Moving tips

Moving Boxes, Dish Packs, Bubble Wrap and Tape

Small Moving Boxes – Small boxes are ideal for heavy or fragile items that must be packed on their own to ensure ease of handling. Medium Moving Boxes – Medium boxes tend to be among the most-used moving boxes. They are ideal for small appliances and other household items. These boxes are often most compatible with dish pack and glass pack inserts used to keep fragile glassware insulated. Large Moving Boxes – Large boxes are ideal for lightweight and medium weight goods like lampshades, throw pillows and clothing. X-Large Moving Boxes – X-Large boxes are ideal for bulky light weight soft goods like comforters, blankets, clothing and pillows. Heavy Duty Boxes – Heavy duty boxes are reinforced with thicker walls for heavier applications. These are ideal for packing and protecting electronics, book collections and appliances. Wardrobe Boxes – A wardrobe box is constructed with a hanger bar so that you can transfer shirts, blouses and suits directly from the closet into the box without folding or wrinkling your clothes. These boxes come in several heights to additionally accommodate for longer items such as dresses and pants. Electronics Boxes – Electronics boxes are specially sized to safely transport home entertainment consoles such as DVD players, stereo amplifiers and gaming systems. Dish Pack Kit – Dish pack kits are compartmentalized to accommodate dinner plates, salad plates, saucers and bowls. Many kits include foam padding to enclose and isolate each piece to ensure safe transit. Glass Pack Kit – Glass pack kits are compartmentalized to accommodate glassware, crystal and stemware. Many kits include foam padding to enclose and isolate each piece to ensure safe transit. Unprinted News Wrap – Unprinted news wrap is an ideal and inexpensive way to protect fragile items during a move. Unprinted paper stock provides the added advantage of a clean, ink-free move. Bubble Wrap – A large roll of bubble wrap goes a long way on moving day. Bubble wrap can be used to enclose fragile items and to insulate voids along the sides of boxes to ensure your items make it safely to their destination. Permanent Markers – Permanent markers are absolutely necessary to communicate with your moving crew. Mark boxes with inventory, warnings and special instructions.

Box Tape Dispenser – When taping a large number of boxes, you’ll want a proper dispenser to speed progress. A tape gun will lay seams straight down and help you keep your fingers clear of a sticky mess when cutting. Box Tape Refills – High quality box tape will ensure your boxes stay closed and items stay taped during transit. Make sure you have plenty of it on-hand when packing the house. Box Cutter – You’ll come to appreciate a sharp box cutter when it comes time to unload. Make sure you have plenty of refill blades on-hand too. Tape, adhesive and cardboard can dull your knife faster than you think. Make sure all boxes are packed tightly. Add paper to keep the box strong. Make sure you can’t push the box in once you tape it closed. If you can push the box in remove the tape and add more paper. This will prevent the box from caving in and damaging any items that are inside. Mark all boxes that have fragile items with the word FRAGILE. Include antiques on your fragile list. The older the item the more fragile it is. IF the antique is a large picture or old mirror please consider allowing our professional moving team to pack it for you.

Packing 101 Checklist

Master these basic principles of packing before you seal your boxes and you’ll reap the rewards when moving and unpacking.
Pack with Principle

Start with out-of-season items. Next, pack things used infrequently. Leave until last the things you’ll need until moving day.

Empty drawers of breakables, spillables, items not recommended for inclusion in your shipment and anything that would puncture or damage other items. However, no items of any kind may be left in drawers.

Pack similar items together. For example, do not pack a delicate china figurine in the same carton with cast-iron frying pans.

Keep all parts or pairs of things together. For example, curtain rod hangers, mirror bolts and other small hardware items should be placed in plastic or cloth bags and taped or tied securely to the article to which they belong.

Wind electrical cords, fastening them so they do not dangle.

Wrap items individually in clean paper; use tissue paper, paper towels or even facial tissue for fine china, crystal and delicate items. Use a double layer of newspaper for a good outer wrapping.

Place a two- or three-inch layer of crushed paper in the bottom of a carton for cushioning.

Build up in layers, with heaviest things on the bottom, medium weight next and lightest on top.

