Ruby Bayan is a freelance writer who likes to share her simple joys.

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How To Pack For A Move
by Ruby Bayan

What is the best way to pack for a move?

When packing your belongings for a move, make sure they can withstand all the handling, extreme temperatures, and travel bumps they will likely be exposed to. Cushion, wrap, and pack each item appropriately so that it doesn't suffer from any type of damage while in transit.

Why is it important to pack items properly?

No matter how careful you and your movers are, there's bound to be slip-ups, accidents, or unexpected circumstances during your move. Making sure that your precious belongings are safeguarded from the worst possible mishap will give you peace of mind -- the assurance that you and your whole household will resettle into your new home safe and sound.

How To Pack Your Household Items:

Packing items you will need:
1. heavy duty packing tape (not masking or plastic tape)
2. marking pens
3. cord or rope
4. recycled paper (newspaper if smudging is not a concern)
5. white tissue paper
6. bubble wrap
7. plastic bags (various sizes)
8. boxes and cartons
9. filling material (foam peanuts)

Furniture -- Wrap arms and legs of tables and chairs to prevent scratches. Pad table tops. If tables can be taken apart, secure the removable nuts and bolts in a plastic bag and tape the bag onto the underside of the table. You can tie armless chairs together seat to seat. Put a folded towel or bubble wrap between the seats if necessary. Put mattresses inside mattress protection bags (commercially available) to keep them clean. Disassemble bed frames and tie them together. Wrap headboards and footboards to prevent scratches.

Kitchenware -- Stack pots, pans, and other utensils in a carton, with sheets of paper to keep them from scratching each other.

Dishes and Glasses -- Wrap each breakable piece in bubble wrap or recycled paper (you may want to put each one in a clean plastic bag to save dishwashing later). Put them in a sturdy box making sure there is enough crumpled paper or filling material to prevent the dishes and glasses from knocking each other. Stack cups and bowls with pieces of paper in between. You can wrap sets of four to five dishes/cups/bowls for more stability.

Books and Magazines -- Pack books and magazines flat in small easy-to-lift cartons (they tend to be heavy). Be sure to cushion the books with crumpled paper or filling material.

Lamps -- Disassemble lamps and pack the bases in cartons stuffed with filling material or crumpled paper. Pack the shades individually in boxes cushioned with white tissue paper or filling material.

Mirrors, Paintings, and Frames -- Wrap small items in paper and pack in sturdy cartons. For big mirrors, paintings, and frames, wrap individually in corrugated cardboard and tape or tie securely. Mark the packages with "FRAGILE" or "GLASS" to ensure proper handling. Load them upright onto the vehicle.

Rugs and Carpets -- Vacuum, roll up, and tie securely.

Dressers, Bureaus and Night Stands -- You can put small breakable items, cushioned by pieces of clothing, inside the drawers. Do not tape the drawers shut because the adhesive may affect the finish. Instead, use paper pads or bubble wrap and tie with a rope.

Clothes -- Hanging clothes (coats, suits, gowns) should be packed in wardrobe cartons for best handling. The rest can be packed in regular boxes or remain in the dresser drawers.

Jewelry and Other Valuables -- Pack important and valuable items like jewelry, documents (car records, insurance policies, medical records, etc.), and safe deposit box contents in a small container you can carry with you during the move.

Tools and Gardening Equipment -- Tie long-handed tools, like rakes and shovels, together with a tape or rope. Pack hoses, small tools, and other paraphernalia in a sturdy carton.

Plants -- Water plants before packing. Wrap them in plastic bags with holes for air. Place small plants in cartons for easy handling. Remember that extreme temperatures can be fatal to your plants.

Small Appliances -- Pack items individually in cartons (if original containers are no longer available) filled with crumpled paper or filling material. Tape or tie down movable parts. Box radios and TVs in well-padded cartons. Mark all cartons with "FRAGILE".

Major Appliances -- Tape or tie down all moveable parts and doors. Stuff rags or towels in the dishwasher to prevent the tub from spinning. Defrost and dry the interior of the refrigerator. Move all major appliances upright. When in doubt, check with the dealer for special moving instructions.

[First published at, 2000]


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