Q&A / 

Pack Moving

DEAR TIM: I’m moving from one house to another and am overwhelmed. There seems to be so much to pack and I’m not sure how to proceed. I’ve received several bids from moving companies, and the cost for them to pack my possessions took my breath away. I’ve studied the u-pack moving options, and wonder if I’m up to the challenge. What advice do you have for moving and packing services? Have you moved recently and what can you share from the experience? Mandy S., Lima, OH

DEAR MANDY: Oh boy do I feel your pain! Just after finishing this column I’ve got to get back at it and finished packing for my own imminent move. In just two days, the giant moving truck and crew will be here to start loading my 18,000 pounds of possessions. My wife and I have done most of the packing, so we absolutely belong to the growing number of families that belong to the you pack we move clan.

These are just a few of the supplies you’ll need when you start to pack for moving yourself locally or long distance. PHOTO CREDIT:  Tim Carter

These are just a few of the supplies you’ll need when you start to pack for moving yourself locally or long distance. PHOTO CREDIT: Tim Carter

I did the same thing you did and got several quotes from cross-country moving companies. The sticker shock you experienced was the same emotion I felt. It’s expensive to move, and even more so if you decide to do little or no work. You can save thousands of dollars if you pack for your move.

The core cost of the move is for the most part a function of the total weight of your belongings. If you can reduce the overall weight of what you’re transporting from one house to the next, then do it. Sell or donate the things you simply can live without.

I discovered the power of the online classified websites a few months ago. The one I’ve had the best luck with is www.Craigslist.org. I’ve sold many crazy items that I had little or no use for using this method. The cash is going to help pay for the move. Believe it or not, it’s free to use this website.

I was even able to use this same website to advertise, at no cost, a garage sale. This sale was very successful and allowed me to sell off hundreds and thousands of pounds of items. Remember, weight is your enemy come moving day.

When you pack for moving, you have to be prepared. It takes many more hours and days than you might ever imagine. My wife and I have been packing for well over two weeks, even with the help of a friend, and we still have lots to do.

You’ll need abundant supplies to help protect your valuable possessions. Sturdy cardboard boxes, rolls and rolls of tape, rolls of sheets of plastic that have sealed bubbles of air, and some old newspaper or cheap kraft paper will come in very handy.

Many moving companies will supply you with an assortment of boxes to help you pack. The dishpack cartons are the strongest as they commonly are constructed with two layers of cardboard. These will really help protect your most fragile things.

I discovered a business very close to my home that sells shipping supplies to businesses. It just so happens these are the same things you can use to help you in your move. The cost of the supplies is far less than what you’d spend at a big box store. So far I’ve used over five 250-foot rolls of sheets of plastic that have sealed bubbles of air to pack things. These rolls are 4-feet in diameter!

It’s really important to pack things you value carefully. Inside the truck, the items will rub and bump against one another. This can damage the finish on the items, so you need to be sure you wrap valuable things with something that will protect them. It may be paper, sheets of cardboard, sheets of plastic that have sealed bubbles of air, old clothes, etc. Just realize that things will get jostled around, especially if you’re doing a long-distance move as am I.

If you have to pack large items, you may have to build your own boxes. Wooden crates can be used to protect expensive items, but these can be tough to build if you’re not a carpenter. I built a large crate for a chandelier using 1-inch-thick honeycombed cardboard panels. It only took 30 minutes to tape it together with the thick corner supports.

How to pack a moving truck is a true skill and art. Blanket wrapping each piece of furniture is mandatory to prevent damage. The rocking of the truck will cause items to shift and move around if the things inside are not packed correctly and placed tightly against one another.

If you want to discover how to pack a moving van the right way, I suggest you watch a professional. I intend to do just that in a few days. There’s no doubt that all the items being moved, especially those in boxes, are separated by shape and weight. I’m guessing the heavy items most definitely will be placed on the floor of the truck with lighter items stacked on top of them. That’s just common sense, or should I say rare sense!

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