All Moving Supplies Are Not Created Equal

by Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group 

Moving SuppliesThere's something about a large bundle of boxes and spools of packing tape that is refreshing—here's your opportunity to sift through all your stuff and carefully pack your treasures, so when you reach your new house and begin unpacking the boxes it will seem just like your birthday when you were a kiddo. Imagine for a few seconds that's how the entire scenario actually develops, and you're not scampering through the abode like a loon mixing heirloom china in with the set of encyclopedias, make sure you've got 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 microwave box and put 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 lots broken crockery.

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 handle 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 obtain your supplies, but since you can't do tactile research over the internet, do not count 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 allows for structure and strength, so when you load them on the truck they do not crumple. There are varying amounts of toughness within the corrugated world, so you should buy the box strength you need for a particular item--go with the strongest duty boxes for the most delicate and the heaviest items you'll pack.

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

Picking up bargain, low quality tape is where lots of DIY movers get stymied. If it's low-quality, it will not adhere well. Worse, it will stick to itself coming out of the gun and splinter in small little pieces and then you have to work at it and attempt to get it to unstick in one piece. Splurge on a good-quality 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's also a grand idea to buy your tape in bulk--it costs less and you can generally return what you do not use.

Moving SuppliesThere are several alternatives for padding inside the boxes. Old towels and sheets are wonderful when you need something lining the box, such as when you're packing shoes and do not want them banging around.

Newsprint is by far the best alternative for pretty much everything--from swaddling 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 expensive, but buy the good stuff anyway, since those are the items that you'll use it for. The bubble size differs, but a decent 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 before you buy, and observe how strong it is when you squeeze and pull it. If it's not strong 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 astounded 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 a long time. Now, there are bunches of specialty moving supplies you'll discover when you go shopping—several are definitely worth the extra money, some are just reinventing the wheel—it's up to you to decide what's going to be best for you situation. 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 contain pieces of corrugated paper to separate the pieces so you do not have to wrap each piece.
  • Glass packs are like the dish boxes, except they have the lightweight cardboard insert that separates the glass.
  • Wardrobe boxes are also heavy, tall, and contain a bar for hanging clothes.
  • Specialty boxes for mirrors and TVs are shallow and large.

Now that you have your smalls under control, focus on 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 might realize--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 getting 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 have them. Although buying is usually less costly, renting may be the best choice. The pads you buy are usually a cheap fabric with padding and are fine for some items, but if you're moving wood furniture of much value you are much 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 choose to purchase the cheaper ones--double wrap.
  • Shrink wrap that comes on a large, double handled roll secures the blankets in place on the large pieces, and covers 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 best used 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 work best if there aren't any stairs involved. They're perfect 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.

However 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.