All Moving Supplies Are Not Created Equal

by Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group 

Moving SuppliesThere is something about a tall bundle of boxes and rolls of packing tape that is rejuvenating—here is your excuse to sift through all your things and gingerly wrap your prized possessions, so when you arrive at your new house and start unpacking the boxes it will feel just like Christmas morning when you were a kid. Imagine for a few seconds that is how the entire master plan truly unwinds, and you are not scampering around the abode like a loon mixing heirloom crystal in with the bowling balls, make sure you have the correct packing supplies for your moving job.

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

If you are packing yourself, do some research into the materials prior to getting started. If you're hiring a moving company to do the actual moving, they will most likely have the correct 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 get your supplies, but since you cannot do tactile research over the internet, don't depend on reviews to make your decision—everybody packs differently and "sturdy" and "solid" are highly subjective words.

Find 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 support, so when you load them on the moving truck they don't collapse. There are various degrees of toughness within the corrugated realm, so you should 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 items go in small boxes, bulky lightweight ones go in the bigger boxes. For instance, books are relatively heavy and should go in a small box. Afghans and throw pillows are comparatively lightweight and can be packed in the bigger ones.

Picking up inexpensive, low quality tape is where a lot 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 at it for quite a while and aim to get it to unstick in one piece. Splurge on a good-quality tape gun or two with a padded handle—you will be glad you did when you are eighty boxes in with a lot more to close. It is also a grand idea to purchase your tape in bulk--it costs less and you can usually return what you do not use.

Moving SuppliesThere are a few alternatives for padding around the inside of the boxes. Old towels and sheets are amazing when you require something lining the box, for example when you are packing shoes and don't want them crashing around.

Newsprint is hands down the best choice for almost everything--from swaddling 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 squeeze and pull it. If it is fragile or doesn't feel like the bubbles hold, try another brand.

If you haven't moved for quite some time, and you go looking 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 retaining newspapers for weeks. Today, there are a lot of specialty moving supplies you will discover in the stores—some are definitely worth the extra expense, 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 purchasing decent quality--you don't need your mattresses in flimsy plastic sheeting.

  • Dish packs are strong boxes meant for dishes. They could contain 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 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 boxes 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 these issues with some key protection; again, make sure you're obtaining decent quality materials that hold 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 usually less costly, renting might be better. 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 are much better off with a heavy cotton blanket with more batting in the middle, which can be rented (you could get them and return them with the truck). If you anticipate that you require ten, rent twenty—this is especially true if you choose to buy the lower quality ones--double wrap.
  • Shrink wrap that comes on a big, double handled roll secures 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 items you'll want to have are for the big time heavy and bulky things. Unless you own these already, it would be best.

  • 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 in the moving path. They're excellent for smaller dressers or anything that is heavy and flat on the bottom; make sure the dolly you rent is carpeted on the slats.
  • Body straps assist you to evenly distribute the weight of really heavy things on your body. They're usually 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 repair.

Whatever method you are actually transporting your home, 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 putting your whole life in these boxes, so take care that your moving supplies are up to the task.