Packing and Moving Suggestions

Updated on July 02, 2010
L.E. asks from Buena Park, CA
7 answers

Hi, All,

My family is moving to an apartment on my university's campus fifty miles from here in a couple of weeks. My husband wants to move our household with the help of just one of his colleagues, who we would pay. He thinks that doing that would be cheaper and safer than hiring a moving company. I have mixed feelings about "doing it ourselves." Yes, it may be cheaper, but I think that it will be more work, especially considering that we are moving into a second-story unit in a complex that does not have an elevator and my husband has tons of extremely heavy, bulky music equipment of a shape that is hard to manage. I feel rather tired just thinking about the proposition. I hesitate to get even well-meaning relatives to help because the last couple of times we "did it ourselves," our siblings damaged or completely destroyed furniture and equipment. We also don't want relatives or friends who aren't experience movers to hurt themselves.

If we end up doing this ourselves, I need to pack most of the furniture. (My husband is gone for much of the year.) I want to make sure that I pack fragile items (mirrors, glass shelves, crystal, etc.) in a way that will protect them, but I have very little experience packing for this type of move. I've looked at some websites and YouTube videos. Any other suggestions?


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answers from Los Angeles on

My dad was in the USAF and I was in the US Army and we've moved many times in between moves with the military. The movers we hired or were paid for by the military tended to "find" valuables that never made it from one home to the next.

Use Craigs List to buy moving materials and you'll save lots of money. Instead of renting movers blankets, you can usually buy blankets from Craigs List cheaper than renting them OR use Salvation Army, Good Will, or Deseret Industries to buy blankets. If you need blankets to add to what you use on your beds, now is a good time to buy them.

Liquor stores have the strongest moving boxes and they just throw them away after the bottles are removed. Prepacking all your stuff in boxes before the truck arrives really helps with the move. Buy the self adhesive name tags from Walmart or a party store. Use a different color tag for each room so they can be placed in the correct room more easily. Write on the name tag the room and the types of items in the boxes so you can unpack the boxes you need to first. Example: Kitchen (magic marker), silverware, plates (use ball point pen)

Go to your local newspaper and buy rolls of the paper (the roll ends) they use for printing the newspaper. There is no ink on it yet and it is extremely cheap. Get the really big boxes you need to move really big items from an appliance store.

Good luck to you and yours.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boise on

Ive packed/moved myself twice and hired a moving company once. The only time I had damaged goods was with hiring a moving company!

You can do it. When you pack your fragile items , pack them tight enough to where there is NO PLAY so they wont roll or move around. Pack them in bubble wrap. Put plates on their side, and put a foam sheet between each one. When you shake the box there should be hardly no movement at all.
If the plate is larger than the top of the box, then the box is too small, get a bigger box.

I went to the grocery store and asked the produce guys for apple boxes. Apples are shipped with foam inserts that work great for packing with.

Professional movers dont take the dwarers out of dressers, unless they are EXTREMELY heavy. They just tip it up on a dolly and it can be moved with the dwarers in place.

Have a couple of dollies. Dont carry one box at a time to the truck. Place 6 boxes in a stack on the dolly and take them all to the truck at one time!

I didnt have a box that would fit my fireplace screen, so I took two flattened boxes and taped them together around three sides to make a giant cardboard "pocket", then slipped in my screen in and taped the top together.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I don't know how old you are, but once I hit my 30s, I started hiring movers, lol! I think a lot of men have fond memories of the old college days when they helped their buddies move for a beer and a pizza. Back in those days, you mostly don't have any furniture or nice things!

I have used a couple of different movers and each time they were totally worth it. I packed everything myself and color coded the boxes for different rooms to make it easier for them to know where to drop the boxes and for me to unpack.

I packed fragile or precious things separately and moved them over myself in my car over the course of a week. I also took my houseplants, cats and son that way.
For packing delicate items- I use a combination of newspaper or tissue and bubble wrap. Put a layer between dishes, wrap things securely but not too tightly, and don't stack boxes with fragile things in it. Just move a few at a time, even if you have to make more trips.

