Packing Don’ts for Moving

Packing is hard and tips are always welcomed.  Everyone has heard about the packing dos, but packing don’ts are just as important, and not following those guidelines could end up adding time and money to your move.

We’ve been moving families for over 20 years.  Olympia Moving & Storage provides full packing services, but many of our clients also pack themselves.  We see our self-pack clients make the same mistakes over and over again.  Below are the most common packing don’ts we see our clients disregard. These packing don’ts are moving time-savers and prevent moving damage, whether you’re moving yourself or working with a moving company.

packing don'tsLocal Moving Packing Don’ts:

  • Don’t pack books in medium or large boxes, you’ll over-pack and boxes could break during the move, or worse, you could pack a box too heavy to move.  Always pack books, CDs, and files in small 1.5 cu.ft. boxes.
  • Don’t forget to disassemble your lamps and lampshades and pack them in appropriate boxes, 6.1 cu.ft. boxes are best. Lamps and lampshades cannot be wrapped, they must move in a box or risk damage.
  • Don’t pack your fragile items or books into plastic totes. This does not securely protect fragiles from damage and will over pack the tote, making it too heavy to lift.  Wrap fragile items and pack them into 1.5 cu.ft. boxes, or pack fragile dishware into 5.1 cu.ft. dishpack boxes.  Those boxes have thicker walls for better protection.

Interstate Moving Packing Don’ts:

  • Packing artwork and mirrors can be scary, but it’s important to remember that bubble wrap isn’t enough to protect them. Artwork and mirrors must be packed in mirror or artwork boxes to avoid damage.
  • Vases and plant pots must be boxed and cannot be placed freely in your moving vehicle or they will get damaged and may cause other items to get damaged as well.
  • Don’t transport your items in trash bags. Your belongings aren’t garbage and while this seems like an easy packing cheat, your bags will rip in transit. Bags are also cumbersome and can’t be stacked to utilize space in a moving vehicle.
  • Floor lamps must be dismantled and packed in a tall lamp box.

General Moving Packing Don’ts:

  • Moving filing cabinets can be daunting.
    Large filing cabinets (3-5 drawers) must be emptied completely or they will be too heavy to carry.
    Small cabinets (2 drawers) can remain full but emptying them will be appreciated by your movers or helpful friends.
  • Dressers are best to be emptied at least halfway and should only contain clothing and linen
  • Fragile items, books, and jewelry cannot be transported in drawers of furniture items.  They may damage the furniture piece, make it too heavy, or run the risk of getting lost or damaged if not packed properly.
  • All containers must have tops to ensure items are not susceptible to damage or displacement. This will also ensure that all boxes and items can be stacked inside the moving vehicle.
  • All boxes should be filledas best as possible to ensure safe transport and loading. If the space is not used items are more likely to shift and get damaged during transit, and boxes could collapse while they are stacked in the moving truck.

Our general rule of thumb is that everything that fits in a box, should go in a box!

Have other packing questions?
Call us today at 800.222.4744 or click here to request a free, no obligation moving estimate and start planning your move.

If you’re still intimated by packing, no problem! Request an pricing for full or fragile packing services as part of your estimate with Olympia Moving & Storage.

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Estimating the Number of Boxes For Moving

Estimating number of boxes for movingOur moving consultants are all experts in estimating the weight, volume, and costs for a move, but even they will agree that estimating the number of boxes for moving can be tricky. Truthfully, the number of boxes you need to purchase to start packing is completely variable and unique to every relocation. Some homes are sparse, some families are pack rats, and even the types of boxes needed are unique to what you own.

Therefore, the most accurate way to determine how many boxes you need will always be to have a professional moving consultant do an in-home survey and produce a cube sheet. The cube sheet will include the number and types of boxes you will need to start packing, and that list will be completely customized to your items.

However, sometimes you just need a rule of thumb to purchase boxes and start packing. Here are some averages and generalizations we use for estimating the number of boxes needed for a move:

Before you get started, click here to learn more about the types of boxes sold for packing for a move.

