How to Label Moving Boxes

During a move, the easiest way to keep track of your things is by labeling boxes. Olympia Moving & Storage has some tips on the most efficient ways to label.

Moving can be an exciting time. You’ve found a new home, a place to make new memories. Then comes the draining part: packing and labeling all of your boxes. Whether you purchased boxes online or from a moving company, your boxes will need some type of labeling system for transport between residences. How are you going to tell which box has your first night supplies and which box has your high school yearbooks? We have some tips for labeling your boxes so you can find your belongings easily during the move process.

To begin, you will need a pack of at least five permanent markers, preferably in different colors; clear and colored tape; and labels. The markers should be permanent and waterproof, if you can find them. Weather is unpredictable, and you don’t want your label to become illegible due to rain or normal wear and tear.  

You will want labels on at least two adjacent sides of the box, and one on top. It’s going to be easier to unpack or store boxes if you can see what is in it from at least one angle.

Use the same color for all boxes going to the same room, such as red for kitchen or brown for living room. Write the main things on each label, such as books, power cords or place settings. If you have colored tape to correspond with the markers, use the tape as an additional way to easily identify the box’s room by taping the corners of your box. Use clear tape over the labels to add another means of security to the marker. The clear tape will prevent water from getting on the label and block rips and tears. A great resource is to download Olympia’s free printable moving box labels which are color-coded and labeled by room and include an area to write a short inventory.

If you are packing a box of fragile items, make sure it is labeled “FRAGILE” on each side in marker or a fragile label sticker, with THIS END UP written near the top of the box.

You should also make sure to pack and label a First Night box filled with the essentials you will need right away.  Read our blog post for a checklist of items to put in this box.

Another great tip is to use a numbering system to easily find items and identify that all your boxes have been delivered safely.  Write a large number on your boxes or packing labels, then create a chart with each box number, the room it belongs in, and a brief description of its contents.  

Finally, make delivery smoother for your movers by taping a label next to bedroom doors and other rooms that might be easily confused.  You may know which bedroom is little Sally’s and which room is the library vs. the family room, but the movers won’t. Use the same colored marker, tape, or label on the sign as on the box to make it easily identifiable as well.

If you need help packing and labeling your belongings, Olympia Moving & Storage offers several packing plans from full or partial home to fragile items. You may reach Olympia at 800-222-4744 or request an estimate online.

The First Steps to Organize a Pack to Move

When you start to pack your home it can be overwhelming. It is hard to know where to start. To minimize the chance of losing something the best thing to do is take a step back and plan. The key to success for the steps leading up to move in day is organization. Here are some tips on how to execute a smooth pack from the start.

1. Walk around the house with a pad of paper and pen and make a plan on what rooms you’re going to pack first. The office full of stuff you haven’t touched in a few months could be first, and maybe the kid’s room one of the last. Prior to packing it is essential to have a solid plan.

2. Acquire packing materials before you dive in to packing. Olympia has excellent packing materials available for purchase & delivery. Click here to order.

3. Learn how to pack using Olympia’s “How to Pack” video series. In these videos Olympia’s training manager, John, demonstrates how to pack even the most fragile items to arrive at your new home safely and in one piece. Click here to view them now.

4. Pack one room at a time. While this sounds like an obvious solution, it is crucial for when you move in to your new house. You will have boxes labeled by room and you’ll be able to find things quickly. If you’re really feeling organized keep a running list of what is going inside the boxes and place it on top. Utilize Olympia’s free printable box labels to help keep organized.

5. Pack the most important items separately: When you’re in the process of packing it is hard to gage what you will and will not need. To be safe, make a separate box of all of these things and label it “IMPORTANT” for now put everything you might need in there, from laptop cords, TV cords, remotes, headphones, and passports. If you may need it, put it in there for now. Learn more about packing what you need right away in our blog about the “First Night Box.”

If you don’t want to pack at all, no worries! Ask about a quote for Olympia’s full-packing services by calling 800-222-4744 or request a quote online.

What Not to Pack When Moving

The benefit of working with the moving company is not having to worry about transporting your items. However, from liability, convenience, and peace of mind standpoint, there are several items that you should transport to your new home in your own vehicle. While you’re packing, place these items and boxes in a separate part of your house to ensure the movers don’t load them into the truck by accident. You can even ask your movers to load these items into your own car or vehicle for you.

The essentials for your first night

After a long day of moving, there is nothing worse than opening all your boxes to find your bed sheets, phone charger, and toilet paper. We highly recommend packing a first night box, full of things you will need to during the first few days in your new home. These items might include:

  • Clothes
  • Toiletries
  • Linens
  • Electronics & chargers
  • Keys

Click here to read our blog on the first night box and download and handy checklist to help you pack it.

Hazardous items that are illegal to ship on a moving truck

For the safety of your shipment, there are several items that are illegal to move on our moving trucks. These items are flammable or combustible, so they cannot be moved on the truck as a safety precaution to prevent fires. Other items, such as cleaning agents and bleach, are both flammable and if they leak they could potentially ruin your furniture on the shipment. Be sure to discard these items before your move or move them in your own vehicle.

  • Aerosol cans regardless of content
  • Heating agents such as Sterno
  • Nail polish/remover
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Any type of gas in bottles or tanks including propane or oxygen (we can move lawnmowers etc. if the gas tank is empty)
  • Paints, varnishes, solvents, thinners and oils
  • Ammonia, bleach and other household cleaning agents
  • Chlorine granules or powder
  • Muriatic acid (also called hydrochloric acid)
  • Auto batteries
  • Charcoal/lighter fluid
  • Matches and lighters
  • Ammunition
  • Fireworks & flares
  • Fertilizer
  • Any other combustible product

Valuables, medication, and important documents

Although the crew is trustworthy and careful, we recommend transporting your small valuables and irreplaceable items as well as items that contain personal information in your own vehicle. Also remember to pack items that you may need during the course of your move, such as medication, closing documents, and laptops, to take on your own. Items that should not be moved on the truck include:

  • Valuable Jewelry
  • Cash, gift cards, and checkbooks
  • Guns and firearms
  • Valuable furs
  • Hard-to-replace documents such as birth & death certificates, marriage certificates, deeds and other important documents
  • Documents you may need for your closing
  • Laptops or computer hard drives
  • Social security cards
  • Insurance policies
  • Ashes
  • Passports
  • Stocks, bonds, and securities
  • Valuable collections such as wine or stamps or coins
  • Family photos and videos
  • Small heirlooms

Also, don’t forget, any items that are moved on the truck that exceed a value of $5,000 should be noted on a Declaration of Extraordinary Value form.

Perishable items

If you are doing a multi-day or long-distance move, there are many items that should not be moved on the truck because they may be ruined in transit due to temperature changes on the truck. These items include:

  • Frozen/refrigerated food
  • Plants and potted trees
  • Open non-perishable food items
  • Wine (click here for our blog on wine transport alternatives)

Transporting these items on your own will go a long way in preventing issues and ensuring you have a smooth relocation. If  you ever have any questions about what can or cannot be moved, you can ask your relocation coordinator.

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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.

Still have leftover furniture? You can also check out this furniture disposal directory from Wayfair.

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.

Still have leftover furniture? You can also check out this furniture disposal directory from Wayfair.

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.