Packing 101: Materials and More

When it comes to moving long distances, the two most expensive factors are the weight of your shipment and the packing performed by your moving company. If you’re looking to save some money, you can opt to pack yourself – or do a partial pack where you pack some, and the moving company packs the rest.

Here are some helpful tips for a DIY Pack: 

  1. Used boxes are great, as long as they are in good shape!
    Cardboard boxes can be expensive. In the months leading up to your move, start saving boxes from local deliveries. You’ll save money on boxes, and you’ll also reduce your carbon footprint, by re-purposing boxes. Pack clothing and other soft items in your repurposed boxes. Consult your mover to obtain the best boxes for fragile items, such as artwork or dishes.

    You can also find used boxes by searching classifieds – people or companies who may have just moved might be looking to get rid of their boxes.

    Finally, some movers include moving materials, such as packing tape and boxes in their estimates to help get you started. These boxes are standard sizes and are made for certain items (such as books, clothing, CDs, etc.) Be sure to consult with your mover to find out what is included. You can also ask your mover if they can provide used boxes for use. Some movers provide used boxes free of charge to their customers. 

  2. Paper is the best insulator!
    Unprinted newsprint paper is the packing supply of choice! The common myth is that bubble wrap is best. Bubble wrap actually creates dead space in the box, which can cause damage. Consult with your mover to find out whether packing paper is included in your estimate. If it is not included, you’ll want to purchase some from your mover to ensure the utmost protection. You could also use newspaper, but beware that newspaper ink runs! No one wants to see the latest news all over their fine china!
  3. Packing tape is your friend.
    Duct tape may be great for those DIY projects around the house – but it’s unnecessary when moving. You should also stay away from masking tape and reinforced fiber tape. The best material to use is good old-fashioned packing or mailing tape. Designed to adhere to cardboard, packing/mailing tape can be applied and removed easily. One or two strips right down the center should be enough – do not feel as if you need to tape every seam. For heavier boxes, add a few additional strips for good measure.
  4. When in doubt, leave it to the professionals.
    Even if you decided to do some of the packing, hire your mover to pack breakables, art and other antiques to ensure that your treasured items remain in tact. You have enough on your plate, and this will be a worthwhile investment at such a crazy time. Some items just need to be left to the professionals.
  5. Your boxes have more moves left!
    After your move, consider passing on your boxes to someone else. Most cardboard boxes have a life expectancy of 2 to 3 moves. Your unprinted newsprint can also be recycled. Post all of these items on If your boxes are worn and ready to be recycled, contact your town’s recycling department to see if someone can pick them up. -----EF

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