The basics of moving don’t seem complicated: boxes, wrapping material, tape. But you might want to think a little more deeply if you really want your stuff to stay safe and clean, especially if you are moving your things into storage for an extended period. Here are some tips to make your packing the best it can be.
1. Use sturdy, undamaged boxes. When moving into storage, you have to consider the longevity of your boxes; they need to be durable enough to hold up for weeks, months, or years under a lot of weight. Almost as important is using boxes in only a few sizes to enable efficient stacking. Think twice about getting free boxes from supermarkets and liquor stores because their mismatched sizes and previous battering will make them hard to stack and likely to crumple. Your best bet is investing in new boxes from a moving supply company. Extra Space offers these for sale at many of its locations. Purchase specially sized boxes for large and fragile items like TVs, framed artwork, and hanging clothes.
2. Wrap stuff in plastic. Pack your breakables in bubble wrap, which provides more protection and is cleaner than paper. Special plastic bags for mattresses come in various sizes and provide the best protection. However, avoid using plastic trash bags to pack soft things like clothes, linens, and pillows. These can rip easily and will surely end up in a heap in your storage space. When sealed tightly they can trap humidity and promote mildew growth. Soft items should go in boxes or in vacuum-sealed bags made for the purpose.
3. Pack your boxes well. Make sure you fill your boxes all the way up, as half-empty ones are likely to crumple under the weight of a stack. If a box has a lot of empty space—say around the contours of a lamp—then fill in the space with foam peanuts or another packing material. Clearly label boxes with fragile contents so they can be placed at the top of stacks. Make sure none of your boxes are too heavy and that the weight inside is distributed evenly. Doing so will help both with lifting and stacking. Finally, label your boxes on the sides as well as the top so you can see what’s what when they’re all stacked up.
4. Tape things tightly. Secure your box tops tightly to make sure nothing spills in case of accidental upturn. Make sure the bottoms of all boxes are particularly secure. Most people don’t buy enough tape when they start packing and end up having to get more. Your storage manager can help estimate how much you’ll require for the number of boxes you have.
5. Care for your furniture. Break down furniture wherever possible, taking off table legs and disassembling any pieces that come apart. Cover all furniture, especially smooth wooden surfaces that are easily gouged, with cloths or tarps.
You can save space by storing large pieces of furniture vertically. However, doing so may damage some items like sofas, so consider stacking sofas and love seats instead if possible. Stack chairs seat-to-seat and also stack appliances like washers and dryers. Always store mirrors and framed artwork vertically on their edges so they don’t collapse under their own weight.