Before You Begin
Prior to your move is an ideal time to start re-organizing and discarding items you have not used and may not ever use again. Moving home is often the push start you need to do the de-cluttering you’ve been putting off for the longest time! In preparing for your move, set aside important documents and items that may be needed during or immediately after the move, such as: plane tickets, passports, change of clothes, toiletries, medicine, map, food and drinks, mobile phone, house and car keys. Keep them in a safe place to prevent them being packed by mistake.
Before you begin packing, make sure you have plenty of the following essential moving and packing materials on hand. For information on ordering these and other packing supplies, head to our box shop.
- Moving boxes – 2 essential sizes: small and large
- Butchers paper for padding interiors of moving boxes and wrapping items (white newspaper – sized sheets without the ink avoid messy stains and damage to your belongings)
- Packing tape for sealing moving boxes
- Fragile tape for indicating breakable contents
- Permanent markers for labelling moving boxes
- Bubble wrap for wrapping small electronics, vases, pictures and large delicate items
Setting up the workstation
A suitable and comfortable workstation should always be set up to prevent fatigue and strain during the packing portion of a moving job. A kitchen or dining room table may be used for this purpose. This is much easier than bending over and working off the floor. Always cover the table with a furniture pad or blanket before placing any paper or items on the exposed surface.
Assembling the moving box
A moving box should be assembled by first folding over the shorter sides and then ‘squaring up the longer sides’ along the box. These should be taped securely in place by running box tape along the seams. Always use packing tape – do not simply interlock the bottom or top flaps as this method is not strong enough and may cause the box to spill all its contents out the bottom!
There are three ways to tape an assembled moving box:
- Use three strips of packing tape, making a cross on the top and bottom;
- Put one strip down the middle seam, adding a strip along each of the two side seams;
- Use three parallel, but not overlapping, strips on and along the middle seam.
Label your boxes for easy find.
The packed and sealed moving box should be clearly marked on at least two adjoining sides with the contents of the box and the room where the moving box should be placed at the destination. As much as possible, mark the contents of a box on its sides rather than on its top. This will make it easier to identify the contents for each box at the new residence.
Clearly mark moving boxes that must be kept on top with arrows or “Top Load Only,” indicating that the box will remain on top when stacked in the truck. These markings should be used sparingly for boxes containing only the most delicate items. Label other boxes with fragile items with “Fragile” in large bold or with a strip of fragile tape around the mid-section.
The Perfectly Packed Box
Super Scrunchers! “Scrunchers” – rolls of crumpled packing paper – are the single most important component of packing. Take one sheet of packing paper and loosely crumple it. Do the same with a second piece of paper. Place both of them side-by-side on a third piece of packing paper and roll them up inside the third sheet as if you were rolling up a subway sandwich. These should be used liberally in your boxes to give padding to top, bottom, sides and between when packing breakable items in your boxes.
Try to use proper, removal boxes. It will make your task easier, your items will be safer and your move will be completed more quickly.
- “Cross” tape the bottom of the box with good quality tape.
- Plan what you are putting in each box.
- Line the bottom and sides of the box with scrunchers.
- Wrap items in white paper heaviest at the bottom, lightest at the top (never wrap your goods in newspaper as the ink can rub off on them)
- Further cushion with more scrunched up white paper in between layers.
- Make sure your goods fit snugly together so there will be no movement.
- Rather over-wrap your fragiles than under-wrap.
- Finish flush to the top of the box with a final layer of scrunched paper.
- Pack each box to capacity to prevent collapsing when stacked in the truck.
- Close and tape the box, mark clearly and group with other boxes close to the entrance.
- To prevent back ache, try to always pack a box at a level at which you are not constantly bending. An easy solution is to sit the box being packed on top of an already packed box or to use a low small table.
2 to 3 sheets of butchers paper may be used to pack heavier and larger items such as countertop appliances.
