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Packing Tips

Tips For Packing: Preparation

You’ll need the following materials:

  • Tissue paper
  • Packing paper (plain newsprint)
  • 2″ packing tape
  • Masking tape
  • A utility knife
  • Scissors
  • Permanent markers
  • Professional quality boxes

Tips for Packing: Packing Materials

  • Dishpack (or China Barrel): Heavy duty carton used for dishes/china, crystal and glassware
  • 1.5 cu. ft. cartons: Small carton for heavy items such as books, files, music CDs and DVDs/video tapes
  • 3.0 cu. ft. cartons: Medium utility carton often used for pots and pans, toys, and small appliances
  • 4.5 cu. ft. cartons: For bulky items, such as linens, towels or toys
  • 6.0 cu. ft. cartons: For large, bulky, or lightweight articles, such as pillows or large lampshades
  • Wardrobe cartons: A “portable closet” that keeps clothes or draperies hanging on a built-in bar
  • Mirror cartons: Several sizes of telescoping cartons for framed pictures, mirrors or glass
  • Mattress cartons: Available in queen/king, double, single (twin) and crib sizes. A separate carton is necessary for box springs
  • Stretchwrap: A special plastic covering that safely adheres to furniture and protects it from snags, tears, and dirt

Tips For Packing: Some Basics

  • Follow a timetable – people often underestimate how long it takes to pack!
  • Start with items you won’t need right away, such as belongings stored in the basement, garage or attic
  • Packing room-by-room will help you stay organized
  • Establish work areas in each room
  • As you complete a room, sort packed boxes by weight (light, medium, heavy) to make loading the moving van easier and quicker
  • Limit cartons to a maximum weight of 50 pounds
  • For best results, have your mover pack:
  • Marble or glass tabletops, heavy wall ornaments and mirrors 40″ x 60″ or larger
  • Pool tables and pianos
  • Bulky, fragile items like large trophies, statues, chandeliers, etc.
  • Major appliances

Tips For Packing: Techniques

  • Provide plenty of cushioning by packing loosely crumpled, plain newsprint in the bottom of boxes – leave room at the top for more crumpled paper
  • Wrap all fragile, breakable items in paper before packing them in boxes
  • Pack large and heavy items first, smaller items next, filling in all empty spaces with plain newsprint
  • Use only sturdy cartons that can be easily closed (don’t over stuff), then tape top seams securely – do not use plastic containers to pack your belongings
  • Label boxes clearly: Your name, room where the box should go in your new home and a brief description of the contents

Tips For Packing: Electronics Care

  • When packing a large screen TV and other electronics:
  • If you no longer have the original carton and packing materials, carefully pack the item in a sturdy carton that has been lined with newsprint or styrofoam “peanuts”
  • Securely seal the carton and mark the outside “Extremely Fragile”
  • When packing your personal computer, printer, scanner, or other equipment:
  • Disconnect and mark all wires and cables for easy assembly
  • Detach paper holders/feeders from printers and wrap monitors and additional hardware as you would other home electronics
  • Remove toner and ink cartridges
  • Back up all of your computer files on DVDs or other file storage disks/devices
  • Consult your PC user manual for additional instructions and precautions

Packing Tips: Garage & Storage

Garage packing tips are especially useful considering how time-consuming and difficult packing up those spaces can be. Garages and storage sheds typically take the longest to pack, as they are filled with odd-shaped, sharp or heavy items that require special care to pack correctly.

Slidell’s Packing Tips for the Garage

Start by safely disposing of items that cannot be shipped, like pesticides, fertilizers, oil and gas. Next, group items of a similar size or shape together, like long-handled tools with pruning shears. Then, make sure you have an assortment of boxes and newsprint to properly wrap and cushion items.


Long-handled garden tools, as well as brooms and mops, should be bundled together securely. Attachments should be removed from power tools and packed separately.

  • Hand tools may be left in tool boxes and the spaces filled with crushed paper, or they may be packed according to general packing rules. Always use small cartons for heavy tools.
  • Use old towels to wrap and tape any sharp-edged tools.
  • Power tools must be safely drained of oil and gas before hand.

Rakes & Brooms

Shovels, rakes, brooms and the like need not be packed; gather them together for your driver to bundle in a pad.

Lawn & Patio Furniture

Remove cushions and clean frames. Pack cushions in large carton or wardrobe.


Keep it clean and dry during transport by wrapping it in paper padding or a plastic bag and taping shut. Do not pack the weighted umbrella stand.

Packing Tips for the Garage: Grill

Dispose of any unused charcoal. Remove tank – it cannot be transported in the moving van. See our list of Items That Cannot Be Shipped.

