A Commonly Undervalued Item: Boxes and How to Make Them Work for You

packing - moving - boxesBoxes---the single most vital thing for any relocation. Whether you are moving old bowling trophies to the basement or relocating your entire household across the country, you definitely can’t do to without a box, or even a lot. There are lots of varying sizes, and specific-use boxes, it can be really overwhelming when you are standing there staring at piles of cardboard that are somehow going to completely change themselves into functional packing containers.

The first thing to know is that while boxes are not created precisely the same, they are very autonomous in that you can utilize just about any box for just about anything. The catch is in being on your toes about what to pack in which box--and forget what the box is named, go ahead and put your golf clubs in the wardrobe box, if it seems right. The other thing smart folks (that includes you) do is not to put too much in the boxes so they weigh too much. You're going to be moving a lot of them, and six 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 stuff like books or small appliances. Knickknacks are best in these small boxes as you can put a complete collection in one box. You may see heavy-duty boxes, but just because you can pack more weight 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 easily move two of these in unison.

The next size up is 3.1 cubic feet. This is where you will stow shoes, toys, pots and pans--things that aren't super 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's going to be difficult to pick-up and move.

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

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

Specialty Boxes

These are intended for moving one certain sort of item, but are useful for lots of other items, too. While they are a bit more expensive, are well worth the cost in convenience of packing options and security.

Dish pack

A dish pack is a box with a double 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 paper or use the newer foam sleeves--slide the plate or glass into the sleeve and set it in the box. Some boxes have inserts for glasses, so they stand up in their spot and do not get bumped by their neighbor. A dish box is perfect for stereo components, lamp bases, or anything delicate that you don't want in the regular boxes.

Wardrobe Box

A wardrobe box is precisely what it sounds like. It's taller than the 6.1 CF box, is about 10 CF, and is a heavy-duty cardboard that's constructed to stand up while in transit. It has a hanger bar that attaches near the top, so you can move your clothes on hangers with ease. 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, as well.

Mirror Box

A mirror box comes in numerous sizes, but they are all usually flat, and large. They're 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 initial step towards a successful move.