• Before you start packing, decide which items you want to give away, throw away or sell. This is an excellent time to rid yourself of items you no longer need. You may be able to make some extra cash by holding a yard sale and will save money and time by not moving things you don’t want or need.
  • Make sure your insurance policy covers items while they’re being moved. If you use a moving company insist on seeing a written copy of the insurance they provide and carefully read it over.
  • Get a written appraisal of valuables such as antiques to verify their value. Don’t wax or oil wood furniture before moving, some waxes and oils may soften wood, making them more susceptible to scratching and imprints from packing pads.
  • Walk through your home with the estimator as he prepares a quote and make a written record of any damaged items. Have the estimator sign this note and you should keep it for future reference.
  • If packing your self and using a mover, be sure to follow the mover’s packing instructions. They may insist you use only certain types of boxes and may have weight limits on the boxes. If you don’t pack to their specifications they may not be responsible for damaged items.
  • Don’t just start packing, plan how you’re going to pack. Pack those items you seldom use first. Essential items such as cooking utensils, bedding, linens and toiletries which need to opened first should be clearly marked as “open first” on the box and make sure these are the last boxes loaded on the truck, (that way they’ll be the first unloaded).
  • Clearly the contents on the outside of all boxes, along with the room you want delivered to.
  • When packing fragile items, clearly mark fragile on the outside of the box, with arrows to indicate the correct upright position.
  • Use the proper packing cartons and wrapping materials. Use professional packing tape, which is wide and strong, masking tape isn’t strong enough to support a fully loaded box. All cartons should be taped on the bottom and top – don’t simply fold the flaps closed. Newsprint is very handy and inexpensive as a packing material. Rolls of unprinted paper may be obtained by calling the local newspaper or a print shop.
  • At least 24 hours in advance unplug all electrical equipment such as television sets, computers and stereos. Moving electrical equipment, which is still retaining heat, may cause internal damage.
  • Dispose all flammables such as cleaning fluids, aerosol cans, matches and paint cans. Drain fuel and oil from lawn mowers and other machinery. Don’t forget to drain water from your steam iron. Any partly used containers, which may leak, should also be disposed of.


These packing tips are provided by two of North America’s largest moving companies, Mayflower and United Van Lines. They are a compilation of information gathered from their web sites found at and

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