are essential. You can buy or rent them. Most moving companies and storage facilities have them. Remember that while buying is inexpensive, renting may be better. The ones you buy are usually a cheap fabric with padding and are fine for some things, but if you are moving wood furniture of a lot of value you will be better off with a heavy cotton pad with more batting in the middle, which can be rented (you could get them and return them with the truck). If you calculate you require ten, get twenty—this is especially true if you choose to purchase the cheaper ones--double wrap.
- Shrink wrap that is sold on a large, double handled roll secures the moving pads in place on the large items, and covers just about anything. Get an almost opaque plastic that's going to hold up against boxes and corners--get the most puncture-proof plastic you can find.
- Foam padding comes in handy for corners, you should plan on buying a roll of heavy foam, but be careful that it's good quality and won't rip easily.
The last items you'll require are for the super heavy and bulky stuff. Unless you have these already, you’ll want.
- The best hand trucks are the heavy-duty ones that are appliance weight, and have straps to secure the thing you're moving. They also tilt, to give you better leverage against the weight of the sofa or washer or whatever you have strapped on.
- Dollies are flat pallets on rollers that are ideal if there aren't any stairs in the moving path. They're excellent for smaller dressers or anything that's heavy and flat on the bottom; make sure the one you rent is padded on the slats.
- Body straps help you to evenly distribute the weight of extremely bulky things on your body. They're commonly used in pairs as to takes two people to move the big things, especially down stairs. If you rent these, make sure the straps and buckles are in good repair.
Whatever method you're moving your household, your local moving company will be able to provide you with all of the supplies you'll require to move. Just don’t forget that you're putting your entire life in these boxes, so take care that your moving supplies are acceptable to handle the task.