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Residential: Home | Packing & Moving Tips

Packing Tips
Moving Tips

Packing Tips

Pack Early
Start by packing non-essential items well in advance. This is usually 4 to 6 weeks out.

Box Packing
Put heavier items like books and canned goods in smaller boxes. Put lighter things such as linens, towels and clothes in progressively larger boxes. This way smaller and larger boxes will all weigh about the same and none will be too heavy for one person to handle. Small boxes can be fully packed with books and end up only weighing 50 lbs. Larger boxes should be packed with lighter things and shouldn't exceed 50 lbs. To save money and space suitcases can be used to pack clothes and shoes. To save money and space, towels and old linens can be used to help pack boxes.

Toolbox
Don’t pack this too soon. You will probably need some of your tools on moving day.

Furniture
Disassemble as required, e.g., beds, desks, bookcases, etc.. Be sure to save any screws, bolts, or fasteners in plastic bags taped to the furniture item.

Electronics
Put all of your remote controls to every electronic device that you own in one box on moving day and label it well. This way you won't lose any of them and they are easily found at the new residence. Wrap these in blankets to prevent scratches to exterior finishes.

Checkbooks, Credit Cards and Important Documents
Don’t pack these items. Unexpected things may come up that require check or credit card payment. If you're putting your goods in storage, don't pack up important papers like passports, driver's licenses, birth certificates, family correspondence or love letters, etc. Use a bank lockbox for these items or keep them with you. Only store these things if the box is waterproof and well labeled and if it's placed somewhere in your storage where only you can find it and where there is no chance of flooding or high humidity.

Fragile Items
These should be wrapped individually with bunched up paper, bubblewrap and/or foam wrap. Don't use newspapers because print residue must be hand washed off of all things it touches, dishwasher washing will not take it off. Also, print residue can ruin porous items like clay pots or lampshades or things with rough finishes like computer equipment. Gently put the loosely wrapped bundles in a box labeled fragile and when it's full seal it and put it somewhere safe until move day. Then try to carry that box yourself in your car trunk.

Small Items
You need to take special care with very small items (such as a kitchen utensils), so as not to lose them in the packing materials. Taping over (use brightly colored tape if available) their paper wrapping and marking it is a good packing technique to highlight a very small item as not being merely a bunched up piece of paper. Also, you can tape several of those small packets together into one bigger, heavier package that won't get lost in the wrappings.

Glassware and China
These items should be individually wrapped with enough paper so as not to clatter within the box. You can also wrap glassware in bubble wrap. Wrap small things such as silverware in bundles. Don't leave them loose in the box and don't put them in a box with fragile items. Be sure to use plenty of paper to line the top, bottom and side of each box. Plates should be individually wrapped and then stood on their side in the box with a cloud of soft stuff underneath. NEVER lay plates flat since they break easily this way. Glasses should be individually wrapped and packed standing up; they are much, much stronger when standing than if laid on their side.

Box Taping
Use at least three strips of tape and run the strips halfway up or down the sides of the box for strength. For extra strength - tape the box both ways. Remember taping reinforces the strength and waterproofs the box all through the moving process. Tape can be easily cut with a blade later to open the box when unpacking.

Box Labeling
Mark the top and sides of all cartons with useful information that will help during the unpacking process. Mark each packed carton with its contents and its destination room location (such as bedroom, kitchen, or basement). be careful to not stack any boxes marked “Fragile”.

Have the writing on the box facing up so that you know which side of the box is up and which is down. Draw arrows if it is imperative that the box always stays upright all through the move such as a box containing liquids. Mark your boxes well to make identifying their contents easy when they are stacked on top of one another or when they're in your new location. If the box is being reused, then put fresh tape over any existing markings to hide them.

Some packers like to color-code using colored markers or colored tape wrapped once around the box or colored stickers pasted on the top and sides of the box to identify in what room it is to be placed. Use fragile tape or fragile markings to alert your movers of fragile items being within the box.

