Packing and Loading Tips

A forum for questions and information about packing, loading and other helpful tips (not related to researching or selecting moving companies).
bakewell
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 11:13 pm

Packing and Loading Tips

Postby bakewell » Sun May 22, 2005 10:08 am

I am planning a move for mid-July. As recommended here, I have begun packing and am finding it more difficult than I had anticipated for a variety of reasons. My learning curve is going up, though. And there is good advice on the boards. Others have been kind enough to send suggestions via messages/email; a big "Thanks!" for that.

I was offered "free" used boxes by the moving company I decided to use, but its warehouse is an hour and a half from me, the hours it is open for me to pick up boxes are limited to the times I am at work, and I was told that the free boxes are available on a "get them while they're stacked here" basis--no guarantee that if I booked a day off in advance to drive up and back several time (my car is quite small--and these boxes are pretty big!) that there would be any boxes for me. So I decided to buy my own boxes.

My first mistake was to purchase my boxes on the internet from a company that looked very reputable and has a very large box business in Illinois. I didn't want to get "moving kits" listed on many websites because I don't need all the extras that are typically part of those kits (markers, bubble wrap, etc.) Instead of sending me items from the Illinois plant, the company must have contracted out the sale to someone more local. The "wrong" boxes and other supplies were shipped, and I was shorted/received damaged items, as well. Additional/Unexpected shipping charges were even charged to my credit card days later. My calls to the company went unreturned or I was placed on hold or given wrong info by different employees. I wanted to return the boxes, but was told that I couldn't do that without a shipping invoice, but it turns out the company doesn't give out shipping invoices! After that very negative experience, my best advice is that the least expensive price--or offers of "free shipping" often harbor hidden fine print that comes back to haunt you when you contest the charges to your credit card company. I am left with 150 boxes (1.5, 3.1 and 4.5) that are marked for moving: the check-off boxes for room information are printed on the top flaps, but they are not double-walled construction and have only a 32lb. ECT mark on the bottom of them.

This is a long post. I will post again in a little bit with more info about how I am packing and labeling the boxes. Maybe others who are packing for their moves will post here what they are doing, too.
bakewell

[Editor's note by Diane: I am converting this helpful thread to a "sticky" and I thank "bakewell" for starting it.]

bakewell
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 11:13 pm

Box Packing Tips

Postby bakewell » Sun May 22, 2005 10:57 am

I have found it most useful to tape the boxes very well on the bottom and set them one inside the other ready for me to grab when I have a little time to pack.

The recommendation to crumple newsprint to use as "bumpers" and create a cushion in the bottom of the boxes has been a good one. I have been using collected newspapers for this step, as most of the items I am placing in the box are covered/wrapped in the inkless newsprint recommended here.

The most frustrating thing has been that when I have gotten a box nearly completely packed, it is only then that I discovered that one or two of the grouped/like items will not fit in that box. :? Another frustration was when I selected a box that was slightly too large for all the items--and I had no additional like items to fill the last 7 or 8 inches. It took about three times of my filling the latter with wads of newsprint for me to discover that it was wise to keep a stack of towels or out-of-season clothing handy to fill that void. I also used throw pillows in the top of some boxes of fragile items.

The thing that has worked out well is that I made some labels for the boxes. I thought about buying them, but since I have a color printer, it worked out well for me to make them and print them myself. I used labels that are about 1-1/3x4, and made several pages with Den, Kitchen, Bedroom 1, Storage etc. as well as labels to identify the items in the boxes such as: books, pots & pans, linens, clothing, office supplies, decoratives & fragile. I can print more anytime I need them. I also am numbering the boxes and am writing the box size & contents as part of my list. This will help me when it comes time to unpack.

Since the truck that will move me will also hold other people's items, my biggest concern was that some of my boxes could accidentally be left at the wrong house. For some peace of mind, I printed on much larger labels my last name and the town and state that I am moving to. On each box that I pack, I applied that large label on four sides (not the top or bottom). It may not be necessary, as the mover will use a different color of tags for my boxes/items than the other families' items, but it makes me feel better.

East Coast Mover

Re: Box Packing Tips

Postby East Coast Mover » Sun May 22, 2005 8:47 pm

Welcome to packer hell. A lot of my pack jobs were partically packer by the shipper, who gave up before they made it as far as you have. It sounds like you are doing a good job just keep it up and soon it will be done. It was smart of you to label all four sides of the boxes since some of the labels will rub off when the boxes get loaded.(thats why the packers use a BLACK MAGIC MARKER to label the boxes) You will find that the list you created of the contents of each box to be the smartest thing you could have done. As far as your load becoming mixed up with someones else's. Because most drivers are financially responsible for damage and missing items. Your driver will tag your belongings with a different color tag to help distinguish the different loads. At the destination they will give you a check off sheet. (You must sign this sheet if you elect to use it or not). Then have you check off each box or piece of furniture as it comes into your new home. In the end if something does not check off the the movers will go thru the entire house and the moving truck until the item is found.

