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).
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Re: Packing and Loading Tips

Postby CambridgetoSF » Sun Aug 13, 2006 7:05 pm

Just wanted to pass on that has a very cool and useful instructional video snippets on how to pack various items. The best thing I've seen on the web, and pretty amusing too...

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Re: Packing and Loading Tips

Postby CambridgetoSF » Sun Aug 13, 2006 7:31 pm

One other quick question. What are we supposed to do with long items like a vacuum or a mop? Will they wrap it up for us?

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Re: Packing and Loading Tips

Postby Diane » Sun Aug 13, 2006 7:35 pm

I love the GG website videos! Thanks so much for sharing this.

The movers will probably just wrap those awkward items in a blanket and stand them up somewhere, perhaps in an open carton.

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Re: Packing and Loading Tips

Postby Ruges » Sun Aug 13, 2006 10:14 pm

CambridgetoSF wrote:One other quick question. What are we supposed to do with long items like a vacuum or a mop? Will they wrap it up for us?

These items are topload. The Vacum will be wraped in a pad and laid out across the top with the head being laid out flat. Same goes for other long items, but they are not always wraped, it's a case by case bassis.


Postby Guest » Sun Oct 29, 2006 9:28 am

Avoid Staples Brand Tape. Staples has several different quality grades of tape. I bought the second level, which is around $8 for 6. It is at best borderline acceptable quality and makes your job harder.

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Re: Packing and Loading Tips

Postby BigLeeCalif » Sun Oct 29, 2006 12:41 pm

I'm not sure how many van lines offer this, but I'm sure a lot do, but there are videos on how to pack that are available. Some agents offer you to come in to watch the video and have your questions answered after viewing. Others will allow you to borrow the video and view it at home.

Ask the sales person if the video or how to pack brochures are available.

One thing very important is the list of prohibited items. All movers have that list, and some have it posted on their website under helpful hints links.
"It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt" Mark Twain

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Re: Packing and Loading Tips

Postby Diane » Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:20 am

"Davidmom" posted some excellent advice about shipping boxes with DHL and UPS:
Davidmom wrote: 1/4/07 - Hello to all ,

Thanks to help from this web site( and especially Diane), we had a "positive moving experience" with University. Because our stuff went to storage for over a year it will be awhile before I know the "final outcome".

We had also shipped 11 extra-large boxes (498 Lb) via UPS to our house in Florida. Because the possibility of using these parcel mail services is often mentioned here as an alternative to moving companies I thought I would elaborate on our experience.

As background, we sold our NYC apartment and are currently living in our house in Florida. We are starting to build a house in North Carolina to which we will eventually move. The stuff from the NYC apartment went to storage for what we estimate will be about 15 month. Because of the move in and out of storage and the length of storage I estimated that it will cost about $2/lb for anything that we send with the movers. We calculated the cost of shipping NYC -FL at about $0.70/Lb. As a result we decided that anything that would fit in a box, have a reasonable chance of being used over the next 15 month, is worth more then $1/lb, and is likely to survive the move will be shipped via DHL to Florida.

Why DHL?.
Based on comments on this site that DHL is the cheapest, as well as our previous experience of shipping with UPS one or two boxes at a time which always ended up at about $1/lb. I also called and talked to a rep and confirmed the ~$0.70/lb cost for a shipment that I estimated is likely to be about 500lb. About 3 weeks before our move we registered electronically and opened an account with DHL. We received a confirmation email from them.

We also ordered a shipment of Extra Large boxes (15) from the company that advertises on movingscam. The boxes were 20x20x15.

My husband and I left our two young children in Florida with my mother and came to NYC two days ahead of the movers. We spent an intense weekend going through our stuff and ended up with 11 boxes weighing a total of 498lb to be shipped to Florida. Once all the boxes were packed and weighted, my husband attempted to enter our shipment on the DHL website only to find out that he had (unlike with UPS) to enter each box separately. After he went through this process he arrived at a cost of $350, but his shipment was not excepted. We called DHL support only to be told that We did not have an account with them, that to open an account will take two weeks and that our only option will be to wait until Monday, obtain manual shipping labels fill them up and call DHL again for a pick up. Because Monday was the day the movers were going to start this was not an viable option.

UPS to the rescue.....
Since we already had an account with UPS we decided that we have no choice but to pay more and get things done before we disconnect our computer for the move. To our surprise the cost with UPS was $370, only $20 more!!!. Happily we printed our labels and attached them to the boxes and brought them downstairs (to the doorman) to wait for pickup which was scheduled for Tuesday.

The Brown Man are MIA.....
Despite the fact that UPS delivers twice a day to our building our boxes were not picked up on Tuesday. Our Doorman told us that the UPS man that came to deliver did not want to take them saying someone else was going to pick them up. When our boxes missed the Wed UPS morning visit to our building I called UPS to inquire. Took me about 30 min to talk to a person and an additional 25 min to reach the right person, only to be told that our shipment had been canceled!!!. When I explained that it was not, the lady at the other end took my name and wroth a comment on the order that only I am authorized to cancel. Our boxes were finally picked up on Wed afternoon, our last day of the move.

