Moving to a new home can be rather difficult even without any additional complications like having to organize an emergency move (too little time) or being forced to move out with a limited budget (too little money). Not surprisingly, one of the things that can make each household move a real challenge is the task of packing an entire home for a move.
If you think that packing up your clothes takes forever, just wait until you reach your garage, tool shed, or workshop. Usually filled to the brim with oddly shaped, sharp, heavy, and hazardous items, storage areas usually contain a large number of tools of all shapes, sizes, weight, and purposes. How are you supposed to pack all those tools of yours anyway: hand tools, garden tools, electric power tools, gas-powered tools?
Read on to learn how to pack tools when moving home.
Sort out your tools before packing them
The very first step when packing tools for a move is to sort them out before getting down preparing them for safe transportation. The sorting process is all about deciding which tools will be worth transporting to the new home, and which ones won’t be worth the transportation costs.
As a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t bother packing things that you don’t intend to use, at least not in the foreseeable future. Why should you pay to have a specific tool moved only to place it in storage and forget about it with time?
Before you actually start sorting out your garage, tool shed, or workshop, divide the whole storage area into reasonable zones to get the job done faster. Be ruthless when figuring out the fate of each hand, yard or power tool you own – after all, you’re going to be the one who’ll have to cover the moving costs in the end.
How to pack hand tools for moving
The best way to pack your small tools – screwdrivers, hammers, pliers, wrenches, files, various types of hand saws, chisels, hand planers, spirit levels, and so on – is to place them and move them all inside a toolbox. All in all, a designated toolbox provides the best protection possible for your super useful instruments. You should still use packing paper to wrap each separate tool to avoid surface scratches or even more serious damage during the haul.
If you don’t have a toolbox, then find small to medium-sized cardboard boxes – make sure those moving containers are strong and dry. If those cardboard boxes are second-hand, then inspect them carefully for pre-existing damage. Don’t make the packing boxes too heavy (20 lbs. is usually the safety limit) because, just like books, hand tools can become too heavy too quickly.
Various types of clamps can be sorted by size and packed together in a blanket. Any hand tools that have open blades or sharp edges (hand saws, chisels, hand planers should be made perfectly safe – protect the dangerous parts by covering them with pieces of bubble wrap, and then use some packing tape to keep the bubbly plastic in place. Also, old socks that you were planning to throw away can also be used as protective sleeves for small hand tools.
How to pack power tools for moving
Luckily, power tools are even easier to pack than most hand tools. The first thing you should consider doing is to look for the original packaging that the electric device came in. It’s important to always keep in mind that original boxes are designed to provide the ultimate protection, so no substitute box can ever match that level of transportation security.
And yet, if you have no idea where those factory boxes are, it’s time to get a hold of strong cardboard boxes of the right size to accommodate any electric power tools that you own.
Next, detach any removable parts (attachments), including any batteries, coil the electric cord around the body of the power tool or tuck it inside the cable storage compartment, if any. Use pieces of no longer needed clothing to wrap the power tool – it’s got to be bubble wrap if the device has fragile parts that cannot be taken apart. Ziplock bags are perfect for storing small parts from a variety of detached tools, so have them nearby as well.
If you want to pack up and move bulky and heavy power tools, such as a table saw, a band saw, a drill press, or a planer, then you must get expert help – you’re not supposed to handle them all by yourself due to their oversized dimensions and considerable weight.
Larger power tools like those should be partially disassembled so that they can be easily and safely transported. Use suitable moving equipment such as a moving dolly to get them out of your garage and load them into the moving truck.
Make sure you remove any blades on all cutting tools and machines to avoid personal injury – wrap them separately in bubble wrap and place them in thick cardboard boxes.
If you’re not exactly sure how to put together a partially disassembled power tool after the move is complete, take photos and use them later as visual re-assembly guides.
Must-read: Should you hire professional packers?
How to pack garden tools for moving
First of all, you need to make sure that your yard tools are clean – you don’t want dirt, mud or any other type of filth to be transferred to the moving vehicle. The next step is to group together all garden tools with long handles, then wrap them in old blankets or bath towels that are too worn out to be used for their original purpose. Finally, use string, rope or strong packing tape to secure the tight bundle of long-handled tools.
Any sharp-edged garden tools – saws, knives, gardening shears, hoes, rakes, etc. – need to be made safe for transportation. Use old blankets, old towels, or a few sheets of bubble wrap to cover their blades or sharp edges, then fix the protective cover with the help of zip ties or string.
How to pack gas-powered tools
All motorized tools that you own – a lawnmower, a chain saw, a leaf blower, or a snow blower – should be completely and entirely emptied of fuel prior to packing and moving them. No moving company will agree to transport any gas-powered tools that still have any fuel left in their tanks. Remember there’s a good reason why gasoline is one of the non-allowable items forbidden for transportation.
WARNING: Do not leave any amount of fuel in the tank, no matter how small it is. Gasoline is highly flammable and combustible, so you must always play it safe.
You can siphon out the fuel by using a hand pump designed for that purpose. If the amount of fuel is too small anyway, you can let your gas-operated equipment run idly for a while.
Use pieces of bubble wrap to cover any sharp and open blades, then wrap your gas-powered tools in blankets or old pieces of clothing to keep them protected while on the road.
Become a pro packer: Packing tips. The best of the best. For you.