As each layer is completed, fill in empty spaces firmly with crushed paper. It is also a good idea to add more crushed paper to make a level base for the next layer or use sheets or cardboard cut from cartons as dividers.

Cushion well with crushed paper; towels and lightweight blankets also may be used for padding and cushioning. The more fragile the item, the more cushioning needed. Be sure no sharp points, edges or rims are left uncovered.

Pack small, fragile, individually wrapped items separately or a few together in small boxes, cushioning with crushed or shredded paper.

Place small boxes in a single large box, filling in spaces with crushed paper.

Avoid overloading cartons, but strive for a firm pack that will prevent items from shifting. The cover should close easily without force, but should not bend inward.

Seal cartons tightly with tape except for those containing items listed on United’s High-Value Inventory Form. These must be left open for the van operator’s inspection.

As you finish with each carton, list the contents on the side of the carton (for easy viewing while cartons are stacked) and in a special notebook. You might want to number and/or code the cartons as well.

Indicate your name and the room to which each carton should be delivered at destination on the label. Tape a sign on the door of each room at destination corresponding to the carton labels so movers can get the cartons into the proper rooms quickly.

Put a special mark on cartons you want to unpack first at destination.

Keep Your Valuables Close
Address books
Airline tickets
Car titles
Cell phones Checkbooks
Computer data files/backups
Family photographs/photo albums
Financial documents (stocks, bonds, CDs, IRAs, deeds, tax records)
Home videos Insurance policies
Jewelry and furs
Keys (car, furniture, new home)
Laptop computers, Medical/dental records
New home documents Prescription medicine
Professional files/research projects
School records
How to Pack Your Family Room

Before you start packing up your family room, make sure you have all the supplies you will need:

Sturdy boxes in various sizes with flaps that can be completely closed
Packing paper
Paper pads
Tissue paper
Packing tape for sealing the boxes
Felt tip markers for labeling the boxes

Most families have a wide variety of items in their living room, including large furniture, electronics and fragile objects like lamps, photographs and decor. Follow our moving tips to safely pack up all of these valuable pieces:


When packing lamps, disassemble the lamp and pack the base and the shade separately.

For the shade, use a sturdy box that’s at least two inches larger than the shade and line it with paper. Fill the box with a large amount of crumpled packing paper to pad the shade and prevent it from moving around. Don’t be tempted to pack other items with the shade!

When packing the lamp base, wrap it carefully with paper pads and place it upright in a carton with crumpled packing paper.

Items Framed in Glass

Mirrors and glass can be easily damaged, so you might want to consult a professional who can help you pack these correctly.

If you choose to pack these things yourself, consider using a carton that is specifically designed for mirrors. Wrap the mirror in bubble wrap, place it in the carton and wrap the carton with tape in multiple directions to keep it secure.


TVs, computers and other electronics require a special carton. It is best to repack these items in their original boxes if you still have them. If you don’t have the original packaging, ask your moving service to provide special cartons.

When you are packing your TV, use a thin foam wrap to protect the screen and always pack it upright. Never lay your TV flat in a box.

How to Pack Your Kitchen

Packing your kitchen can sometimes be one of the most overwhelming parts of your move. Not only do you have fragile items like plates and glasses, but you also have large appliances. You also have many items that you need to sort through and throw away like perishable foods and household chemicals.

The good news is our expert moving tips can make packing your kitchen a lot easier. Start the process by making sure you have all the necessary supplies:
Sturdy boxes in various sizes with flaps that can be completely closed
Packing paper
Small sealable bags
Packing tape for sealing the boxes
Felt tip markers for labeling the boxes

Remember, when you are packing breakable items, you will want to line the bottom of your boxes with crumpled packing paper. Be sure to clearly mark the outside of the box as “fragile” and draw an arrow to indicate which side of the box should face up.


Wrap plates individually in clean packing paper. Using several sheets, start from the corner and wrap the paper diagonally across the dish. Continually tuck in the overlapping edges.

If you are wrapping multiple plates of the same size, stack them on top of each other with a layer of packing paper in between.