Keep in mind, larger moving boxes can quickly become extremely heavy: try lifting a box before you seal it with tape to make sure that its weight is manageable. If you choose to use a larger box to pack your small appliances, then these heavier items should be packed on the bottom and lighter plastic storage containers can be packed on top to balance the weight of the box.
Pots and Pans
Always wrap pots and pans before placing them into moving boxes. If the packing paper is not large enough to properly cover the piece, overlap two or three sheets of paper. When possible “nest” pots and pans together to efficiently utilize space. Lids should always be packed in the same moving boxes as the pots and pans they belong to. Large moving boxes can be used for these items.
Small boxes are ideal for non-perishables. Line the bottom with a sheet of butchers paper. Pack all items upright where possible and use butchers paper scrunched in between to prevent shifting inside the box. Make sure all box and bottle tops are secured before packing them. Use packing tape to tape closed any open boxes or packets. Generally, there is no need to wrap food boxes or plastic bottles in plain packing paper. Label the box with ‘Keep Upright”. Perishables from the refrigerator should be placed in a cooler on the day of the move.
Small boxes are ideal to pack wine. Like all other fragile boxes, cushion the bottom with scrunchers. Wrap each bottle in at least 2 pieces of packing paper and lay it on its side in the box. This prevents the cork from drying out, especially if your wine remains in the packing boxes for a while in your new home.
Dishes, Plates, Glasses and Fine China
Multiples of similar plates, saucers and bowls can be wrapped together in one bundle. Use the paper-plate-paper method to nest wrap 3, 4 or 5 dishes together. Wrap the complete bundle tightly in packing paper then tape it closed. This keeps it from unwrapping. Plates, bowls, platters and other flat items should always be packed vertically on end to prevent breakage in the event a box is dropped or jarred. Never place these items horizontally in a moving box.
The first or bottom tier of the dish pack should be comprised of heavier items such as large plates and platters. The second tier can include bread plates, saucers and soup bowls. The top tier should be reserved for glasses, cups or stemware. “scrunchers” must be placed above and below each tier and should further be used on the sides of the box and in between packages.
Glasses and Stemware
For a glass or piece of stemware, initially wrap each piece loosely in a sheet of packing paper. Then, wrap the item more tightly in a second sheet. Glasses and stemware should always be stood upside down, stem facing upwards in a small box. A paper collar is sometimes recommended to provide additional support around an item before loosely wrapping it in a sheet of packing paper.
Stuff some crumpled packing paper inside a glass vase or pitcher to provide support to its sides. A fragile piece like this should be wrapped in bubblewrap and packed in the top or second layer of the box.
Before sealing the moving box, put a layer of cushioning material on top of the glasses. However, be aware of overdoing the cushioning on the top of a box that contains extremely delicate stemware. The extra “protection” on the top of this type of a box may actually press down too much into the box, placing unnecessary and excessive pressure on top of the stemware.
Do not be afraid to use extra paper when wrapping an item! Paper may seem expensive, but it is less expensive than replacing your fragile belongings!
Always keep the tops and bottoms of ceramic cookie jars or teapots together in the same bundle. If there is the possibility of an item being damaged, wrap them separately but pack them in the same packing box. Small glasses can be wrapped and then placed inside larger jars, canisters and vases. This may seem like extra work, but is actually safer for the smaller items.
Bits and bobs drawers
Everyone has their ‘bit of this & bit of that’ drawers in their kitchen. These are best packed by wrapping contents into little manageable bundles of butchers paper.
Never pack flammable items such as matches, paint, aerosol cans.
Dining, Living and Bedrooms
Lamps and Lampshades
Never pack a lamp and its shade in the same moving box. A lampshade should be removed from its lamp and packed in a box using plenty of cushioning material on the top, bottom and sides. For cushioning use crumpled packing paper to protect the shade. Do not over pack the box with cushioning material that could potentially damage the lampshade. Always box lampshades. All fabric and delicate lampshades must be boxed individually. A optional safe way to transport lampshades is to pack them in a rigid chest of drawers, stabilised with cushions.
