The following moving and packing tips, part of United Van Lines’ Moving Aids, is provided here by agent Chipman Relocations. Chipman also offers complete packing and unpacking services.
Good packing is essential for a good move. If you choose to do some or all of your own packing in preparation for your relocation, it’s especially important that you be familiar with the techniques and boxes that will best protect your possessions.
Ready, Set, Pack!
Good Packing Means…
Limiting cartons, when possible, to a maximum weight of 50 pounds to make handling easier.
Wrapping items carefully.
Providing plenty of cushioning to absorb shock.
Using sturdy cartons that close.
Making sure cartons are firmly packed and do not rattle, bulge outward or bend inward.
Not mixing items from different rooms in the same carton, when possible.
Checklist of the Basics
Start with out-of-season items. Next, pack things used infrequently. Leave until last the things you’ll need until moving day.
Wind electrical cords, fastening them so they do not dangle.
Wrap items individually in clean paper; use tissue paper, paper towels or even facial tissue for fine china, crystal and delicate items. Colored wrapping draws attention to very small things. Use a double layer of newspaper for a good outer wrapping.
Place a two- or three-inch layer of crushed paper in the bottom of a carton for cushioning.
Build up in layers, with heaviest things on the bottom, medium weight next and lightest on top.
As each layer is completed, fill in empty spaces firmly with crushed paper and add more crushed paper to make a level base for the next layer, or use sheets or cardboard cut from cartons as dividers.
Cushion well with crushed paper; towels and lightweight blankets also may be used for padding and cushioning. The more fragile the item, the more cushioning needed. Be sure no sharp points, edges or rims are lift uncovered.
Pack small, fragile, individually wrapped items separately or a few together in small boxes, cushioning with crushed or shredded paper.
Place small boxes in a single large box, filling in spaces with crushed paper.
Avoid overloading cartons, but strive for a firm pack that will prevent items from shifting; the cover should close easily without force, but should not bend inward.
Seal cartons tightly with tape except for those containing items listed on United’s High-Value Inventory form. These must be left open for the van operator’s inspection.
As you finish with each carton, list the contents on the side of the carton (for easy viewing while cartons are stacked) and in a special notebook. You might want to number and/or code the cartons as well.
Indicate your name and the room to which each carton should be delivered at destination. Tape a sign on the door of each room at destination corresponding to the carton labels so movers can get the cartons into the proper rooms quickly.
Put a special mark on cartons you want to unpack first at destination.
How To Pack
China, Glassware & Silverware
Moving company packers use a dish pack — an exceptionally sturdy corrugated carton of double- wall construction — for china, glassware and other fragile items less than 18 inches in size. Unless cartons of similar strength and construction are valuable, you might want to purchase several dish packs from the moving company.
Wrap all pieces of china and glassware individually in clean paper. Using several sheets of paper, start from the corner, wrapping diagonally and continuously tucking in overlapping edges. A double layer of newspaper serves well as an outer wrapping. A generous amount of paper padding and cushioning is required for all china and glassware. Label cartons, “FRAGILE — THIS SIDE UP.”
Flat China & Glassware
Larger china and glass plates, platters and other flat pieces are excellent as the lowest layer in a dish pack.
Place cushioning material in the bottom of a carton. Wrap each piece individually then wrap up to three in a bundle with a double layer of newspaper. Place these bundled items in the carton in a row on edge.
Surround each bundle with crushed paper, being careful to leave no unfilled spaces. Add two or three inches of crushed paper on top of the bundle to protect rims and make a level base for the next tier. Horizontal cardboard dividers can be helpful in keeping layers level.
Smaller plates, saucers and shallow bowls can make up a second layer. Wrap and pack in the same way as larger items.
Bowls & Odd-Shaped Items
Depending on their weight, these might be used either as the bottom or middle layers. Wrap the same way as flat plates.
Stand shallow bowls (soup plates, etc.) on edge in the carton and deep ones (such as mixing bowls) nested two or three together, upside down on their rims.
Wrap sugar bowl lids in tissue, turning them upside down on top of the bowl. Then, wrap both together in clean paper, followed by an outer double layer of newspaper. Wrap cream pitchers in clean paper and then a double outer wrapping. Place sugar bowls, cream pitchers, sauce containers and similar pieces upright in the carton. Complete the layer as for plates.
Even when using a dish pack and mini-cells for china, wrap cups individually, protecting handles with an extra layer of paper. Then, pack cups upside down.
If not using a dish pack or cells, wrap cups as previously described in a double layer of paper and place them upside down on rims in a row on an upper layer with all handles facing the same direction. Complete the layer as for plates.
