Packing a box should be easy. After all, it’s a box. You just toss some of your stuff inside and call it good, right? Not exactly. If you’re moving —whether it’s across town or across the country — taking such a cavalier stance toward packing is a recipe for disaster. So to prevent such a moving disaster from happening, keep these simple packing tips in mind.
1. Group Items by Size and Weight
When packing, it’s vital that you avoid haphazardly tossing fragile items and heavy items into the same box. Things will shift around when your boxes are in transit. That means your bronze bust of Deion Sanders will soon turn your set of Bruce Springsteen commemorative coffee mugs to dust if they’re left to just slide around in a box together.
You’ll also want to avoid packing any box so it’s heavier than 50 pounds. Unless your moving buddy is Deion Sanders, that box won’t be going anywhere.
2. Think Like a Pyramid
Be it an Egyptian pyramid or a cheerleading pyramid, one strict rule always applies: The heaviest parts always go on the bottom. This is “square peg in a round hole” kind of stuff. Don’t put heavy things on top of lighter things.
3. Don’t Overdo It with the Protection
Many box-packing tutorials will preach the value of packing peanuts and bubble wrap and all sorts of other precautionary measures meant to keep your valuables in tip-top shape during a move. And most of those tutorials have been created by companies that sell packing peanuts and bubble wrap and all sorts of other pocketbook-gouging, must-have, moving-day accessories that are designed to ensure you spend as much money as possible to keep your valuables in tip-top shape.
While it’s true that you definitely want to take precautions with your breakable items, as well as anything of value that depends on its outer beauty to keep said value, if you’re individually wrapping your plastic cooking utensils or anything of the like in sheets of bubble wrap, you’re just wasting your hard-earned money.
4. Don’t Underdo It with Box Space
Just as it’s essential not to go overboard with the packing peanuts and bubble wrap, don’t be overly generous with the amount of room you leave inside a box either. Half-filled boxes not only provide more opportunities for items to shift violently, but they also tend to break down in transit. Your action figures aren’t alive. They don’t need that much air.
5. Labels are Mandatory
Whatever wisdom your favorite jazz-fusion band has shared on Twitter about not letting yourself be labeled, it definitely doesn’t apply to moving. You should label everything. At the very least, label every box. Your labels should include which room the box should end up in at your new place, whether or not the contents are fragile, and if the box is heavy. Labeled boxes make moving day about 12 times more efficient for everyone.
Use these tips and pack those boxes well, ye restless souls. We admire your wanderlust, and we salute your transient spirit. Hopefully these tips will help you settle into your new place even faster—and with all of your beloved paraphernalia intact.
After twenty years of engineering, design and project management experience, Tim Friemel founded CityStash, a company that uses technology to make self-storage the fastest, simplest, most enjoyable experience you could possibly imagine.