 

Average number of boxes needed to pack an apartment or condo:

ROOM 1.5 cu. ft. small box 3.1 cu. ft. medium box 4.5 cu. ft. large box 5.1 cu. ft. dishpack box Wardrobe Boxes
Kitchen 2 5 4 4 0
Living Room 2 3 2 1 0
Dining Room 0 1 0 2 0
Master Bedroom 1 5 5 0 4
Bedroom #2 1 3 3 0 2
Bathroom 2 0 2 0 0
TOTAL 8 17 16 7 6

Average number of boxes needed for a single family home move:

ROOM 1.5 cu. ft. small box 3.1 cu. ft. medium box 4.5 cu. ft. large box 5.1 cu. ft. dishpack box Wardrobe Boxes
Kitchen 4 6 4 6 0
Living Room 4 4 4 2 0
Dining Room 0 2 0 4 0
Master Bedroom 3 6 8 0 6
Bedroom #2 2 5 5 0 2
Bedroom #3 2 5 5 0 2
Bathroom #1 2 0 2 0 0
Bathroom #2 2 0 0 0 0
TOTAL 19 28
28 12 10

These estimates only take into account an average home set-up.  Think about which things you tend to have more of than the average household, then add boxes based on that.

  • Don’t forget about adding boxes to pack hall closets, basements, attics, garages, and sheds.
  • If you have many books, papers, or records, add more 1.5 boxes.
  • For more knick-knacks, small appliances, and miscellaneous, add more 3.1 boxes.
  • For more clothes, blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals, add 4.5 boxes.
  • For additional kitchenware, add 5.1 boxes.

Paper and Tape

  • Tape: purchase 1 roll of tapes for every 10 boxes
  • Packing Paper: purchase 25 lbs of packing paper for every 2 dishpack boxes, this is enough to cover those dishpacks and additional fragiles in the other boxes

Other tips and rules of thumb for estimating boxes:

  • Don’t forget your mirrors and artwork!  Add 1 mirror carton for every 2 large frames in your home.
  • Do you have bookcases?  Add 6 additional 1.5 boxes for every bookcase in your home.
  • For closets with hanging clothes, a wardrobe box will hold 2 feet worth of hanging items, so just measure the width of your closet to determine how many wardrobe boxes you need.
  • Moving.com has a handy packing materials calculator that is also a good guideline for estimating boxes.

Ready to purchase boxes? If you’re packing for a Boston move or Washington D.C. move, you can request a free box delivery by filling out this form.

Need more packing help? Be sure to check out:
Packing Resource Center
Free Printable Moving Box Labels
9 Items You Shouldn’t Bring When Moving

Decluttering for your Washington DC Move: Furniture Donation Pickup in Washington DC

Furniture Donation PickupIf you are trying to declutter your home prior to a Washington, DC move, consider donating your old furniture instead of selling or trashing it. Not only is it better for the environment, but it is a chance to do some good. Donating furniture is easy with our list of organizations that offer furniture donation pickup in Washington DC, Northern Virginia, and Maryland.

There are plenty of good reasons to donate furniture prior to your move, including:

  • Saving money: the less items you have to move, the more inexpensive your move will be
  • Streamline the move: some of your furniture may not fit through the doorways or stairways of your new home, get rid of those items before move day to reduce stress
  • Redecorating: a new home is the perfect opportunity to get rid of the old to make way for a new home decor aesthetic
  • Simplifying: some studies show that less stuff equals greater happiness

These Washington DC area organizations make it easy with furniture donation pickup. If you live in the greater Boston area, don’t miss our list of organizations that will pickup furniture donations in Boston.

Charity-Net in support of Special Olympics Virginia

As proud supporters of Special Olympics Virginia, we recommend using Charity-Net to schedule a pickup of your gently used clothes, housewares, media, and furniture. Your items will go to Savers and Value Village Thrift Stores, and a portion of their sales will support the athletic programs and competitions for athletes with intellectual disabilities. You can book your pickup online. Just enter your zip code, and you’ll be presented with a list of possible pickup dates.

A Wider Circle

This non-profit provides basic need items, education, and long-term support for those in need. They accept furniture, linens, baby items, and professional attire. All your donations will be used by someone in need within days! Fill out this form to schedule a pick up or you can drop off at their office in Silver Spring.

Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia

Habitat for Humanity builds homes for people in need. Your donations got to their ReStores which raise money for the organization. They are in need of furniture, housewares, appliances, building supplies, and more. Fill out this online form to schedule a weekday pickup from your curb, driveway, or garage. You can also drop items at their Alexandria or Chantilly store Monday – Saturday.