But- I have t say, that I have never had ANYTHING broken by movers. In fact, they are so much more accustomed to moving that I think your things may be safer in their hands than in those of your husband and a friend! Also, in my experience, what would have taken my friends and I ALL DAY to move, can be done in an afternoon by experienced movers.
In the end, I usually tip them and give them a 6 pack of beer as a thank you.

You can go to grocery stores for boxes for packing and also bookstores! Bookstores go through hundreds of boxes a week and they are sturdy and a good size- big enough to get stuff into, but not so big that they become too heavy to lift. Last time I also did spend a little extra for a couple of specialty 'hanging boxes' from UHaul. They are taller with a hanging bar and make it very easy to transport anything on hangers. They were a time-saver for me packing and unpacking, and after I was done, I passed them on to a co-worker who was moving, so it was worth it.

Anyway, I would say pack yourself, move breakables or anything precious to you yourselves- but hire movers for the heavy lifting. Your husband can be on hand to supervise- but at the end of the day, he AND his back will be glad he gave in and had someone else do the main work of the move.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

We got tons of bubble wrap and a huge roll of saran wrap. For the big items like mirrors and such we would get a blanket and wrap it around the item, then saran wrap the blanket.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

We did it. If you have time, sort through and donate items to charity before you move. Lightening the load helps so much. Liquor store boxes and Craigs List are excellent for free moving supplies and use Craigs List again to get rid of them after you've unpacked. We packed up all our boxes ourselves (before the arrival of the truck), and the few boxes of very important things (jewelry, important documents, etc), were boxed and moved in my van - no one ever handled them but us. Bubble wrap for fragile items is fine, BUT you can also use your linen closet and towels are great ways to wrap up fragile items. Make sure the box is marked fragile, and there should be no space left where items can shift or bump against each other inside the box. We rented our own moving truck, but we hired help to load and unload on each end of the journey (we moved from northern Va to southern Va - a drive of 4 hrs). We also bought a professional movers dolly and straps to hold furniture and other awkward sized objects. For our particular situation, my husband constructed some ramps which helped deal with the stairs from the deck of out old house and up the steps of our new house. Label boxes - kitchen stuff, living room, master bedroom, son's bedroom, and put sticky tabs with matching labels on the doors in the new house so movers will know where they should go. It's an ordeal, but you'll get through it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Members of my family and I have moved many times and have never hired professional movers. I've purchased special boxes from U-Haul, when I've rented their truck, for dishes, clothes, pictures and mirrors. They have a wardrobe box with a bar so that you just hang your clothes up in the box. Dish packs have dividers and bubble wrap. Boxes for pictures and mirrors are flat. I also purchase a box of newsprint with which to pack other various shaped breakables. Don't use newspaper to pack because the ink can rub off on your items. But you can use newspaper to cushion pieces already wrapped in newsprint paper. I just use all newsprint so that my hands and clothes don't get covered in ink. The paper is inexpensive.

I also use all of my washable blankets for cushioning furniture. You can also rent furniture blankets from U-Haul. I leave my clothes in drawers. I take the drawers out and carry them separate from the cabinet so that the cabinet doesn't have the pressure of unbalanced weight. Once the cabinet is in the truck I put the drawers back in.

The truck has slats on the sides so that you can tie things down with rope. Be sure to put a folded towel or blanket between the rope and the furniture so that the rope won't rub on the furniture.

My cousin and her husband moved to Oregon from New Mexico a few years ago. They rented a truck from a rental agency and hired temp workers from Labor Ready to help with the lifting and loading. I think the truck rental companies can give you phone numbers for agencies that hire out labor.

You'll want to rent a hand truck with the truck to help carry heavy pieces. You can also stack boxes onto the base to move them.

I've found that things get damaged or destroyed when too many people are trying to move things out of the truck or into the house at the same time. It seems that they want to hurry. It takes finding and maintaining a rhythm of steady movement so that people are not getting in each others way.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

I recently helped my sister move from LA to Vegas. We rented a U-Haul and hired movers to load and unload the truck. If you go to they have companies they suggest to use in each city. Each mover was rated and commented on by previous users so it was easier to choose who we hired. We packed everything ourselves and drove the truck. We found it was worth every penny to have someone else lift the heavy stuff. We helped with boxes and lighter stuff to save time because they charged by the hour. I would highly recommend this method.

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