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Home > Moving Tips Index > Household Moving Tips & Guides > How to pack: packing tips - the complete guide to packing for your move

How to pack: packing tips - the complete guide to packing for your move

 Article Category: Household Moving Tips & Guides
 Article Date: 8/15/06
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Table of Contents

Introduction

This document was prepared to give you some valuable and helpful tips on packing your small articles so that they can be safely moved on a truck or moving van.

Small articles such as dishes, table lamps, pictures, and other fragile bric-a-brac must be thoughtfully and carefully packed in boxes if they are to arrive at your destination in as good condition as they were prior to being packed and moved.

Packing for moving is an art requiring a certain amount of expertise and know-how. Your mover has many years of experience at packing behind them and should have a well trained, and qualified staff to do any part of the packing you might prefer. If you need assistance with your packing please let your mover know, they will be happy to help.

Much of the secret of packing, however, is having the right materials with which to work, and the application of some good common sense. If you are going to do your own packing, the tips contained in this booklet should help remove some of the mystery.

Materials You Will Need

Wrapping Paper: You are going to need plenty of wrapping paper. Many people save and use their old newspapers. Keep in mind, however, that the ink on newsprint never thoroughly dries. Consequently, the goods you wrap in newspapers are most likely going to be soiled and will require cleaning after unpacking, and before you put them away. For items you prefer to keep clean it would be best to purchase some packing paper from your mover.

Cartons: You'll need many boxes in assorted sizes. All boxes should be in good condition, and must have covers on them in order that they can be closed up and sealed.

You can purchase cartons from your mover, if you wish. It must be pointed out, however, that all paper products are expensive these days, and specially designed movers cartons are no exception. With the huge investment movers have in cartons, they cannot afford to give them away.

You might start collecting cartons from your local grocery and liquor stores. All too often grocery store cartons have the tops removed, but if you have a talk with the store manager he would probably be willing to save you some cartons with the covers still intact. Liquor cartons are excellent packing cartons. They are sturdy, and contain dividers which make them ideal for packing glasses, goblets, vases, etc.

Sealing Tape: The best tape for this purpose is plastic tape. Your rolls of tape should be at least 1.5 to 2 inches wide.

Magic Marker: This is for marking your packed boxes with such information as the contents of the box, "FRAGILE" "THIS SIDE UP", etc.


Some Things To Consider
  • Start collecting boxes early. An easy way to store cartons so that they won't require a great deal of storage is to open both ends of the cartons and flatten them out. You can open them up again and re-seal the bottoms with your plastic tape as you are ready to use them.
  • Pack on a room-by-room basis. That is, don't pack articles from the living room in boxes with articles from the kitchen. This will save much confusion later when it's time to unpack.
  • If possible, start packing early. Remember, if you were to pack only a couple of boxes a day, in thirty days you would have sixty boxes packed. You could start in areas where the goods are not in frequent use - such as the cellar, attic, garage, closet shelves, etc.
  • It will probably be necessary to have your mover do some of your packing for you. At the very least, it may be necessary to purchase some of his specialized cartons that will be impossible for you to find elsewhere. This category would include such cartons as mattress cartons, wardrobe cartons, containers for large pictures and mirrors, and possibly some large cartons for tall table lamps.
  • Hanging clothing, such as suits, dresses and coats, should be hung in movers wardrobe cartons. This will save you the trouble and expense of having your garments cleaned and pressed later. Hanging clothing cannot be left in garment bags. Garment bags were not designed to be used as movers wardrobes, and they will not withstand the stress. Clothing to be hung is usually taken out of the garment bags, hung in the wardrobes, and the garment bags folded and placed in the bottom of the wardrobe.
  • Dresser drawers need to be empty. Movers usually do not move chests of drawers with the contents of drawers left intact. Too much weight in the drawer could cause damage to the drawer while your furniture is enroute.
  • What size boxes should you use? The rule-of-thumb here is the small, heavy articles, such as books, records, canned goods, etc., would go in smaller boxes. Bulkier, but not-so-heavy articles, such as pots and pans, linens, small kitchen appliances, etc., would go in somewhat larger boxes. Very bulky, lightweight articles, such as blankets, pillows, toys, large lampshades, shoes, etc., would go in the largest boxes.
  • Do not pack for moving on a van any flammables, combustibles, or explosives. The safety of the shipment is the primary concern. Movers are not supposed to transport aerosol spray cans, paint thinner, gasoline, or anything else of a flammable or explosive nature.
Packing In The Kitchen

