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).
BoulderMar
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 1:27 pm

Re: Packing and Loading Tips

Postby BoulderMar » Thu Jun 28, 2007 2:12 pm

I recently did a cross-country move from DC to Colorado and this is what I've learned about packing:

1. Go to craigslist.org and look for FREE moving supplies from people in your area - boxes, dishpacks, packing paper, mirrorboxes for artwork/mirrors, etc. There seem to be people everywhere who are trying to get rid of boxes they've used. I found many good dishpacks and other boxes that way. The only money you spend is on gas travelling to pick them up.

2. Using actual moving packing paper (reusing someone else's turned out to be just fine and an excellent way to keep it out of the landfill) is better than newsprint because it is a thicker paper and easier to fill up space in boxes and around delicate items.

3. Pack dishes vertically in actual dishpack boxes, not lying flat stacked one on top of the other. I used Moovers, Inc. for my move and it was Matt who advised me to pack things vertically, side by side. Nothing in my whole move was broken except for the legs on a wooden sewing box which I packed poorly to begin with. The legs were saved inside the box by my mover, Michael, who was honest, upfront and really courteous during the whole experience moving out.

4. If you have precious artwork, glass in frames, ceramics, it is WORTH IT to have the movers pack those items for you, especially since they are insured against what they pack for you. Michael from Moovers, Inc. showed up with amazing professional packing paper - a layer of some sort of cloth sandwiched between outer brown papers. It was terrific and he packed everything so beautifully inside the mirrorboxes that I was sure nothing would go wrong. I was right - everything is perfect! I paid an extra $170.00 to have them pack the artwork. Definitely worth it.

5. Make sure that all your wood furniture is covered in packing blankets by your movers. Again, Movers Inc. Michael was so careful to pack and then shrink wrap every wood piece I owned - including my beloved piano which made it in perfect condition, and a crappy particleboard IKEA bookshelf which he told me from the get-go probably wouldn't make it because it was so poorly constructed. I knew that and told him it was okay and that I didn't really expect it to make it unscathed, but he carefully wrapped it in blankets and then shrink wrap and used copious amounts of packing tape on EVERYTHING!! When it arrived at my final destination (after ANOTHER group of local movers brought it from storage to my actual house) there was only one small piece on the bottom of the book shelf which had cracked. A testament to the great wrapping by Michael in DC.

6. Try to envision where boxes are going in their final destination before they are loaded on the truck. I wrote 'Second Bedroom', 'Basement', 'Master Bath', etc. on as many boxes as I could. Even though the cross-country move ended in a storage unit, marking the boxes made the final move-in go so much quicker because I was able to direct the second, local pay-by-the-hour movers to exactly the right rooms.

As a single woman moving my 2bedroom house across the country, I was really careful about checking out movers. Moovers, Inc. was great and I feel confident that I wasn't taken advantage of in the least by those guys. They took really really good care of my belongings and treated me with respect and honesty. You can't ask for more than that in life!

Good luck with your move!

Mar

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

Re: Packing and Loading Tips

Postby Diane » Fri Aug 17, 2007 10:48 am

Re-posting a very helpful post about using M-Bags for shipping books internationally (bold added). This was for a move from Oregon to Portugal in 1/07:
Fletcherv wrote: 8/12/07 - M-BAGS

One final note, for anyone considering using M-bags to ship books. I chose to do this, since my library would have taken up a third of a lift van. The USPS estimated four weeks for delivery; it took twelve. And the boxes looked as if they'd been through some sort of grinding machine. Only a few of them escaped damage. Most of the books were all right, with just light damage, but the box of my hardcover reference books -- the most expensive ones, of course -- was completely destroyed and my books were heavily damaged. Ever seen a U-shaped hardcover book? I have now -- many of them, in fact.

M-bags are cheaper than a moving company and can work, but DON'T follow the instructions on the USPS website. They tell you that packing peanuts are an effective packing material. They are not -- not for books. They compress and disintegrate, leaving your books to slide around freely, causing amazing damage. Plus the shreds of disintegrated packing peanuts get inside EVERY PAGE of your books, and behind the dust jackets as well, causing even more damage as pages and covers are pressed down onto these bumps. And of course they're charged with static electricity, so the only way to remove them is by vacuum. Yes, I vaccumed my entire library, page by page.

If you use M-bags, my first piece of advice would be: go to the nearest U-Haul store and pay for the really good boxes. The one box that survived my shipment totally intact was a moving box I'd found. The rest were boxes that I collected from stores. Even though they were strong, they weren't strong enough.

