A Commonly Undervalued Item: Boxes and How to Use Them

packing - moving - boxesBoxes---the single most necessary thing for any relocation. Whether you're moving old tennis trophies to the basement or relocating your entire household across the country, you unquestionably can’t do to without a box, or even several. There are a multitude of different sizes, and specific-use boxes, it can be very overpowering when you're standing there gazing at piles of cardboard that are somehow going to completely change themselves into functional packing devices.

The first thing to be aware of is that while boxes are not created precisely equal, they are somewhat democratic in that you can utilize just about any box for just about anything. The catch is in being smart about what to pack in which box--and forget what the box is named, go ahead and put your golf clubs in the wardrobe box, if it seems right. The other thing witty people (that means you) do is not to put too much in the boxes so they weigh too much. You are going to be moving a lot of them, and six pounds feels like fifty after a while.

Sizes and Weight

Boxes are measured in cubic feet. The smallest moving box is normally 1.5 CF, and is what you will use for bulky items like books or small appliances. Knickknacks are best in these small boxes as you can put a whole collection in one box. You may see heavy-duty boxes, but just because you can pack more things into a box does not mean you should, unless you have a heavy-duty back to lift the weightier boxes. These boxes often have grips for easier moving and an average height person can usually move a couple of these at a time.

The next size up is 3.1 cubic feet. This is where you can stow shoes, toys, pots and pans--things that are not super heavy. Some of these boxes also have the built-in grips and are a bit more unwieldy than the smaller box, so do not overload this one or it's going to be no good to pick-up and move.

Linens, sweaters, towels, and clothes go in the 4.5 CF boxes. They are big and deep, and again, don't overload them because the bulk makes even the lightly packed ones a challenge to move unless you're vertically gifted.

The biggest standard boxes are 6.1 cubic feet. This is where you pack pillows, lampshades, blankets, and anything that is big but lightweight.

Specialty Boxes

These are designed for moving a certain sort of thing, but are beneficial for lots of other stuff, too. While they are a little more expensive, are well worth the cost in ease of packing options and protection.

Dish pack

A dish pack is a box with a second layer of corrugated cardboard. Don't think you can only pack dishes in these, they are meant to protect all things fragile. A dish pack is anywhere between the 1.5 and 3.1 CF size, and you can either wrap items individually in paper or use the newer foam sleeves--slide the plate or glass into the sleeve and put it in the box. Some boxes have inserts for glasses, so they stand up in their spot and don't get bumped by their neighbor. A dish box is perfect for stereo components, lamp bases, or anything fragile that you do not want in the regular boxes.

Wardrobe Box

A wardrobe box is exactly what it seems like. It is taller than the 6.1 CF box, is about 10 CF, and is a heavy-duty cardboard that is meant to stand up while in transit. It has a hanger bar that attaches near the top, so you can move your hanging clothes more easily. The usual height for a wardrobe box is about 46 inches, so you can use them to move things like dining room chairs or those golf clubs, as well.

Mirror Box

A mirror box comes in numerous sizes, but they are all somewhat flat, and large. They are what you use for artwork and mirrors, but also flat screen TVs, computer monitors, large platters, or even tennis rackets.

Do not neglect the proper packing supplies--lots of paper, tape and bubble wrap--but knowing your boxes is the opening step towards a smooth move.