Place the plates on their edges in a sturdy box. They should never be packed flat. Remember to put the heaviest items in the bottom of the box and build up in layers with the lighter items toward the top. Separate the layers with crushed paper.

For bowls with lids, wrap a layer of paper around the bowl. Place the lid upside-down in the bowl, then wrap the bowl and lid together in a double layer of clean paper.

When packing oddly shaped items like pitchers, vases or other unusual dishes, be sure to protect any handles by wrapping packing paper around them. Wrap the rest of the item in a double layer of paper.

Wrap cups individually and protect the handles with an extra layer of paper. Place them upside-down in the box. Make sure boxes are full. You can use towels or pillows to fill space in your box. If you can push the box in at all after it is closed, this box is NOT packed properly and items may break.

Small Appliances & Cookware

Items like toasters and other small appliances should be packed individually and placed inside a box with crushed paper. It can help you stay organized if you label the outside of the packing paper with the name of the appliance inside.

Wrap pots, pans and other cookware in clean packing paper using the same method you did with the plates.


Do not take any perishable food items with you on your move, and only take things that you are sure will travel well.

Use packing tape to seal up any open boxes of dried or powdered foods, such as pasta, rice or cereal.

Place liquid items that could easily spill into a sealable plastic bag, then wrap them in paper to prevent breakage.

How to Pack Your Bedroom

Ready to start packing up your bedroom? Start the process off right by gathering all of the packing supplies you will need:

Sturdy boxes with flaps that can be completely closed
Packing paper
Packing tape for sealing the boxes
Felt tip markers for labeling the boxes

Your bedroom likely has a mix of both large, heavy furniture as well as soft items like linens and clothes. You can pack up these items more efficiently by following these easy moving tips:

Clothes & Linens

To reduce wrinkling, leave your clothes on their hangers and pack them into a wardrobe carton. One carton will hold about two feet of compressed clothing on hangers.

If you are not using wardrobe cartons, you should remove each piece of clothing from its hanger, fold them, and place them in a suitcase or a box lined with packing paper.

Protect linens like blankets, sheets, towels and pillowcases with a sheet of packing paper lining the bottom of your boxes.

Small Appliances

Wrap small items like clocks and radios individually and pack them in a box cushioned with crushed paper.

Books & Photos

Pack books with the spine down and the open side of the book facing up.

Because books are usually very heavy, be sure to pack them into smaller boxes so they are still easy to carry.

Protect framed photos and artwork by wrapping them individually in packing paper and stand them on their edges inside the box.

If possible, carry heirloom items like old or irreplaceable photos with you to the next destination.

Pack all of your boxes tightly with crumpled packing paper to prevent objects from shifting too much during the move.


When it comes to moving your bed, your moving company can supply you with a special mattress carton that will protect it from dirt and dust during the move. Bed MUST be covered if you do not purchase from your moving company please make sure you purchase your own mattress cover and pack it yourself.

How to Pack Your Dining Room

If you are preparing to move out of your house, it is important to start by gathering all of the essential packing supplies:

Sturdy boxes in various sizes with flaps that can be completely closed
Packing paper
Paper pads
Bubble wrap
Tissue paper
Packing tape for sealing the boxes
Felt tip markers for labeling the boxes

Your dining room probably contains a lot of heavy, valuable items like dining room sets, fine china and glassware. Follow these simple moving tips to make sure everything gets packed and moved safely.


When you are packing breakable items, you will want to line the bottom of your boxes with crushed paper for extra padding.

Wrap all pieces of china in clean paper. Using several sheets, start from the corner and wrap the paper diagonally across the dish. Continually tuck in the overlapping edges.

Place them on their edges in a sturdy box. Never pack them flat. Remember to put the heaviest items in the bottom of the box and then build up in layers with the lighter items toward the top. Separate the layers with crushed paper.

Wrap and pack bowls with the same technique as flat plates.


To pack stemware, roll up a sheet of packing paper and wrap it around the stem of the glass. After you’ve wrapped the stem, use another sheet of packing paper to wrap up the rest of the glass. Do this individually for every piece.