Before packing the lamp, remove its harp and light bulb. Pack these parts together using white packing paper. The lamp itself should be wrapped in butchers paper or bubblewrap. The lamp and its parts can be packed either in a small or large box depending on its size.
Multiple lamps may be packed together. When packing fragile lamps or other items together, always place cushioning materials around all the items to protect against shifting in the box.
Remember: use “scrunchers” (rolls of crumpled white packing paper) to make a base of cushioning 6 to 10 cm thick at the bottom of the moving box. Finish off a packed lamp box with scrunchers if the lamp(s) requires it. When loading the truck, pack lamps in an upright position when possible.
Artwork – Paintings, Mirrors and Pictures
Multiple, smaller pictures/mirrors can be wrapped in a single paper pad or bubblewrap and placed in a box face-to-face with the backs against the outsides. Each picture/mirror must be insulated from one another. Never put unprotected items into any moving box. A piece of cardboard can be placed between the glass for added protection. Use a box size that fits the pictures/mirrors.
When setting up the “picture / mirror” box, begin once again with crumpled packing paper or scrunchers on the bottom of the box to act as a cushion. After the items are placed in the packing box, add additional packing paper along the sides and top and in-between each picture/mirror to prevent any shifting. A properly packed box will have no movement inside. Label the packing box with its contents and room destination. Larger picture and mirrors can be individually wrapped in furniture pads on the day of your move and further protected with a wrap of bubble wrap.
Televisions, Computers and Stereos
Before moving or packing any televisions, tape the front control panel closed. Remove or recess fully the antenna. Keep careful track of remote controls to any electronic devices, as these items are often misplaced during a move. Coil and tie/tape the electrical cords on all appliances. Tapes and CD’s should be removed from electronic equipment before being prepped or packed.
Your devices should, where possible, be packed into their original boxes. If you don’t have these then wrap in bubble wrap and pack in a suitable sized moving box. For larger televisions, furniture pads can be used on the day of your move for effective transportation. If you are moving with MetroMovers then we provide complimentary plasma/LCD boxes on Move Day. Our staff can then pack and unpack your television for maximum protection.
Large boxes are ideal for clothing such as sweaters, shirts, bed and bath linens as well as dunas and pillows. After the box is assembled, line the bottom of the box with packing paper. Neatly place the clothing or linens into the boxes. Never jam or overstuff clothing into the box. This could result in time- consuming ironing after you unpack. Place a sheet of packing paper on the top of the filled box before sealing it.
Wrap accessories such as belts and handbags in packing paper before packing them. Always try to pack items in neat bundles. If not in their original boxes, expensive, designer shoes should always be wrapped in packing paper, keeping pairs together.
Pack hanging clothing into stand-up portable wardrobes. The wardrobe has an aluminum bar that spans two sides. The clothing is left on hangers and neatly hung on the bar. One portable wardrobe can fit approximately 10 to 20 garments. Do not overstuff the portable wardrobes. Hats can be transported in the bottom of the porta robes.
Study and Home Office
Books and Magazines
Books should be packed in small boxes. Start with the top shelves of bookcases to prevent toppling. Books should be packed horizontally. Use packing paper to fill out any empty space. A packed book box will weigh an average of 15kg. If this is too heavy for you to carry, you may wish to fill boxes only part way with books, filling the remaining space with packing paper or other lighter contents.
Lateral and Vertical File Cabinets
The contents of all the drawers of a lateral file cabinet should be emptied and packed into moving boxes. The bottom two drawers of a vertical file do not have to be emptied, but all remaining drawers must be emptied into boxes. When packing the contents of file drawers, careful consideration must be made to keep files in numerical and/or alphabetical sequence.
Try to keep the contents of each drawer separate. This can be achieved by wrapping bundles of the contents into butchers paper packages and separating within the box with layers of paper.