The Eagle has Landed HARD...
While our boxes were scheduled to arrive on Sat, they arrived on Monday afternoon. One box was missing...due to weather delay according to an email from UPS. The boxes arrived severely banged up. It appears that may of the boxes were opened. We are not certain whether anything was taken. We found the condition of the boxes surprising as we used good quality new boxes. We receive almost daily shipments from shipping companies because with two young children we buy a lot on line, but we had never before received anything so banged up.
The last Box arrive two weeks later, as banged up as the previous ten.....

Shipping boxes is not that simple. Have alternatives. Make sure that your stuff gets picked up. Don't send anything fragile or Important....

Hope this is helpful
DavidMom -

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Re: Packing and Loading Tips

Postby Diane » Fri Jan 19, 2007 12:04 pm

Re-posting some comments about where to buy boxes and other supplies:
Tired of Moving wrote: 12/19/06 - hi all,

am getting ready to move again and found a good supplier online - Prices were pretty decent, even with shipping charges factored in. I ordered over the weekend, they promised next business day (my order was considered a monday order cause of the weekend) and sure enough, everything came on Tuesday, as ordered. I bought mattress covers, packing paper, paper moving pads, and a tape dispenser. No boxes, so can't comment on quality of their moving boxes.

ChrisC wrote: 1/6/07 - That website is ok at best for prices. I just compared several items- boxes, mattress covers. I have found that U-haul has really good prices. You can order online if you have the time or you can go to a local U-haul store and the prices will be the same. I actually printed out a price list once and brought it to the store with me to compare, in case you were wondering. I have also ordered from Uline as well. There is good and bad with them. First, they have an incredible selection, prices are very good, and their delivery is consistently good. BUT, as an individual do a residential move you aren't likely to need the quantity of each item that they require you order. When ordering boxes you will be required to order a minimum of 20 of one size [in some cases 30,40,50].
I found them to be helpful in my case for ordering bubble wrap and tape [although Sam's had a real good price on packs of tape].
So, it just depends on your needs.

G1cajun wrote: 1/19/07 - I just found a place that has cheaper prices than uhaul and It is a little store in North Richland Hills Texas called Best Price Boxes. They sell new and used moving boxes. They offer free delivery and they will buy your used boxes back when you are done. I spent less than $1 for most of my boxes. They have a web site

Note - this website also sells boxes and moving supplies at low cost. See the "Quick Link" to the left.

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Re: Packing and Loading Tips

Postby jvs205 » Fri Feb 02, 2007 3:27 pm

For people who aren't buying a huge number of boxes, you might consider Public Storage ( if there is a location near you. I bought about 15 boxes and some newsprint and bubble wrap for my recent move. Their products are good quality. But the best part is that they will allow you to return any unused products. So you can buy more than you think you'll need, just so you won't run out of boxes and packing materials the night before your move when it's too late to buy more! And then just return any extra within 30 days for a full refund.

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Re: Packing and Loading Tips

Postby MusicMom » Fri Feb 02, 2007 3:39 pm

That's nice to know, thanks!

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Re: Packing and Loading Tips

Postby Veronykah » Tue Mar 06, 2007 12:25 am

Any advice on packing a TV? I don't have the original box, its only a 19"...I've never packed one I didn't have the original box for...

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Re: Packing and Loading Tips

Postby aznaphrodite » Tue Mar 06, 2007 7:26 pm

Diane - Just wanted to note that ship within Texas only.
Los Angeles to Dallas

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Re: Packing and Loading Tips

Postby aznaphrodite » Tue Mar 06, 2007 7:36 pm

I order 2 Wardrobe Moving Kits (each kit includes 1 wardrobe, 6 medium boxes, 4 large boxes, 2 tape rolls, 25' roll of bubble wrap, 5 bags, 4 lbs of paper, and a marker). Shipping was free but they did charge a $3 handling fee. They are located in South Florida so it took 5 business days for my boxes to arrive in Los Angeles. They were shipped with Fedex tracking so I knew exactly what day the boxes would arrive.

The boxes are very sturdy and brand new. I would definitely recommend buying from them as long as you aren't in a rush to receive your boxes.
Los Angeles to Dallas

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Re: Packing and Loading Tips

Postby Diane » Sun May 13, 2007 6:28 pm

Re-posting a very useful post by "The Mister" on where to get free boxes, plus some replies to that post:
The Mister wrote: 5/11/07 - Good morning.

I have done a bit of research into obtaining free boxes, and thought I would share my findings here. Feel free to copy into the "Packing and Loading Tips" sticky if you'd like.

Some of my info is specific to my location (Richmond, VA); but hopefully a few tips will come in handy nationwide.