Second advice: don't EVER use packing peanuts. Use crumpled paper and strips of cardboard folded into a triangle and taped shut. The cardboard triangles, inserted between your books and the sides of the box, will keep your books stable. Fill in the rest of the space with crumpled paper.

Third advice: wrap the boxes in all directions with strapping tape. They may still get crushed, but at least they won't break open and spill their contents into the M-bag itself, which is what happened to me. I used a lot of clear, strong mailing tape, and in all directions, but the tape broke. -
http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=14576

lisa1120
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2007 9:21 pm

Re: Packing and Loading Tips

Postby lisa1120 » Tue Oct 09, 2007 11:02 am

I've seen some varying info out there about listing the contents of a box. For example, on the MovingScam label template page, "MovingScam.com recommends that consumers use caution in listing specific contents of boxes". However, I've seen some other posts that recommend marking boxes with contents for easy unpacking. The used boxes that I got from my mover all have contents written on them in large black permanent marker.

Here's what I've decided to do. (Note that I have a 1 bedroom apartment so other methods may work better for those moving entire households.) On each side of my boxes, I'm putting white mailing labels that state my name, Box x of x, and the room they belong in (ie kitchen, bedroom). I'm thinking about covering the labels with packing tape to ensure they stay on, but that will be the last step if I decide to do it.

My theory is that my name indicates that it's part of my load. The Box x of x ensures that I can easily count and inventory my boxes to know that nothing is missing. And the room helps the boxes get put in the right place, although with a 1 bedroom it's not that big a deal if everything gets piled in the living room until I start to unpack.

I'm also keeping an Excel spreadsheet that lists the contents of each box. Again, this may be easier for me since I don't have all that much stuff. I have a few reasons behind this. First, I don't want to list the contents on the box itself because I think it makes it that much more attractive for someone to potentially steal (ie a box labeled video games & DVDs vs. just living room). Second, just in case I do need to make a claim, the list will help me determine the appropriate full replacement value. In some cases I'm being very specific including the name of every DVD, video game, and book w/ author since the value of items will vary. In other cases I'm just listing general amounts such as 4 pairs of jeans, 10 knee-length skirts, 14 fitted t-shirts etc. I thought about including more description since Ann Taylor is more expensive than Old Navy, but in the end I decided it wasn't worth my time to be that detailed on clothes since I won't be able to find an exact replacement anyway. Finally, by keeping the list it's helping me ensure that I don't accidentally pack something that I'd rather keep with me because it's irreplaceable or has sentimental value.

Please share your thoughts or suggestions!

NHMS-1
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2007 7:42 am
Location: Pittsburgh

Re: Packing and Loading Tips

Postby NHMS-1 » Wed Nov 28, 2007 7:06 pm

Used Boxes,

One pice of advice. We help people pack, load and unload. Used boxes are good but do not use ones that have been used too many times. Look to see if the side walls are bent of flimsy. Boxes stored in a damp basement often loose their strength.

I've unloaded too many trucks were used boxes crushed under the weight on top. New boxes will support quite a bit of weight if they are stacked uniform and tight. Save the crummy boxes for light bulky stuff to be packed on top or cut them up for padding.

We use old boxed to protect table corners and tops then streach wrap them.

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

Re: Packing and Loading Tips

Postby Diane » Wed Jan 23, 2008 1:31 pm

Adding to the above, I am re-posting this excellent advice posted by a very experienced moving professional regarding the photos of damage shown on this website - http://www.americastopmoverscomplaints.com:
Fred0844 wrote:1/20/08 - I do wish to make a comment about some of the packing damage shown in the pictures. This is in not an attempt to validate the moving company or condemn the shipper but to point out things to consider when packing yourself.

1) Used Cartons Over time, moisture and use causes deterioration of the cardboard. Glue that holds the seams to gether fail. Before using "pre-owned" cartons, make sure the cardboard is rigid. Although more expensive, new cartons are definitely preferable. Cartons usd by professional movers are built to specific standards.

2) Tape Tape from the Dollar store is just that....cheap. It is cheap for a reason, the adheasive is not as strong. Remember that the tape has to hold 40 to 60 lbs. of goods in the carton. The last thing you want is the tape letting go on your carton of fine china.

3) Fill The Carton Every inch of the cartons should be filled with something, even if that something is packing paper. Once filled, the carton should be solid like a brick. Shipments are loaded in tiers, (walls) from the floor up .. heavy furniture .. heavy cartons .. light cartons..light furniture. The cartons must be strong enough to support the weight above. A solid carton will do that whereas one with space will collapse possibly damageing the items inside as well as the items above it when they fall.

