It’s no secret that packing is the most laborious, time-consuming, and challenging moving task of them all. However, packing is quite a general term – packing books, for example, is a completely different experience from packing glasses, or pictures, or electronics, etc. So, when it comes to packing rules and strategies, it is the type of items to be packed that will define your course of actions. As, of course, the methods that work best when packing small items in cardboard boxes have nothing in common with the packing techniques that yield best results when packing heavy furniture, or bulky appliances, or specialized equipment, and so on. It is the large household items that present the greatest packing challenge, so you need to make sure that you will be able to successfully cope with this difficult task when the time comes to move house.
So, think about it – you may know well enough how to pack your clothes, but do you really know how to pack your furniture pieces for a move? How to prepare them for shipment and ensure their safety?
Here are some much needed answers to help you properly pack your furniture for shipping.
How to develop an efficient furniture moving strategy?
If you want to have a smooth and trouble-free moving experience, you need to plan everything in advance – especially in regard to the larger household items that are so difficult to move, such as heavy furniture pieces. To be able to make the right decisions about your furniture, you are recommended to:
- Make an inventory of your furniture – note down the type of furniture pieces you own, their number, and current condition and mark any duplicate, outdated, or worn-out items you won’t be able to use in your new home. Then, you will be able to figure out what kind of packing materials (and how much of them) you are going to need to pack the furniture that’s worth taking with you and to determine how long it will take you to properly pack the pieces, as well as how much extra help will be required for their actual relocation;
- Make a floor plan of your new home – you need to assess the available space and the layout of your new house or apartment to find out which of your old furniture pieces are going to fit in. Any items that can’t fit through the doors, don’t match the interior design, or need to be replaced soon are not worth moving to your new place;
- Measure your furniture for moving – take accurate measures of the width, depth, height, and diagonal dimensions of your furniture pieces to calculate how much space you will need to get each of them out of your old property and into your new one (don’t forget to take into account any protruding parts and odd shapes as well). Of course, you need to measure the entryways, doors, height clearances, and stairways too;
- Take care of unwanted furniture – find a way to get rid of the old furniture pieces you are not taking with you for any of the above-mentioned reasons – sell them to pocket some extra money, donate them to charity, or give them away to family and friends;
- Secure help – book the professional services of a trustworthy moving company to ship your furniture across the country or ask several reliable friends to lend you a hand on moving day if you intend to perform a DIY move. Have in mind though that moving large furniture at a long distance by yourself is very difficult and risky. If you want your cherished pieces to be properly packed, safely shipped, and delivered to your new home in excellent condition, your best bet is to hire experienced movers to do the job for you;
- Gather appropriate packing supplies – you are going to need corrugated cardboard sheets, bubble wrap, packing tape, plastic stretch wrap, moving blankets, sealable plastic bags, sofa covers, and mattress bags. Some special equipment (a dolly, furniture pads, moving straps, hand tools, personal protection gear, and property protection materials) may also be required, especially in the event of a self-move.
Once you’ve planned the relocation of your furniture, it’s time to get down to work.
How to prepare furniture for moving?
In order to make the relocation process as safe, easy, and simple as possible, you need to prepare your furniture really well:
Empty and clean the pieces you are going to relocate
Remove all the items from your furniture pieces to make them lighter and safer to lift and carry around (pack the contents of your furniture separately, according to their type and handling requirements, to provide them with adequate protection). You are advised to give the empty pieces a good cleaning before packing them in order to get rid of any dust, dirt, mold spores, or bacteria that might have accumulated on your furniture over time.
Disassemble your furniture for moving
Remove any detachable parts from your furniture pieces to make them easier to move and to prevent potential damage. Make sure you:
- Strictly follow the appropriate instructions for (dis)assembling a certain piece – refer to its manual or find directions online;
- Keep the screws and other small hardware parts from every furniture piece into a separate sealable plastic bag;
- Mark the exact location of every detached part to be able to reassemble the corresponding furniture piece quickly and correctly;
- Safely pack any larger disassembled parts in appropriate boxes (don’t forget to clearly label each box so that you can easily find the pieces you need).
- Take your furniture apart (except for your bed) the day before moving day or even earlier (when possible) to save some valuable time.
How to pack furniture for shipping?
As long as you stick to the following efficient tips for packing furniture, you have every chance to have your pieces delivered to your new home in excellent condition:
1) Use bubble wrap to protect protruding and/or delicate parts of your furniture;
2) Wrap the entire piece in moving blankets or other clean and soft fabric materials;
3) Put paper or cloth padding in hollow spaces, over intricate ornaments, and around fragile parts for added protection;
4) Tape the wrapping materials securely in place (be careful not to tape directly on painted or polished surfaces);
5) Use shrink wrap to keep the padding in place and prevent dust and dirt from getting to your furniture;
6) Tape large pieces of corrugated cardboard around the corners of your furniture pieces;
7) Cover glass surfaces (tabletops, showcases and others) with flat cardboard pieces, wrap them in bubble wrap and packing paper, and place them between two sheets of corrugated cardboard, securely taped around the glass;
8) Pack mattresses and sofas in plastic covers that are specially designed for the purpose to provide maximum protection against dust, rips, stains, and moisture.
How to protect furniture when moving?
The best way to protect furniture when moving is to take effective precautionary measures:
- Apply wax on fine wooden surfaces to protect them against scratches;
- Do not fully seal the furniture in shrink wrap – leave some air holes to allow the furniture to breathe and to prevent moisture from building up and causing mold growth;
- Do not use plastic wrap directly on wooden or leather furniture as it may adhere to the delicate surfaces and damage them (you can safely use plastic wrap directly on upholstered furniture though);
- Make sure there is enough free space around a furniture piece when packing it, so that no other items get in the way and cause damage;
- Clear obstacles to reduce the risk of slipping, tripping, or falling while carrying furniture pieces;
- Make sure your furniture pieces are well secured on the dolly and, then, into the moving truck;
- Always plan your actions a few steps ahead and never rush things!
Your properly packed and well protected furniture is ready for shipment!
See also: How to ship furniture across country