I own two moving companies in Texas. One specializes in local moves and the other performs moving services across the state of Texas. I have been in the business for over two decades and have a few helpful hints for your next move concerning packing.
Packing can be very “time consuming” and it is “quite physical”. You might have a last second move where it is imperative that you hire professional packers. On the other hand, you might have some physical limitations that require you to get good help.
Transportation of the supplies themselves can be a hardship for some people. Most cars can hold small and medium boxes but can not handle dishpacks or wardrobes.
Purchasing the boxes can be expensive in itself. As a consumer, you can not always get the same kind of deal that a mover who buys in quantity can get. You will find that box prices can be high at retail sites.
One of the biggest “cons” against packing yourself is insurance (or lack of the same). If you pack yourself, the movers will mark your boxes PBO or take some like measure. PBO (Packed by Owner) means that the contents of the box will not be covered if they break or are damaged during transit. Movers will only cover damage if the box itself is crushed and this will be at a predetermined amount of so many cents per pound. In Texas the rate set by the TxDot is $.60 per pound. That means that the 3.1 cubic box (medium size) that held a $40.00 vase, a $80.00 statue or figurine and a few other valuables will only get you $24.00 in damage coverage (40 pounds x $.60/#). The coverage will only cover boxes that outwardly show signs of damage.
Packing yourself allows you to so a little “housecleaning” while you organize your belongings. You can sift thru your things and maybe give away things that you no longer use. Remember, you do not pay for what you do not move!
Packing yourself is a sure way to know how well things are packed. You really don’t know how well someone else is going pack your valuables. Although professionals know a few tricks about packing, they are not secrets (I will reveal more later).
Packing yourself means you can take your time, if you planned ahead. You can pack three to five boxes a night and not get worn out. You can take your time and do a better job. Before you know it fifty boxes are packed and you only have the essentials left to do. Packers usually come in in one day and complete all the packing. They either get paid by the box (they will pack big boxes lightly to get a higher count) or they get paid by the hour (they sometimes will ride the clock). Even worse is when the packers are under a fixed contract amount. In this case they pack fast and furious.
Packing with your own supplies can save you real money! You can call local companies that will have used boxes for sale at a discount. This way you are helping the environment by recycling and your wallet’s “wildlife reserve” by saving a few “bucks”.
Packing your own boxes means you can label them in a way that makes sense to you. This will make the move into your new residence much more organized.
- Get rid of anything that you don’t really need or use. Do this early so you can dispose of or giveaway those items.
- Start collecting used boxes as soon as you know of an upcoming move. Call around for prices and get boxes from the following locations-file boxes from your office, boxes from liquor stores (some have bottle dividers that are very useful for stemware) , friends that have or are moving (do them a favor by getting rid of their boxes for them) and always call the moving company that is moving you to see if they have any used boxes you can pick up (they usually will help a future client ).
- DO NOT use newspaper!!! The print will permanently stain some types of china and the print will get all over you hands and the contents of your boxes. Save yourself the aggravation and buy blank newsprint.
- Label your boxes and keep an inventory list of each box and its contents. Make sure you put your “Name” and “New Address” on the top of each box (just in case it is “misplaced”) . In one to two inch letters, mark the room that you want the box to end up at in the new house (Mark the “Top” and “All Four Sides”). On one side do a small inventory list of the contents and number that box. That is the information that you will put on your inventory sheet after you have packed all your boxes. Do not put anything like jewelry or watches on the inventory (use a code for anything of high value or take it with you in your car).
- Tape all boxes on the bottom with three strips of tape that extend up the sides about four inches. One directly down the middle and one on each side of the middle piece (overlap the tape because it is stronger that way) . Do the same to the top after you put your Name, New Address and Room Location on the box (the markers like cardboard better than tape).
- Use a towel, folded sheet or other soft material on the bottom of every box that you can. This will give the box a “shock absorber” for the trip. If you have enough soft material, do the same with the top of the box.
- DO NOT SCRIMP on paper. It is the cheapest and best insurance you can buy. When in doubt, wrap it again. Roll your object from corner to corner and then use a second sheet and do it again.
- Place your boxes in a central location such as a garage if possible. This will give your movers more space to do their job (it will be a better job). If you can not put your boxes in a central location, place them against a wall that is not in the pathway of your movers.
- Do not put all your heavy things in one box. Distribute heavy objects between all your boxes. Records, books, picture albums and the like should be packed in book boxes (small 1.5 cubes-about the size of an office file box). Remember, you will be shuffling these same boxes around at the new location!
- Most importantly, have some drinks for the movers. It is a hard job that nobody likes to do. The movers will treat your belongings as you treat the movers.