Let’s face it. Moving can be stressful. Some have even ranked it higher than a major break up or divorce. But we know you can drastically reduce the stress of moving with a bit of planning. So this week, we’re tackling one facet of the moving process with three boxing tips to help with your move.
Get Your Packing Supplies Together
First, let’s consider the various items you’ll need to get your life all packed.
- Packing tape
- Scissors/box cutters
- Packing labels and Sharpie markers
- Packing paper, peanuts and bubble wrap
- Cardboard moving boxes—assorted sizes
- Hand truck or dolly (to help move large or heavy packed boxes)
Acquiring Moving Boxes
You’re going to need boxes—and lots of them! Don’t wait until the last minute, especially if you’re trying to get free boxes, as it may take a few weeks to acquire enough for your move. If you’re planning to purchase boxes, you can buy them online (or at store locations) through Amazon, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Walmart and U-Haul. If you’re hoping to score free boxes, try the suggestions listed below.
- Craigslist: After you’ve selected your city, search “boxes” under the site’s “For Sale” section.
- Area stores: Grocery, liquor and book stores in your area are all great examples of businesses that sometimes give boxes away. Check with stores in your area to see what’s available or if they’re open to setting boxes aside for you as they become available.
- Your workplace: Talk to your office manager or the folks in your company’s shipping department. They may have boxes they’re already wanting to get rid of, or they may be able to set some aside for you in the weeks leading up to your move.
- Facebook: Try searching “cardboard boxes” on Facebook’s Marketplace section.
- U-Haul Box Exchange: In addition to selling boxes, U-Haul also has an online message board set up to help you find free boxes in your area.
Packing It Up
Organize Your Packing
Before you start packing, group like items together by size, weight and type for specific areas of your home. For example, if you’re starting in the kitchen, it makes sense to pack drinking glasses, coffee mugs and other similar kitchen items together. This will make it easier to label the box and make unpacking more efficient once you’re in your new home.
Choose the Right Size
A good rule of thumb when packing is to keep your boxes to 30 pounds or less. That means you might have to put heavier items like books in smaller boxes. This will make them easier to lift and help prevent items from being damaged.
Boxing Your Items
When you’re ready to start filling your first box, make sure the bottom flaps are folded appropriately and taped. One length of tape should stretch across the bottom along the seam of the flaps and then up onto the sides a few inches. Add a second length across the bottom midway in the opposite direction. The two should form a cross pattern. This is especially important if you’re packing heavy or fragile items, as you might not want to flip the box upside down after it’s full.
When packing fragile items, use at least two inches of packing material on all sides of the inside of the box. And don’t be afraid to go a little overboard when wrapping breakables. Glassware should be wrapped individually and placed in a vertical position—this is true for vases and other similar items, as well.
For small cups and glasses of similar size and shape, it’s OK to nestle a few inside of each other, as long as each is individually wrapped. You might also consider using cardboard dividers for small glassware items—these come in special glass pack boxes. You’ll still want your items to be wrapped separately, but the carboard dividers will help keep them from shifting during transit and add a little strength to your box.
Dishes, plates, saucers and platters should be stacked on their sides, not flat, with packing material between each item. It’s better to create horizontal rows with such flatware, as stacked pieces are more likely to break if the box is dropped. And don’t forget the 2 inches of packing material on the bottom, sides and top of the inside of the box.
For boxes with non-fragile items, fill them completely, using packing material to fill up empty spaces. This will help keep the box from collapsing should other boxes be stacked on top later. Also, for any of your packed boxes, try to keep the heaviest items on the bottom. This will help protect the other items from being crushed or damaged inside the box.
When you’re done packing, fold the flaps across the top of the box and tape it up the same way you taped the bottom. This will ensure your box is as strong as possible. Then label your box by room and contents, and be sure to mark it as “fragile” if there are breakable items inside.
Building With Boxes
Whether your stacking your packed boxes in a moving truck, storage unit or the corner of a room, you’ll want to put the heaviest ones on the bottom. This will help stabilize them and keep them from tipping over, as the center of gravity is lower. And it will help prevent items from being crushed from too much weight on the top.
Try to stagger stacked boxes, as well, making sure each box ends about midway over the layer of boxes beneath it. Much like a brick layer does when staggering the vertical joints on each new course of bricks, arranging your boxes this way will help distribute weight more evenly and lock them together into a more stable structure.
Also, consider access. Arranging your boxes in aisles, perhaps grouped by room or contents, will make your life a lot easier. If your boxes are going to be stored for a while, this will help you retrieve certain items as needed. Make sure your labels are visible.
At Infinite Energy, we’re always looking for ways to make your life run smoother. Stay tuned in the weeks ahead as we continue to post blogs on the some of the different aspects associated with making your move easier.