Packing Tips

Here are some packing tips we have put together through out the years.

Supplies Needed

1 Bedroom 2 Bedrooms 3 Bedrooms 4 Bedrooms 5 Bedrooms
Small, 1.5 book box 10 14 20 25 30
Medium, 3.1 box 17 21 30 51 54
Large, 4.5 box 4 5 6 7 8
Extra Large, 6.1 box 2 3 4 5 6
Dish Pack Box 1 1 2 3 4
Divider Kits for Dish Packs 1 1 2 3 4
Wardrobe, Large 3 6 8 10 12
Tape (55yd rolls) 2 3 4 5 6


Be careful not to pack the boxes too heavy. The small moving box is referred to as a book box. A small moving box will weigh about 50 pounds when filled with books.

Pack the books tightly in the box, use filler if necessary. If books can move around in the box, the pages can get bent. Towels, washcloths or clothing, as well as packing paper make good fill.

Books of moderate value ($200-$500) can be protected by simply wrapping them neatly in packing paper before packing them in a box.

Books of great value, such as old photo albums or family bibles should be stretch wrapped between corrugated sheets. This protects the covers and the pages.

Inexpensive everyday items

Use a small or medium box for packing dishes. Movers use the larger dish pack box. Using the smaller cartons places less weight on the bottom dishes.)

Wrap each piece of glassware in a sheet or two of paper. Pack the pieces in boxes using lots of newsprint as padding. As you fill the box, be sure all the voids are filled with crushed newsprint. Before sealing the flaps be sure each box is completely full. Add crushed newspapers to about 1/4 inch above the top of each box to be positive the box is full. After filling the box, hold the flaps shut and shake the box to be sure nothing rattles. If something rattles, you must add padding or else completely repack.

Medium price items

Use either a cell pack kit or crystal pack kit for additional protection.

Cell kits

Pack the pieces in a dish pack using a cell kit. (A cell pack kit, sketched left, is a set of dividers made of corrugated cardboard. Cell pack kit both reinforces the packing box and prevents pieces from hitting each other. ) Wrap each piece in newsprint and place it in a cell. Again, be sure there are no voids in the packing material.

The crystal pack kits fits in a medium box. It has two tiers of 16 compartments each, so you can pack 32 pieces in a medium box.

Extra padding

Wrap each piece in bubble wrap or foam sleves and pack the pieces in small moving boxes. Fill the voids with either bubble wrap newsprint material.

Never wrap etched (or frosted) glassware in printed newspaper. The ink will transfer to the frosted surface, and it will be almost impossible to remove.

Expensive stuff

There are 2 good ways to pack expensive items:

  1. Dish Packs with bubble wrap
  2. Double boxing

Dish packs with Cell Pack Kits and dish sleeve kits

  1. Insert each piece in it's own foam sleeve.
  2. Pack each item in a dish pack with the cell divider.
  3. Place the most fragile or most valuable in the inner cells.

Double Boxing

  1. Wrap the items in bubble wrap.
  2. Pack them in a small moving box (book box).
  3. Pack light, fragile items like cups and creamers in their own box --separate from heavy stacked items.
  4. When the small moving box is filled, pack the entire box into a large moving box.
  5. The process is called "double boxing". Do it this way:
    1. Fold a blanket and place it in the bottom of the large box or a dish pack.
    2. Place the small box into the large box so you have about 2 inches of clearance all around.
    3. Fill the clearance space with clothing or blankets.
    4. If you wish, use bubble wrap or peanuts instead of a clothing and blankets.


Always use a crystal pack kit (shown left) when packing stemware. A cell kit both reinforces the packing box and prevents pieces from hitting each other. Even with good padding, stemware can break unless a cell kit is installed.

The Crystal Pack kit fits in the medium moving box.

Use either newsprint, foam sleeves, or bubble wrap depending on the value of the stemware.

Larger glassware

Larger glassware can be packed in with the other, smaller glassware. However, particularly large or fragile glassware ought to be placed in it's own box. High value, larger glassware ought to be double boxed as described above. Choose sizes so there is MINIMUM 2 inches clearance between the inner and outer box.

Fragile piece(s) of extreme value

Any item(s) valued over $2500 should at least be fragile packed and double boxed. You may also want to consider having such valuable items crated for extra safe transport. Check with your mover or insurance company for proper coverage.

Clothes and bedding

It's hard to go wrong packing clothing. Just fold the stuff and lay it in a box. Wrap shoes in packing paper so they don't soil clothing.

We recommend packing clothing in new boxes. Used moving boxes are, really, not very clean. Personal effects, even from clean, healthy people, contain an amazing amount of bacteria, and assorted mites and parasites. If you would feel uncomfortable about wearing someone else's unwashed clothing, think twice about used moving boxes. We sell misprint boxes that are less than the standard moving boxes. These are new boxes we have purchased at a special price because they are misprinted or excess inventory. Ask us what we have in misprints when you call. 214-348-3000

In general, if there is any concern about the moving boxes getting wet, it's a good idea to line the boxes with plastic garbage bags. (Which are quite clean and sanitary when they are fresh out of the package.)