Because air causes silver to tarnish, all silver pieces should be enclosed completely in clean tissue paper or plastic wrap. Holloware — including bowls, tea sets and serving dishes — should be wrapped carefully as fragile items and packed like china.
Loose flatware may be wrapped either individually or in sets, and in clear plastic or tissue.
If silverware is in a chest, you still might want to wrap the pieces individually and reposition them in the chest. Or, fill in all empty spaces in the chest with tissue paper or paper towels. Wrap the chest with a large bath towel.
Figurines & Other Delicate Items
Wrap first in tissue paper, paper towels or facial tissue. Then, wrap carefully in newsprint that has been crushed and flattened out. Be sure the items are well-protected with plenty of cushioning.
Small mirrors, plaques and pictures should be wrapped individually in tissue paper. A bath towel or small blanket makes an excellent outer wrapping and padding for glass. Place items on edge in a carton.
Many moving companies use a material called bubble pack (plastic with bubbles) for exceptionally fragile items. If an item is extremely valuable as well as delicate, it might be wise to have it packed for you. Special materials might be needed for maximum protection.
An arrangement of artificial flowers should be packed in its own carton. Wrap carefully in plastic wrap, tissue paper or paper towels. If possible, fasten the base of the floral piece to the bottom of the carton. Label the carton “FRAGILE — THIS SIDE UP.”
For instructions on moving live plants, ask your agent for a “Moving With House Plants” brochure.
It is best to have the moving company crate large Tiffany-type or other glass lamp shades or chandeliers.
Glass Table Tops, Marble Slabs, Large Mirrors, Paintings, Statues & Large Vases
All are easily damaged. Glass might shatter, and marble slabs can crack at veins. Paper never should be permitted to touch the surface of an oil painting.
It’s best to consult with your moving company about custom-made cartons and crates for items of this kind.
Pack them either flat or with the spine touching the bottom of the carton. Do not pack with spine facing up, as glue can break away from the binder. Pack books of the same general size together.
Expensively bound volumes or those of special sentimental value should be individually wrapped before packing.
Because books are heavy, be sure to use small cartons.
Family photographs, videos, slides and negatives should be packed in separate cartons rather than being combined with other household items.
Cassette tapes should be placed in the protective plastic box in which they came, if possible, and then wrapped individually in crumpled paper. Place individual tapes either vertically or horizontally on a couple of layers of crushed paper.
Clothing left on hangers and placed in wardrobe cartons used by moving companies will arrive at destination wrinkle-free. You might want to purchase several of these special cartons from your moving company. One will hold about two feet of compressed clothing on hangers.
If wardrobe cartons are not used, each garment should be removed from its hanger, folded and placed in a suitcase or a carton lined with clean paper. Some lightweight clothing — such as lingerie and sweaters — may be left in bureau drawers.
Hats may be left in hatboxes and placed in a large carton. Or, stuff the crown of each hat with crumpled tissue paper; wrap tissue loosely around the outside and place in a carton lined with clean paper, with the heavier hats on the bottom. Don’t pack anything else with hats. Label the carton “FRAGILE.”
Footwear may be left in shoeboxes and placed in a large carton. Or, wrap each shoe individually and then in pairs. Footwear should be cushioned to avoid damage to heels or ornaments. Don’t pack heavy items on top of shoes.
It is recommended that you take your furs with you rather than having them moved on the van.
Linens & Bedding
Blankets, sheets, tablecloths, towels, pillowcases and other linens may be protected by a large plastic bag and packed in a carton that has been lined with clean paper.
Wrap your most prized linens in tissue. Also, linens and bedding are good for cushioning or padding many types of items.
Special mattress cartons in various sizes are available from your moving company for a nominal charge. Pillows may be placed in bureau drawers or packed in cartons.
Draperies & Curtains
Clothing wardrobes are ideal for moving curtains and draperies. Fold them lengthwise, place over a padded hanger, pin securely and hang in the wardrobe.
Draperies and curtains also may be folded and packed in cartons lined with clean paper or plastic wrap.
Leave rugs on the floor for the moving company to handle. If they’ve just been returned from the cleaners, leave them rolled.
Pre-move preparation is required for many major appliances. Set an appointment with a service technician to prepare your major appliances for shipment — or have your agent send someone out who is authorized to perform this service.
Items such as clocks, small radios and other small appliances should be wrapped individually and packed in a carton cushioned with crushed paper.
Small clocks, transistor radios and similar items can be packed in the same carton with linens or as extra items with lamp bases. Make sure cords are wrapped so as not to scratch or otherwise damage items.
Steam irons should be emptied of all water, wrapped and placed in the cushioned bottom of a box.
Remove all batteries from small appliances before packing.