You may have already decided to go with a moving company and let them do all the packing. If you have, then don’t bother to read any further.
Except to give you this one piece of advice.
Do not leave the packers by themselves. Stay right there and watch them. If they are packing more than one room at a time, have someone in each room watching what they do. I say this after the experience of losing a couple of valuable pieces of jewelry. I had forgotten them in a little chest on my dresser and they disappeared. The packers don’t like you to do this, but think of it as being for your own protection.
If you have decided to do the packing yourself, then I hope the following tips will help.
Pack the kitchen last. You will be doing the packing for several days and surely you don’t want take out pizza every night. Besides this is usually the room that is unpacked first, after the beds are made and you have a place to sleep.
Pack the things first that you will have no need for until you reach your destination.
Paintings, pictures – To pack your paintings, pictures and the like, you will need
what are called picture or mirror boxes. These are flat to begin with and the sides can be folded in to fit the size of your paintings. You can make these yourself by simply cutting open boxes and taping together the pieces. It is not difficult.
You can pack more than one picture or painting into a box; make sure you put a piece of cardboard between them. This is so they do not press together and ruin either the frame or the picture. Wrap each one in several sheets of paper first. They need protection. Do not force more pictures in the box than it will take comfortably. You are asking for trouble. If there are any empty spaces, push paper into them until nothing moves and they are stable.
Books – Pack your books into small boxes. The reason for this is simple, books are heavy and you do not want to break your back to lift them. Line the books up size, by size and again fill any empty holes with paper.
China – To pack your good china, you want a very sturdy box. Before you put any pieces into the box, crumble a few pieces of packing paper and place them into the bottom of the box. You could use bubble wrap if you choose. This is to provide a cushion for your dishes, helps to prevent breakage if the box is jarred.
Start with the largest pieces first. Platter. Plates, large bowls, etc. Do not pack each plate individually. Put a stack of paper on the table and place a plate on it. Wrap a couple of pieces of paper around that plate and then place another plate of top, continuing the process. No more than 4-5 plates, but this gives you a much sturdier package and will help prevent breakage. Stand your plates on end, not flat into the box. Dishes will withstand impact much better this way.
As you are packing this box, look around the house and find small articles that you could pack in with the china. Little knick-knacks or something of that nature. These little pieces help fill up a box and prevent there being large holes with nothing there. If there are any holes, it is important that you fill these voids with paper.
Instead of using a lot of paper to pack the china with, consider using towels, wash cloths, dish towels, anything of that nature. It will not only help cushion your china, it will also pack some of your linens.
When you have reached close to the top of your box, do not try to fill it all the way, you need more cushioning. Take a few pieces of packing paper and fold it to fit into the top of the box. Then take a few pieces and fold them so that they hang over the sides. When you close up the box, fold this paper right along with the flaps. Reason, it will strengthen the top of the box and make it much harder to crush. Mark this box clearly “CHINA” and put some arrows on it going up. Mark it “FRAGILE” as well.
Crystal – Packing your crystal is done in much the same way; cushion the bottom of the box first. Then wrap your glasses individually with the biggest ones at the bottom. Do not lay your glasses down on the side, stand them up. This makes them much less likely to break. Make sure you wrap them well, push paper down into each glass, not firm, just enough to cushion it. As you are layering your crystal, place a few folded pieced of paper between the layers; helps with cushioning. Mark this box clearly “CRYSTAL” and put some arrows on it going up. Also mark it “FRAGILE”
Lamps – Lamps should each be put into its own box. Do not lay them on their side, stand them up. I know there is still lots of room in that box, again use your linens to wrap around them and help fill up the box. You could also pack small articles in with your lamps, but nothing that might be big enough to shift and break them.
Carpets – Oriental or any room size carpets or rugs should be rolled to prevent creasing. Don’t just throw them onto a box. Go to your local upholstery or fabric shop and ask for the cardboard rolls that their fabric comes on. They should be happy to give them to you. Roll your carpet around these and wrap with packing paper and then with heavy paper, tape and label the room it came from or goes into.
If you do not have any heavy paper, open a few brown paper grocery bags and tape them together, big enough to fit around the carpet roll.
Small furniture – If you have any delicate or small pieces of furniture, create boxes for them. It is done with an exacto knife and tape. Shape your box as close to the piece as possible, but leaving it in some what of a square or rectangular shape. The box will prevent breakage, but boxing it will help in placing it into the moving van. It can just be placed in with the boxes. If extremely fragile, mark it “TOP LOAD ONLY“.
Trash can – If you are moving the trash or garbage can in the garage, clean it first and then use it to pack the garden hose and any small tools. Actually anything that will fit into it.
Pads – When using pads for your furniture; if necessary, tape the pads down. Make sure you do not get the sticky tape on your furniture anywhere. It will ruin your nice things. If you tape down and the pad does not fit everywhere, then use some paper behind the tape, or use the reverse tape method. Simply turn the tape over to the smooth side before it comes in contact with your furniture and then turn it over again to finish the taping.
TV, Computer – The best way to pack your television or your computer is in their original boxes. But you did not save them, who does. So find a box as close to the size as you possibly can and cover the items with bubble wrap, if you have it, or blankets. Virtually anything that will cushion them and keep them safe. Again make sure the box is full, with paper or something that will not let them move around. Leave no holes. Mark these boxes “FRAGILE” and with arrows pointing to the top.
CD’s, Tapes – CDs, video tapes or anything of that nature should be packed in small book boxes. If too large a box, they will be very heavy. Pack well with paper.
Plants – If you wish to take your plants with you, then water them well about 2 days before you are leaving. Then take a large plastic garbage bag, or the size you need, place the plant inside. Secure the top with a twist tie or rubber band. This will create a temporary hot house for your plant.
Food – If you have food stuffs that you don’t want to throw away or give to the neighbors, you can move them. But only pack into boxes and into the van items that have never been opened.
If there are opened items and you still want to take them, then take them in the auto with you. This goes for any oil, shortening or anything of that nature.
Bathroom – When packing your bathroom, do not pack fingernail polish remover or any petroleum product of any kind to go into the moving van.
Garage – When packing the garage, do not pack any spray paint, paint thinner, stain. Anything that could be potentially dangerous, like getting hot and starting a fire. Even insurance will not cover the cost if this turns out to be the case.
If you are wondering how I know all of this, well a lot of it I learned the hard way. But a professional mover will tell you, “There is no better packer than an Avon Lady or Antique Dealer”. I have been both.
In fact, I packed for a move from one state to another. Apparently I must have done well; the moving company offered me a job as a packer. I turned them down, packing my own things and being responsible for them is one thing. Doing it for someone else is quite another.