All Moving Supplies Are Not Created Equal

by Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group 

Moving SuppliesThere is something about a big pile of boxes and spools of packing tape that is invigorating—here is your excuse to sort through all your stuff and gingerly pack your valuables, so when you reach your new home 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 sequence of events truly unfolds, and you're not running around the home like a loon mixing heirloom china in with the set of encyclopedias, make sure you have the correct packing supplies for your moving job.

Boxes and tape are a few of the most important supplies for packing, but all boxes and tape are NOT similar in quality. It is okay to throw a few coffee mugs in an old microwave box and store it in the top of the pantry, but to pack, stack, and move that box, it will fall down like a house of cards and you'll end up with a lot of broken ceramic pieces.

If you're packing yourself, do some research into the materials prior to getting started. If you're hiring a moving company to handle the actual moving, they will probably have the best heavy-duty boxes, tape, and wrapping stuff you'll want to use. If not, storage facilities, big box stores, and the internet are acceptable sources to get your supplies, but since you cannot do tactile research over the internet, don't count on reviews to help you—everyone packs differently and "sturdy" and "solid" are very subjective words.

Look for 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 load them on the truck they don't crumple. There are different degrees of toughness within the corrugated world, so you may get the box strength you need for a specific item--go with the most rugged boxes for the most fragile and the bulkiest things you'll pack.

While you're purchasing boxes, make sure and get plenty of the small ones--heavy belongings go in small boxes, bulky lightweight things go in the larger boxes. For instance, books weigh quite a bit and should be packed in a small box. Throws and throw pillows are comparatively light and go in the bigger ones.

Picking up cheap, low quality tape is where a lot of DIY movers get discouraged. If it is cheap, it won't adhere well. Worse, it will stick to itself coming out of the gun and splinter in small little pieces and then you have to pick off the needle end and try to get it to unstick in a single piece. Splurge on a decent-quality gun or two with a padded handle—you'll be overjoyed you did when you are seventy-five boxes in with a hundred more to go. It's also a good idea to buy your tape in bulk--it costs less and you can usually return what you might not use.

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

Newsprint is definitely the best choice for pretty much everything--from packing mugs (thread a twisted end through the handle and put the other ends inside once it's wrapped) to books to small appliances.

Bubble wrap can be costly, but purchase the good stuff anyway, since those are the items that you will use it for. The bubble size differs, but a decent guideline is for your bubble size to couple the item size—keep the big bubbles for lining around the entire box. Touch the wrap before you buy, and observe how strong it is when you twist and pull it. If it's not strong or doesn't feel like the bubbles hold, try another brand.

If you have not moved for a while, and you go hunting for boxes, be ready to be astounded at the choices you have. When your parents moved, they might have bought their tape and boxes and had the whole neighborhood saving newspapers for a long time. Now, there are bunches of specialty moving supplies you'll see in the stores—a few are definitely worth the extra cost, some are just reinventing the wheel—it's up to you to discern what is going to be best for you situation. Again, make positive you are buying decent quality--you don't want your mattresses in flimsy plastic sheeting.

  • Dish packs are strong boxes meant for dishes. They may have pieces of corrugated paper to keep between the dishes so you don't have to wrap individually.
  • Glass packs are like the dish boxes, except they contain the lightweight cardboard insert that fits between the glass.
  • Wardrobe boxes are also strong, tall, and have a bar for hanging clothes.
  • Specialty boxes for mirrors and TVs are shallow and large.

Now that you've got the smaller items under control, you need to think about how you are going to move the heavy things out the door--the dressers, the lawn mower, the grill--but don't fear, help is right around the corner. For a few of these things renting equipment is the best thing to do.

Your furniture is more susceptible to damage than you probably realize--surface dings and scrapes are entirely too common when things come off the truck. You can negate this damage with some simple protection; again, make sure you're buying or renting acceptable quality materials that hold up to a lot of wear and tear.

  • Moving blankets are crucial. You can purchase or rent them. Most moving companies and storage facilities will be able to help you with them. Remember that while buying is usually less costly, renting may be the best choice. The ones you buy are usually a synthetic fabric with padding and are alright for some things, but if you're moving wood furniture of much value you will be better off with a thick cotton pad with more batting in between the layers, which is best rented (you could pick them up and return them with the truck). If you think you will use ten, rent twenty—especially if you opt to buy the cheaper ones--double wrap.
  • Shrink wrap that comes on a big, double handled roll secures the pads in place on the sizable pieces, and covers just about anything. Get an almost opaque plastic that's going to hold up against boxes and corners--get the most puncture-proof plastic you are able to find.
  • Foam padding comes in handy for corners, you can buy a roll of heavy foam, just be careful that it is high density and won't rip easily.

The last items you will require are for the really heavy and bulky stuff. Unless you happen to have these items already, it would be best.

  • The best hand trucks are the heavy-duty ones that are appliance weight, and have straps to secure the thing you are moving. They also tip backward, to provide you better leverage against the weight of the couch or washer or whatever you've strapped on.
  • Dollies are flat pallets on wheels that work best if there are not any stairs that you will have to navigate. They are excellent for smaller dressers or anything that is heavy and flat on the bottom; make sure the dolly you obtain is padded on the slats.
  • Body straps assist you to evenly distribute the weight of extremely bulky items on your body. They're typically used in pairs as to takes two people to move the big things, especially down stairs. When you rent these, make sure the straps and buckles are easy to use, and not frayed or broken.

No matter how you're actually transporting your home, your local moving company will be able to provide you with all of the speciality items you will require to move. Just remember that you're moving your entire life in these boxes, so be sure that your moving supplies are sufficient for the job.