I am sure most of you have had the tedious task of packing for a move but do not know what to pack or even where to start. Here is my story on how I perfected the proper way to pack for a successful move ensuring your items arrive at your new home safely.
Growing up in a military family and then marrying into the military, I have had my fair share of moves, 13 in total just with the military and over 30 packing and moving jobs for various clients. Of course, I had no say in how a moving company operated their business and had to sit on the side lines watching them randomly pack our belongings to be stored or moved. I could not understand their packing process at such a young age and really, it didn’t matter at that time as I knew mom and dad would handle the unpacking on the other end. As I grew up and the next move was eminent, I watched very closely as the packing process began. I studied very closely their packing practices and did not understand why one box would hold items from different rooms. There has to be a better way to do this, I’m sure of it and I will find a way to perfect my own packing procedures and practices. Four years after I married, we were on the move again and this time, it was across the big pond, Europe! We were allowed to bring only a few boxes but most had to go into storage for 4 years. Moving day was approaching and I said, “I’ve got this, I am sure I can pack way better and know where my belongings will be located”. I started like most others and gathered enough newspapers to build my own home. Boxes and tape were dropped off previously by the moving company and it was now time to perfect my speciality.
I carefully selected which items to be packed, selected an appropriate box, taped it and lined the bottom of the box with newspaper. I carefully unfolded my gathered newspapers and began to wrap our belongings. Now, I need to perfect the proper way of wrapping my items so they make the long trek to their new home and staying intact during their journey. I selected a drinking glass to start. I placed it on the paper and carefully began to wrap it. Trust me, packing is an art!! How many items can I get into one box? What goes on the bottom? Can plates and drinking glasses go together? Can you pack metal and glass together? Do I want to pack room to room? As I watched the packing process of moving companies earlier, I often wondered why they would take items from various rooms just to fill a box. This really didn’t make sense because on the unpacking end, one box could contain items from 4 different rooms which meant running throughout your home dropping items off in its proper room. That was not going to be the case when I packed. It’s all about efficiency for me, and that’s exactly what I set out to do.
HOW TO PACK A BOX PROPERLY
- Boxes will become heavy and cumbersome if overloaded, especially with glassware and china. If all one set of a specific china pattern will not fit into one box, put it in two boxes and mark, box 1 of 2 and the second, 2 of 2.
- Select the proper box for the job. 1 to 1.5 Cube boxes are the perfect size for kitchen items, glassware and china.
- Use proper packing paper. Newspaper ink will rub off and you will have to wash your items after they are unpacked and also will leave your hands black.
- Use the proper packing tape. Check its strength. Cheaper might mean the bottom of the box letting go and your contents falling out and breaking.
- Use bubble wrap for delicate items such as porcelain figurines and fine china.
- If you are packing clothes, use wardrobe boxes. Bags and boxes will leave your clothes wrinkled.
- Wine boxes with inserts are perfect for packing wine glasses and porcelain figurines. They still need to be wrapped for safe shipping.
- Heavy items, such as plates, tureens and platters, if they fit, to be wrapped and packed on the bottom first, facing down.
- Plates, saucers and shallow bowls should be wrapped and placed face down. The biggest plates on the bottom first, then the next smaller size etc.
- If you are packing a plate set, place plates in the middle of the box. DO NOT PACK PLATES ON THEIR SIDE!! Just like tempered glass, plates are their weakest on the edges.
- Drinking glasses need to be wrapped and placed bottom down. Do not stack smaller glasses inside larger glasses. I guarantee, 1 of them will be broken.
- Wine glasses, not packed in wine boxes, must be wrapped making sure most of the wrapping paper is wrapped around the stem to protect it from being broken. Depending on your packing comfortability, you can pack wine glasses stem down or lip down. Stagger them to maximize your space. Stem up, next one stem down.
- Make sure rolled or crumpled paper is between the glassware and the box to secure your items from knocking together.
- NEVER!! pack metal objects with glass.
- ALWAYS pack the heaviest items on the bottom first.
- If your box is not completely packed, fill the top with crumpled paper and cut a box so that you can fit a piece of cardboard on the top.
- MAKE SURE the top of your box does not cave in. MAKE SURE IT’S FLAT!!
- Pack a box that you can lift.
- Stack the heaviest box on the bottom and lightest on top. Boxes with china in it, needs to be placed on top.
- NEVER pack liquid items if you are going to be storing them. Take them with you or give them away.
- Books can get very heavy fast. To ensure you can lift the box, wine boxes are perfect for books.
- When packing lamps, remove light bulbs, harps and shades. Wardrobe boxes are perfect for these items. If you have more than 1 lamp shade, place paper inside one and insert the next smallest one and repeat. Fill up empty shades with crumpled paper so the shades don’t crush. Wrap light bulbs that match the lamps and place them inside the shades.
- When taping a box, DO NOT SKIMP ON THE TAPE!! Use 2 strips of tape across where the flaps meet. Turn the box and tape in the opposite direction. Using 4 strips of tape will keep your boxes from falling apart. Do not tape over the handles.
- Use the same pattern when closing a box. Make sure where the flaps touch are sealed with tape. Pull as tight as you can to make sure the flaps are together.
- Soft plastics, like Tupperware and like materials, usually do not need to be wrapped but choose a box that will keep all your plastics together in one spot.
- Cookware needs to be packed in its own box. Heavy pans on the bottom first. Fill the box with like items. To ensure no items rattle, place paper between pots or pans and stuff enough paper throughout the box so nothing moves about.
- When packing cutlery, use the box the wrapping paper comes in and make sure it is also wrapped. This will ensure you won’t get a nasty cut when unpacking. Most cutlery trays will fit in these boxes perfectly and keep these items contained in one place.
- Pictures and mirrors are the most difficult items to pack. You can purchase special boxes for these item but if you are on a tight budget, you can make your own.
- Artificial flowers, if they are tall, can be packed in wardrobe boxes so that they will not be crushed.
- Bedding and pillows can also fit easily into wardrobe boxes as well.
- LABEL YOUR BOXES!! Most boxes have a place where you can list your items. These are normally located on top. This makes it very difficult to see when boxes are packed and stacked. Use bright coloured stickers, ex. Yellow for kitchen, blue for bathroom. Place stickers on the face of the box and place sticker in the same spot on each box so you can view it quickly. It the sticker is large enough, mark inside the sticker, MBDR, for master bedroom, DRM for dining room etc. Have your own system to identify your boxes and which rooms they will be placed in. Most packing boxes have bold black writing on them, so make sure you use a bold colour to offset the box maker and companies name. If you are storing your boxes, take a picture of its contents before you pack them and tape the picture on the face of the box for easy recognition. Use arrows and label them Up or Down for which the item stands. DO NOT OVER LABEL as this will make it confusing for the moving company or yourself.
- FINALLY!! If you shake your box and it makes a noise or rattle, something is more than likely to get broken…
Packing is not rocket science but it takes a lot of prep work and knowledge. It can be confusing and overwhelming.
If you are on the move and need help with your move or any organizing needs, please contact Pitcher Perfect. I can make a move a beautiful thing!!