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What Packing Supplies Do I Need?

Given the time, many folks prefer to pack things themselves. If you’ve moved before, you may have a good idea of what’s needed to do the job. If you’re about to tackle packing and moving on your own, this post should clear up any confusion about which packing supplies to have on hand.

The corrugated cardboard box is the icon for moving and storage. They come in several sizes, and you will most likely need an assortment. In general, choose boxes that, when packed, are not too heavy for an average person to lift and carry. Larger boxes are ideal for relatively lighter items, such as lamp shades, pillows, towels, and linens. Medium-sized boxes are good for such things as small appliances, toys, and mixing bowls. For lamp shades, you will need medium-sized or larger boxes, depending on the size of the shades. Smaller boxes are good for relatively denser items—books and papers, hand tools, canned goods, and knickknacks.Getty Images -468672106

For packing plates and glassware, we recommend what’s called a “dish barrel.” It’s a cardboard carton about 18” square by 28” high. Taking clothes from one closet to the next is easy with a wardrobe box. This box is 20” x 24” and 45” high. It is designed with a bar across the top so you can keep everything on hangers. There are also boxes for flatscreen TVs, for decorative mirrors and framed artwork, and for mattresses.

When you pack your boxes, wrap and/or cushion items to keep them from colliding with one another and breaking during transit. The best materials for this are packing paper and bubble wrap.

Packing paper comes in ten-pound cartons of about 200 sheets (24x30 in). This is the standard material for wrapping plates and glasses. It’s also good for crinkling and stuffing into corners and cavities to provide cushioning (You can use newspapers for this, but we discourage using newspapers with anything that will soil because the ink rubs off on contact).

Bubble wrap is perhaps the best packing invention of the 20th century. It comes in rolls of perforated sheets, the way paper towels are dispensed. It’s lightweight, easy to use and great for protecting practically anything. If I had to choose one or the other, I would rather have bubble wrap than paper any day of the week.

You’ll be doing a good deal of taping up boxes, so you’ll need packing tape and some kind of tape dispenser. Some people like to use tape guns, others like the little, lightweight plastic spools (which are less expensive and very easy to use). And don’t forget a felt-tip marker to write on the outside of cartons so you know what’s inside each one and what room it goes in.

There are other materials out there—foam peanuts, foam sheets, etc. But these rarely if ever offer any advantage over the materials I’ve highlighted above. If you have a question about what packing materials to use, or how to use them, let us know and we will be glad to offer some advice. We can also estimate the quantities you will need and provide competitive pricing on professional grade materials. Just ask us!

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