More than just about anything else, packing well is essential for an overall successful move.
Our full-service moving company can take care of this for you –but sometimes, you want to do it yourself.
See our packing guide below for tips on a DIY move.
To get started, make sure you have ample supplies of:
. Tissue paper
. Packing paper (plain newsprint)
. 2″ packing tape
. Permanent markers
. Professional quality boxes
. Utility knife and scissors
It’s All About the Boxes
Using quality packing materials specifically designed for moving can ensure that your property will arrive safely.
Small carton for heavy items such as books, files, music CDs and DVDs/video tapes
Medium utility carton often used for pots and pans, toys, towels, linens and small appliances
For large, bulky, or lightweight articles, such as pillows or large lampshades
Wardrobe cartons – A “portable closet” that keeps clothes and draperies hanging on a built-in bar (on loan day of your move)
Mirror cartons – Several sizes of telescoping cartons for framed pictures, mirrors or glass (on loan day of your move)
Dish pack (or China Barrel) – Heavy duty carton used for dishes/china, crystal and glassware
PVC packing tape – The most effective tape to seal boxes.
When packing yourself, have everything properly packed and ready for loading the evening before moving day. Leave out only the things you’ll need that night, the next morning, and immediately at your destination for last-minute packing
Basic guidelines to make packing a snap:
Make a schedule, allowing enough time leading up to moving day
Pack items in the basement, garage, or attic first – these items usually aren’t needed right away
Stay organized by packing room by room
Designate work areas in each room
When a room is completed, sort cartons by light, medium, and heavy – limit your heaviest cartons to 50 pounds each
Clearly label cartons or items that you do not want to transport on the van
Here are a few more suggestions for a successful pack:
Empty drawers of breakables, spoilable, non-transportable items and anything that would puncture or damage other items
Keep all parts or pairs of things together – for example, curtain rod hangers, mirror bolts, and other small hardware items should be placed in plastic bags and taped securely to the article to which they belong
Pack small, fragile, individually wrapped items separately or a few together in small boxes, cushioning with crushed or shredded paper. Place small boxes in a single large box, filling in spaces with crushed paper
Put a special mark (the number 1, or the letter A) on cartons you want to unpack first at your destination
Use newspaper only for cushioning; never place it against items, as the ink will rub off. It can even get
embedded into fine china, so be careful!
What Not to Pack
You should transport valuable and irreplaceable items with you rather than on the truck. In addition, there
are several items that cannot be put on the truck, such as explosives, compressed gases, flammable liquids and solids, oxidizers, poisons, corrosives as well as radioactive and other hazardous materials.
Typical examples of items that cannot be moved include:
. Nail polish remover
. Paints and paint thinners
. Propane cylinders
. Automotive repair and maintenance chemicals
. Lighter fluid
. Oxygen bottles
Other items not recommended for transport on the van include:
. Family photos
. Food in glass jars and perishable foods
. Prescription drugs needed for immediate use
If you have any questions, just ask your Sales Representative who is your Relocation Expert.
Transport items of personal importance or sentimental value with you, such as:
. Collections (i.e., coins, antique items)
. Important personal papers (i.e., deeds, wills)
. Negotiable papers (i.e., bonds, stocks, certificates)
. Moving documents
Each and every moving carton should be labeled using the following techniques:
. Use a broad, felt-tipped marker.
. Clearly mark the contents and the room it will be placed in.
. Indicate “FRAGILE” on delicates; “THIS END UP” where appropriate.
. As you finish with each moving carton, list the contents on the side of the carton (for easy viewing
while stacked) and in a special notebook. You might want to number and/or code the moving cartons as well.
. Indicate your name and the room to which each moving carton should be delivered at destination.
Tape a sign on the door of each room at destination corresponding to the carton labels so movers can get the cartons into the proper rooms quickly.
. Put a special mark (the number 1, or the letter A) on moving cartons you want to unpack first at
Tips from the Professionals
Pack similar items together. Do not pack a delicate china figurine in the same moving carton with cast-iron frying pans, for example.
