Packing Tips: Choosing the Right Packing Supplies

girl sitting with boxesProper packing is essential for a stress-free move across the country. Grabbing old boxes from the local grocery store is fine if you’re just moving across town, but if you plan for those boxes to keep your memories safe through hours or days of driving, you’re going to be disappointed. The more fragile the item, the more essential it is to pack it well. Boxes get lifted, shifted and stacked throughout a long distance transport. Make sure the packing supplies you choose for your long distance move can withstand all that goes into the transport process.

The First Line of Defense: Padding and Stacking

Padding and stacking come into play immediately. You want to make sure your items shift as little as possible, regardless of how the box moves. Different methods are requires for different items. Dishware, for example, should be stacked on top of each other (plates on plates, for example) with sheets of newspaper between each piece. The rest of the box should also be stuffed with newspaper. Bubble wrap may work well for stuffing as well, but don’t use it between plates.

Other belongings, such as a bouquet of plastic flowers, shouldn’t be packed too tightly, lest damage come to the flowers. Picture frames and mirrors also have their own unique packing method. Verify you’re using the right padding and stacking method for each item you pack to make sure they stay safe in their box.

The Second Line of Defense: Boxes and Crates

The internet is filled with advice on where to obtain free boxes. Grocery stores, departments stores and even liquor stores all make the list, but what kind of quality can you expect from those boxes? Find quality boxes made out of corrugated cardboard. These get their strength from the way the paper used to make the box is assembled. Between two sheets of paper are sheets of paper in triangles. Triangles are hard to bend, allowing the box to keep its shape (and protect its contents) as it’s shuffled around.

While corrugated cardboard is resistant to dents and damage, it’s still flexible enough to be punctured and susceptible to water. If you choose to find free boxes, make sure they haven’t been punctured or flexed to the point where they are weaker than they were new. Be especially mindful of any water or moisture damage, as this will significantly reduce the strength of the box.

In order to be 100% safe with your boxes of choice, you’ll want to buy some from a mover. These boxes are specially made for the purpose of moving. Your mover will be able to tell you which boxes are best suited for your items. You can even find boxes in different colors or with label forms on the side, meaning you won’t have to spend money on labeling supplies outside of a marker.

The Third Line of Defense: Labeling

Don’t disregard the importance of proper labeling for your packed belongings. Labeling each box and designating a color or label for specific rooms will make transport and unloading of your belongings easier for both you and your mover.

Colored duct tape or colored markers are great ways to differentiate boxes. This can also be a great job for younger children. Have them use a marker or crayon to decorate boxes as you pack them. Make sure they only use the color designated for that room.

When it comes time to unpack the van, you’ll know where everything is supposed to go based on your chosen labeling process. Whatever method you choose, make sure you stay consistent so there are no questions about where to place your boxes in each room.

The Fourth Line of Defense: Transport Protection

Professional moving companies will always stress purchasing valuation for a cross country move. Even with professional packers, unexpected circumstances during transport can break through all previous lines of defense. Valuation is even more important if you packed yourself. Depending on the options provided by your van line, you will be responsible for a deductible, but everything else above that will be covered under valuation. Valuation is usually an additional charge, but amounts to far less than the replacement of expensive possessions. Valuation should not be misconstrued as ‘insurance.’

This forth line of defense is about your mental and financial defense. Rest assured that if all the care in the world fails to fully protect your belongings, you won’t have to go without. With valuation, your moving company will be able to help you with anything accidentally damaged.

When packing your belongings for a cross country move, don’t slack on the packing supplies. Verify materials are quality, especially if they’re free. Transporting furniture and belongings across states lines is a far larger endeavor than moving to the other side of town.  Make sure you have the right packing supplies for the job.

National Van Lines can take part or all of the packing off your shoulders. Call a moving consultant today at 877-590-2810 and ask about our packing options.