Alive! (ALexandrians InVolved Ecumenically)

This non-profit is a collaboration of religious congregations in Alexandria, VA to provide a safety net for the needy in Alexandria. If you live in Alexandria, they will send a volunteer to pick up your furniture on Saturday mornings. Call 703-837-9300 x3 to schedule the pickup. Alive! also accepts housewares.

Support Our Veterans

This organization sells your donations and uses the funds for programs for veterans. Use their online form to schedule a pickup of your furniture, housewares, clothes, and more. Then just leave your items on your porch by 8 AM on your schedule pickup day.

For more packing tips, be sure to check out:
9 Essential Items You Shouldn’t Bring on Your Move
How to Pack Video Series
Selling Unwanted Items Before Moving

Decluttering for your Boston Move: Furniture Donation Pickup in Boston

Furniture Donation PickupMoving is the perfect opportunity to de-clutter your home. Rather than selling or tossing your unwanted furniture and household items, it’s even better to do some good and donate it. We put together a list of organizations that will do a furniture donation pickup in Boston and metro-west.

You’ll read repeatedly that the easiest way to save money on a move is to move less stuff. This is especially relevant for interstate moves. The costs of the move are based on the actual weight of the move, so every pound you cut from your move will result in savings! So before you pack, think about whether you value that item enough to pay to move it.

Also consider whether there is a place in your new home for your old furniture. Make a floorplan to ensure you know the new location of each piece. It’s also recommended to measure your furniture to check whether it will fit through the doorways or stairways of the new home. It’s expensive and frustrating for the crew to go through the effort of relocating a sofa only to discover that it’s not possible to move it into your new house.

A new home is also a great opportunity for a new start. Maybe you’ve read the studies that less stuff equals more happiness and want to simplify. Or perhaps you want a new style for your new house, and some of your furniture and knickknacks just don’t fit with the new decor.

Regardless of your reason for donating before the move, here are our recommendations for where to donate furniture in Boston and metro-west:

The Mass Coalition for the Homeless

This local organization provides furnishings for people who are transitioning out of homelessness into permanent homes. Olympia Moving has worked with this organization in the past as part of their furniture drive. The Mass Coalition will pick up the furniture from most towns around Boston, but their pick up truck can book up months in advance. Fill out this form to request a pick up and click here to see the items most needed at this time.

The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army accepts donations of appliances, clothing, furniture, and household goods. Click here for a list of items they accept. There are donation drop off areas in almost every Boston-area town, click here to enter your zip code and find the one closes to you. If you’re donating furniture, call 1-800-SA-TRUCK to schedule a pickup.

Household Goods

Household Goods is a local non-profit in Acton that helps people who need help rebuilding their lives, including fire or flood victims, domestic violence victims, veterans, refugees, and others. They accept donations of gently used furniture, kitchenware, linens, and household items. The drop off location is 530 Main Street, Acton on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday 9 AM to noon. They do furniture pickups at the same time for essential furniture and appliances only, click here to schedule a pickup.

Society of St. Vincent de Paul

Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a locally organized Christian organization that helps the needy and suffering. Clothing donations can be dropped off at one of their thrift stores in metro-west Boston or you can call 1-800-675-2882 to find a nearby drop-off bin. To schedule a furniture pick up, call 1-800-675-2882, between 8:30am – 3:30pm (Monday – Friday).

Boomerangs

These Boston thrift stores raise money to fight aids. They accept furniture, media, houseware, kitchenware, linen, and electronics. You can drop off donations at their thrift stores or click here to schedule a furniture pickup.

For more packing tips, be sure to check out:
9 Essential Items You Shouldn’t Bring on Your Move
How to Pack Video Series
Selling Unwanted Items Before Moving

Free Printable Moving Box Labels

Nobody likes packing, but the moving process is always much smoother if you keep organized. That’s why Olympia offers free printable moving box labels to their clients, or anyone who’s moving. These pretty labels are sure to brighten your boxes, and may even motivate you to keep packing!

We’ve designed unique, color-coded labels for every room in your home to help the movers easily differentiate the boxes during delivery. Be sure to write descriptions of each box’s contents to aid in locating specific items while unpacking. Believe us, you’ll thank yourself later!

