Choosing boxes and packing materials 

Now that you have made the decision to move things into storage , the next step is to pack them correctly. The first step is finding boxes. Many of us have made the mistake of going to local liquor stores, retail or grocery stores, only to find that most of them break down boxes almost as soon as they empty them. If they do save boxes, they typically are a variety of different sizes, somewhat damaged, or contaminated with dirt, bugs or food residue.

Buying boxes may seem at first to be an unnecessary expense, but the purchase is certainly worth the investment if it safely preserves your belongings. Here are several reasons for purchasing boxes:

Reasons for Purchasing Boxes

  • The total number of needed boxes can be purchased in one trip, rather than hunting from store to store and relying on what’s available
  • The sizes of boxes are standard and predictable (Small, Medium, Large, Extra-Large), rather than working with whatever sizes are available
  • Purchased boxes are often grooved so that the flaps can be bent to accommodate different sizes
  • Although most boxes are standard in dimension and intended for general use, there are unique boxes specifically designed for a purpose, such as telescoping boxes for large mirrors or pictures, and wardrobe boxes with built-in hanging rods, dish pack and glass pack kits are boxes that come with cardboard dividers and foam pockets for easy packing; plastic, fabric-lined dish storage containers can be purchased at house wares retailers
  • Using boxes of the same size and shape makes stacking easy
  • Durability and cleanliness are guaranteed
  • Sturdy, quality boxes provide extra protection for fragile items and won’t collapse as easily under the weight of  other boxes
  • Moving companies typically require quality, well-sealed boxes and may repack them at an extra charge if they are flimsy or dirty
  • Whereas discarded boxes are intended for temporary use, purchased boxes can be used and reused over the long term; one way to reuse them is to cut the tops off boxes and stack them on their sides to create shelving in the storage unit
  • When boxes are no longer needed, they can be broken down in neat stacks and donated or given away


The expense of purchasing boxes can be mitigated with smart choices when it comes to packing materials and methods. Here are some steps to save money and avoid headaches:

Tips for Choosing & Using Packing Materials

 

  • When choosing box sizes, keep in mind not just what they can store, but how easy they will be to transport; choose smaller boxes for books and heavy items, and larger boxes for linens and clothing
  • Avoid using newsprint to wrap items – the ink can transfer and stain to what you are using them to protect; consider using clean, plain wrapping/butcher paper, quality paper towels or thin foam sheets for inexpensive items, and felt or bubble wrap for valued breakables
  • Estimate how much tape you’ll need to secure both the bottoms and tops of boxes (they may be turned upside down or topple during the move) and then buy double that amount of tape (it goes fast)
  • Dish pack and glass pack kits are boxes that come with cardboard dividers and foam pockets for easy packing; plastic, fabric-lined dish storage containers can be purchased at house wares retailers
  • Fill boxes full, but not too full – boxes with loose contents can wobble and shift, and boxes that are too full can crush contents when being moved; use packing peanuts, clothing or towels to fill the spaces
  • Rolls of shrink wrap can be purchased to wrap cabinets, appliances, dressers and desks to keep drawers and doors shut; remove shrink wrap after relocation.  Do NOT tape drawers & doors shut to move.  The tape can permanently damage the finish.
  • Mattress covers and sofa covers can be purchased for the move; sealed plastic covers should not be left on for long-term storage as moisture can promote the growth of mold and mildew – a canvas tarp or sheet is recommended for a storage period lasting more than a week

Packing supply stores offer a variety of packing supplies, boxes, covers and other handy items. Your On Site Resident Manager can be a great resource for creative ways to use these materials to solve packing and moving problems.