The following is a list of places where I at least inquired about getting boxes. Basically I called every big box store (other than grocery) in the area:
  • Craigslist: One thing that I have found is that the demand for free boxes is typically much greater than the supply. At least in my area, there are few ads for "free boxes", and plenty of ads for "boxes wanted". I posted one such wanted ad, and about 5 days later got my only offer of 25 boxes, which was later rescinded because it turned out a friend wanted them. I also got a response from someone at, but I can get new boxes for less than they offer used ones ($39 for a stack of 20 mediums). "The cheapest"? Yeah, right. [Edited to add: I'll probably use Craigslist to give away our boxes in the end, though.]
  • Linens -n- Things: This place has been the most helpful of all. They told me to call between 6 and 7 am on W&F and ask for the manager on duty. (Turns out I can talk to whoever answers.) They have come through four times so far, and each time I have come home with a carful of boxes (around 30), many different sizes. On one occasion I asked for more medium-size boxes if they had them, and they came through. Each time, they typically have two canvas bins full of boxes, some of which are not the best dimensions, but most of which work just fine. [i]Edited to add: I should note that the boxes are typically ready around mid-day. I usually pick them up on my way home from work.
  • Sears: The one near me says they can have boxes at around 6pm on Wednesdays and Fridays, when they get their regular shipments. I took them up on the offer once, and got maybe 10 boxes. *shrug*
  • Burlington: I have not yet taken them up on their offer, but the one near me says they have a constant supply of boxes, and wouldn't divulge when they actually got their shipments in. They say they have a large storage area, so they can keep lots of stock and unload bit by bit as they sell their goods. They said to call anytime and let them know what size boxes and when we'd like to pick them up. I did attempt to take them up on the offer earlier this week, but it turns out they had just done inventory so all available boxes had been opened and crushed. They said try again next week.
  • Michael's: Said call 11:30am any Wednesday (otherwise they crush the boxes). They have a small storage area, so I'm not sure if they have room to keep them back there.
  • Target: Said to call early in the morning (crushed otherwise). They were a bit more vague, and I think I could have benefitted from talking to someone further up.
  • Walmart #1: I gave up on them. First time I spoke to someone, she said to come by between 10-11am any day and they would bring up boxes. I did so and was told that I was misinformed. Instead I should call around 10pm and ask the night stockers to reserve a few back in the layaway area. I tried that and the next morning they had about 15 boxes that were waaaaay too large or of inappropriate dimensions, and only about 5 that I could actually use. :roll:
  • Walmart #2: I called the other Walmart near us (this one a 24-hr location) and both of the people that I spoke with suggested showing up at around midnight and scavenging as the stockers do their thing. Forget it.
  • Lowe's / Home Depot: Their boxes tend to be way too big to use for moving HHG.
  • Sam's: One of the people I spoke to at Lowe's mentioned that she had worked at Sam's. She suggested that I try going to the Sam's bakery area and asking them to save back some of their boxes. I have not tried this yet.
  • Dillard's: Reuses their boxes.
  • JCPenney: Reuses.
  • Macy's: Reuses.
  • Kohl's: Crushes theirs, no questions asked.
  • Dick's Sporting Goods: Reuses.
  • Toys 'R' Us: Reuses.
  • TJMaxx: Crushes theirs, no questions asked.
  • Barnes & Noble: Reuses/Recycles.
  • Bed Bath & Banana - I mean Beyond: Crushes theirs, no questions asked.
  • Circuit City: Tried to speak to someone with more than 5 brain cells, failed miserably, then got transferred - back to the main menu. :roll:
  • Best Buy: Didn't bother, figured my experience would be similar to CC.
Most other supplies I actually had to pay for, of course. (Around $400-500 on bubble wrap, when all is said and done, and another $60 on packing & masking tape.)

And of course most cities mid-size and up have a selection of free papers that can be used as packing material. I've never had a problem with newsprint staining anything, though YMMV.

Feel free to post your suggestions / experiences in this thread as well.

MusicMom wrote: 5/11/07 - VERY helpful, thank you!

To add, Borders will give out boxes after Tuesday delivery, a little after lunchtime. Call ahead to let the manager know you'd like some. May have to go back week after week.

Ruges wrote:5/11/07 - Just a thing to note if you are seeking used boxes and are having a company move you. Try and use mocing standard boxes (1.5, 2.0, 4.5, Dishpacks, Wardrobes) These boxes are all a standard size making them easier to stack squarly, making it so you have a less chance to crush. They also have a standard way of stacking inside a standard 102" trailer.

Also even if you are moving yourself using a standard box size will make it easier on yourself and prevent damage.

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Re: Packing and Loading Tips

Postby schwa8 » Fri Jun 15, 2007 6:40 pm

Please tell the proper way to tape a box so that the bottom doesn't fall out. I've heard you should completely cover the bottom with tape from side to side but to me that sounds excessive and uneccessary.

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