When preparing for a move, you may wonder what the best way is to wrap and pack your heavy and cumbersome items to protect them during transit. Heavy items need to be packed properly so that they don't sustain damage and can be easily lifted and transported. This guide will provide you with tips to effectively pack some common bulky belongings for your move, as well as offer some information about the methods for shipping heavy items.
- Take it apart. Disassemble any bookshelves, cabinets, bed frames or tables if possible to make them easier to move and load onto the moving truck. Remove all contents from drawers to make the piece easier to lift and to prevent items from rattling around and damaging the furniture. Remove doors from cabinets (particularly glass doors) or tie handles together with rope.
- Wrap it up. Use furniture blankets to wrap and cover furniture to protect it from stains and tears. Tape furniture blankets securely, making sure to never let tape come in contact with the surface of your furniture. Only wrap furniture with shrink wrap after wrapping it in blankets or paper pads. Using shrink wrap directly on the surface of wood or fabric can trap condensation, encourage the growth of mildew, or melt in high temperatures and ruin your furniture. Make sure dresser drawers are secure and unable to slide out when wrapping a bureau.
- Protect glass with bubble wrap. Wrap glass tabletops or glass doors on cabinets with packing paper and then protective bubble wrap. Avoid using bubble wrap directly on the surface of glass--the air pockets can leave behind impressions.
- Remove any disks from the inside of CD and DVD players or computers. Turn the items off and remove the wires. Label them by the piece they belong to and bundle them with tape.
- Electronics should be packed in their original packaging if possible--if not, use a box just slightly larger than the item to keep it stationary.
- Wrap the item with paper pads and tape it securely. Prepare the bottom of the box with crumpled packing paper or Styrofoam peanuts for cushioning. Set the wrapped electronic item inside the box, and fill the sides and the top with more paper. Once it is snug and unable to shift inside of the box, tape it securely and mark "Fragile."
- Pack books in small (two-cubic-foot) cartons. If you pack them in larger boxes, they will be too heavy to carry and could collapse through the bottom. Tape the bottom of the box for reinforcement.
- You can pack books inside the box one of three ways: standing up, spines up, or stacked flat. If you pack them standing up, keep the open part of the book facing the wall of the box, keeping the books spine-to-spine.
- Wrap any books that are especially valuable or sentimental in packing paper before placing them inside the box.
- Extra books can be laid flat on top of the rows if space allows. Fill in any additional space with crumpled packing paper to ensure the books remain stationary during transit.
- Tape your box securely and label it with the contents and destination.
Other tips for packing heavy items
- Use small boxes. When packing heavy items, always use the smallest box that will hold the item--just slightly bigger than what you are packing. This will eliminate extra weight and keep the object stationary. It will also prevent you from over-packing the box, making it too difficult to lift or weakening the box so that your items fall through the bottom.
- Reinforce the box. Securely tape the bottoms of boxes containing heavy items to keep them from collapsing under the weight.
- Don't over-pack. Don't pack an abundance of heavy objects in one box. This will make it difficult to carry. Try to pack some light items with heavier items to proportion the weight and make the box easier to lift.
- Label boxes. Always label your boxes that contain heavy items "Fragile" or "Heavy" so movers know to exercise care when handling these items. You can also draw an arrow on the box to indicate which direction it should be carried and set down.
Shipping heavy items
If you are not hiring a moving company to transport your goods and plan on shipping them through a freight service, you can send your items via parcel shipment or LTL (Less Than Truckload).
Parcel Shipment. Parcel services such as UPS or FedEx typically only accept small packages and freight that can be broken down into units under 150 pounds. Pricing will vary depending not only on your packages weight, but its length and girth. When packing heavy items for parcel shipment, be sure to use new, sturdy boxes to protect your items. They should be strongly constructed, with seams that are stitched and stapled rather than glued. Reinforce the seams with tape to ensure the box remains intact during transport. To insulate your items, use foam or corrugated cardboard enclosures rather than crumpled paper or packing peanuts.
LTL. LTL stands for Less than Truckload. This freight service will transport heavy items that weigh greater than 150 pounds, but are still less than a full truckload of freight. This service is optimum for shipping furniture items. When preparing to ship heavy items via truck freight, you should fasten your item to a wooden pallet or place it inside a wooden crate for protection. To protect the surface of the item from damage, wrap it in furniture pads, paper and/or shrink-wrap (if the item is wood, leather or upholstered, never apply shrink wrap directly).
To cut costs, you can have your item delivered to a terminal rather than door-to-door delivery, which could double your expenses. Simply drop your item off at a shipper in your area, and pick it up at the terminal in your new city once it arrives. Photo by: Ambro (Freedigitalphotos.net)