Wrap items individually in clean paper; use tissue paper, paper towels or even facial tissue for fine china, crystal and delicate items. Colored wrapping paper draws attention to very small things that might otherwise get lost in a moving carton. Use double layer of newsprint for good outer wrapping
Place a two- or three-inch layer of crushed paper in the bottom of cartons for cushioning.
Build up the layers, with the heaviest things on the bottom, medium-weight next, and lightest on top.
As each layer is completed, fill in empty spaces firmly with crushed paper and add more crushed paper to make a level base for the next layer, or use sheets of cardboard cut from moving cartons as dividers.
Cushion well with crushed paper; towels and lightweight blankets may also be used for padding and cushioning. The more fragile the item, the more cushioning needed. Be sure no sharp points, edges or rims are left uncovered.
Pack small, fragile, individually-wrapped items separately or a few together in small boxes, cushioning with crushed or shredded paper. Place small boxes in a single large box, filling in spaces with crushed paper.
Avoid overloading moving cartons, but strive for a firm pack that will prevent items from shifting; the cover should close easily without force, but should not bend inward.
Seal moving cartons tightly with tape except for those containing items that must be left open for the van line operator’s inspection.
If the original carton and packing materials are no longer available, you may need to crate it prior to moving day. If the item can fit in another sturdy carton, line it with plenty of newsprint paper or Styrofoam before packing. Seal securely and mark “Extremely Fragile” on the carton.
When packing a personal computer, printer, scanner, or other equipment:
Detach all connecting wires, removable paper feeders/holders from all hardware and wrap monitors
Remove all ink and toner cartridges
Label all cables and wires for easy re-assembly
Back up all computer files
Pack speakers in well-cushioned dish pack boxes – any large or unusually heavy speakers will simply be padded and placed on the truck
Consult your user manuals for any additional instructions or file storage recommendations
Label cords and cables so you’ll know which goes where, and pack them in the same box as the electronic equipment they go with.
Any modular office furniture will need to be dismantled prior to move day. Use tape to mark where pieces
go together and keep the hardware together (including drawer pulls) in one spot, like a plastic bag or coffee can.
Tools Long-handled garden tools, as well as brooms and mops, should be bundled together securely for moving. Attachments should be removed from power tools and packed separately.
Hand tools may be left in toolboxes. Fill spaces with crushed paper, or pack according to general packing rules. Always use small cartons for heavy tools.
Use old towels to wrap and tape any sharp-edged tools.
Don’t Forget – Power tools must be completely drained of oil and gas before moving.
Dispose of any unused charcoal. Remove tank — it cannot be transported in the moving van
Before moving day, dismantle TV antennas, garden sheds, and swing sets that you plan to take with you
Place small hardware in a plastic bag or old coffee can and label.
If possible, securely attach the parts bag to corresponding equipment.
Prepare lawn mower by safely draining gasoline prior to moving day.
You’ll need to re-pack boxes that are torn or falling apart, or that cannot be sealed. This is often the case
with items found in attics and crawl spaces, like seasonal decorations and toys.
Consult with your Sales Representative who is your Relocation Expert on the following items:
gas-powered leaf blower
above-ground swimming pool
dog house or kennel
Clothing hanging in closets can be left on hangers and they will be placed in wardrobe cartons that are on
loan the day of the move. One will hold about two feet of compressed clothing on hangers so discuss with your Sales Representative that amount of wardrobes that are needed.
If wardrobe cartons are not used, each garment should be removed from its hanger, folded, and placed in a suitcase or a carton lined with clean paper.
Clothes can be left in dresser drawers but make sure there are no lose items stored there.
Valuables such as fine jewelry should be removed from drawers and never packed with your household goods. They will be most secure if they remain in your possession while moving
Dispose of aerosol spray cans, such as hairspray or deodorant, or take them with you. Other bottles should be carefully taped shut and wrapped to prevent leakage while moving, then packed in small cartons.
Bedding, Linens, and Towels
Blankets, sheets, tablecloths, towels, pillowcases and other linens may be protected by a large plastic bag and packed in a moving carton that has been lined with clean paper.
Linens and bedding are good for cushioning or padding other items.
Wrap the most valuable items in tissue.