Pictures
Oil pictures should be covered over with a non-acidic clear wrap and then bubble wrapped or wrapped in a paper pad, or foam wrap or in a light mover's blanket. Then they should be placed in picture boxes or into flattened out boxes. Finish packing pictures by taping up all the ends of their boxes. Pictures in glass frames or mirrors should be wrapped in blankets, bubble wrap or foam wrap and packed in picture cartons or flattened out cartons with plenty of cushion on the glass and the edges.

Lamps
Put only one lamp shade to a box. For extra care and cleanliness be sure the inside of the box is clean or that the shade is well wrapped in clean white paper. Do not use newspaper with print or it will permanently ink the shades.

Liquids
Dispose of all open bottles of liquids. Don’t ship any hazardous liquids like gasoline or lighter fluid. Don’t attempt to ship alcoholic beverages since this is not covered by movers license.

Stacking
Stack all cartons neatly against a wall in the residence and create clear, unobstructed paths to prevent the possibility of tripping. Do not lean mirrors, glass or marble items against anything because they can be easily knocked over and irreparably broken.

Disconnections
When necessary disassemble beds and remove air conditioners from windows. Also undo all appliance connections such as water hoses, ice makers on refrigerators, gas connections on stoves and dryers. Disconnect all electronics. If you do these things ahead of time you will be able to fix problems with these things ahead of time and save valuable time on moving day.

Safety
Always think safety. Using the above tips can help you have a safe and hassle-free move.

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Moving Tips

Planning
Start planning at least 6 weeks before you actually move. Don’t wait until the last minute.

Assessment
Decide what to move and what to leave behind. Don’t waste money moving unneeded items.

Cost Estimate
Once you decide when and what to move, then it’s time to get an estimate. You should get at least 3 estimates. Things to look for in estimates are:

  • Avoid unusually high or low estimates.
  • Be careful of companies that want a large down payment to hold a date or reserve a service.
  • Get all estimates in writing. This can be done as a follow-up to phone or Internet estimate.

It will be to your benefit to have an estimator from a company give you a on site free estimate. This gives you the opportunity to meet a representative from the company, and it gives the company a chance to get an accurate description to give a fair estimate avoiding any unexpected or hidden charges.

Mover Research
Once you decide on a mover, you need to make sure they are a reputable company. You can avoid problems by doing upfront research on your prospective moving company. Things to check are:

  • Full company name and any DBA (doing business as) names
  • Company address and phone numbers (local and toll-free)
  • How long they have been in business
  • Dept. of Transportation (DOT) and Motor Carrier (MC) license numbers
  • Company web site address and e-mail addresses
  • Company references (you need to call them)
  • Membership in organizations such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and/or the American Movers and Storage Association (AMSA)

Moving Logistics

  • Packing Materials
    Collect boxes and/or Moving Kits. If possible, try and purchase recycled content moving/packaging materials. Consider using reusable containers that be used in future moves.
  • Labeling
    Make labels showing the contents of each box. Be sure to put “Fragile” labels if required.
  • Inventory
    Perform a detailed inventory list of all the items you plan to move. Do this for each box.
  • Unpackable Items
    Some hazardous/dangerous items cannot be moved such as flammable liquids, car batteries, acids, cleaning fluids, loaded weapons, paints, pesticides, darkroom chemicals, gasoline, etc.
  • High-Value Items
    Be sure to make separate packaging arrangements for high value items such as financial statements, tax records, client files, check books, computer software, computer disks, etc.
  • Furniture
    Be sure to disassemble as required. You should keep all the major pieces and assembly items together by taping them. Keep any tools you will need to reassemble the furniture.
  • Electronic Items
    Be sure to consult the manufacturer’s guide before you move electronic items such as computers, servers, and specialized equipment. Mark cables with where they go before disconnecting them.
  • Pack Boxes
    Packed boxes should weight less than 50 pounds. Be sure to pack heavy items at the bottom of boxes.
  • Special Handling
    Be sure to indicate which boxes should be loaded/unloaded first since there are some items you will need immediately.

Utilities
Make sure you establish your new phone, gas, water and electric lines at your new residence.

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