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. For example, if you've hired a professional mover, you can still opt to pack all or some of the goods yourself, thus trimming the price. To find out just how much you can trim, ask your moving coordinator when you get an on-site estimate.
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. In other words, all packing must be completed the evening before move day. Only the things you'll need that last night, the next morning and immediately at your destination should be left for last-minute packing.
As for how you pack—that will be expected to meet specific standards. 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.
A word to the wise: 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 insulation.
Obviously, not everything will fit in boxes. As a general rule, furniture and major appliances will be wrapped and padded by your moving professional. Items requiring professional disassembly and/or crating (such as slate pool tables, chandeliers or large glass table tops) are best left to the professionals.
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.
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.
Imagine packing away a truckload of boxes and then having them delivered to your new home. How can you tell what box goes where? Because you've labeled them. Follow these tips to thwart confusion.
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.