An essential part of every move is the packing stage. Organizing your goods and furniture into easy-to-carry boxes and crates in a way that minimizes the risk of damage to anything is something you simply can’t avoid. If you’ve ever hired professional movers, you know how easy they make it look. Thanks to their years of professional experience, professional movers can pack and unpack your possessions at a lightning-fast rate and arrange the boxes to prevent scratches and damage in transit. Although most of us who don’t work in the moving industry lack the experience necessary to match their levels of professionalism, there are a few things you can do to make your packing experience a little easier on you and your possessions.
Never Overload Your Boxes
Cardboard, despite being a durable material, is still breakable. Your cardboard boxes have a threshold at which they can no longer support the weight of their contents, and that’s why they break, spilling your photos and appliances all over the moving truck. Always be careful not to overload your cardboard boxes so you don’t end up with spillage and breakage. You can do this by separating your heavier, denser objects such as books and metal appliances into several boxes to disperse their weight accordingly. Packing all your books into one box is a recipe for easily avoided disaster.
Always Overpad Your Boxes
You might have seen professional movers using this trick before. If you think you’ve padded your boxes enough, add an extra layer of padding. You can’t be too careful, and it’s a great way of putting your towels and bedding to use in transit while still storing them. If you run out of soft objects to pad your boxes with, you can always buy some packing foam, which is relatively inexpensive. Always use more padding than you think you need so your things won’t clatter around in transit as you navigate bumpy roads and sharp turns.
Some of your boxes shouldn’t be placed upside down lest you damage their fragile contents. Clearly labeling the boxes with a nice, garish arrow to catch viewers’ attention and the words “THIS WAY UP” will help prevent accidental misplacement. You can also label each box with its contents, or the room it’s intended to go into once you arrive at your destination. This makes the entire moving process more streamlined and allows you to organize your unpacking at your new home. Marking your boxes will help movers to load the truck, and keep things easy and efficient.
Get New Boxes
This is an easy oversight to make, but the consequences can be dire. Old boxes, particularly those made from cardboard, are prone to gradual weakening and wear and tear. Cardboard absorbs moisture from the air in its environment, and you don’t want your goods transported in a saturated cardboard box that will break at the slightest provocation. Using new boxes to move your goods will ensure that they’re kept safe and bone-dry in transit. As a side benefit, it’s far easier to write on new boxes with a marker than on old ones, making your labeling even simpler.
You don’t need a PhD in physics to know that if you put heavy objects on top of fragile ones, the objects at the bottom will be crushed in transit. Heavy things like books, plates, and metal wares should always go on the bottom of your boxes as they’ll act as an anchor, lending some stability to your boxes. Rigid, heavy objects are good to place on the bottom, as they occupy more room than flimsier light objects, which won’t crush anything beneath them.
Too Much Tape Probably Isn’t Enough
Just quickly, do a little bit of math. How much does it cost to buy a few rolls of packing tape? Once you’ve worked that out, try to add up the total cost of all your worldly goods and possessions. Unless you’re buying diamond-encrusted luxury tape made from dodo eggs, the value of your things probably far exceeds that of packing tape. Completely seal the flaps of your boxes using a generous amount of tape, lining every seal on the box. Don’t trust the glue on the bottom of the box, either. Tape up every join on the box to lend it some extra strength so the flaps don’t fly open in transit or as you’re carrying the boxes into your new home.
Most of your larger items, and even some of your furniture, can probably be disassembled to make it easier to pack them away. Some of them probably came to you in pieces that you had to put together to build the object as it is in your home now. Disassembling your larger items and transporting them in pieces is a great way to save space, and reduces the chance of your things being damaged. After all, items that require assembly are designed to be transported in bits, and the components are generally far more durable than the sum of their parts.
Never Move Food
This requires a bit of planning ahead, but is a good rule of thumb. Never move food, particularly anything perishable. You have no way of knowing what the climate in the back of a moving truck will be like, and anyone who’s ever worked in a kitchen during a blackout will tell you how hard it is to get the smell of expired fish, meat, and vegetables out of clothes and furniture. You’re far better off buying takeaway at your destination or picking up groceries there than you are risking tarnished goods. Besides, food takes up valuable space and is fairly easy to replace. Any canned goods that you haven’t eaten yet probably aren’t going to be consumed at your next home, either, so consider donating them to your local shelter or charity drive.
Packing always takes longer than you think it will. Get the jump on your own packing and moving process and start early, even just packing one box per day a month in advance. This spreads out the work and will minimize your stress in the process, as well as giving you the time you need to deal with any unexpected hurdles or mishaps.