4) The Right Size If you are not using "mover" cartons, try to get cartons of the same or similiar dimension. 75% should have one a "footprint" where one dimension is 18" (18" x 18" is standard) and the rest should be 24" on one dimension. Most of the furniture (dressers etc) in your home is 18" deep, appliances are 24". Using standard size cartons will make tiers easier and faster to construct, but also will make them stronger. This will also help to keep cartons "in shape". -
http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtop ... 685#102685

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

Re: Packing and Loading Tips

Postby Diane » Thu Mar 06, 2008 10:17 am

Re-posting instructions for packing an LCD or any flat-screen computer monitor posted by an experienced driver for a full-service mover:
rydog444 wrote: 3/1/08 - Here I will explain how to pack an LCD or any flatscreen computer monitor you would like. For starters, professional movers generally don't use peanuts. On rare instances we will. Very rare. The reason being: If you have ever packed something with peanuts, if you pick it up after being packed, you can hear and feel movement. That is the last thing in the world you want. So you open up the box, shake it, add more, tape it, and shake. Still movement.

Okay, this may sound way more complicated than it actually is, so bear with me and read the whole explaination before attempting.

The very best "cushion" for everything you want to transport is air. Air ride trailers, bubble wrap, etc, all consist mostly of air.

Now, lets pack your LCD monitor. First. get a BRAND NEW box that the monitor will lay down into. The reason it should be new is because alot of times a used box will be bent or bulged already, ever if it appears that it isn't. Once you purchase the carton, take it home and cut it in half. Use a box cutter. I normally fold the top flaps down to create a smooth edge. Next, tape up the bottom half box. Basically, you have created 2 half boxes. Tape the bottom part so you have and open ended box. Then, open the top part so that you can fit it around the open ended bottom part. You are basically making the box half the height that it originally was and doubling it's strength.

Now you have what movers call a "cut down". This is where air comes into play.

Buy a 10 pound bundle of paper. They are basically bundles of newprint before they are printed on, therefore, they are clean. Lay the paper, stacked, out nice and neat. Grab one corner or a piece of paper, crinkle it in your fist, and grab another, crinkling it as well. Continue this til you have about 4 or five sheets in one fist, with the remains hanging out. You don't want to crinkle the whole sheet into a ball into your fist, just the corner 25%. After you have 4 or 5 sheets in your hand like that, shake the bundle in the air so that all the paper doesn't stay together, rather it is "fluffed" and allows air in between to cushion. Place the wad that is in your hand into one of the four corners of the box, allowing the remaining loose paper to rest toward the center of the box.

Repeat this process for the remaining 3 corners of the box. You have now provided yourself with the bottom cushioning of the box.

If you are concerned with the paper scratching the monitor screen, I would suggest wrapping a soft towel around the screen or simply putting it on top of the paper before laying the screen face down on the paper. I have never had a problem with that occuring, but it may give you piece of mind. Lay the monitor face down and remember which side is the bottom and top.

After you have layed the monitor face down into the box, repeat the same cushioning process used for the bottom of the box. Put enough fluffed paper into it so that when you go to close the top of the box, it will slightly resist for the last half inch or so. You do not want the box to not be firm.

Tape the top of it, then tape around the box, to hold the two box segments together. Now you want to establish how the box is to be transported. Rotate the box so that the bottomof the monitor is now on the bottom. On the bottom of the box(now the side), mark it with a large square and inside the square write "screen" so the movers will know which side the screen is on. On all four sides, put arrows up so that they know to load it and keep it in this position. Put "UP" on the new top of the box. Mark the box with room and comp. monitor.

This sound so much more complicated than it is. It really isn't very difficult.

My general best advice would be not to use peanuts because no matter how much you put in, pick it up and shake it, and open it back up, there is more space in the carton.

Hope this helps everyone and if there is any confusion, point out to me where it confusses you and I'll try to fix it. Believe me, something that seems so simple for me to do actually turned out very difficult for me to try to explain on here. Maybe a video section on here with a "how to" would help. Hey, for the right price, I'm available. LOL. - http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtop ... 432#104432

Another driver added the following comments:
condo driver wrote: 3/2/08 - rydog, alot harder to explain, than to do it.

FYI - Never use peanuts on electronics, little pieces of dust from the peanuts get inside and can damage them.

