All Moving Supplies Are Not Created Equal

by Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group 

Moving SuppliesThere's something about a large pile of boxes and spools of packing tape that is refreshing—here's your chance to sort through all your stuff and carefully pack your prized possessions, so when you reach your new house and commence unpacking the boxes it will seem just like your birthday when you were a little one. Imagine for a few seconds that's how the entire scenario truly develops, and you're not rushing through the home like a crazy person throwing heirloom china in with the set of encyclopedias, make sure you have the right packing supplies for your moving project.

Boxes and tape are some of the most vital equipment for packing, and all boxes and tape are NOT of the same quality. It is okay to throw random coffee mugs in an old toaster box and store it in the top of the pantry, but to pack, stack, and move that box, it will breakdown like a house of cards and you'll end up with a bunch of broken mugs.

If you are packing your things on your own, conduct some research into the materials prior to getting started. If you are employing a moving company to execute the actual moving, they will most likely have the right heavy-duty boxes, tape, and wrapping stuff you'll require. If not, storage facilities, big box stores, and the internet are good places to get your supplies, but since you can't do tactile research over the internet, do not rely on reviews to make your decision—everyone packs differently and "sturdy" and "solid" are very subjective terms.

Seek out boxes that are corrugated--a layer of wavy fiber between the inner and outer layers of heavy cardboard. The corrugated gives the box structure and strength, so when you put them on the truck they do not cave in. There are various grades of toughness within the corrugated world, so you should buy the box strength you need for a particular item--go with the sturdiest boxes for the most fragile and the heaviest items you'll pack.

While you are purchasing boxes, make sure and get plenty of the small ones--heavy items go in small boxes, bulky lighter ones go in the larger boxes. For example, books weigh a lot and should be put in a small box. Afghans and pillows are comparatively lightweight and can be packed in the bigger ones.

Picking up bargain, low quality tape is where lots of DIY movers get discouraged. If it's low-quality, it will not adhere well. Worse, it will stick to itself when it is dispensed out of the gun and splinter in small little pieces and then you have to work at it and try to get it to unstick in one piece. Splurge on a decent-quality gun or two with a padded handle—you will be pleased you did when you are eighty boxes in with a lot more to close. It's also a brilliant idea to buy your tape in bulk--it costs less and you can generally return what you might not use.

Moving SuppliesThere are several choices for padding inside the boxes. Old towels and sheets are amazing when you need something lining the box, for example when you're packing shoes and do not want them crashing around.

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

Bubble wrap can get costly, but purchase the good stuff anyway, since those are the items that you'll use it for. The bubble size differs, but a fair rule of thumb is for your bubble size to pair the item size—use the big bubbles for padding around the entire box. Feel the wrap prior to purchasing it, and observe how strong it is when you squeeze and pull it. If it's weak or doesn't feel like the bubbles hold, go with a different brand.

If you haven't moved for a while, and you go hunting for boxes, be ready to be amazed at the alternatives you have. If your parents moved, they might have bought their tape and boxes and had the whole neighborhood retaining newspapers for weeks. Now, there are bunches of specialty moving supplies you'll discover in the stores—several are definitely worth the extra money, some are just reinventing the wheel—it's up to you to discern what's going to be best for your move. Just remember, be positive you are purchasing good quality--you do not need your mattresses in unsubstantial plastic sheeting.

  • Dish packs are strong boxes designed for dishes. They may include pieces of corrugated paper to separate the pieces so you do not have to wrap individually.
  • Glass packs are like the dish boxes, except they have 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 are shallow and large.

Now that you have the boxes under control, you need to think about how you are going to move the big stuff out the door--the furniture, the lawn mower, the grill--but don't be anxious, help is right around the corner. In order to move several of these items renting equipment is the best way to go.

Your furniture is more susceptible to damage than you think--surface dents and scrapes are entirely too common when items come off the truck. You can negate these with some simple protection; again, be sure you're buying or renting good quality materials that hold up to the rigors of moving.

  • Moving blankets are a must. You can purchase or rent them. Most moving companies and storage facilities can rent or sell them to you. Although buying is usually less costly, renting may be the best choice. The blankets you buy are usually a thin fabric with padding and are fine for some items, but if you're moving wood furniture of much value you will be better off with a thick cotton pad with more batting in the middle, which are usually rented (you can get them and return them with the truck). If you calculate you need ten, rent twenty—this is especially true if you decide to purchase the cheaper ones--double wrap.
  • Shrink wrap that comes on a large, double handled roll keeps the blankets in place on the large pieces, and secures just about anything. Buy an almost opaque plastic that's able to hold up against boxes and corners--get the most puncture-proof plastic you can find.
  • Foam padding is excellent for corners, you can get a roll of heavy foam, but be careful that it's good quality and will not rip easily.

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

  • The best hand trucks are the heavy-duty ones that are appliance weight, and have straps to secure the item you're moving. They also tip backward, to give you better leverage against the weight of the couch or dryer or whatever you have strapped on.
  • Dollies are flat pallets on rollers that are ideal if there aren't any stairs involved. They're excellent for smaller dressers or anything that's heavy and flat on the bottom; make sure the one you get is padded on the slats.
  • Body straps help you to evenly distribute the weight of extremely bulky items on your body. They are commonly used in pairs as to takes two people to move the big things, especially down stairs. When you rent these, be sure the straps and buckles are easy to use, and not frayed or broken.

No matter how you're moving your residence, your local moving company will be able to provide you with all of the supplies you'll need to move. Just remember that you're moving your entire life in these boxes, so be positive that your moving supplies are acceptable to handle the task.