The following tips from a movers’ perspective are offered for review. These tips can save you time and money but may not apply to every relocation.
It is strongly recommended that only quality materials be used. Use boxes specifically made for the moving industry since these come in uniform sizes, are made with specific applications and are pre-labeled for name, content and room.
Use standard packing paper (which is nothing more than unprinted newspaper.) Bubble wrap provides excellent protection for fragile items as does foam wrap, tissue paper, and peanuts.
Best Way to Avoid Damage & Loss
To avoid damage, lost, and missing items, pack EVERYTHING except the furniture. Open boxes and bags full of stuff don’t move well and are very time-consuming to handle, again, possibly costing you more money in time and labor. To best facilitate your move, on move day, only furniture and boxes should be ready for the movers.
Use Carton Sealing Tape
Use only carton sealing tape which is normally a thin vinyl tape 2 inches wide using rubber based adhesive. Do not use masking, electric, or duct tape since they don’t stick well to cardboard. Trust us, it is a nerve-rattling experience when the bottom falls out of a customer-packed box dumping the contents on the ground, particularly if the box is full of china!
Crush-Proof Your Boxes
It also helps to completely pack boxes, leaving no empty spaces, thus avoiding a box from being crushed when stacked inside the truck. If necessary, fill empty spaces in a box of balled up packing paper, towels, blankets or packing peanuts.
If You Don’t Use Moving Boxes…
If “moving” boxes are not used, boxes of uniform size load most easily saving time and money in labor costs.
How to Pack High Value Items
Clearly mark all boxes containing high value items and record an inventory control number for cross referencing at delivery. It is also recommended that you leave these boxes open for the movers to inspect and “sign off” confirming the high value contents of the box.
What to Put in Different Size Boxes
As a general rule when packing, the heavier the item, the smaller the box. For example, books, tools, etc., should be packed into small boxes, while light items such as blankets and pillows should be packed into larger boxes. It helps to remember that movers are only human and have to pick up and carry every box.
The “Golden Calf”
Clearly marking boxes with valuable items, inventory control numbers and sign-off inspections put everyone on notice and greatly simplifies the claims process in the event of loss or damage. In moving parlance this is called the “golden calf.” At time of delivery an unmarked box is missing and inevitably it turns out that the box contained an irreplaceable and expensive “golden calf.” The mover then asks you to provide proof. Help us prevent this problem, by proving it in advance.
Two Special Boxes
Clearly mark and set aside 2 boxes. It is especially helpful if these boxes stand boldly out in some manner of color or marking
Box #1 – The “First Open” Box
The first box will be labeled the “first open” box. In it should be packed all the stuff that you will want and need when you first arrive at your new residence. It may be late when the movers finally leave you to your new home, tired and bleary eyed, facing a mountain of boxes to be unpacked. The “first open” box should contain all that you need to tide you over until you have the energy and patience to unpack.
Recommended items are:
- paper towels
- toilet paper
- an assortment of tools
- light bulbs extension cords
- coffee maker, cups and coffee
- aspirin and any daily medications
Box #2, The “Last Box”
The second box should be labeled the “last box.” This all-important box will be your catch-all box for all the last minute items that weren’t packed. Believe me, it will be the box you find yourself still putting stuff into even as the movers begin locking up the truck to leave. All the hardware removed from disassembled furniture should go in this box, remote controls, the phone, the teapot under the sink that you forgot, and all the rest of the stuff that didn’t get packed in the “first box.”
Make sure that all important papers, medicine, checkbook, and other such critical items are set aside and not packed not to be found when they are needed. That trip to your new house cross country won’t start well if your airplane tickets and travelers checks are accidentally packed and loaded into the truck forcing you to demand the movers to unload the truck so you can unpack 50 boxes to find these “misplaced” items.
When moving appliances, determine in advance if the necessary water, gas and electric hookups are in place at the new residence. If not, make arrangements, or have the mover make arrangements to have this done.
If moving plants on a local move, do not water them on move day. Normally, a good watering the day before will be sufficient to sustain them. The added water weight may break the pot and/or spill mud everywhere. Moving plants interstate is not always possible and needs to be arranged in advance with the moving company.
All fragile items such as lamps, glasses, dishes, glass, etc., should be packed standing up and not on their side. Fragile items move most safely if the least amount of surface area supports that items weight. Obviously, this doesn’t mean that you should pack a delicate figurine so that it stands on an outstretched finger. Such a delicate piece should be packed on its base AND NOT LAYING ON ITS SIDE.
Animals, especially cats, may become upset during the moving process. It is a good idea to secure your animal in a cage on move day to prevent the animal from running off. Another helpful idea is to take some soil from your current yard and spread it around your new yard. This can make a cat feel more at home in the new neighborhood and has been known to calm and keep the animal from running away.
Do not cram your desk, cabinets and drawers with stuff to avoid packing. Heavy items might break the drawer bottoms out, but most importantly, items “packed” in this manner cannot be properly accounted for. Incidentally, table lamps, lampshades, pictures, and silk plants ARE NOT FURNITURE. These and similar items should be packed.
A moving company cannot be responsible for money, jewelry, coin collections, and or gold bullion, therefore please make arrangements to transport these items by other means. It is also a good idea to leave all boxes containing guns and electronics open so the movers can record the model and serial numbers on the inventory. This is a mutually beneficial precaution.
Items We Can Not Move
The following items should not be packed as they cannot be moved by the movers. Although this is not an exhaustive list it gives the general idea. Do not pack ammunition, flammables, matches, paints, aerosol cans, propane canisters, and any other dangerous, explosive and/or flammable liquids substances or gases. Propane tanks can only be loaded onto the truck if they have been certified purged by a professional. Normally, the vendor who refills propane tanks can also purge them and issue a certification.
Now that you think you are finished…
Just when you think the packing is finally done, take a deep breath and walk around the house and yard. Remember, when you are done packing, the only things left in your home should be sealed boxes and empty furniture. Look in the rafters, under the beds, in the attic, etc., for any forgotten items. Many a heirloom has been lost in this manner, forgotten in the attic, by neglecting this simple precaution.