Even the best-intentioned shippers make the same packing mistakes over and over again. With the proper know-how, many potential damages can be avoided. The following is the foundation for a successful move. The main factor to keep in mind is the stack. From the moment your shipment leaves your door to the moment it is being unloaded at your new destination, it is stacked. Your belonging will be stacked in the truck, in the terminal, and back on the trailer destined to delivery. Some moving vans have an inner height of eleven feet. In spite of air ride technologies, when in transition, your shipment is subject to vibration, acceleration and deceleration forces while it's stacked floor to ceiling. The logic behind the stacking process is to place heavy, sturdy items (furniture, file cabinets, etc.) at the base, and lighter more fragile items (pictures, lampshades, etc.) on top.
TIP #1: Trim the fat
The logic behind the stacking process is to place heavy, sturdy items (furniture, file cabinets, etc.) at the base, and lighter more fragile items (pictures, lampshades, etc.) on top.
TIP #2: Use the appropriate box
It is very common to encounter a shipper packed, big and heavy box marked with “FRAGILE!” all around. If we stack it on top, it will crush the items beneath it, but if we stack it on the bottom, there’s a good chance the fragile contents will be damaged. If it’s heavy and fragile, use a sturdy strong box. A “Dish” or “China” is a double corrugated box and will be a good fit for heavy and fragile content. Heavy items, like books, files, LP records, silverware, etc., require smaller boxes (book box) while lighter items, like clothing, can be placed in larger boxes (medium box).
TIP #3: Keep it light enough
Don’t pack it so heavy you can hardly move it. Heavy items such as books should go into small boxes. Our delivery crew has to be able to lift, carry, stack, and handle it without getting injured.
TIP #4: Square it
All the loose items need to be boxed. Used boxes are okay, but make sure that they’re strong, clean, and able to be properly closed. Used grocery store boxes will work fine for sturdy items, but pack your breakables in something more substantial. You can get new boxes from your moving company that are double corrugated for extra strength.
TIP #5: Tape and fill gaps
Tape the bottom and top of every box with two strips of packing tape across, one strip down the center and one around the box for extra strength (see picture). As a rule, eliminate empty spaces in the box by filling it to the top or by stuffing crunched paper into spaces. This will prevent boxes from being crushed and stop potential shifting of the contents inside.
TIP #6: Mark your boxes
To ensure an easier unloading, label each box for contents and drop off room (LR = living room, BR = bedroom, etc.). Don’t forget to mark “FRAGILE” on boxes containing breakables.
TIP #7: Cushion electronics
Try to pack electronics in their original box. If unavailable, use sturdy, strong boxes (dish or TV box). Pad the bottom, sides, and top with crunched paper or bubble wrap. If you pack several electronics in the same box, place heavy items (receiver, monitor, etc.) on the bottom, light items (CD player, scanner, etc.) on top with a hearty layer of paper/ bubble wrap in between.
TIP #8: Wrapping china, glassware
For china, dishware, and fragile items use double corrugated boxes (dish box). Pad the bottom with crunched paper. Wrap each item individually, and create layers of items, heavy on bottom, light on top. Insulate layers of items with a hearty layer of paper. Cups and glasses should be stacked next to each other, upside down, while plates should lie flat. Pots and pans should be boxed in medium size boxes (linen or dish boxes). Do not over pack; heavy yet fragile boxes spell trouble.
TIP #9: Use Wardrobe boxes
Place hanging clothes in wardrobe boxes, you can throw some shoes, belts, etc. on the bottom, but be careful not to over pack. Clothes, shoes, linens, etc. should be placed in medium boxes (linen box). Leave dressers empty from contents.
TIP #10: Box your pictures
Pack pictures in picture boxes, pad the bottom sides, and top with crunched paper. Smaller pictures (less than 28”x18”) can fit in double corrugated (dish) boxes, in the upright position, side-by-side, individually wrapped with plenty of paper, underneath, on the top, and on the sides.
TIP #11: Remove bulbs
Remove light bulbs from lamps. Place lampshades in a separate box, mark in large letters “LAMP SHADE!” and “FRAGILE!”
TIP #12: Mark boxes with liquids
To avoid a soapy mess all over the load, please pack cleaning supplies and/or any liquid substance in a light yet sturdy box. Make sure to mark these boxes in large letters clearly identifying the contents. The movers will stack it in a location it is most unlikely to leak; otherwise, it’s very common for an unmarked box of this kind to leak and make a mess.
TIP #13: No flammables!
Do NOT pack flammable items such as gasoline, lighter fluids, aerosol cans, etc.! Please drain flammable gas from tank (usually on B.B.Q. grills) in an open, spark and heat free environment, at your own risk. We do not move gas tanks unless they are empty. This rule hold for gas powered small tools and vehicles (lawnmower, motorcycle, etc. – please remove the gas prior to shipping).
TIP #14: Clean the grill
If you are shipping a charcoal B.B.Q. grill, dispose of any leftover coal and ash before the move. This is a top stack item. If you don't, good chance the ashes will spill on a mover or on the load. Lets keep it neat.
TIP #15: Keep your valuables safe
Money, credit cards, valuable papers, and jewelries are all items that should be kept in your possession throughout the move.
TIP #16: Do not ship alcohol or perishable food
For long distance moves: it is NOT recommended to ship wine, liquor and perishable food. Extreme seasonal temperatures, both hot and cold, can cause spoilage. If moving from East to West past the Rocky Mountains or if moving to Florida, do not ship plants!
TIP #17: Clean and dry the fridge
For long distance moves: refrigerators need to be unplugged and aired out until they are completely dry to avoid mold and bad odors.
TIP #18: Additional labeling
Although your moving company will attach inventory stickers with an identifying lot number on your belonging, occasionally we have items that those stickers are missing from (it can come off for various reasons). At this point we must open the box or call all the customers on a given trailer trying to find the owner of this orphaned item. It is a cheap insurance policy to label your items with your own information (a name and a cell phone should do). This will increase the chances you will get your item in the event of a mix up or a missing inventory sticker.
You shouldn't worry about PACKING YOUR FURNITURE; your professional moving staff should handle the packing, covering, disassembling, and reassembling of the furniture with the utmost care.