All Moving Supplies Are Not Created Equal

by Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group 

Moving SuppliesThere's something about a big bundle of boxes and spools of packing tape that is invigorating—here is your excuse to sort through all your stuff and meticulously wrap your prized possessions, so when you get to your new residence and begin unpacking the boxes it will seem just like Christmas morning when you were a kid. Pretend for a minute that is how the entire scenario actually unwinds, and you're not rushing around the house like a crazy person throwing heirloom china in with the bowling balls, be sure you've got the best packing supplies for your moving job.

Boxes and tape are a few of the most vital supplies for packing, but all boxes and tape are NOT of the same quality. It's acceptable to throw a few coffee mugs in an old toaster box and store it on a shelf in the pantry, but to pack, stack, and transport that box, it will fall down like a house of cards and you will end up with a bunch of broken mugs.

If you are packing your things on your own, do some research into the materials before you begin. If you're employing a moving company to do the actual moving, they will probably have the right heavy-duty boxes, tape, and wrapping paper you'll need. If not, storage facilities, big box stores, and the internet are acceptable sources for your supplies, but since you can't do tactile research digitally, don't rely on reviews to make your decision—everyone packs differently and "sturdy" and "solid" are highly subjective words.

Look for boxes that are corrugated--a layer of wavy fiber between the inner and outer layers of heavy cardboard. The corrugation allows for structure and strength, so when you stack them on the moving van they do not crumple. There are various degrees of rigidity within the corrugated department, so you should purchase the box strength you need for a specific item--go with the most rugged boxes for the most delicate and the heaviest items you will pack.

While you are purchasing boxes, make sure and get plenty of the small ones--heavy things go in small boxes, bulky lighter items go in the larger boxes. For example, books weigh a lot and should go in a small box. Throws and pillows are comparatively lightweight and go in the larger ones.

Buying bargain, low quality tape is where a lot of DIY packers get discouraged. If it is cheap, it will not stick well. Worse, it will stick to itself coming out of the gun and tear in small little pieces and then you have to pick at it for quite a while and aim to get it to unstick in one piece. Splurge on a high-quality tape gun or two with a padded handle—you will be pleased you did when you are sixty boxes in with a ninety more to tape. It's also a good idea to get your tape in bulk--it costs less and you can generally take back what you do not use.

Moving SuppliesThere are a few choices for padding inside the boxes. Old towels and linens are wonderful when you require something lining the box, such as when you're packing shoes and don't want them crashing around.

Newsprint is definitely the best choice for pretty much everything--from packing mugs (thread a twisted end through the handle and put the rest inside once it's wrapped) to books to kitchen items.

Bubble wrap can be pricey, but get the good stuff anyway, since that is what you'll use it for. The bubble size fluctuates, but a decent guideline is for your bubble size to couple the item size—save the big bubbles for padding around the entire box. Touch the wrap before you buy, and make sure of how strong it is when you twist and pull it. If it's fragile or does not like the bubbles hold, try another brand.

If you have not moved for quite some time, and you go box shopping, be ready to be surprised at the options you have. If your parents moved, they probably bought their tape and boxes and had the entre neighborhood keeping newspapers for weeks. Now, there are a lot of specialty moving supplies you will find on the shelves—a few are really worth the extra cost, some are not—it is up to you to discern what is going to be best for your move. Remembe, be sure you are getting acceptable quality--you do not need your mattresses in unsubstantial plastic sheeting.

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

Now that you have your smalls under control, make a plan for how you are going to get the heavy things out the door--the couch, the lawn mower, the grill--but don't fret, help is on the way. In order to move several of these items renting equipment is the easiest course of action.

Your furniture is more fragile than you think--surface dents and scrapes are overall very common when things come off the truck. You can negate these issues with some simple protection; again, be sure you are obtaining acceptable quality materials that hold up to a lot of wear and tear.

  • Moving blankets are essential. You can buy or rent them. Most moving companies and storage facilities will be able to help you with them. Although buying is usually less costly, renting may be the best choice. The blankets you buy are usually 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 want to go with a thick 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 think you require ten, get twenty—this is especially true if you choose to get the cheaper ones--double wrap.
  • Shrink wrap that is sold on a large, double handled roll secures the blankets in place on the big items, and protects just about anything. Buy an almost opaque plastic that's able to hold up against boxes and corners--get the most puncture-proof plastic you are able to find.
  • Foam padding is excellent for corners, you can buy a roll of heavy foam, but be mindful that it's good quality and won't rip easily.

The last supplies you'll want to have are for the really heavy and bulky things. Unless you own these items already, it would be best.

  • The best hand trucks are the heavy-duty ones that are appliance weight, and have straps to tighten down the item you are moving. They also tip backward, to give you better leverage against the weight of the sofa or washer or whatever you've strapped on.
  • Dollies are flat pallets on rollers that work best if there are not any stairs involved. They are perfect for smaller dressers or anything that's heavy and flat on the bottom; make sure the one you obtain is padded on the slats.
  • Body straps help you to evenly distribute the weight of super bulky things on your body. They are typically used in pairs as to takes two people to move the big things, especially down stairs. When you get these, make sure the straps and buckles are in good working order.

Whatever method you are moving your residence, your local moving company will be able to provide you with all of the supplies you'll require to move. Just remember that you're putting your entire life in these boxes, so take care that your moving materials are sufficient for the job.