Silverware can be wrapped individually or in sets.

If silverware is in a chest, you might want to wrap the pieces individually and then reposition them in the chest. Otherwise, you can fill in all the empty spaces in the chest with tissue paper, then wrap the chest in a paper pad.

Fragile Items

Vases and other fragile items should be wrapped in bubble wrap with a paper pad around the outside.

Preparing for Moving Day

The process of moving starts long before the movers arrive at your home. Follow these steps to prepare:

If you are moving your large appliances, make sure they are ready for transport. We recommend you have your washers and dryers serviced beforehand.

Empty and unplug your refrigerator and freezer at least 24 hours before your movers arrive. This will give them time to defrost and dry before they are loaded on the truck.

Since you will not have your refrigerator, consider packing a cooler full of drinks and snacks to tide you over on moving day.

Safely dispose of anything that cannot be taken on the moving van, including chemicals like cleaning products or propane tanks. If you are planning to do any of your own packing, make sure all of your boxes are ready before the movers arrive.

Use professional packing materials and clearly label each box with the room of the house where the items inside belong.

Prepare a box of essential items to load last onto the truck. This will be the first box unloaded at your home and should contain things like paper towels, toilet paper, soap, a travel alarm clock, bottled water, a first-aid kit, and anything else you might need at your new home before everything else is unloaded and unpacked.

See a full list of recommended items in our instant aid box checklist.

Be sure to set aside items that you do not want packed in the moving van. This should include a suitcase of clothing that you and your family will need over the next several days. It is a good idea to put these items in a closet that you have clearly labeled “Do Not Pack.”

Make sure you complete your High-Value Inventory Form. This form should include any items that are worth more than $100 per pound.

Consider hiring a babysitter if you have small children in the house and put pets somewhere where they will be safe and out of the way.

Before the driver leaves your home, do one last check for anything that might have been left behind. Be sure to check attics, storage sheds and basements.

Right before you leave the house, turn off all lights, your furnace and your air conditioner. Lock your windows and doors, and leave behind your keys and garage door openers for the new occupants.
Packing tips
Avoid mixing items from different rooms in the same box.
Use wardrobe boxes to make closets easier to pack. Clothes in drawers can be placed in suitcases.
Use only small boxes for books. They get very heavy, very fast.
Never use printed newsprint to wrap fine china.
Always stack dishes upwards when packing.
Pack important and sentimental documents separately to be easily accessible including: children’s health records, passports, family records, insurance information and photo albums.
Remember: the heavier the item, the smaller the box.
Don’t pack with food or supermarket boxes. You never know what little critter is hiding – or if the box will be strong enough to support your possessions.
Don’t use used boxes. You don’t know if the box will be strong enough to support your possessions.
Never use duct tape – use packing tape.
Clearly label all boxes on top and side.
As you take apart furniture and other items make sure to tape all parts to the main base.
Try to pack all electronic equipment, like stereos in their original boxes. Otherwise use bubble wrap when packing these items.
Start packing items you will not need ahead of time.
Always pack and unpack breakables over a padded surface.
Always tape boxes. Don’t interlock the tops.
Don’t use boxes without tops. No tops make it impossible to stack properly in the truck.
Use custom-designed boxes when packing fine china and clothing.

Non-Allowable Checklist

Check Questionable Items with Your Agent to Ensure Safety Hazardous items that pose a potential threat to the health and safety of movers (i.e. explosives, flammable gases and toxic substances) should not be packed into your shipment. If you have questions about the suitability of an individual household item, feel free to ask your move coordinator.

Some items may be permitted only with proper packaging and labelling.

Hazardous Items:

Aerosol cans
Car batteries
Charcoal/lighter fluid
Charged scuba tanks
Chemistry sets
Cleaning solvents
Darkroom chemicals
Fire extinguishers
Household batteries
Liquid bleach
Loaded guns
Nail polish/remover
Paint thinners
Pool chemicals
Propane tanks
Rubbing alcohol
Sterno fuel
Weed killer

Perishable items*:

Food without adequate preservation
Frozen food
Open or half-used foods
Refrigerated foods

Customer support

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