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Introduction to Packing Materials

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When moving, there are several materials that you need to keep your goods safe and secure during the moving process. It is important to be familiar with these items and to make sure that you have enough of these materials for your move. That being said, here are the most commonly used materials that you are likely to need on moving day.


Perhaps the items most connected with moving are cardboard boxes. As they are durable, cheap, and available in a variety of sizes, cardboard boxes are the perfect containers for carrying many of your household items. As you can see below, there are different types of boxes for transporting your goods.
  • File Boxes – These small boxes are used for transporting documents. Rather than tossing your important documents and files into a large box, file boxes allow you to keep everything neat and organized.
  • Lamp Boxes – As the name implies, lamp boxes are designed for moving lamps. Tall and narrow, they will ensure that your lamps are properly packaged.
  • Picture Boxes – Put your framed artwork and mirrors into picture boxes. Cardboard picture boxes are large, flat, and adjustable, perfect for keeping your artwork safe during the move.
  • Medium-Sized Boxes – When packing, you are likely to use more medium boxes than any other size. Though not made specifically for any particular items, these boxes can hold all of your random things, such as pots and pans, toys, pillows, or anything else that doesn't require special packaging.
  • Kitchen Boxes – There are a variety of kitchen boxes designed for carrying different kitchen items. For instance, you can find cellular packing boxes for holding glassware, china, and silverware.
  • Large Boxes – These boxes are good for bigger items, like disassembled furniture pieces, clothes, and linens. Just be sure you don't overload these boxes and make them too heavy to lift.
  • Extra-Large Boxes – For large items, you need extra-large boxes. You can store small furniture, large lampshades, and comforters in these boxes.
  • Wardrobe Boxes – Wardrobe boxes are made for transporting your hanging clothes. They contain a bar across the top designed for putting your hangers on, essentially making them portable closets.

Protective materials

Packing up requires more work than just putting everything in boxes. You have to properly protect your goods so they won't be damaged as they travel around. You also need certain materials to protect your larger items, like furniture, that don't get put into boxes. Here is a list of the protective materials you are likely to use:
  • Newspaper – Newspaper can be used for wrapping fragile items, like china, glassware, and other delicate things. It can also be crumpled up and made into bumpers for cushioning your goods. Just make sure you use unprinted newspaper rather than regular newspaper so it won't stain your items.
  • Moving Pads and Moving Blankets – These materials can be used for protecting your furniture, like tables and chairs, from getting scratched up during the move. You can also use moving pads and blankets to wrap up electronics and other compact items before putting them into boxes.
  • Bubble Wrap – Instead of, or in addition to, using newspaper to protect your items, you can also use bubble wrap. Bubble wrap can be used on your furniture or other large pieces to prevent scratches and dents.
  • Mattress Covers – Plastic mattress covers will protect your mattress from getting dirty as it sits in the moving truck. They can also protect against ripping or other damages they may incur during the move.
  • Stretch Wrap – You can wrap many items in plastic stretch wrap, such as furniture, mirrors, and artwork. It can also be used to wrap your cardboard boxes that contain electronic items to keep moisture out.

Labeling materials

  • Packing Labels and Stickers – Labels are an essential part of any move. By putting labels on your boxes, you and your movers will know exactly where to put the boxes when they arrive at your new home. Also, labels let you mark off which items are fragile, so everyone will know to handle those boxes with care.
  • Black Marker – What good are labels without a black marker to write on them? Make sure you have at least two good permanent markers in case one gets lost or runs out of ink.
  • Packing Tape – You will need strong packing tape for properly sealing your boxes. You can also use tape to reinforce the bottom and sides of boxes containing heavy items.
  • Tape Dispenser – By using a tape dispenser, you can easily and quickly apply tape to your boxes, without the trouble of using scissors or trying to find the edge of the tape.

  Posted by Adam Mandelbaum on August 27, 2009

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