Bubble wrap, always put the bubbles inside, except on oil paintings, the bubbles can damage the canvas, also heard the bubbles could have gases in them.

Lcd tv, plasma tv and monitors, never touch the screens with your fingers, the oil in your fingers can stain the screen.

When shipping a car, remember to take the garage door opener out.

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

Re: Packing and Loading Tips

Postby Diane » Sat May 24, 2008 9:45 am

Excellent info from "donatsts" (Don Schwartz, who owns a company endorsed by this website) regarding packaging for a flat screen TV - http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtop ... 543#109543
Diane
Check out domestic companies on this thread. Click here for a detailed, authoritative article on international moving.

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

Re: Packing and Loading Tips

Postby Diane » Thu May 29, 2008 10:21 pm

Here's another excellent thread, this one on loading a trailer for DITY moves - http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=16266 - with great input from Archie White and rydog (Ryan).

lettezilla
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Jan 18, 2007 3:53 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Packing and Loading Tips

Postby lettezilla » Wed Jun 04, 2008 1:54 pm

what a useful thread! i've read all 8 pages about packing and have learned a ton.

does anyone know anywhere (other than the UPS website which isn't terribly helpful) where there is advice for packing boxes that will be shipped either media mail or UPS/FedEx? i suspect, from what i've read on other threads, that things get thrown around quite a bit more, and want to make sure i don't ruin everything with insufficient packing.

rydog444
Posts: 1022
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2007 11:44 pm

Re: Packing and Loading Tips

Postby rydog444 » Wed Jun 04, 2008 3:13 pm

tell me what types of things you are going to be packing and I'll help you through it.
My job is to give the best domestic and international moving services to my corporate clients by using the best movers in the world, regardless of vanline affiliation.

Mary123
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu May 29, 2008 2:56 pm

Re: Packing and Loading Tips

Postby Mary123 » Wed Jun 04, 2008 11:20 pm

What about packing up "sweater/under the bed" rubbermaid boxes?

I have a few of these, and a wrapping paper plastic box. I have no idea how to pack them- or if it is even worth it!

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

Re: Packing and Loading Tips

Postby MusicMom » Thu Jun 05, 2008 7:52 am

I have a few of those under the bed boxes, about 2 feet by 4 feet, and they are a huge pain to work with. I taped on the lids closed, stacked them up, and they were OK, but carrying them around loaded with clothes was annoying. Personally, I would suggest putting the sweaters into a normal box, nesting together the storage bins, and loading each like that.

rydog444
Posts: 1022
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2007 11:44 pm

Re: Packing and Loading Tips

Postby rydog444 » Thu Jun 05, 2008 8:52 am

Mary, I see from your other posts that you are hiring full service movers. All you need to do if this is the case is tape the plastic bins all the way around, on both sides.
My job is to give the best domestic and international moving services to my corporate clients by using the best movers in the world, regardless of vanline affiliation.

lettezilla
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Jan 18, 2007 3:53 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Packing and Loading Tips

Postby lettezilla » Fri Jun 06, 2008 2:55 pm

rydog444 wrote:tell me what types of things you are going to be packing and I'll help you through it.


thanks, rydog!

the things i'm most worried about are generally kitchen stuff (wine glasses, small kitchen appliances like a food processor and bread machine, etc) and framed pictures. i've read advice about packing up glassware and getting dishpacks for plates and similar, but will that be sufficient for mailing stuff, or do i need to do even more?

most of our pictures/frames aren't worth much so i'll probably buy mirror boxes and cross my fingers, but we have a couple that aren't easily replaced, including one giant oil painting (maybe 6 feet by 4 feet?). i'm considering taking that one to the UPS store and having them pack it up-- i know it'll be kind of expensive but they have some kind of insurance/guarantee if you go that route.

and one final question-- we've got new, heavy duty boxes. i've been taping them as someone at fedex suggested, in an "h" form along the three bottom seams. is that enough tape for the bottom, or should i be adding more?

haulinsurance
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 4:47 pm

Re: Packing and Loading Tips

Postby haulinsurance » Sat Jun 07, 2008 7:15 pm

My suggestion for most books is to donate them to your library or anyome who needs them. I would be willing to bet that you have not used them in years and may never again. Most info can be looked up on the internet. So why pack and tote anything you do not realy need, you are just waisting money and energy. I use a mental note, if I have not used it one year I give it to someone. Some areas have a web site, "free cycle . com". Post your unused items and feel good about giving them away to someone who needs them.


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