Mattresses will be placed in mattress moving bags on the day of the move
Glass mirrors should be packed in special mirror cartons for moving. However, if they are especially heavy, crating is recommended. Ask your Sales Representative about crating services, they are your Relocation Experts.
From electronics to lamps, your main living area requires a little extra preparation prior to moving day.
Special preparation is required to move CD players, DVD players, and record turntables.
When moving CD and DVD players, secure the laser with the transport screws located on the bottom or back of the unit.
Packing Help – Pack remote controls in the boxes containing the related equipment, or perhaps pack them all in a separate, clearly labeled box.
Pack speakers in well-cushioned boxes.
Any large or unusually heavy speakers will simply be padded and placed on the truck.
Servicing is usually not required prior to packing for tape deck, receiver or speakers.
Some large televisions will need to be crated prior to moving day. Let us know if you have a big screen
or plasma television and you want us to pack. You can pre-order TV box at the time of booking at extra
Packing Help – Label cords and cables so you’ll know which goes where, and pack them in the same
box as the electronic equipment they go with.
Pack books of the same general size together, in small cartons.
Pack books either flat, or with the spine touching the bottom of the moving carton.
Do not pack with spine facing upward, as glue can break away from the binder.
Glass Table Tops, Marble Slabs, Large Mirrors, Paintings, Statues & Large Vases
It’s best to consult with your moving company about custom-made cartons and crates for any items of this kind—paper should never be permitted to touch the surface of an oil painting.
Packing Help – If there is a narrow access, steps at pickup or drop-off, or the above goods have large
or extra-large dimensions, or they are heavy, large in height/dimensions, it is always advisable to book extra manpower for a safe move.
A qualified service provider should take care of the preparations for moving a grand or baby grand piano
Upright (spinet; console; studio) pianos usually do not require preparation in advance. All pianos will
be pad-wrapped to protect the surface.
Plan to have your piano tuned at your new home.
Disassembly and crating of your pool table should be done by a third-party service. Contact a store that sells pool tables to obtain assistance.
Crating is a possibility on slate.
You will need to make arrangements at destination to have the pool table uncrated, reassembled, and leveled
Packing Help – If there is a narrow access, steps at pickup or drop-off, it is advisable to book extra
manpower for a safe move.
China & Glassware
Wrap all pieces of china and glassware individually. Using several sheets of clean paper,start from the corner, wrapping diagonally and continuously tucking in overlapping edges.
A generous amount of paper padding and cushioning is required for moving all china and glassware.
A double layer of newsprint serves well as outer wrapping.
Label moving cartons with room, contents, and “FRAGILE – THIS SIDE UP.”
Figurines, Curios and Other Delicate Items
Be sure the items are well-protected with plenty of cushioning for moving.
Wrap first in tissue paper, paper towels, or facial tissue. Then wrap carefully in paper that has been wadded and flattened out
Small mirrors, plaques, and pictures should be wrapped individually in tissue paper with an outer layer of newsprint.
A bath towel or small blanket makes an excellent outer wrapping and padding for glass.
Place flat items on edge in a carton.
Once you know you’re moving, you can begin packing your kitchen almost immediately.Start with your less-used serving dishes, seasonal items, and small appliances. Next, tackle your large serving bowls, tablecloths, and specialty pots and pans. Keep your everyday dishes for the last week before moving. You may even want to consider buying some disposable plates, cups, and utensils for those last few nights when everything is
Use or dispose of all perishables before moving. You will also need to get rid of cleaning products and other kitchen chemicals. Boxed or canned goods should be packed in small boxes. Dispose of any open packages and wrap glass jars to prevent breakage during moving. Don’t risk moving food products during the summer. The inside of a moving van can reach 155 degrees.
When preparing large appliances for moving, it is important that they be clean and dry to avoid the buildup of mildew and mold. Grease left on a stove-top will catch dust and dirt in your shipment, and leave spots on anything it touches. Dry out refrigerators and freezers before moving, especially those with an ice-maker.
Clean and dry thoroughly. Disconnect and drain hoses.
Wrap metal connector ends of hoses in a towel and place inside washer before moving.