MusicMom
Posts: 19323
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2004 11:51 am
Location: DC Metro

Re: Box Packing Tips

Postby MusicMom » Mon May 23, 2005 6:18 am


jen d

Re: Box Packing Tips

Postby jen d » Mon May 23, 2005 12:41 pm

Bakewell -
Did you order the boxes from Uline? I am living in Chicago and moving, and I saw their website yesterday. Given their reputation I was going to order from them...

Please confirm. Also - what weight are boxing supposed to be able to handle?

I previously bought moving boxes from an online company a few yrs ago that has since disappeared whcih is a shame since it was a great company.

bakewell
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 11:13 pm

Re: Box Packing Tips

Postby bakewell » Tue May 24, 2005 6:57 pm

Hi,
No, I didn't purchase them from Uline; I was looking for a better price on the shipping (Uline's shipping was very expensive for me), so I went with one that supposedly had "free" shipping. Not only was the shipping not free, but I was sent primarily inferior products. As I am packing them, the sides of the boxes dent in easily, and the top edges aren't firm when the flaps are closed; they seem to dent too easily when weight is put on them unevenly.

Whereever you order boxes, just let the rep know that you are planning to use them in a move--and that the boxes must be able to withstand being stacked one on top of the other without crushing the ones below--hence the edge crush rating. They will advise you. You might even have to pay more for a "moving" grade--and that shouldn't be a deterrent to you. Also be sure to ask about the box company's return policy--the boxe
s will arrive on a freight truck; and if you return them, you will need to contract or find a freight truck to pick them up.

I am not a moverpro--one of them can probably tell you more specifically what to ask someone when ordering boxes.

By the way, the best tape I've found so far--quality and price-wise, are the large rolls from Staples--Staples brand, too. There is a package of 6 rolls, and they are at least twice as thick (not wide, thick) as the "regular" rolls. That is good, because they last a long time. I compared the cost of the footage of that tape with Scotch-brand tape rolls in bulk from Costco, and the prices were comparable.

Re: Applying Tape: I cannot use the hand-held tape dispenser very well at all---even though I have some 30 boxes packed so far and it is a "name brand". I find myself going over to my office mail-room size packing tape dispenser--it looks like a giant tape dispenser-- (got it off eBay for about $18 S&H included)--and pulling off strips to use rather than make terribly wrinkled and overly-long swipes with the handheld dispenser that cause the tape to get tangled.

Hope this helps. I have another post to put up in a little while. If you pack, please put your tips here, too.

Diane
Posts: 15824
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2003 12:18 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Box Packing Tips

Postby Diane » Tue May 24, 2005 9:52 pm

Thanks so much to the original poster for starting this helpful thread.

Someone just posted that Costco has a "moving kit" of boxes, packing paper, pens, bubble wrap, etc. that is a deal for $49 - http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4467

:alert:UPDATE by Diane in July 2006: Someone just posted that the boxes in the Costco moving kit are flimsy--one collapsed when she packed dishes in it:
http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtop ... 4227#64227
Last edited by Diane on Sat Jul 08, 2006 1:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mo
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri May 20, 2005 7:36 am
Location: maryland
Contact:

Re: Box Packing Tips

Postby Mo » Wed May 25, 2005 8:30 am

I am in the same boat with packing little by little. I have used boxes I found from work which is working out well. I have a comment about the use of a box and their is left over space. I know that a lot of people use paper shredders for their documents. Well, I have kept these shredded papers and used that to take up space in my boxes as well as offer a cushion for the items.
I appreciate the label template as well and the list of what is in each box. thanks.

Diane
Posts: 15824
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2003 12:18 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Box Packing Tips

Postby Diane » Wed May 25, 2005 10:12 am

That reminds me that someone else posted about using shredded paper as packing material a while back:

topcat57 wrote:The very best packing material I've found is shredded paper. I bought a cheap, confetti-cut shredder and have shredded everything I can get my hands on. Newspaper, printed or not, doesn't work that well because it's so soft, but regular paper, magazines, junk mail (finally, a good use for it!), and the slick color ads from the Sunday newspaper all make wonderful filler for packing even the most fragile items. I bought several large rolls of bubble wrap to wrap more delicate items in and fill in the spaces with the shredded paper. Do it right and nothing will budge. This works well and is much cheaper for crystal than those expensive dish packs. Also, styrofoam plates make good cushioning between layers of plates and saucers. - http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3358

"Blue" cautioned that the ink could rub off on her things but the person explained to me in a private message that she wasn't putting the shredded paper directly against the china and crystal. Instead, she was wrapping the china and crystal and using the shredded paper just to fill in spaces.

