Packing Tips

Packing Tips

Get organized before the big day:

Our packing tips have been developed through many years of experience with moving companies across the country.

Whether you want packing tips or moving quotes, you’ll find everything you need from Northwest Relocation for a successful move.

When packing moving boxes, it helps to be aware of a few tips that will make your packing chores easier and protect you belongings. Compiled through many years of moving experience, the following tips for packing your moving boxes are bound to come in handy.

Many people who are moving want to save money wherever they can. Doing your own packing can save you money if done properly. However, keep in mind that the moving valuation protection offered by moving companies doesn’t cover damage to items PBO (Packed By Owner) unless there is obvious damage to the container caused by the mover’s negligence.

Movers can refuse to transport boxes you packed yourself if:

  • The box is not durable
  • The box contents are packaged inappropriately (fragile items not protected). If you have especially fragile or valuable items to pack, you may want your mover to handle the task – doing so will likely be worth the added cost.
  • If the box contains hazardous items. Hazardous items include firearms, fuel and paint.
  • If the moving company repacks a box, you may incur additional costs.

Packing Moving Boxes

It’s very important that you use quality, sturdy moving boxes. Very thin, low quality boxes can break very easily. A formula to remember is, low-quality thin boxes + inexperienced packer = breakage and damage to goods. It is always a good idea to hire a professional packing and moving company, like Northwest Relocation, but if you want to pack by yourself, this guide will provide you complete assistance.

Here are some tips for moving boxes you end up packing yourself:

Having all packing supplies ready

Have all supplies, such as quality packing tape, bubble wrap, packing paper and markers, lined up next to your boxes when packing.

Avoid printed newspaper for wrapping items.

Use blank paper instead. The ink from the printed newspaper rubs off easily and can be very difficult to remove from certain items, such as china. Crumpled printed newspapers can be used for filling voids in boxes, as long as the print doesn’t come in direct contact with anything you don’t want to have to clean later.

Purchase strong tape

Use the plastic and strapping tape that movers use. A good quality packing tape dispenser makes the job of taping up your moving boxes much simpler and faster.


Properly set the boxes.

When setting up your moving boxes, reinforce the bottom of all boxes with 2″ packing tape. Start by taping the seam where the two flaps meet, leaving 4″ of overlap on each side. Add two more strips in the same direction, on each side of your first strip, approximately half way between your first strip and the edge of the box. For additional reinforcement, add two perpendicular strips equidistant from each other and the edge of the box. Make sure tops and sides of boxes do not bulge or sag. Under-packed boxes may collapse and over-packed boxes may rupture.


Bubble wrap your fragile items.

Small bubble is recommended for smaller, lighter weight items. Large bubble (more air in bubbles) is recommended for larger, heavier weight items. For added protection, line your box with bubble before packing.


Pack one room at a time

Pack one room at a time, marking each moving box you pack with a description of its contents and destination room(i.e. kitchen, master bath). Mark each box with the name of the room in which it will be placed and write the box’s important contents on the outside.


Choose a room to store packed boxes.

Designate a room or space to store packed boxes. Keep all boxes for the same room together. If possible, keep all packed boxes close to the door. This packing tip will save time both in loading and unloading the boxes.


Handle heavy items accordingly

Put heavy items in small boxes and light items in large boxes. Wrap heaviest items first with bubble wrap or packing paper and place in the bottom of the box. Wrap lighter items with same and place on top of heavier items, separated by bubble wrap.


Classifying boxes by size

Separate your packing boxes by size, and place appropriately-sized boxes in each room. Quality moving boxes indicate the ideal product or weight for which that box is best suited. Follow the box manufacturer’s recommendations.


Give extra attention to fragile items

Double box fragile items and fill voids between boxes with packing paper or bubble cushioning to avoid shifting. Mirror packing boxes are not only good for packing mirrors – they can be assembled to a custom size for protecting your large framed art or photographs.


Labeling your boxes is always a good idea

Consider using your computer to create labels for your boxes. Every Office Products provides a variety of labels you can use, including blank labels and pre-printed specialty labels, such as Fragile. Free templates are available that will make setting up the labels for printing a snap. Be sure to use a large enough font in bold (consider all capital letters, too) so the labels can be read easily from a distance. You can make up a set of labels just for your last name and then a separate set of labels for each room name. This saves you from having to hand mark each box and typed labels are much easier to read than most handwriting or printing. This tip is especially handy if you move frequently, because your labels will already be set up for your next move.


Numbering the boxes

If you plan to inventory items within the boxes you pack, number your boxes so your master inventory can list each box number with its corresponding contents.


Pack your clothes in separate boxes.

Pack your clothes hanging in your closet in wardrobe boxes. This not only saves time, but also prevents clothes from wrinkling. Place shoes at the bottom of the wardrobe box. Pack T-Shirts and jeans in suitcases and regular boxes. Ask your movers which clothes may stay in your dresser drawers.


Create medium weight boxes

Don’t let your boxes get too heavy or the movers won’t to be able to lift them. Heavier boxes are more likely to break in transit, causing damage to your items. If you have a few especially heavy boxes, mark them so your movers will know before they attempt to lift the box.


Handle breakable items with proper care.

Wrap breakable items individually. For example, for ceramic jars with lids, wrap the jar and the lid separately and place in the same box. Fill in empty spaces within the box to prevent movement during transit. Pack plates and glass objects upright. Mover’s dish pack boxes are ideal for these items.

Packing most used items

Take boxes with you (if you possibly can) that contain items you’ll want to have right away, like cleaning supplies, hammer, screwdriver, flashlight, toilet paper, soap, a shower curtain, coffee, coffee filters and your coffee pot. That way you’ll have access to these items even before the movers arrive.

Some additional important packing tips:

  • When packing or storing furniture, wrap it with blankets, towels, or old linens. This prevents it from being scratched or otherwise damaged. Most packing tips don’t tell you that furniture legs should also be wrapped. Back up important files and make a hard copy of important files on your computer.
  • If you disassemble an item you’re self packing, label, number, or otherwise mark each piece for easy reassembly. It is better to select a mover that’s experienced and insured than ruin your furniture in the process.
  • Chairs should be stacked seat-to-seat with paper in between.
  • Fit what you can inside any like item. For example, you can store sponges in pots. This will save valuable space and make unpacking easier.
  • It is often easier to pack lightweight items yourself, such as books, tablecloths, clothing, toys and small kitchen appliances.
  • Pack your own jewelry, family heirlooms, sports memorabilia, photo albums or other invaluable objects. If the size allows, transfer them on your own too, either in the car or as carry-on luggage.
  • Before the movers arrive, it is necessary to clean and remove all major appliances. Which includes: refrigerator, dishwasher, stove, washing machine and dryer.
  • When you select a moving company check with them about transporting pets and plants because each state and country has its own requirements. If you move with these items, they may require a “plant/pet suitcase” of their own.
  • It is not a good idea to wait until the last minute to choose which items to bring with you. This doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process. Just work on one room or with one group of goods at a time. For example, you could list 10 items per week on Ebay or take 10 items to a consignment store. If it doesn’t work in one place, you wont be stuck. Here are some popular ways of getting rid of the items you no longer need:
    • Garage sale
    • Online auctions
    • Flea markets
    • Consignment stores
    • Donations to charity
  • Pack all important documents in one place:
    • Bank statements
    • Legal documents
    • Medical records
    • School records
    • Tax records
    • Military records
    • Mortgage records
    • Veterinarian records
    • Passports
    • Marriage license
    • Birth certificates
    • Stock certificates
    • Insurance papers, receipts and pictures of valuable items
    • Vehicle titles, insurance papers