There is a lot of advice about packing for your move. It usually involves packing specific items like dishes, shoes, linens, etc. But, discussing types of items may be more useful: fragile, heavy, bulky, etc. Once you know how to pack categories of items, it is easier to decide how to approach individual items.

Generally, considerations for packing fall along these lines:

  1. Weight
  2. Bulk
  3. Fragility
  4. Disassembly

Packing heavy items

As a rule, the heavier the items, the smaller the box. For objects like books and plates, movers use special boxes that tend to be smaller, typically about 1 CU foot or 12x12x12 inches. These boxes also have heavier cardboard construction to hold up under the weight.  

Though you may be able to lift heavier weights than a 1cu f box holds, remember that when you do, you will be moving many boxes and lots of furniture. Lifting one box of books may not be taxing, but along with all the other items, it is best to limit the weight to not strain yourself over time. 

Do not stack heavy boxes too high. Keeping the stacks relatively low makes it easier and safer to move.

Packing bulky items

Items such as clothing, pillow, towels, comforters, etc., that are lighter but take up a lot of space, you can use large boxes. In particular, there are wardrobe boxes for clothing, but you can find other large boxes as well. The larger boxes tend to be constructed with thinner walls to reduce weight. 

When moving the boxes, be careful not to stack too much weight on them. The thinner construction will collapse if too much weight is placed on them.

Packing Fragile Items

Fragile items need to be protected in two ways. One is from other items in the box with which they are packed, and the other is from the external shock that happens in the course of moving. 

From stemware and figurines to televisions and mirrors, the category of fragile spans many types of items. The materials you use to protect them will vary. 

Common types of material that can be used to protect your items include packing paper, bubble wrap, pads, or “packing peanuts.” Which you use is determined by the type of item being packed. 

Items such as stemware of porcelain are better protected by bubble wrap & packing peanuts. The material adds bulk with air pockets to protect each item from others in the box. To add further protection from rougher handling or accidental drops. Be sure not to overpack fragile items in the boxes. Leaving space between items will reduce the chance of breakage.

Using packing paper is good for multiple purposes. Between items such as plates, or flat items, it can protect them from scratches or chips. “Scrunching” packing paper and placing it on the perimeter of the back can help absorb the shock from drops or rougher-than-expected handling. 

Pro tip: Pack plates on their sides rather than stacking them with plenty of padding. This will eliminate the pressure that happens on the lower plates in the stack and reduce the likelihood of breakage.

Mark all boxes, on all sides, as “Fragile” in big lettering. Don’t assume people will look for the warning; make it obvious.

Disassembled/ tear down Items

For items like electronics, computers, or other items that have to be disassembled and reassembled in the new home, there are steps you can take to make it easier. 

  • Firstly, take photos of all components before the teardown. 
  • Secondly, label the components.  Using painter’s tape (that will come off easily), label individual cables and jacks to ensure you can easily know where to reconnect them.
  • Thirdly, keep cords, hardware, and smaller components together. Use sealable plastic bags to hold smaller items and keep them with primary items.

For particularly complicated items, you can often find user guides online. Get these prior to moving. They will help with reconnecting/assembling when you arrive.

Depending on the item, you may be able to find boxes specifically designed to hold them properly. If unsure, you can ask your moving or storage company for advice.  Whatever boxes you use, do not over-pack them. You should easily be able to seal the box closed with tape.

By applying a few basic packing techniques, you can pretty much properly pack everything you need. But if you still want to see about specific items, Mayflower has a decent Youtube Channel.