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Man overwhelmed by cardboard boxes on moving day

Moving is always an exciting, yet stressful time. But proper packing can go a long way toward keeping things on the enjoyable side of that coin. This time, we’re here to discuss all things cardboard. So pull up a chair (before you put it on the moving truck) and let us teach you how to box—as efficiently as possible.

1. Aquire Boxes

We’ll start with the most important thing when it comes to boxes—getting the actual boxes. If you haven’t stocked up on all those Amazon boxes that have shipped your gadgets and home decor items the last six months, don’t rush out and buy boxes. Get them for free instead. Try getting in touch with local bookstores, like Barnes and Noble, or even local liquor stores. A lot of these stores dispose of a lot of boxes on the regular. After all, it can’t hurt to ask. See if they can help you out. One phone call might save you save a big chunk of change, and offsetting moving costs is always the smart way to go. If you strike out there, hit up your friends and family to see if they have any cardboard to help your cause.

2. Tale of the Tape

This is self-explanatory, but if you want to avoid broken items and a cleanup session on Aisle 1 (your lawn), be sure to tape your boxes—well. Don’t cut corners here. An extra strip of packing tape on the bottom of your boxes is always a good idea. And stay away from your kids school supplies for this step. Clear, thin Scotch tape has no place here.

3. All About Selection

This one is key. In order to make moving easier on everyone—and their back—it’s crucial to get and use properly-sized boxes. Stay away from giant boxes. Focus on boxes that can be lifted by one person without risking injury. When it comes to packing your boxes, pack compact, heavy items in your smaller boxes. Think books. The smaller the box, the less weight you can pack into it. A large box of books can ruin your day, even if you’re lifting properly with your legs. Heavier items in large boxes also have a better chance of breaking. Save your larger boxes for lighter items like pillows, sheets and blankets.

4. Different Rooms Don’t Mix

It might be tempting, but don’t pack things from different rooms into boxes. Trust us. First of all, you’ll save time on the packing end. Secondly, and more importantly, your unpacking will go swimmingly. Once a box is in the proper room in your new home, the end game is nigh.

5. Pack Well, Packers

It’s inevitable that you’ll have differently-weighted items packed into the same boxes. When this happens, always pack the heavier items in the bottom of the boxes, leaving the lighter items to lay on top. And if you’re packing your own moving truck, heavier boxes go toward the front of the truck. Balance, Daniel-san. Your drive will go much more smoothly if the back of the truck isn’t losing a battle with gravity.

6. Explore the Space

What we mean is—try not to leave space in your boxes! Fill all available gaps with clothing (in the bedroom boxes), towels (in the bathroom boxes) or packing paper/bubble wrap around fragile items from the kitchen. You should never hear things shifting around when you lift a box. So fill those gaps, and combined with No. 3, balanced boxes will lead to a much easier move.

7. Label To Your Heart’s Content

When it comes to moving, labels are in a safe space. No one is getting offended. So label your boxes properly. We recommend a three-fold approach.

  • Label each box with the room it’s destined for (not from, if different for some reason).
  • Include a description of contents.
  • If contents are fragile, mark as such.

If you want to get a little more organized, you can do things like number your boxes and keep an inventory in a spreadsheet or a notebook. But if you stick to our three suggestions above, your labeling will help your move go off without a hitch.