Bitogoth

Re: Box Packing Tips

Postby Bitogoth » Wed May 25, 2005 12:11 pm

I was given some good advice when I had potential movers in for my in-house estimate... I had some odd-sized fragile things (primarily a large tabletop stained-glass lamp I was concerned about moving) that I was having trouble finding a box for. Mike from Simonik recommended shipping it on a angle (like a plate in a vertical rack) and padding it with throw pillows. I'm still nervous about shipping it, but if I find myself losing sleep I'll just pull the box at the last minute and bring it in the car with me- lol!

I used a black sharpie marker to label all my boxes on the top and on at least one side. I lucked out- I work in technology and picked up most of my boxes from work- I like the printer boxes because they have built-in finger handles! Just wondering about the shredder-paper packing... I steered away from foam peanuts because of the cleanup factor after unpacking (plus I have pets). Is unpacking the shredded paper packing a big mess? Thanks!

Diane
Posts: 15824
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2003 12:18 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Box Packing Tips

Postby Diane » Wed May 25, 2005 1:29 pm

Bitogoth,

Please post about your move when it's over, OK? We have no reviews of Molloy, although I've heard that they're good., and it would let me update my review article below. I was glad to see that you liked Simonik's estimator.
Diane
Check out domestic companies on this thread. Click here for a detailed, authoritative article on international moving.

Guest

Re: Box Packing Tips

Postby Guest » Wed May 25, 2005 5:01 pm

I remember reading the note about the shredded paper as packing material and started saving mine. But then I learned from a message from a moverguy that the shredded paper is pretty messy during the unpacking stage.

I am on the fence about using it--but I have yet to pack any of my special fragiles. It just occurred to me that it may be worth bagging it into smaller bags (like the piles we save from the grocery store, etc.) and then stuffed into corners or on the bottom of a dishpack.

I have been wadding up newspaper and making rolled "bumpers" out of the newspaper, too, while watching TV. I have a large box full of that paper, and another one full of the bumpers. So far, it has been very helpful to have those stashes; I can just grab a taped up box--toss in the premade bumpers and some wads of newsprint, and then take the box to another room to pack from there. I think that I will make some small bags of shredded paper, too.

The best benefit of having some boxes taped together and the paper all good to go is that I can pack for a few minutes here and there and have a box done fairly quickly, rather than feeling I must be able to dedicate an hour or two to the process for it to be worth the trouble and the mess.

bakewell
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 11:13 pm

Re: Box Packing Tips

Postby bakewell » Thu May 26, 2005 12:57 pm

Something that has surprised me about packing is that the smaller boxes--not the ones that typically moving size--but smaller than that--are wonderful for putting small items into and then using as a larger-box filler or several in a large box.

I have a variety of small like items--say a bowl of wooden fruit, a lot of little decorative antique bottles, and 4 or 5 little things that I keep on top of a coffee table--all of those items are wrapped in paper and then placed in a small box that is then taped up and placed to the side to either be put into a larger box that needs a "hole" filled, or to use to fill their own box.

These small, packed boxes are different weights, so I can use them on the bottom of a larger box, and then place other things on top of them, or vice versa.

I can see where my silverware, the kitchen utensils that I keep in a crock next to the stove, the contents of my kitchen "junk" drawer, and my dog's toys will all be perfect candidates for their own little boxes.

I have a large stash of shoe boxes that I was going to toss, but I might wait until closer to the moving day. They might be perfect containers for the items on my desktop--stapler, tape dispenser--and also for the various small, framed photos I have around the house. I can easily pack my spices into one or two of them, as well as the contents of my bathroom shelves.

Another size box that has been wonderful to have are the long, narrow cardboard boxes that are about the size of a shirt box. My office has these come in occasionally, and I have snatched them up when I could. I have nested large platters in them--surrounded by bubble wrap or foam, and will place the box on its side in a larger box. The big platters are well protected. I also have a couple that seem like the perfect size for my VCR/DVD players and their accompanying cables. I will wrap those electronic items and get them into those boxes and again, place them into a larger moving box for extra protector.

xxmove
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon May 16, 2005 11:29 am

Re: Box Packing Tips

Postby xxmove » Tue May 31, 2005 12:31 pm

I've just read this whole post, and I'm glad I did. One thing that no one seemed to mention is wardrobe boxes. Are they worth it? I had a lot of nice suits and dresses, and I don't want them ruined during the moving process. Does anyone have experience with they types of boxes, and do you have a recommendation?

Thanks.

Duke22

Re: Box Packing Tips

Postby Duke22 » Tue May 31, 2005 1:08 pm

Look at www.islandmovingsupplies.com. Their site shows you the proper way to pack fragile items.


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