If you don’t like to plan things, then you really may not like loading a moving truck yourself. Sorry, but you’ve got to have a plan. No excuses, and no winging it. I agree that it sounds rather boring to plan out how you’ll load your moving truck, but it’s better than the alternative. If a moving truck isn’t loaded correctly, you may not only waste a bunch of time, but also damage many of your belongings.
Before you rent that moving truck, ask yourself a few important questions.
1. Do you have the physical stamina and desire to transport your furniture and multiple heavy boxes?
2. Do you have two or three reliable friends who are available and committed to helping you load and unload your truck? (It may be difficult or impossible to hire movers at the last minute.)
3. Are you comfortable driving a large truck?
4. Have you checked with your insurance agent about coverage during the move?
5. Compared to hiring movers, will you save enough money doing it yourself to justify your trouble?
If you answered “yes” to most of those questions, then go for it. And, yes, I realize you don’t need my permission! Now that you’ve decided, be sure to reserve your moving truck as soon as possible. Most moving trucks include ramps, but ask to make sure you’ll have one. Also rent plenty of padding, a dolly, plus carrying harnesses and straps.
The general loading instructions below don’t include everything you’ll ever need to know about loading your own moving truck, but they should get your brain going toward a plan that will work best for your particular situation. And, please, just go ahead and imagine that when I’m talking about loading something that’s not packed in a box, I’ve written: “Use padding” after every sentence!
Before you start carrying things out, roll up area rugs, disassemble tables and beds, and disconnect appliances, preparing them as needed. You can find an online guide for preparing appliances for a move at the Sears website, Manage My Life.
Load Heavy First
Loading should take place from left to right, and from floor to ceiling. Load your heaviest and biggest items first, placing them near the cab. Items typically loaded first include washing machines, dryers, ranges, refrigerators, dishwashers, mattresses, and bulky pieces of furniture like dressers, armoires, sofas and media cabinets.
Consider how well you’re balancing the truck with weight. It’s good to have the heaviest items near the cab for stability, but also balance the weight by placing heavy items on both sides of the truck.
After you’ve loaded the heavy stuff like appliances and furniture, start loading the heaviest boxes. Position heavy boxes on top of furniture and appliances, but never place a heavy box on a lighter item.
Fill in Spaces
To make sure that things don’t shift around and you actually fit everything inside your truck, you’ll need to fill in every empty space.
Place boxes under desks and coffee tables, and fill in empty spaces around chairs with small items. Close up other gaps with non-breakable fillers, such as stuffed animals, sofa cushions, and pillows placed in garbage bags.
Finish with Fragile on Top
Remember, you’re filling the truck to the ceiling. And the lightest boxes, you guessed it, go on top! Small, loose items can also be placed on the top of the stack.
Once you’ve finished loading heavy items near the cab, don’t forget to include lighter boxes on top before moving on to the middle and rear areas of the truck. In other words, you won’t save all of the lighter boxes for the very end. Speaking of the end, awkward items like garage tools are best placed in the rear of the truck.
If you’ve loaded a moving truck recently, please share your experiences with us. If you’re planning a move, please have a safe, uneventful time!How to Load a Moving Truck by Tim Eyre