Moving Blog
August 05, 2023

All Moving Supplies Are Not the Same

Getting Ready to MoveBy Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group 

If you ask any professional mover, there is something about a big pile of boxes and spools of packing tape that is refreshing—here's your excuse to sort through all your stuff and meticulously wrap your valuables, so when you get to your new home and begin unpacking the boxes it will feel just like Christmas morning when you were a kiddo. Pretend for a few seconds that is how the entire sequence of events really develops, and you are not running around the home like a crazy person throwing heirloom china in with the set of encyclopedias, be sure you have the correct packing supplies for your moving task.

Boxes and tape are some of the most critical components of packing, but all boxes and tape are NOT created equal. It is alright to put a few coffee mugs in an old microwave box and store it on a shelf in the pantry, but to pack, stack, and transport that box, it will breakdown like a house of cards and you'll end up with a bunch of broken crockery.

If you're packing yourself, conduct some research into the materials before you begin. If you are hiring a moving company to do the actual moving, they will probably have the right heavy-duty boxes, tape, and wrapping stuff you will want to use. If not, storage facilities, big box stores, and the internet are decent places to obtain your supplies, but since you cannot do tactile research digitally, don't depend on reviews to help you—everybody packs differently and "sturdy" and "solid" are very subjective terms.

Look for boxes that are corrugated--a layer of wavy fiber between the inner and outer layers of heavy cardboard. The corrugation helps with structure and strength, so when you stack them on the moving van they do not collapse. There are various degrees of toughness within the corrugated realm, so you should get the box strength you need for a given item--go with the sturdiest boxes for the most delicate and the heaviest things you'll pack.

While you are buying boxes, be sure and buy some of the small ones--heavy things go in small boxes, bulky lighter ones go in the bigger boxes. For example, books weigh quite a bit and should be put in a small box. Throws and pillows are comparatively lightweight and can be placed in the larger ones.

Purchasing cheap, low quality tape is where many DIY movers get frustrated. If it is low-quality, it will not stick well. Worse, it will stick to itself when is comes out of the gun and splinter in small little slivers and then you have to pick off the needle end and try to get it to unstick in a single piece. Be extravagant and purchase a decent-quality tape gun or two with a padded handle—you will be glad you did when you are sixty boxes in with a lot more to tape. It's also a grand idea to get your tape in bulk--it costs less and you can normally return what you do not use.

There are lots of options for padding inside the boxes. Old towels and linens are wonderful when you need something lining the box, like when you're packing shoes and do not want them banging around.

Newsprint is definitely the best alternative for nearly everything--from packing mugs (thread a twisted end through the handle and stick the rest inside after it is wrapped) to books to kitchen items.

Bubble wrap can be costly, but buy the good stuff anyway, since that is what you will use it for. The bubble size fluctuates, but a good rule of thumb is for your bubble size to match the item size—keep the big bubbles for lining around the entire box. Feel the wrap before you buy, and observe how strong it is when you squeeze and pull it. If it's not strong or does not like the bubbles hold, try another brand.

If you have not moved for quite some time, and you go looking for boxes, prepare to be astounded at the options you have. If your parents moved, they probably bought their tape and boxes and had the entre neighborhood retaining newspapers for weeks. Now, there are lots of specialty moving supplies you'll discover when you go shopping—a few are really worth the extra expense, some are just reinventing the wheel—it is up to you to figure out what is going to work best for you situation. Again, be sure you're getting decent quality--you don't want your mattresses in flimsy plastic sheeting.

  • Dish packs are durable boxes designed for dishes. They may include pieces of corrugated paper to separate the pieces so you don't have to wrap each piece.
  • Glass packs are like the dish boxes, except they contain the lightweight cardboard insert that fits between the glass.
  • Wardrobe boxes are also sturdy, tall, and contain a bar for hanging clothes.
  • Specialty boxes for mirrors and TVs can be shallow and large.

Now that you've got the smaller items under control, make a plan for how you're going to move the bulky items out the door--the furniture, the lawn mower, the grill--but do not fear, help is right around the corner. In order to move a few of these things renting equipment is the best way to go.

Your furniture is more fragile than you might realize--surface dings and scrapes are super common when items come off the truck. You can negate these with some simple protection; again, make sure you're buying or renting decent quality materials that stand up to the rigors of moving.

  • Moving blankets are crucial. You can buy or rent them. Most moving companies and storage facilities will be able to help you with them. Remember that while buying is inexpensive, renting might be better. The pads you purchase are usually a synthetic fabric with padding and are alright for some items, but if you're moving wood furniture of a lot of value you will be better off with a heavy cotton pad with more batting in between the layers, which are usually rented (you could pick them up and return them with the truck). If you calculate you require ten, rent twenty—this is especially true if you decide to buy the lower quality ones--double wrap.
  • Shrink wrap that comes on a large, double handled roll holds the moving pads in place on the sizable items, and protects just about anything. Get an almost opaque plastic that is able to hold up against boxes and corners--get the most puncture-proof plastic you can find.
  • Foam padding is excellent for corners, you can get a roll of heavy foam, but be careful that it's decent quality and won't rip easily.

The last things you'll need are for the big time heavy and bulky things. Unless you happen to have these already, plan to rent.

  • The best hand trucks are the heavy-duty ones that are appliance weight, and have straps to tighten down the thing you're moving. They also tilt, to give you better leverage against the weight of the couch or washer or whatever you've strapped on.
  • Dollies are flat pallets on wheels that work best if there are not any stairs that you will have to navigate. They're good for smaller dressers or anything that is heavy and flat on the bottom; make sure the one you get is padded on the slats.
  • Body straps assist you to evenly distribute the weight of super heavy items on your body. They are typically used in pairs as to takes two people to move the big things, especially downstairs. When you rent these, make sure the straps and buckles are easy to use, and not frayed or broken.

Whatever method you're actually transporting your household, your local moving company will be able to assist you with all of the supplies you will need to move. Just keep in mind that you're packing your entire life in these boxes, so be positive that your moving supplies are up to the task.


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