A Commonly Neglected Item: Boxes and How to Use Them Properly

packing - moving - boxesBoxes---the single most vital thing for any move. Whether you're moving old tennis trophies to the garage or relocating your entire home across the country, you unquestionably can’t do to without a box, or even a lot. There are lots of different sizes, and specific-use boxes, it can be very paralyzing when you're standing there looking at mountains of cardboard that are somehow going to convert themselves into functional packing vessels.

The first thing to know is that while boxes are not created precisely the same, they are somewhat democratic in that you can utilize just about any box for just about any item. The feat is in being smart about what to pack in which box--and forget what the box is titled, go ahead and put your golf clubs in the wardrobe box, if it feels right. The other thing witty folks (that includes you) do is not to put too much in the boxes so they weigh a lot. You're going to be moving a lot of them, and seven pounds seems like fifty after a while.

Sizes and Weight

Boxes are classified in cubic feet. The smallest moving box is usually 1.5 CF, and is what you'll use for bulky things like books or small appliances. Knickknacks are best in these small boxes as you can put an entire collection in one box. You may see heavy-duty boxes, but just because you can pack more things into a box does not mean you should, unless you have a heavy-duty back to lift the weightier boxes. These boxes often have grips for easier moving and an normal height person can usually move a couple of these in unison.

The next size larger is 3.1 cubic feet. This is where you can stow shoes, toys, pots and pans--things that aren't very heavy. Some of these boxes also have the built-in grips and are a bit more unwieldy than the smaller box, so don't overload this size or it is going to be no fun to pick-up and move.

Linens, jackets, towels, and clothes go in the 4.5 CF boxes. They're large and deep, and again, do not overload them because the bulk makes even the lightly packed ones a challenge to move unless you are vertically gifted.

The largest standard boxes are 6.1 cubic feet. This is where you pack pillows, lampshades, blankets, and anything that's sizeable but lightweight.

Specialty Boxes

These are designed for moving a certain sort of thing, but are useful for lots of other things, too. While they are a bit more costly, are well worth the cost in convenience of packing options and protection.

Dish pack

A dish pack is a box with a second layer of corrugated cardboard. Do not think you can only pack dishes in these, they are meant to protect anything fragile. A dish pack is anywhere between the 1.5 and 3.1 CF size, and you can either wrap items individually in plain newsprint or use the newer foam sleeves--slide the plate or glass into the sleeve and put it in the box. Some boxes have inserts for glasses, so they stand up in their spot and don't get bumped by their neighbor. A dish box is perfect for stereo components, lamp bases, or anything delicate that you do not want in the regular boxes.

Wardrobe Box

A wardrobe box is exactly what it sounds like. It's taller than the 6.1 CF box, is about 10 CF, and is a heavy-duty cardboard that is built to stand up while in transit. It has a hanger bar that attaches near the top, so you can move your hanging clothes more easily. The normal height for a wardrobe box is about 46 inches, so you can use them to move things like dining room chairs or those golf clubs, too.

Mirror Box

A mirror box comes in a variety of sizes, but they are all somewhat flat, and large. They are what you use for artwork and mirrors, but also flat screen TVs, computer monitors, large platters, or even tennis rackets.

Don't neglect the proper packing supplies--lots of paper, tape and bubble wrap--but knowing your boxes is the opening step to a smooth move.