All Moving Supplies Are Not Created Equal

by Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group 

Moving SuppliesThere is something about a large bundle of boxes and rolls of packing tape that is rejuvenating—here is your excuse to sift through all your possessions and gingerly wrap your prized possessions, so when you get to your new house and start unpacking the boxes it will feel just like Christmas morning when you were a kid. Imagine for a moment that is how the entire master plan actually unwinds, and you are not scampering through the home like a crazy person throwing heirloom crystal in with the bowling balls, make sure you have the correct packing supplies for your moving task.

Boxes and tape are a couple of the most vital equipment for packing, but all boxes and tape are NOT similar in quality. It is alright to toss random coffee mugs in an old microwave box and stick it on a shelf in the pantry, but to pack, stack, and transport that box, it will fall down like a house of cards and you'll wind up with a bunch of broken ceramic pieces.

If you are packing packing your own stuff, do some research into the materials before you get started. If you're hiring a moving company to do the actual moving, they will most likely have the best heavy-duty boxes, tape, and wrapping paper you'll want to use. If not, storage facilities, big box stores, and the internet are good places to obtain your supplies, but since you cannot do tactile research online, don't depend on reviews to help you make up your mind—everybody packs differently and "sturdy" and "solid" are highly subjective words.

Seek out boxes that are corrugated--a layer of wavy fiber between the inner and outer layers of heavy cardboard. The corrugation gives the box structure and strength, so when you load them on the moving truck they don't collapse. There are various degrees of toughness within the corrugated world, so you may get the box stability you require for a given item--go with the most rugged boxes for the most breakable and the bulkiest items you will pack.

While you are purchasing boxes, load up on the small ones--heavy things go in small boxes, bulky lightweight ones go in the bigger boxes. For instance, books weigh a lot and should go in a small box. Afghans and throw pillows are comparatively lightweight and can be packed in the bigger ones.

Purchasing inexpensive, low quality tape is where lots of DIY movers get discouraged. If it is cheap, it will not stick well. Worse, it will stick to itself coming out of the gun and splinter in tiny little pieces and then you have to pick off the needle end and aim to get it to unstick in one piece. Splurge on 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 close. It is also a brilliant idea to get your tape in bulk--it costs less and you can usually return what you might not use.

Moving SuppliesThere are a few choices for padding around the inside of the boxes. Old towels and sheets are wonderful when you require something lining the box, such as when you are packing shoes and don't want them banging around.

Newsprint is by far the best alternative for nearly everything--from packing mugs (thread a twisted end through the handle and stick the leftover inside once it is wrapped) to books to small appliances.

Bubble wrap can be pricey, but buy the good stuff anyway, since those are the items that you'll use it for. The bubble size varies, but a decent rule of thumb is for your bubble size to couple the item size—save the big bubbles for lining around the entire box. Feel the wrap before you buy, and observe how strong it is when you push and pull it. If it is fragile or doesn't feel like the bubbles hold, look for another brand.

If you haven't moved in a while, and you go hunting for boxes, be ready to be amazed at the options you have. When your parents moved, they got their tape and boxes and had the whole neighborhood keeping newspapers for weeks. Today, there are a lot of specialty moving supplies you will find in the stores—some are actually worth the extra cost, some are just reinventing the wheel—it is up to you to discern what is going to be best for your move. Again, be sure you're buying acceptable quality--you don't need your mattresses in flimsy plastic sheeting.

  • Dish packs are strong boxes designed for dishes. They might include pieces of corrugated paper to keep between the dishes so you do not have to wrap one by one.
  • Glass packs are like the dish boxes, except they contain the lightweight cardboard insert that goes inbetween the glass.
  • Wardrobe boxes are also heavy, tall, and have a bar for hanging clothes.
  • Specialty boxes for mirrors and TVs can be shallow and large.

Now that you've got your smalls under control, you need to think about how you're going to get the big stuff out the door--the furniture, the lawn mower, the grill--but don't be anxious, help is right around the corner. For moving a few of these items renting equipment is the easiest way to go.

Your furniture is more delicate than you probably realize--surface dings and scratches are overall very common when items come off the truck. You can avoid this damage with some basic protection; again, make sure you're obtaining decent quality materials that hold up to the rigors of moving.

  • Moving blankets are a must. 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 usually less costly, renting might be the best choice. The blankets you buy are usually a synthetic fabric with padding and are alright for some items, but if you are moving wood furniture of a lot of value you will be better off with a heavy cotton blanket with more batting in the middle, which is best rented (you could get them and return them with the truck). If you anticipate that you will use ten, rent twenty—this is especially true if you choose to purchase the lower quality ones--double wrap.
  • Shrink wrap that comes on a big, double handled roll keeps the blankets in place on the big pieces, and covers just about anything. Look for 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 should plan on buying a roll of heavy foam, but be mindful that it is high density and won't rip easily.

The last things you'll need are for the really heavy and bulky things. Unless you own these already, you’ll want.

  • 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 tip backward, to provide you better leverage against the weight of the davenport or washer or whatever you've strapped on.
  • Dollies are flat pallets on wheels that work best if there are not any stairs involved. They're excellent for smaller dressers or anything that is heavy and flat on the bottom; make sure the dolly you obtain is carpeted on the slats.
  • Body straps assist you to evenly distribute the weight of really heavy things on your body. They're commonly utilized in pairs as to takes two people to move the big things, especially down stairs. If you rent these, be sure the straps and buckles are in good working order.

Whatever method you are actually transporting your residence, your local moving company will be able to provide you with all of the materials you will require to move. Just remember that you're packing your whole life in these boxes, so take care that your moving supplies are up to the task.