The 7 Deadly Rules Of Packing

Considering the number of times that you move in your life, it’s no real surprise that you may not be an expert at packing. With the stress of a house move, you’d be forgiven for not knowing all the ins and outs of how to, say, safely pack a crystal vase in a box so it doesn’t get damaged during your move.

Removals is an area that has tips and tricks just like any other field, so read on to find out how you can avoid the most common problems and mistakes when you next come to pack away your life and move to pastures new.

Although there a lot more tips and tricks in our trade, we have only included 7 of the most common things we see regularly – if you just do these, everything should arrive at your new home in tip top condition.

1. The wrong type of box

Did you know there is a right and wrong box that you can use for your removal?

No, didn’t think you did. Most people go for the cheapest box, which is less money for a reason. It is because it is made of single wall cardboard, and therefore has no strength. While this might be fine when you want to put your items into a self-store, it is not good if your removal has to travel halfway across Europe.

Just to give you a heads up, we always stack boxes one on top of the other – up to 6 or more high – so it is always best to use boxes made of double wall cardboard, that have enough strength to keep their shape while they are being moved and stacked. With these proper removal strength boxes, you can be sure that the box itself, and it’s important contents, will be as good when you receive them in your new house, as when you packed them back in your old home.

triple wall cardboard

The only cardboard to use for your removal

The type of box you’re looking for is triple wall with two layers of corrugations, sandwiched between 3 layers of straight card. There is a picture of the cardboard below, to help you identify it when you go to buy your boxes, whether online or at a local removers or self-store.

2. Seal the bottom of your boxes with lots of tape.

An airtight seal gives the best strength

I’ve seen this many many times, where the box has not been sealed at the bottom sufficiently strongly. In the worst case, when you lift the box, the bottom of the box opens and the contents drop onto the floor – obviously not a good result if you have valuables or china inside.

The way to get around this problem is to completely seal along all of the open edges of the bottom of the box to make it airtight, putting 2 lines where the 2 leaves join in the middle, and then for good measure put a line of tape across at right angles as well.

3. The right way to pack glass and china

It is amazing how many people don’t know how to correctly pack fragile glass and china. Not surprising though, considering that it is not really obvious until you really think about it.

To help you remember, you need to look for and try and work out where the strength is with glasses and plates.

With glasses it is always vertically, the way it sits on a table. So therefore that is the way it should be packed. Either upside down or right way up doesn’t really matter, however we always pack glasses upside down, so the second layer of china or glass, in the box, has a firmer base to sit on.

With plates and dishes the most strength is when they sitting on their sides – and not when they’re sitting flat as they would be on a table – so, therefore, you should always pack plates upright.

Always remember to use lots of scrunched up wrapping paper to provide a cushion on the bottom of the box, and also add more between each set of items, and between the sides of the box and the contents. And, of course, use some to provide a cushion on the top too before you seal the box. No piece of glass or china should ever be directly touching the cardboard of the box, there should always be some sort of cushion.

While we are talking about packing china and fragile items that might get broken, it’s worth mentioning that if you do your own packing you’re not insured for the contents of the boxes you pack. Whilst this is probably written in their terms and conditions, most removal companies don’t tell you this when you ask them for a quote.

When you think about it, being insured only if your boxes are professionally packed is common sense and perfectly understandable, so use all of these tips to make sure you do things right first time to pack things correctly, and you shouldn’t have any problems.

4. Overloading

Putting too much heavy stuff in a box is an easy thing to do, and when this happens the box can bulge and lose it’s shape and therefore lose all strength. The way to make sure that this doesn’t happen is to just put heavy things in the bottom half of the box, and then fill up the top half with lighter items.

A good test is to see if you can lift the box yourself easily – if you can the weight is about right. If you try and lift it and you can’t even move it off the floor then you might have a little bit of a problem. Whilst your remover will still collect the box, they may have to use 2 men to lift it, and too many very heavy boxes may lead to an extra charge for your removal.

Another thing to think about is that if you have lots of heavy boxes stacked up, the bottom one may crumple with all the weight above it, damaging the contents of the box.

5. Under filling

A good example of over filling a box making it bulge and lose shape, and then under filling the top so it crushes when anything is put on top

Just like overloading, under filling a box can be just as bad. This is because a box that is not completely full will crush when it has other boxes put on top of it. If you don’t have enough things to fill a box up, use a smaller box, or cut the box down to make it smaller. All boxes should be filled to the very top, so that when you push on the top on the middle it doesn’t go down too far, and can support a good amount of pressure. The next tip will help with this as well.

6. Not sealing the top of the box – make it airtight!

When you finally come to seal your box up, do you just put a single line of tape across the top, to just seal the two sides where they meet? This is not good enough to provide the best strength to the box.

The best way to seal it is to put a line of tape along every open edge – this will make the box airtight (if you’ve done the same thing on the bottom, as in point 2 above) which increases strength and gives the contents maximum protection.

7. Not labeling as you go.

Label - Dedicated Vehicles

These panels are on all our boxes, to help us make your move easier. Make sure you label it!

The final mistake happens when people are too busy filling boxes, that they forget to mark it once sealed down. Without labeling each box, you won’t know where that box should go in the new property. This is very simple fix – just making sure you have a black marker pen and either write what is in the box, or alternatively what room the box should be put in, on the top.

We recommend writing what room the box belongs in, as this will help your removers make life as easy as they can for you.

So there you have it, 7 common mistakes you may make when packing for a removal, some probably even without even realizing it. Hope you like the tips and find them useful.