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How to Pack for a Long Distance Move

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Planning a long distance move? Packing is often the most despised part of moving--it's time-consuming, tedious, and stressful. However, it's important to stay organized and properly protect your belongings to limit the moving anxiety and prevent damage to your goods. The following tips will help you prepare to pack your home for your possessions' safe, long distance transport to your new home!

Downsize your belongings

Long-distance movers craft your estimate based on the volume of your goods and the distance you are traveling. If you have a house full of unnecessary items and unwanted, useless junk, sorting through your belongings and purging will keep your moving bill manageable. Not to mention, the less you have, the less time you will have to dedicate to organizing and packing! There's no use in wasting valuable money and effort packing outdated clothing, pointless novelty items and your child's broken toys that will only clutter up your new home.

To lighten your load and cleanse your move before tackling your packing, you can:
  • Have a garage sale or sell items online and make some extra cash for moving-related expenses.
  • Pass them on to friends and family--hand-me-downs for children or furniture you no longer have use for could be graciously accepted by loved ones.
  • Donate to charity--there is always someone less fortunate that will be thrilled to have what you no longer need.

Use professional supplies

While your belongings can easily be damaged moving locally, long distance moves only increase the risk. Your prized possessions will be traveling on the truck for miles, and may be handled several times to be transferred to other trucks or temporary storage along the route. To ensure your goods arrive without a scratch, it's imperative to only use high-quality, professional moving supplies--especially for breakables.

These include:
  • High-quality moving boxes. You can purchase professional moving boxes for a moving supplies retailer. Be wary of acquiring freebies on your own--these boxes will not have the same strength and integrity as new ones and should only be used for packing non-fragile items.


  • Packing paper. Professional packing paper or unprinted newsprint is used to wrap your belongings and protect them from damage or scratches.


  • Bubble wrap. For your most fragile items, the protective air pockets in bubble wrap will keep your breakables enveloped in cushioning.


  • Packing tape. Strong packing tape is important to keep your boxes securely closed and prevents collapse or lost items.

Stay organized

Packing can quickly become a chaotic affair--transferring a household worth of belongings into stacks of neatly packed and organized boxing is no simple task. Packing takes time, and you will have to continue living in your home as it slowly transforms into a sea of cardboard containers. How will you ever keep track of what you have packed and what you haven't? What if you need something after it's taped away in who knows what box?
  • Pack least important to most important. Think about what items are most important to your daily routine and pack them last. This includes cookware, bedding, and toiletries. Begin by packing things like out-of-season clothing, books, knickknacks, and DVDs.


  • Label everything. Make sure each box is clearly labeled with the room, a brief description of contents, and "Fragile" for your delicate items. This will not only keep you organized during the packing process, but it will make unpacking a breeze.


  • Color-code your boxes. An easy and helpful way to label your boxes and stay organized is color-coding. Just assign each room in your new home a color, and purchase tape, stickers or markers in those shades. Label each box with the color of the room it belongs in. When your shipment arrives at your new home, hang a key in a prominent place with the colors and their corresponding rooms so the movers know which rooms to bring the boxes. (For multiple rooms like bedrooms, place a colored marker on the door to help movers differentiate).


  • Keep an inventory list. Make a list of everything you have to pack and check off each item as you wrap it and place it in a box. This will help you keep track of what's already been packed and what is still left to tackle. Organize the list by room and focus on packing one room at a time to limit confusion.

Pack valuables carefully

Fragile glassware, delicate china and other breakable or valuable items should be properly protected to ensure they don't sustain any damage during transit.
  • Use quality materials. Don't skimp on the packing materials for fragile items--make sure boxes are sturdy and strong, and use plenty of protective wrapping (like bubble wrap). Cell boxes are especially effective for wine glasses and other stemware--the thin cardboard dividers keep the glasses from hitting into one another during transit.


  • Work slow. Packing your fragile items requires care and diligence. Don't let moving-related stress cause hasty, rushed packing when wrapping your delicate breakables.


  • Padding is essential. There should be no negative space in your boxes that will allow items to shift during transit. Be sure to fill any empty space with crumpled packing paper or foam peanuts to keep your items stationary on the moving truck. Test your padding's effectiveness by (very carefully) closing the box and shaking it. If you can hear your items moving inside, you need to add more padding.


  • Reinforce boxes. Tape the boxes' bottoms as well as the tops to provide reinforcement and prevent the weight of the contents from causing a collapse.


  • Label properly. Always label boxes containing delicate items "fragile" and "this side up". This will ensure the movers are careful when handling these boxes and always carry and set them down in the proper direction.

Get help with specialty items

If you have especially difficult items of high value with delicate parts, you may require assistance to properly disassemble and wrap them to avoid costly damage. While your moving company may be trained to handle these items, you should inquire about their experience before enlisting their services to ensure their experience is sufficient. There are moving companies that specialize in handling these items.

Some examples include:
  • Grandfather clocks--very valuable with extremely delicate parts, a grandfather clock can be useless if not properly taken apart and carefully relocated.


  • Pool table--an expensive pool table can be very high and challenging to disassemble. Movers trained in relocating pool tables can greatly reduce the risk of damage during transport.


  • Piano--fragile inner workings as well as heavy and cumbersome, you should enlist piano movers to handle the packing and transport of your piano.


  • Artwork and antiques--very valuable and susceptible to damage, artwork and antiques should be packed and moved by professionals.

Pack a survival kit

When moving long distance, your shipment of household goods can take weeks to arrive at your new home. To make sure that period without your possessions is not too painful, make sure to pack a survival kit with your essentials.

These include:
  • Several changes of clothes.
  • Toiletries (you can purchase these in your new city, but a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and shampoo can be useful for washing up when you arrive)
  • Entertainment (Laptop and several DVDs, book, mp3 player)
  • Chargers for all electronics.
  • Toys for children.
If you are traveling to your new home via car, you will have more space to pack items such as an air bed, blankets and pillows, and cookware so you are not forced to eat out every day until your truck arrives. However, if you are flying, the amount of items you can take aboard the plane is very limited. Consider shipping bedding or other useful items via parcel service to yourself before you move to make your first few nights in your new home more comfortable.

Hire professional movers and packers

The best way to efficiently pack up your home? Leave it to the professionals! Packing services can complete packing tasks in one day that would take you weeks! If you are considering hiring professional packers or enlisting packing services from your full-service moving company for your upcoming relocation, simply fill out our fast and easy quote form! We will connect you with up to seven reliable moving services in your area to provide you with FREE quotes for your move.

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on February 6, 2014

Movers.com - Moving Expert
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