Packing is much more convenient, and less tiring when you have a good work area. It is suggested that you clear the kitchen table and do your packing on the table. Keep in mind that when you are packing fragile articles you should plan to pack the heaviest objects toward the bottom of the carton; more delicate articles should be packed closer to the top of the carton. The first thing to do is to lay out flat on the table a sizable stack of packing paper. Select a sturdy, medium sized carton. Line the bottom of the carton with several layers of packing paper for additional cushioning.

Packing Flatware
  • Place one plate in approximately the center of your packing paper.
  • Grasp about two sheets of paper at one corner. Pull over plate so as to completely cover plate. Stack second plate on first plate.
  • Grasp second corner of your paper. Pull over and cover stacked plates.
  • Stack third plate. Take remaining two corners (one at a time) and fold each over your stack of plates.
  • Turn your wrapped stack of plates upside down onto your packing paper.
  • Re-wrap entire bundle. Follow same wrapping procedure as before, 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 plastic tape.
  • Place the bundle of flatware in carton so the plates are standing on edge.
  • For all flatware, saucers, bread and butter dishes, etc., follow the same procedure.

Note: Small dishes (saucers, bread and butter dishes) can be stacked in greater quantity in a bundle. Also you can omit steps 5 and 6 and seal your bundle without rewrapping.

Packing Cups & Glasses

Cups and glasses may be "nested" (one placed inside another) and three or four wrapped in a bundle. Tear or cut-up some small sheets of paper. Use at least a couple of small sheets between each glass or cup as protective lining.

    • Take first glass and line with a couple of sheets of your cut-up paper.
    • Place second glass (or cup) inside the first one. Line with two more sheets of paper. Insert another glass (or cup).
    • Using your best judgment, nest three or four glasses (or cups) and lay these on your stack of wrapping paper in a diagonal manner, off center closer to your body.
    • Grasp corner closest to you of two sheets of wrapping paper. Wrap around your glasses (or cups).
    • Grasp next corner of wrapping paper and wrap around your glasses.
    • Repeat procedure with remaining corners of wrapping paper. Then roll into a bundle (much the same as a butcher might wrap a package of hamburger).
    • If you have collected some liquor cartons with dividers, pack glasses, cups and stemware in these boxes. If your bundle does not fill to the top of the compartment, stuff additional wadded-up packing paper in the compartment to fill it up.

If you don't have liquor cartons then pack your glasses, cups and stemware in boxes with your other dishes fitting them in where ever you find some spaces. Be sure these articles are toward the top of your carton.


Goblets And Stemware

Pack goblets and stemware singly. Do not attempt to nest them as you did with glasses. Follow the same wrapping procedure as you did with glasses and cups.

Packing Small Kitchen Appliances

It's best to pack your small kitchen appliances (blender, toaster, can opener, coffee maker, etc.) together in one or two boxes (or more, as necessary) rather than in other boxes with other goods. Later, when unpacking, you will find this much more convenient.

Wrap each appliance individually with two or three sheets of your packing paper. Place each one in the box you have selected for appliances. When all appliances have been packed in a box, or boxes, if there are small spaces that are empty, wad-up some packing paper and fill in the spaces. However, if you should have a great amount of space left over then you should pack some other things in the box in order to fill it up and not waste the space. For example, you might get a few pots and pans in the carton, too.

Packing Pots And Pans

Approximately three pots or pans can be nested, one inside the other. Tear or cut up some pieces of your packing paper (large enough so that they will line the entire interior of the largest pan). Place two or three sheets of your lining paper in the larger pan. Place the next small pan inside the first pan. Again line this pan with two or three protective pieces of lining paper and insert a smaller pan.