Also included are “fragile” stickers to warn movers of breakable contents like glass, dishes, figurines, and pictures. As a bonus, we also created adorable kids’ moving box labels to help your little ones find their toys as soon as playtime in the new home begins.

All labels can be printed on standard blank Avery or shipping labels using a laser printer.

You can also purchase pre-printed moving box labels from us, along with other packing materials.

Moving Box Labels

All labels are 3.33″ x 4″ and are laid out 6 per sheet. We recommend using Avery Shipping Labels for Ink Jet Printers, 3.33 x 4 Inches. However, take care to only use the labels on boxes, as they will be difficult to remove from furniture.

Click on each link to download the respective PDF, or you can download all the moving label PDFs using [this link].


Living Room Moving Box Label
Dining Room Moving Box Label
Kitchen Moving Box Label
Storage Moving Box Label
Continue reading “Free Printable Moving Box Labels”

Smart Packing with Adam of Benezra Boxes

Benezra BoxesWhen it comes to moving, Adam Benezra, entrepreneur and owner of Benezra Boxes, is an expert. He was a mover for Gentle Giant for four years, but even after a back injury, Adam wasn’t ready to leave the moving industry.  Instead, he started his own business.

Says Adam “At the time, recycling was really gaining steam and using used moving boxes wasn’t anything new.  I just decided to market it more aggressively and also add my moving knowledge to help give customers free advice.”

Benezra Boxes was born.  Fifteen years later Adam still maintains his business in Winchester, MA.   Benezra Boxes focuses on picking up and selling used moving boxes.  Adam also leverages his industry expertise to offer relocation management services.  Customers who utilize Adam’s service can sit back and let Adam plan their move and procure estimates, as well as managing their packing.

When our clients ask us how to get obtain or get rid of used boxes we know to send them to Adam. It’s great to see someone conquer this needed niche in the moving industry.

How did you come up with the idea of Benezra Boxes?

“When I was a kid, I was raised by my aunt and uncle and my aunt started the recycling program in Melrose. And my uncle was always encouraging me to start my own business, they were very supportive.”

Continue reading “Smart Packing with Adam of Benezra Boxes”

Tips for Packing Clothes for Moving

wardrobe boxes for packing clothesPacking your wardrobe can be one of the easiest steps of your moving preparation if you do it right.

Moving is a good opportunity to get rid of many of the clothes you never wear. When you’re packing, ask yourself if you’ve worn the article in the past year. If the answer is no, you may want to put it in a separate box for the Salvation Army or Goodwill.

Packing the dresser
If you have a lightweight dresser, such as one made of pine, you can simply leave your clothes inside. Clothes are light, so leaving them in the drawers does not add much weight to the furniture. When the movers arrive they will wrap the dresser in a moving blanket and move the dresser with all the clothes inside. If there are any concerns about the structural integrity of the dresser (pressboard furniture), then the clothing needs to be removed. Any loose items, such as pens, and spare change should be removed from dressers.

Packing the closet
If you have hanging clothes, you can use wardrobe boxes, like the one pictured here, to move your clothes and avoid wrinkling. These boxes act as a cardboard closet, with a bar inside for hangers. You can order wardrobe boxes ahead or ask your moving coordinator to send some with the crew on move day.

Packing in boxes
Start by filling your suitcases with clothes. You’re going to have to move them anyway, so make them useful instead of taking up empty space in the truck. Pack the remainder of your clothes in 4.5 cubic foot boxes.

Ready to move beyond your clothes closet?  Visit our Moving Tips & Resources page for a wealth of useful moving and storage info, including videos showing how to pack a number of common household items.

Tips for Packing Electronics

Packing ElectronicsElectronics are often both valuable and fragile. Packing and transporting these items can seem intimidating; however with the proper supplies and methods, you can ensure that televisions, computers, DVD players, and gaming consoles will safely reach their destination.

The first step is to check owner’s manuals to see if there are any special packing or moving instructions. If you lost the manuals, you can often find an online version at the manufacturer’s website.

Next, gather the right materials for packaging these items. Using the original box is ideal, however if you did not save the original packaging, Olympia also sells boxes; including special flat-screen TV boxes. Olympia can also build custom crates to transport larger electronics.