Secure the tub following the manufacturer’s guidelines to prevent swaying. Note: If you don’t have the manufacturer’s guidelines, you can purchase a washer kit with a manual that provides instructions on how to secure the tub by tightening down the tub using screws. If you prefer not to do it yourself, there are many third party service providers.
If you are moving a gas dryer, the appliance should be disconnected and the gas line capped off prior to moving by a qualified technician.
The driver and the movers are not qualified to perform this service. You will need to make third party arrangements.
Clean thoroughly. Detach all removable parts and pack safely in a box, clearly marked with the contents.
If you are moving a gas range, it must be disconnected prior to moving by a qualified service technician. The gas line must be properly secured also.
If you have an electric range, generally no servicing at your present residence is required.
Refrigerator – Dispose of all perishables. Unplug the power cord, wash all removable parts, and dry
Allow the parts and the including the interior of the refrigerator and freezer, to dry thoroughly prior to
moving to allow all moisture to evaporate.
Pack all loose parts including bins and shelves in a secured, approved container for moving.
Empty and clean the evaporator pan; allow time for it to dry.
Before moving, turn off the water and disconnect the water line if you have a cold water dispenser or automatic ice-maker.
Glass trays should be removed, wrapped, and securely packed in a moving carton.
The microwave can be placed in its original box, if available and still in good shape, or in a well-cushioned
If your microwave is large, ask your moving company if it can be pad-wrapped on moving day.
Do not place cardboard in the door opening because it can spring the door during transit.
If you have a small wine collection, it is recommended that you move the wine in your car.This will allow you to control the temperature.
Moving day is usually a flurry of activity—even when you hire a moving company to pack and transport your items, it’s still important that you (or someone you’ve designated) be available throughout the loading process. The following list of moving tips will help you ensure that you going into the big day with a plan of action.
One of the busiest days of your life is about to arrive: moving day. Try to complete all the tasks below prior to moving day so that you can be available during the loading process – often, drivers will have questions that only you can answer.
Mark items you don’t want loaded – Clearly mark and set aside items you don’t want loaded. This will remind you to tell the driver what not to load as you conduct your pre-load walk through on moving day. Make sure your important paperwork pertaining to the move doesn’t get packed and shipped with your household goods!
Pack special items for the kids
Have the kids pack a box of their “special” items. Point this box out to the driver so it’s one of the first to
be unloaded. You may want to arrange for someone to take care of the kids (and pets) while the movers are packing and loading your items—it’s a good idea to have the caregiver bring the kids home prior to the truck leaving, as it’s important for young children to understand where their belongings are going.
Don’t Forget – See our list of non-transportable items.
Make it safe and easy for your movers to get in and out of your house on moving day by removing all obstructions:
Move potted plants and planters from front porch, walkways, and driveways.
Remove all door and floor mats.
Remove all rugs. The crew will protect the floors with a specially designed floor covering that does not slip.
Remove low-hanging items such as wind chimes or hanging plants.
Disconnect the spring on the screen door so that it stays open during the loading process.
Point out special items
Once the mover arrives, point out items that are most special to you during your walkthrough. All of your items will be handled professionally, but taking a moment to show which items mean the most to you is a good idea. Point out the boxes you would like to have unloaded first, if they are not going into storage.
These boxes may include kitchen and bathroom items, children’s toys, etc.
Before the driver leaves on moving day:
Provide the driver with your destination contact information. Take down any information the driver can provide such as his cell phone. If something changes, you won’t have to wait to be contacted.
Find out as many details as you can prior to the driver leaving your residence.
The driver may give you a delivery window for long distance moves. Keep in mind that it is really only an estimate at the time of loading—many factors can change the schedule for the driver, so try to remain flexible. Ask the driver to call you with changes so that you can adjust your plans accordingly.If you have a delivery spread (a sequence of 2 or more days that your shipment can be delivered on and still be considered on time), understand that your belongings can and may be delivered on any one of those days.
Take one last sweep of the house before the driver leaves. Look through all closets, shelves, in the garage, attic, crawl space, storage unit, under the stairs, on the walls and anywhere else things may be hiding. You do not want to find out after the driver is on the way that something was left behind!