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Packing checklist: the basics
- Start with out-of-season items. Next, pack things used infrequently. Leave until last the things you’ll need until moving day.
- Empty drawers of breakables, spillables, items not recommended for inclusion in your shipment and anything that would puncture or damage other items. However, blankets, sweaters, lingerie, bath towels and similar soft, lightweight goods may be left in drawers.
- Pack similar items together. Do not pack a delicate china figurine in the same carton with cast-iron frying pans, for example.
- Keep all parts or pairs of things together. For example, curtain rod hangers, mirror bolts and other small hardware items should be placed in plastic or cloth bags and taped or tied securely to the article to which they belong.
- Wind electrical cords, fastening them so they do not dangle.
- Wrap items individually in clean paper; use tissue paper, paper towels or even facial tissue for fine china, crystal and delicate items. Colored wrapping draws attention to very small things. Use a double layer of newspaper for a good outer wrapping.
- Place a two- or three-inch layer of crushed paper in the bottom of a carton for cushioning.
- Build up in layers, with heaviest things on the bottom, medium weight next and lightest on top.
- As each layer is completed, fill in empty spaces firmly with crushed paper and add more crushed paper to make a level base for the next layer, or use sheets or cardboard cut from cartons as dividers.
- Cushion well with crushed paper; towels and lightweight blankets also may be used for padding and cushioning. The more fragile the item, the more cushioning needed. Be sure no sharp points, edges or rims are left uncovered.
- Pack small, fragile, individually wrapped items separately or a few together in small boxes, cushioning with crushed or shredded paper.
- Place small boxes in a single large box, filling in spaces with crushed paper.
- Avoid overloading cartons, but strive for a firm pack that will prevent items from shifting; the cover should close easily without force, but should not bend inward.
- Seal cartons tightly with tape
- As you finish with each carton, list the contents on the side of the carton (for easy viewing while cartons are stacked) and in a special notebook. You might want to number and/or code the cartons as well.
- Indicate your name and the room to which each carton should be delivered at destination. Tape a sign on the door of each room at destination corresponding to the carton labels so movers can get the cartons into the proper rooms quickly.
- Put a special mark on cartons you want to unpack first at destination.
Tips for moving china, glassware & silverware
- Moving company packers use a dish pack — an exceptionally sturdy corrugated carton of double- wall construction — for china, glassware and other fragile items less than 18 inches in size. Unless cartons of similar strength and construction are valuable, you might want to purchase several dish packs from the moving company.
- Wrap all pieces of china and glassware individually in clean paper. Using several sheets of paper, start from the corner, wrapping diagonally and continuously tucking in overlapping edges. A double layer of newspaper serves well as an outer wrapping. A generous amount of paper padding and cushioning is required for all china and glassware. Label cartons, “FRAGILE — THIS SIDE UP.”
Flat china & glassware
- Larger china and glass plates, platters and other flat pieces are excellent as the lowest layer in a dish pack.
- Place cushioning material in the bottom of a carton. Wrap each piece individually then wrap up to three in a bundle with a double layer of newspaper. Place these bundled items in the carton in a row on edge.
- Surround each bundle with crushed paper, being careful to leave no unfilled spaces. Add two or three inches of crushed paper on top of the bundle to protect rims and make a level base for the next tier. Horizontal cardboard dividers can be helpful in keeping layers level.
- Smaller plates, saucers and shallow bowls can make up a second layer. Wrap and pack in the same way as larger items.
Tips for packing bowls & odd-shaped items
- Depending on their weight, these might be used either as the bottom or middle layers. Wrap the same way as flat plates.
- Stand shallow bowls (soup plates, etc.) on edge in the carton and deep ones (such as mixing bowls) nested two or three together, upside down on their rims.
- Wrap sugar bowl lids in tissue, turning them upside down on top of the bowl. Then, wrap both together in clean paper, followed by an outer double layer of newspaper.
- Wrap cream pitchers in clean paper and then a double outer wrapping. Place sugar bowls, cream pitchers, sauce containers and similar pieces upright in the carton. Complete the layer as for plates.
Tips on packing cups
- Even when using a dish pack and mini-cells for china, wrap cups individually, protecting handles with an extra layer of paper. Then, pack cups upside down.
- If not using a dish pack or cells, wrap cups as previously described in a double layer of paper and place them upside down on rims in a row on an upper layer with all handles facing the same direction. Complete the layer as for plates.
- Because air causes silver to tarnish, all silver pieces should be enclosed completely in clean tissue paper or plastic wrap. Holloware — including bowls, tea sets and serving dishes — should be wrapped carefully as fragile items and packed like china.
- Loose flatware may be wrapped either individually or in sets, and in clear plastic or tissue.
- If silverware is in a chest, you still might want to wrap the pieces individually and reposition them in the chest. Or, fill in all empty spaces in the chest with tissue paper or paper towels. Wrap the chest with a large bath towel.
Figurines & other delicate items
- Wrap first in tissue paper, paper towels or facial tissue. Then, wrap carefully in newsprint that has been crushed and flattened out. Be sure the items are well-protected with plenty of cushioning.
- Small mirrors, plaques and pictures should be wrapped individually in tissue paper. A bath towel or small blanket makes an excellent outer wrapping and padding for glass. Place items on edge in a carton.
- Many moving companies use a material called bubble pack (plastic with bubbles) for exceptionally fragile items. If an item is extremely valuable, as well as delicate,
it might be wise to have it packed for you. Special materials might be needed for
Tips for packing artificial flowers
- An arrangement of artificial flowers should be packed in its own carton. Wrap carefully in plastic wrap, tissue paper or paper towels. If possible, fasten the base of the floral piece to the bottom of the carton. Label the carton “FRAGILE — THIS SIDE UP.”
- For instructions on moving live plants, ask your agent for a “Moving With House Plants” brochure.
- After removing the light bulb and lamp harp, wrap the base, harp and bulb separately in newsprint. (Use paper pads for large lamps.) Place them together in a carton, filling spaces with crushed paper. More than one well-cushioned lamp may be packed in a carton.
Tips on packing lamp shades
- Never wrap lamp shades in newspaper. Carefully wrap each shade in three or four sheets of tissue paper, a pillowcase or a large lightweight towel.
- To allow for movement, use a sturdy carton at least two inches larger all around than the largest shade. Line it with clean paper, using crushed paper under the lamp shade to create a protective layer, but not around the shade. A small shade can be nested inside a large one, if you are sure they will not touch. Only one silk shade should be placed in a carton to avoid stretching the silk.
- Do not pack other items with shades. Label cartons “LAMP SHADES — FRAGILE.”
- It is best to have the moving company crate large Tiffany-type or other glass lamp shades or chandeliers.
Glass table tops, marble slabs, large mirrors, paintings,
statues & large vases
- All are easily damaged. Glass might shatter, and marble slabs can crack at veins. Paper never should be permitted to touch the surface of an oil painting.
Be sure to read our Moving Day Tips article for more information!