When packing, use static free bags to pack all related wires and cables. Protect your item with bubble wrap or paper and include related manuals, accessories, and remotes in the same box so you won’t lose them later. Careful labeling will help to ensure that you can reconfigure your electronics properly at the new residence.

Boxes containing electronics should be designated as “FRAGILE’ and noted on the top and sides of the relevant containers.

If you are not comfortable to pack your own electronics, Olympia offers complete packing services. Should you require these services, please contact your move coordinator to ensure availability.

 

Having trouble envisioning yourself packing that fridge or TV? Check out our how-to videos for a step-by-step in packing common household items.

A Quick and Easy Solution for Finding Moving Boxes

So you have contracted a mover and have a scheduled moving date…what next?

Moving Supplies Delivery

If you have not already done so, setup a moving supplies delivery through your moving company. Deliveries are free (provided you are within a certain radius of the office), and obtaining materials from a moving company is usually less expensive than one of the “big box stores”. Most moving companies will also be willing to deliver materials to your residence; even if you are moving yourself. Moving Supplies Boston MA

Ordering Moving Supplies

When ordering materials, consider the following:

1) People always underestimate the number of boxes required to complete their packing. Be conservative in your estimation.
2) Find moving supplies here to help you determine what kinds of boxes you will need. The basic rule of thumb is that heavier items (books, canned goods) should be placed in smaller boxes.
3) Order one role of tape for every 8-10 boxes.
4) Order one “ream” of paper for every 10-15 boxes (the more fragile items you have, the more paper will be required).
5) Ask whether the moving company has any used or recycled packing supplies that they could provide at a discounted rate. This is an environmentally friendly way to save money.

Organize Your Moving Boxes

Once you receive your packing supplies, keep them organized in a specific area to avoid unwanted clutter. Label each box carefully and stack the boxes in tiers against the wall so that the movers have access to all of your goods.

 

Now that you know where to find moving boxes, let us help you pack them. We have quite a few videos that show you how to pack common household items.

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The Right Way to Pack for Your Move

Improper packing is far and away the leading cause of damages during a move.  Packing is somewhat of an art form and Olympia Moving spends hundreds of hours training our crews on best practices on an annual basis.  Obviously, if you choose to pack yourself, you will need to get up to speed as fast as possible; so the following suggestions should serve as a quick primer.

Tips to Packing For Your Move

1)     Leave yourself enough time to organize and pack.  Packing and preparing for a move always takes longer than anticipated.  If you find that you are running out of time, contact your relocation coordinator and request assistance.

2)     Organize your space before initiating the packing process.  This will save you a lot of time.

3)     Setup a “packing workstation” with a flat surface upon which you can lay your packing paper.Moving Boxes Supplies|Packing Tips Boston MA

4)     Place empty boxes that you are in the process of packing on top of a full carton so that you don’t have to bend down to pack the box.  This is both a faster approach and will protect you from back injuries.

Packing Materials

5)     The best packing material is plain white newsprint (packing paper), which can be supplied by any moving company.  It is the right consistency and, unlike newsprint, will not leave ink stains on the items you are trying to protect.

6)     Be generous in your use of paper.  Packing paper is not cheap; but it is much less expensive than damaged goods.

7)     In the vast majority of cases, paper is preferable to bubble wrap.  In addition, paper is considerably less expensive and it more environmentally sound.

Organize Your Packing Items

8)     Pack in tiers.  If you are packing breakable items, put a “cushion” of crumpled up paper on the bottom of each box.  Then individually wrap each item and place it gently and securely in the box.  Make sure that everything is packed tightly together and then add another tier of cushioning.

9)     Pack “like items” together; such as “pots and pans” or “dishes”.  This makes the unpacking process smoother.

10) Label carefully on the top and two adjacent sides of each box.  The labels should include your last name, the room that the items came out of, and a few words about the contents of the box.  This will help the movers to know where to place the carton in your new residence.

11) Do not leave any extra space in your containers.  The strength and integrity of the box is largely determined by what is inside the box.  The rule of thumb is that if you gently shake the box and hear any movement, you need to add paper.

12) When taping the box shut, use proper moving tape.  Tape securely along each seam of the box and then run your hand over the tape to make sure that it has adhered to the cardboard.

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