Packing tips from the pros
BY World Special Publications
Monday, August 27, 2012
Before you decide to do your packing yourself, consider the responsibilities. Sure, it takes time and energy to get the job done right, but doing it yourself can be a real money-saver, even if you’re paying a mover to load the truck.
Packing guidelines for your professional move
If you decide to do some of the packing yourself, you’ll need to have everything properly packed and ready for loading when the van arrives.
Moving company representatives will inspect your boxes and if they think items are improperly packed or cartons are susceptible to damage, they may refuse to load the items until they are repacked.
Generally things from garages, attics and storage spaces, such as holiday decorations and sentimental items are the ones that need to be repacked. Look for cartons that are torn, ripped, soiled, will not close or cannot be sealed. Replace those with fresh boxes. Another repacking giveaway is if you can hear the contents rattle when you shake the box. In that case, add more padding.
Use new, high-quality packing materials specifically designed for moving to better ensure your items will safely arrive. Professional moving cartons come in a variety of shapes and sizes that are specifically suited to fit a variety of household goods. Look into barrels, for example, as they are great ways of loading a lot of odd-shaped items into one large container.
Wrapping how to’s
Before packing cartons, you’ll need to wrap most items to protect them from scratching and breakage. There are a variety of materials available, including bubble pack, foam peanuts and tissue. However, most professionals use bundles of clean, unprinted newsprint (available at your moving supply store).
Start by placing a small stack of paper on a flat, uncluttered table or countertop. Round glasses and jars can be rolled up in two or three sheets of paper; always begin from a corner of the sheet and fold the sides in as you roll. Large or odd-shaped items require a similar technique. Place them in the center of the sheet and bring the corners together. (It may be necessary to flip the item over and wrap it again from the other side.) If in doubt, use more paper. When the corners come together, secure them with tape.
Before packing each carton, line the bottom with a few inches of wadded paper for padding. Then place large, heavy items on the bottom and lighter, more fragile items on the top. Plates, books and things of a similar shape, should be loaded vertically to utilize their own maximum structural strength. Don’t overload cartons; keep them to a manageable weight. Fill in any voids and top off loaded cartons with wadded paper. Then tape cartons securely to avoid shifting while en route.
Follow these tips to thwart confusion:
• Use a broad, felt-tipped marker.
• Clearly mark your name, the room it should go to and contents on each box.
• Indicate “FRAGILE” on delicates; “THIS END UP” where appropriate.
Tips from the pros
Most movers suggest you start with out-of-season items. Next, pack things used infrequently. Leave until the last minute things you’ll need until moving day. Here are some more helpful hints.
• Empty drawers of breakables, spillables, non-transportable items and anything that would puncture or damage other items.
• Pack similar items together.
• Keep all parts or pairs of things together.
• Wind electrical cords, fastening them so they do not dangle.
• Wrap items individually in clean paper. Use tissue paper, paper towels or even facial tissue for fine china, crystal and delicate items. Colored wrapping paper draws attention to very small things that might otherwise get lost in a carton. Use a double layer of newsprint for a good outer wrapping.
• Use newspapers for cushioning only. The ink can rub off and embed itself onto fine china.
• Place a two- or three-inch layer of crushed paper in the bottom of cartons for cushioning.
• Build up the layers, with the heaviest things on the bottom, medium weight next and lightest on top.
• As each layer is completed, fill in empty spaces firmly with crushed paper and add more crushed paper to make a level base for the next layer, or use sheets of cardboard cut from cartons as dividers.
• Cushion well with crushed paper; towels and lightweight blankets may also be used for padding and cushioning. The more fragile the item, the more cushioning needed.
• Limit carton weight to about 50 pounds. Avoid overloading cartons but strive for a firm pack that will prevent items from shifting; the cover should close easily without force but should not bend inward.
• Seal cartons tightly with tape except for those containing items that must be left open for the van operator’s inspection.
• As you finish with each carton, list the contents on the side of the carton (for easy viewing while stacked) and in a special notebook. You might want to number and/or code the cartons as well.
If you are doing the packing yourself, you’ll need to have everything ready for loading when the van arrives. micro10x/Shutterstock