Updated 1/11/17 from an article originally published 5/11/2016.
When it comes to moving boxes, quality counts. The stuff you’re packing into those boxes matters to you (or else you’d kick it to the curb). You want to make sure you treat your belongings appropriately so they arrive at your destination unharmed.
The key to do that is to choose the right moving boxes, pack the boxes carefully, and then store those boxes the right way. We’ve come up with ten tips to help you make the most of your move, whether the items will be unpacked or carefully stored in a storage unit.
1. Keep Like Items Together
Packing up your belongings can feel overwhelming, but it’s easier if you start in one location. Break packing down to one small area at a time. Group items together that are a similar size and weight, and take care to protect even your tiniest belongings. Use brightly colored tissue paper to wrap small knick knacks as you go. That way you don’t accidentally throw anything out.
2. Carefully Wrap Breakables
Taking the time to properly wrap your breakables could mean the difference in whether or not they arrive in one piece. It’s better to over pack fragile items like dishes than to under pack them. Put dishes and plates into boxes on their side, never flat. If you stack cups and bowls, be sure to place paper or padding in between each piece.
3. Use Dividers
For an added layer of protection for your breakables, take advantage of dividers that you can use inside your moving boxes. These dividers are the very best protection for your glasses and stemware, and different sizes support the many different sizes of glassware that you’re going to pack. For an added layer of protection, wrap your glasses with packing paper or bubble wrap, and then place them in the dividers.
4. Use Actual Moving Boxes
Boxes specifically designed for moving are your best bet when it comes to protecting your belongings. You will save a headache in the long run when you buy new, high-quality moving boxes that are the right sizes for your move. Old, used boxes are prone to collapsing and can even be contaminated with unwanted pests.
5. Keep It Manageable
Keep your boxes from falling apart by filling them so they weigh about 30 pounds, a weight that most people can easily lift. Use only small or medium sized boxes for books so you aren’t tempted to overfill them.
6. Fill ‘Em Up
The contents inside your moving boxes aren’t afraid of close quarters, so you want to fill every space that you can without making the box too heavy. In fact, boxes that aren’t completely full might collapse when they’re stacked. Add excess packing if you have to so that each box is completely full before you seal it.
7. Seal & Label Clearly
When your boxes are in storage, you want to make sure each box stays sealed to keep dust and insects out. Seal each box with a strong packing tape. Wrap the tape across the top of the box with the flaps, and then wrap a second piece of tape across the top of the box against the flaps. This helps prevent the box from collapsing when it’s stacked, which ultimately helps protect your belongings inside.
Taking the time to clearly label each box means you can quickly find what you need. Label each box with its room and contents. This not only helps you, it will make your movers more efficient (which will save you money).
8. Heavy = Bottom
When you’re stacking your boxes – either on the moving truck or in a self-storage unit – make sure you put the heaviest boxes on the bottom. You want your boxes to have a lower center of gravity to prevent the boxes from tipping over unexpectedly. Plus, keeping heavier boxes on the bottom will make it so you don’t have to do as much heavy lifting.
If you place heavy boxes on top of lighter boxes, the lighter boxes will inevitably crush under the pressure. As those boxes give way, the heavy boxes will collapse to the floor and everything inside is at risk of breaking. It’s worth the extra time to arrange your boxes and stack them properly.
9. Stack Like Bricks
Stacking your moving boxes isn’t the time to play real-life Tetris. The goal is to protect your belongings; it’s not to see how many boxes you can cram into a tiny corner. Staggering the way you stack your boxes so they lay like bricks will help create a sturdy tower that can stand without falling.
10. Create Aisles
Storing moving boxes in your self-storage unit is effective only if you can find what you’re looking for. Sure, you might know where everything is once you move in. But imagine going into your storage unit six months from now and realizing you have no clue where anything is. Always organize your moving boxes for frequent access even if you’re not sure how often you’ll need to retrieve items.
You can easily find what you’re looking for when you stack your boxes in aisles so you can always get to the back of your unit. Make sure you label each box clearly, so you can see if from both sides of the aisle, and refer back to the inventory you made when you were packing your boxes so you can quickly find what you need.
When you have the right moving boxes, and you use them properly, your belongings are in good hands. From packing them up, to filling them the right way, and stacking them appropriately, you know everything you need to know about moving boxes.