Place these pans upside down in the middle of your stack of packing paper. Use at least three sheets of packing paper to wrap the pans. Start by grasping one corner of approximately three sheets of your packing paper, and pulling over, and covering the pans. Then pull the next corner of paper over the pans; then the third corner, and finally the fourth corner. Seal with your plastic tape so that the bundle will not come apart.

Pack in a medium sized carton.

This same procedure can be followed in packing large bowls, too.

More Kitchen Packing Tips

Boxed Foods (cereals, etc.): Seal with your plastic tape those boxes which have been opened. No need to wrap such items in packing paper. Note: If your shipment is going into storage then you should dispose of boxed foods. These items can attract rodents and insects.

Spices: Okay to pack and ship. Make sure all cans are closed and won't leak. If in doubt, seal them with tape.

Cannister sets: Contents may be left in cannister sets. Again, it's a good idea to seal them with tape. Each cannister should be individually wrapped with packing paper.

Packing Tall Table Lamps

Your major problem in packing a tall lamp may be acquiring a carton large enough to accommodate the lamp. If you can't find such a carton you can purchase dishpack cartons from your mover in which to pack tall lamps. Dishpack cartons are tall, extra sturdy cartons originally intended for packing fragile articles, such as dishes.

    • Remove lamp shade and bulb, Wrap cord around base of lamp.
    • Line the bottom of your carton with a considerable amount of wadded-up packing paper. This will insure extra cushioning and protection for the lamp.
    • Spread out several sheets of packing paper so that your packing paper is extended longer and wider than the lamp. Place lamp in the center of your packing paper.
    • Roll packing paper around your lamp.Tuck in the end ot the paper at base of lamp. Use sealing tape, it necessary, to prevent end from coming apart.
    • Seal the seams where packing paper overlaps around your bundle with your tape.
    • Fold up other end (at the top of lamp) of packing paper and seal with tape, Place bundle in previously lined carton.

If you have several tall table lamps, place them each in the carton so that the base of one lamp is next to the top of the next lamp. Alternate them. This will make them fit better in the carton.

When all lamps are packed in the carton, fill out the carton with plenty of wadded-up packing paper. Be generous. Mark "FRAGILE" and "LAMPS" in large, clear letters on all sides of the carton.

Lamp Shades

Lamp shades, where possible, should be nested so that you can get two or three in a box. Use CLEAN packing paper (do not use newspaper) as protective linings between each shade.

Do not pack anything with lamp shades.

Be sure and mark on all sides of the carton in large, bold letters "FRAGILE", "LAMP SHADES" with your magic marker.

Packing Pictures

Small pictures can be wrapped and stood up in normal packing boxes with other goods.

Extremely large pictures, such as the type commonly found hanging over a sofa or mantle (usually measuring 24" x 36") should be packed by your mover in one of his specially designed picture or mirror cartons.

Many pictures, however, that are just a little too large to fit in regular cartons (16" x 20" or 18" x 24") can be packed in a self-devised picture carton.

    • Select a carton that is larger than your picture when open at both ends.
    • Lay your picture, face down, on several sheets of packing paper which have been spread out so as to be almost twice as wide as your picture.
    • Open the bottom of the carton, and then flatten the carton. Seal one of the open sides with your tape.
    • Wrap the picture in much the same manner as you might a gift box. Bring one side of the packing paper around the picture so that it will cover most of the back of the picture. Then bring the second side of the packing paper around to cover the back of the picture. Seal with tape. Fold up both ends of the packing paper and bring over the back of the picture. Seal with tape. Turn picture over and seal the areas where the packing paper overlaps.
    • Slide picture into unsealed side of your carton and seal this end with your tape.
Miscellaneous Packing Tips
Hat and Shoe Boxes: Small boxes of this type should be consolidated and packed into large boxes. Fill in small spaces with wadded packing paper.

Toys: Do not have to be wrapped in packing paper. Place them in large cartons and seal them up.

Loose Shoes: Same as toys.

Books and Records: Stand on end. Use small cartons.

Aerosol Containers: Do not pack aerosol or flammable containers.
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