Use the wardrobe boxes with the metal hanging bar for clothing that you have dry cleaned, so they will be moved with a minimum of wrinkles. Also the bottom of the wardrobe box is a good place you put your shoes if the clothing is not floor length.

Clothing and bedding can, itself, be used as packing material. If you're working on a budget, use clothing and bedding to pack fragile items like lamps, vases and electronics. Clothing used as padding can be protected a bit by placing it in plastic bags before packing it around the fragile stuff.

Furs ought to be wrapped in paper moving pads before packing in a box. Check with your mover about insurance if the furs are especially valuable.

How To Pack Dishes

There are several different ways to pack dishes. The more expensive or the more fragile the dishes, the more care and padding that is warranted.

Inexpensive, everyday dishes

Wrap these items in newsprint (or newspapers), stack them and pack them in small moving boxes. As you pack, be sure to fill all the voids with newsprint.

Pack cups in a separate small moving box along with other light, fragile items. Don't pack plates and cups together. A stack of plates is quite heavy and the weight can break the handle off a cup.

An alternative method is to pack the dishes in a dish pack with a cell kit.

We prefer the small moving box method.

Medium price dishes

Use the small moving boxes as above -- except -- wrap each item in bubble wrap OR insert each piece into a foam sleeve. We sell a 40 piece kit for dishes (service for 8). Also another kit for glass or crystal that contains 32 pieces.

Schematic for bubble wrapping dishes Lay a plate on a square of bubble wrap. (First figure) Lay a piece of bubble on the plate (Second figure.) and stack several plates this way Wrap the bottom sheet of bubble around the stack. (Third figure)

Another way to pack is to use a dish pack with a cell pack kit instead of a small moving box. But, either way, use bubble wrap or the foam sleeve kits.

High price dishes

Let us point out, here, that a single cup or plate from a set of expensive dishes may be worth $50 -- more than all the packing material used to pack the entire set. The economical way to pack high priced dishes is to use padding and boxes generously.


  1. Wrap cups in bubble wrap or foam sleeves
  2. Pack them in a small or medium box fitted with a cell kit.
  3. You can pack creamers and sugar bowls in the same box with the cups but check the directions below.
  4. If you need larger cells, remove one of the pieces of the divider.

Over pack the medium box by putting it into an extra large moving box. Use blankets, polystyrene peanuts or bubble wrap to be sure there is a uniform 2 inch pad around the inner box.

Plates and assorted small saucers

In general:

  1. Wrap the plates into small stacks.
  2. Pack the stacks into a small box.
  3. Over pack the small box into a larger one.

Creamers, Sugar bowls, Small serving bowls and all that small stuff

Wrap these items generously in bubble wrap or foam sleeves and pack them, each in their own box, in the smallest feasible box. This box is frequently an 8" x 8" x 8" or a 9" x 9" x 9" box. Then, simply add this box to the wrapped stacks of plates being packed in a small moving box.

Serving platters and large serving bowls

Wrap these items generously in bubble wrap. Pack them into the appropriate size moving box using

  1. Either a small or medium box
  2. A couple of similar items, heavily wrapped in bubble can go in one box.

Over packing the box

  1. A 6" x 6" x 6", 8" x 8" x 8" or a 9" x 9" x 9" box will fit into a small moving box. A number of these boxes will pack well into a TV/Microwave box.
  2. A 12" x 12" x 12" box will fit into a medium moving box.
  3. A small moving box will fit into a large moving box or a dish pack.
  4. Three small moving boxes will stack nicely into a large wardrobe box. This arrangement may permit you to keep all of your dishes in a single box.
  5. A medium moving box will fit into an extra large moving box

Dish sets of extreme value (over $2500 ) may require crating in order to keep your insurance in force. Consult with your mover.

Small Figurines

Treat small figurines similar to dishes or glassware.

  1. Wrap the less valuable, less fragile items with unprinted newsprint (Do not use newspapers. The ink will stain the figurine.)
  2. Wrap the more valuable, more fragile items in bubble wrap.
  3. Pack the items with the dishes or glassware.
  4. Be sure to double box the more valuable items.
  5. There's one important difference Some figurines have long fragile extensions -- like fingers, bird's legs, flower petals or tree limbs.
  6. Each figure like this must be carefully swaddled in many, many layers of large bubble wrap and placed in it's own small box.
  7. Then, the small box can be packed like a fragile piece of glassware.
  8. If you have a whole collection of birds or flowers (which can be very fragile) you will have to box each item in it's own separate box before doing the main packing job.

