By Mary Holmes
On the surface, packing boxes seems like a pretty simple task. Buy some boxes, put your stuff in them, and tape them up – right? In reality, if you want your possessions to stay safe, there is much more to it. If you pack your own boxes and use a professional moving company, the issue of who is responsible for damage can get messy. The best way to avoid this situation is to prevent it - by packing your boxes safely. Here are five tips to help you get it right.
Size Does Matter – Picking the right box size is important. In general, heavy items such as books should be packed in smaller boxes so they are manageable. Big boxes can be used for light items such as bedding. For kitchen items, a dish barrel should be used because they are constructed of thicker cardboard and can handle a lot of weight. There are also specialty boxes for art, mirrors and hanging clothes. Lastly, although you may want to "recycle" a box that has been in your basement since the previous decade - be sure that it is in good enough shape to handle the load.
Don’t Skimp on Supplies – The right packing paper, tape, and other supplies are very important to ensure the safety of your possessions. Also, don’t skimp on the amount you use, e.g. put three strips of tape across the bottom of the box and three when closing the top, use paper intended for packing versus newspaper to ensure that your items don’t end up imprinted with the weekly news. Towels and pillows can be used to help protect items as well.
Learn How to Pack – There are some obvious rules here. Packing heavy items on the bottom of the box is self-explanatory. But other steps, such as creating a cushion on the bottom of a box that will have breakable items, may not be as obvious. These are called bumpers and here is a video that shows how to make them: Bumpers.
Another key is to pack the box tightly with no open spaces, i.e. nothing should shift in the box. This goes for the top of the box as well – if there is space at the top, you can use bumpers to close the gap. I would also recommend watching a video to learn how to pack specialty items such as art, mirrors and lamps.
Lastly, be organized about packing and don’t pack random items in the same box. It is best to pack by room with like items in the same box.
Be Efficient and Save Your Back – So this one isn’t actually about keeping your possessions safe, but equally as important. Setting up a good work space is crucial to ensuring both efficiency and your safety. This involves propping the box you are packing up to a level that you don’t have to bend to place your items. Also, have all the supplies you need within reaching distance, e.g. packing paper, tape, markers . . .
Have Your Marker Ready – You have made great strides if you follow all of the above steps, but remember: what you pack, you must later unpack. To ensure that the unpacking process goes smoothly, marking what room the box should be moved into and what is in the box is crucial. And don’t just write this information on the top of the box. Since boxes are typically stacked on top of each other, you should also write this information on the side of the box.
You should also write “fragile, top load only” on boxes that are extremely fragile and “do not use knife” if there is an items close to the top of the box that can be damaged by the utility knife that you will probably use to cut boxes open during unpacking.
There are many more tricks to make packing efficient and keep your items safe, but this is a good start. If you want more information, please contact us and we will be happy to help: Contact Us.