Outdoor Equipment

Before moving day, dismantle children’s swing sets, TV antennas and garden sheds you plan to take with you.

  • Place small hardware in a plastic bag or old coffee can and label.
  • If the parts bag can be securely attached to corresponding equipment, all the better.
  • Prepare lawn mower by safely draining gasoline prior to loading day.

Pots and Planters

Pack small ceramic or pottery planters like any fragile item – individually wrapped with plenty of cushioning. If you plan to move any large or unusual planters, consult your moving professional. You’ll need to re-pack items in boxes that are torn, falling apart or cannot be sealed. This is usually the case with items found in attics and crawl spaces, like seasonal decorations or old toys.

Moving Tips

Moving Tips: Non-Transportable Items

Non-transportable items are a significant consideration when moving. These non-transportable items can range from hazardous materials to high-value items such as jewelry. Your belongings that are irreplaceable, such as family photos, sensitive documents are also non-transportable items. It’s important to recognize your belongings that should not be packed and moved to save undue stress or harm that could be caused by transporting them. Slidell has put together a list of examples of non-transportable items you should not pack and transport with the rest of your shipment. As you go through the list, you can appropriately determine how to handle the non-transportable items for your upcoming move.

The following items are examples of items that moving companies, by federal law or internal policy, cannot transport.

Hazardous materials such as explosives, compressed gases, flammable liquids and solids, oxidizers, poisons, corrosives and radioactive materials are not allowed for transport.

Common examples include:

  • Nail polish remover
  • Paints and paint thinners
  • Lighter fluid
  • Gasoline
  • Fireworks
  • Oxygen bottles
  • Propane cylinders
  • Automotive repair and maintenance chemicals
  • Radio-pharmaceuticals
  • Matches

Other items not recommended for transport on the van include:

  • Firearms
  • Food in glass jars and perishable foods
  • Prescription drugs needed for immediate use

Transport items of personal importance or sentimental value with you, such as:

  • Cash
  • Collections (i.e., coins)
  • Family photos
  • Important personal papers (i.e., deeds, wills)
  • Negotiable papers (i.e., bonds, stocks, certificates)
  • Jewelry
  • Moving documents


When is the best time to move?

The busiest times for moving companies are during the summer months, May 15 – September 15. At the end of these months, the volume of shipments is extremely heavy. This is the case for all professional moving companies.

Take all the factors into consideration when deciding on the best time for you to move. If you have some flexibility in your schedule, provide the moving company with a five day window for loading your shipment.

How do I select which moving companies will provide me with a moving estimate?

Ask your neighbors, friends, coworkers and family members if they can make recommendations. Investigate each of the movers you select with the Better Business Bureau. Good service is the best measure of a good mover!

When should I begin contacting moving companies for estimates?

Try to provide the moving companies with as much notice as possible, especially if you are moving during the busy season as noted above. Six weeks from the actual move date is not too early for estimators to come into your home to complete what they refer to as a “visual survey of your household goods shipment.” Add even more time to make a decision if you are obligated by your employer to submit estimates for approval. Try to decide which mover you will use four weeks from your actual load day. Call the mover to confirm your booking and schedule your packing, loading and delivery dates. This timeframe can be shortened in the off peak season which is September 15 through May 15.

Can I pack anything in the drawers of my dresser or desk?

All loose items must be packed in boxes to prevent loss or damage. It is recommended that you pack all items and leave the drawers empty.

Will the driver load all the boxes that I packed?

Yes, as long as the driver deems them safe for transport.

Can I pack and move my plants?

Most moving companies will not take your plants. The stress and heat of being inside of the moving trailer usually causes them to die. Many states do not allow the entry of plants while other states will admit plants under certain conditions. There are some states that have no regulations at all. Be sure to understand your state’s regulations prior to moving the plants in your own vehicle.

How do I prepare my appliances for moving?

Appliances such as washers, dryers and refrigerators must be disconnected, and the washer must have a stabilizer installed. Again, your estimator can help you understand how to these items are serviced. All local moving companies have business relationships with local service providers that handle this type of service. Be sure you know who your mover will be using as you will need to let these people into your home to provide the service.

How will I know when my shipment is going to be delivered?

Your driver will contact you 24 hours prior to delivery. The moving company will assign a customer service representative as your primary contact and they will be able to provide you with an update as to the date your goods will arrive.

Be certain to provide the driver with all your contact information. The phone number at the new home is only good if there is a person there to take the call. If you can be reached at work, a hotel or temporary residence or by email let the driver know. If you will be impossible to reach, make arrangements with a friend or family member to serve as the liaison between you and the driver and provide the driver with that contact information.