Figurines of extreme value ( $2500 or more ) may need to be crated in order to keep insurance in force. Consult with your mover or your insurance agent.

Framed Pictures

Pictures can be packed in our picture/mirror boxes.

Pack inexpensive pictures this way:

  1. Place a few pieces of newsprint in the bottom of a picture/mirror box. --- Newsprint; not newspapers.
  2. Stand the picture up in the box.
  3. Stuff some wadded up unprinted newsprint around the frame of the picture.
  4. Seal the box.,

A more secure way to do it is:

  1. Wrap bubble wrap around each end of the picture
  2. Stand the picture up in the box.
  3. Seal the box.,

We recommend that more valuable pictures be sandwiched between 2 pieces of corrugated cardboard as described below.

  1. Cut 2 pieces of corrugated cardboard each about 1/2" larger than the picture.
  2. Wrap the picture in a paper movers pad.
  3. Place a piece of corrugated on each side of the picture and tape the pieces of corrugated together --Better still, use stretch wrap instead of tape.
  4. Multiple pictures of similar size can be stacked together -- but you must have a sheet of corrugated separating each picture.

If there is glass covering the picture, a more secure method is to place bubble wrap on both sides of the picture as follows:

  1. Lay the picture flat, picture side up.
  2. Lay sheets of bubble wrap on the picture until the layers reach about 1/16" above the top of the frame.
  3. Place a piece of corrugated over the picture and then carefully turn the picture over.
  4. Repeat the process on the backside of the picture. You may not need any bubble there at all.
  5. Position another piece of corrugated in place and tape or stretch wrap the 2 pieces of corrugated together.
  6. Pack the picture in a picture/mirror box.

Several pictures of identical size can safely be stretch wrapped together and placed in a single box.

High value pictures may need to be crated in order to keep insurance in force. Consult with your mover.

Here's a List of Problems to Avoid

It's illegal to pack dangerous items for transport by Common Carrier:

Items such as:

  1. Aerosol spray cans
    1. Paint
    2. Insecticides
  2. Ammunition
  3. Compressed flammable gases like propane or acetylene
  4. Corrosives like bleach or muriatic acid
  5. Explosives (Fireworks or black powder)
  6. Gasoline
    1. Drain and blow dry the fuel tanks on all power tools
    2. Small quantities of gasoline can be highly explosive in a packed moving truck
  7. Motor oil
    1. Drain the crankcase of all power tools.
    2. While new motor oil is scarcely flammable, used motor oil can have a lot of gasoline dissolved in it. It can be a bit flammable.
    3. Tag the equipment to remind yourself to refill the crank before use.
  8. Pesticides
  9. Solvents

Packing the above items in a moving truck is not only illegal -- it is genuinely dangerous for the movers and for their truck.

Avoid packing pantry items which are likely to cause messes.

  1. Cans of water based paint
  2. Large glass jars of:
    1. Any food item
    2. Liquid cleaners
    3. Cooking oil
    4. Vinegar
  3. Open packages of:
    1. Flour
    2. Salt
    3. Laundry detergent
    4. Large containers of pepper and chili powder

The mess these low value items can make if they happen to spill is absolutely amazing. They're really not worth moving.

Avoid moving other restricted items.

A few other items are restricted on interstate moves. Moving these across state lines may violate either state or federal laws.

  1. Unregistered guns
  2. House plants
  3. Fresh fruit

The General Idea

Each time a piece of electronics is packed 3 problems must be addressed.

  1. Electronics are sensitive to static electricity.
  2. Electronics are somewhat fragile.
  3. Toner and dry ink can spill inside the printer or copier and ruin the equipment.

The Easy Way

If you happen to have saved all the original packing -- including the all the inserts and the dark colored bag.

  1. Remove the ink or toner cartridge if possible
  2. Repack the equipment to the same way it was received.
  3. You're done.

Expensive items ought to be double boxed.

Flat items like computers and stereo components can be packed this way.

  1. Pack each item in a 21" x 18" x 7" VCR/Electronics box.
  2. Wrap the item in bubble wrap.
  3. Pack it firmly in the box using more bubble wrap or newspaper

Two 21" x 18" x 7" VCR/Electronics boxes can be over packed in a single TV/Microwave/Computer moving box (24" x 24" x 20")

  1. Put some padding in the bottom of the TV/Microwave/Computer box.
  2. Stack the 21" x 18" x 7" boxes in the TV/Microwave box, one directly on top of the other.
  3. Place padding all around between the inner and outer boxes.

No padding is needed between the 2 inner boxes. Just between the inner boxes and the outer box. It's OK to use clothing or bedding as padding between the inner and outer boxes to save money.

Most monitors and many TV's box up nicely in a medium moving box (18" x 18" x 16") over packed in a 24" x 24" x 24" box.

We stock a number of sizes of boxes for larger items. Measure the items before talking to us.

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