All Moving Supplies Are Not Created Equal

by Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group 
 

Moving SuppliesThere is something about a tall stack of boxes and rolls of packing tape that is invigorating—here is your opportunity to sift through all your possessions and gingerly pack your valuables, so when you reach your new residence and begin unpacking the boxes it will feel just like Christmas morning when you were a kiddo. Fantasize for a minute that is how the entire scenario really unwinds, and you are not rushing through the abode like a crazy person throwing heirloom crystal in with the set of encyclopedias, be sure you purchase the best packing supplies for your moving job.

Boxes and tape are a few of the most critical supplies for packing, but all boxes and tape are NOT of the same quality. It's acceptable to put random coffee mugs in an old shoe box and stick it on the top shelf of the pantry, but to pack, stack, and transport that box, it will collapse like a house of cards and you will end up with lots broken ceramic pieces.

If you are packing your things on your own, conduct some research into the materials before you get started. If you are employing a moving company to handle the actual moving, they will most likely have the correct heavy-duty boxes, tape, and wrapping stuff you'll require. If not, storage facilities, big box stores, and the internet are acceptable sources to obtain your supplies, but since you cannot do tactile research digitally, do not count on reviews to make your decision—everybody 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 corrugation gives the box structure and strength, so when you put them on the moving van they don't cave in. There are varying grades of toughness within the corrugated department, so you can purchase the box stability you need for a given item--go with the strongest duty boxes for the most breakable and the bulkiest things you'll pack.

While you are buying boxes, make sure and get plenty of the small ones--heavy belongings go in small boxes, bulky lighter ones go in the bigger boxes. For instance, books are relatively heavy and should be put in a small box. Blankets and throw pillows are comparatively lightweight and can be packed in the larger ones.

Purchasing inexpensive, low quality tape is where lots of DIY movers get discouraged. If it's cheap, it won't stick well. Worse, it will stick to itself coming out of the gun and tear in small little slivers and then you have to work at it and try to get it to unstick in one piece. Splurge on a good-quality gun or two with a padded handle—you will be overjoyed you did when you're seventy-five boxes in with a ninety more to go. It's also a grand idea to get your tape in bulk--it costs less and you can usually return what you might not use.

Moving SuppliesThere are several alternatives for padding inside the boxes. Old towels and sheets are wonderful when you require something lining the box, for example when you're packing shoes and don't want them banging around.

Newsprint is by far the best alternative for nearly everything--from packing mugs (thread a twisted end through the handle and stick the rest inside once it's wrapped) to books to kitchen items.

Bubble wrap can get expensive, but get the good stuff anyway, since that's what you'll use it for. The bubble size differs, but a decent rule of thumb is for your bubble size to match the item size—keep the big bubbles for padding around the entire box. Touch the wrap before you purchase it, and see how strong it is when you twist and pull it. If it is fragile or doesn't feel like the bubbles hold, look for a different brand.

If you have not moved for a while, and you go looking for boxes, be ready to be amazed at the options you have. When your parents moved, they got their tape and boxes and had the whole neighborhood saving newspapers for weeks. Today, there are a lot of specialty moving supplies you will discover in the stores—a few are really worth the extra cost, some are just reinventing the wheel—it's up to you to discern what's going to work best for your move. Again, make positive you're buying good quality--you do not want your mattresses in unsubstantial plastic sheeting.

  • Dish packs are heavy duty boxes designed for dishes. They might have pieces of corrugated paper to separate the pieces so you don't have to wrap individually.
  • Glass packs are like the dish boxes, except they include 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 your smalls under control, you need to think about how you are going to get the big stuff out the door--the dressers, the lawn mower, the grill--but do not fear, help is right around the corner. In order to move some of these things renting equipment is the easiest thing to do.

Your furniture is more delicate than you might realize--surface dings and scrapes are super common when things come off the truck. You can sidestep these issues with some key protection; again, be sure you are obtaining acceptable quality materials that stand up to the rigors of moving.

  • Moving blankets are essential. You can buy or rent them. Most moving companies and storage facilities can rent or sell them to you. Remember that while buying is cheap, renting may be better. The pads you purchase are usually a cheap fabric with padding and are alright for some things, 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 can be rented (you could get them and return them with the truck). If you anticipate that you will use ten, get twenty—this is especially true if you opt to get the lower quality ones--double wrap.
  • Shrink wrap that comes on a large, double handled roll keeps the pads in place on the big pieces, and covers just about anything. Look for an almost opaque plastic that is going to hold up against boxes and corners--get the most puncture-proof plastic you can find.
  • Foam padding is best used for corners, you should plan on buying a roll of heavy foam, just be careful that it is decent quality and won't rip easily.

The last things you will want to have are for the super heavy and bulky stuff. Unless you happen to have these already, plan to rent.

  • The best hand trucks are the heavy-duty ones that are appliance weight, and have straps to tighten down the thing you're moving. They also tilt, to provide you better leverage against the weight of the davenport or washer or whatever you've strapped on.
  • Dollies are flat pallets on wheels that are ideal if there aren't any stairs in the moving path. They are good for smaller chests or anything that's heavy and flat on the bottom; make sure the dolly you rent is carpeted on the slats.
  • Body straps help you to evenly distribute the weight of super bulky items on your body. They are usually utilized in pairs as to takes two people to move the big things, especially down stairs. If you obtain these, make sure the straps and buckles are easy to use, and not frayed or broken.

However you're actually transporting your household, your local moving company will be able to help you with all of the materials you'll need to move. Just remember that you're putting your whole life in these boxes, so be sure that your moving materials are up to the task.