All Moving Supplies Are Not Created Equal

by Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group 

Moving SuppliesThere's something about a tall stack of boxes and spools of packing tape that is refreshing—here is your excuse to sift through all your possessions and gingerly wrap your prized possessions, so when you reach your new home and begin unpacking the boxes it will feel just like your birthday when you were a little one. Pretend for a few seconds that is how the entire scenario actually unwinds, and you are not scampering through the house like a maniac tossing heirloom crystal in with the set of encyclopedias, make sure you have the right packing supplies for your moving task.

Boxes and tape are some of the most important components of packing, and all boxes and tape are NOT of the same quality. It is okay to put random coffee mugs in an old shoe box and put it on the top shelf 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 crockery.

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 most likely have the best heavy-duty boxes, tape, and wrapping paper you will need. If not, storage facilities, big box stores, and the internet are good places to obtain your supplies, but since you cannot do tactile research over the internet, don't count on reviews to help you—everybody packs differently and "sturdy" and "solid" are highly subjective terms.

Find boxes that are corrugated--a layer of wavy fiber between the inner and outer layers of heavy cardboard. The corrugated helps with structure and strength, so when you stack them on the moving van they do not crumple. There are varying grades of rigidity within the corrugated world, so you may get the box stability you need for a specific item--go with the sturdiest boxes for the most delicate and the bulkiest items you'll pack.

While you are purchasing boxes, load up on the small ones--heavy belongings go in small boxes, bulky lightweight things go in the larger boxes. For instance, books are relatively heavy and should be put in a small box. Blankets and throw pillows are comparatively light and can be placed in the bigger ones.

Picking up inexpensive, low quality tape is where lots of DIY packers get stymied. If it's cheap, it won't adhere well. Worse, it will stick to itself when it is dispensed out of the gun and splinter in small little slivers and then you have to pick at it for quite a while and aim to get it to unstick in a single piece. Be extravagant and purchase a good-quality gun or two with a padded handle—you'll be overjoyed you did when you are sixty boxes in with a lot more to pack. It's also a good idea to buy your tape in bulk--it costs less and you can usually return what you don't use.

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

Newsprint is definitely the best alternative for nearly everything--from wrapping mugs (thread a twisted end through the handle and stick the other ends inside once it's wrapped) to books to small appliances.

Bubble wrap can be costly, but buy the good stuff anyway, since those are the items that you will use it for. The bubble size varies, 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 make sure of how strong it is when you twist and pull it. If it is not strong or doesn't feel like the bubbles hold, try another brand.

If you have not moved in a while, and you go hunting for boxes, prepare to be amazed at the options you have. If your parents moved, they got their tape and boxes and had the entre neighborhood retaining newspapers for months. Today, there are bunches of specialty moving supplies you will see when you go shopping—several are definitely worth the extra expense, some are just reinventing the wheel—it is up to you to decide what's going to be best for you. Remembe, be positive you're getting acceptable quality--you do not need your mattresses in flimsy plastic sheeting.

  • Dish packs are heavy duty boxes meant 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 include the lightweight cardboard insert that goes inbetween 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 the smaller items under control, you need to think about how you are going to get the bulky items out the door--the furniture, the lawn mower, the grill--but don't be anxious, help is right around the corner. For moving several of these items renting equipment is the easiest way to go.

Your furniture is more susceptible to damage than you probably realize--surface dings and scrapes are super common when items come off the truck. You can sidestep these with some key protection; again, be sure you're obtaining decent quality materials that stand up to the rigors of moving.

  • Moving blankets are crucial. 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 might be better. The pads you purchase are most of the time a synthetic fabric with padding and are fine for some items, but if you're moving wood furniture of a lot of value you will be better off with a thick cotton pad with more batting in between the layers, which is best rented (you can pick them up and return them with the truck). If you calculate you will use ten, rent twenty—especially if you decide to get the lower quality ones--double wrap.
  • Shrink wrap that is sold on a large, double handled roll secures the blankets in place on the sizable pieces, and protects just about anything. Buy an almost opaque plastic that is able to hold up against boxes and corners--get the most puncture-proof plastic you can find.
  • Foam padding comes in handy for corners, you should plan on buying a roll of heavy foam, just be careful that it's decent quality and won't rip easily.

The last things you'll require are for the big time heavy and bulky things. Unless you happen to have 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 sofa or dryer or whatever you have strapped on.
  • Dollies are flat pallets on wheels that are ideal if there are not any stairs involved. They're excellent for smaller dressers or anything that's heavy and flat on the bottom; make sure the one 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 typically used in pairs as to takes two people to move the big things, especially down stairs. If you rent these, be sure the straps and buckles are easy to use, and not frayed or broken.

No matter how you are actually transporting your home, your local moving company will be able to provide you with all of the materials you'll require to move. Just keep in mind that you're moving your entire life in these boxes, so be sure that your moving supplies are up to the task.