Relocating across the country isn’t something that happens overnight. Even if you enlist the services of a cross-country moving company, you’re going to have to put in some effort to make the move happen. While moving companies can help with packing, it’s much cheaper to tackle this step yourself. To ensure your items are properly packaged to survive cross-country transport, here are some of the essential supplies you should gather.
Cardboard or Plastic Moving Boxes
If you’re moving everything you own, you’ll need several boxes to get it all packed up and ready for transit. Whether you want to go with new or used boxes is an important decision. The former is more expensive, but you can be sure that they’re sturdy enough to protect your items on a rigorous, long-distance trip. The latter can often be picked up from places like liquor, book, and big box stores for free, but you’ll want to carefully examine them to make sure that they aren’t worn or prone to collapse. In place of traditional cardboard boxes, you can also purchase plastic containers. These are sturdier and can be reused to hold things in your new home. However, they’re also more expensive and their irregular shapes mean they aren’t always as effective for packing items in efficiently.
There are some items in your home that won’t fare well in just any old, regular box. For fragile items like artwork, TVs, and wine glasses, it’s worth opening your wallet and spending a little extra money on specialized boxes. Here are a few types of boxes you might want to consider purchasing:
- Wardrobe boxes offer a simple way to transport your clothes. All you must do is transfer your hangers from your closet to the pole contained within, and you won’t have to worry about ending up with a wrinkled mess when you go to unpack your new closet.
- Corrugated dish kits provide slots for carrying delicate china, and similarly designed options are available for stemware and other dinner glasses. These boxes are made from reinforced cardboard to ensure they can handle the weight of your sensitive kitchenware.
- TV boxes protect your LCD screens from scratches and damage during the move, ensuring you can plug-in and watch your favorite shows once you arrive at your new home.
- Art and mirror boxes, lamp boxes, mattress boxes, rifle boxes, guitar boxes, and file storage boxes are all specially designed to shield other household items that might require additional protection.
While cardboard and plastic boxes are generally good enough to get the job done for most of the things you own, you may want an added level of protection when dealing with particularly sensitive items like artwork, appliances, and antiques. Custom-designed wooden crates cost a bit more, but they provide a significantly higher level of protection for your valuables. This is especially important in cross country trips, where there’s more risk of a mishap along the way. Consider how heavy and fragile the items you want to move are and consult with your moving company to determine if crating is the ideal option. Most moving companies offer custom-crating services to easily protect these sensitive items.
When you’re boxing up items, cushioning like bubble wrap and packing paper is a necessity. These materials add an extra layer of protection and prevent items from clanging together if the truck hits a bump. However, thrifty movers can replace wrap and paper with items they just have lying around the house. T-shirts, towels, and sheets can work just as effectively in a pinch, and they can help you consolidate your move, since you’ll be using items that you intend to move anyway. While newspaper can serve as a cheap placeholder for traditional packing products, be careful how you use it. It’s known to leave behind ink on china and dishware, so avoid using it to wrap these items.
Moving your belongings across the country means boxes are exposed to more wear and tear than moving if you were moving across town. If you’re using a moving company to handle your goods, chances are that your boxes will change hands multiple times over the course of the journey. That’s why it’s important to make sure that all your boxes are tightly sealed. Investing in tape designed for packing purposes and being generous with your usage will make sure that everything reaches your destination safely.
Moving Blankets and Furniture Pads
If you’re using a truck or trailer to move your belongings, things are bound to slide around and shift, even if they’re fastened down with straps. It’s important to make sure that you invest in furniture pads to protect the feet of your couches, chairs, and other pieces from scratching and to get sturdy blankets to prevent damage from items brushing against each other. While regular blankets will work, renting or purchasing heavier blankets designed specifically for these tasks is a smart idea. If you hire a mover, they typically provide moving blankets for free.
Plastic wrap can be a pain to use, but once you get a feel for it, it is an invaluable tool for protecting your furniture and appliances. While pads can protect the feet of your furniture, plastic wrap is the best protection you can enlist to safeguard upholstery and other surfaces. It can also compress down bulky items like rugs so that you can make more use of the space available to you. Additionally, you can use it to secure moving blankets instead of tape, which might stick to the surface of your items and cause damage.
Labels and Markers
While most of the supplies you’ll need are designed to protect your belongings in transit, you also want to consider ease of unpacking. Making sure that everything ends up in its proper place is just as important as making sure it crosses state lines safely. Stock up on supplies you can use to label every box. Having large, clear identifiers on each box keeps the unloading process organized and makes the last leg of your relocation far easier.
For a move of this magnitude, most moving experts recommend that you start packing at least a month in advance of your move. Start by going through your closets, drawers, and cabinets and purging the items you don’t want to take with you. Then, you can begin boxing up items you don’t use daily, like Christmas decorations or extra linens. Getting a head start will make your moving week far less stressful. Keep in mind, if you end up running out of time, you can always call on the help of a moving company to finish the packing for you! Request free quotes on packing and moving services through Kip’s Cross Country Movers.