How to Pack for Moving Day

Let’s face it: packing your house into a storage facility isn’t most people’s idea of a fun Sunday.

Broken cardboard boxes, heavy manual lifting, and stressful, last-minute panics when plans fall apart. This is what many people envisage when they think about putting it all away and into self storage. If they go into it half-heartedly and under-prepared, this might be the result. But it needn’t be.

With some sensible packaging choices, a clear, forward-thinking strategy and some sensible application, all of this could be avoided, leaving them with a relatively relaxed moving day. Who knows, they might even enjoy it. Here’s some advice from us on how to manage just this.

Pack it in

Everyone knows it’s silly to put fragile or expensive items into a box without any added protection. Such material is necessary to absorb the shock of impacts and prevent said items from jumping around in the moving van.

Yet, understandably, knowing what the perfect material is for each item isn’t exactly common knowledge. Here’s a couple of tips from us on what choices are best for which options.

Bubble-wrap is flexible, so can theoretically be used for objects of any size. However, in practice it’s often tough to securely wrap it around irregular-shaped objects, something which can lead to a lot of waste.

Dry air pillows provide a large cushion for particularly fragile, large objects, allowing them leeway to move during your trip around Cambridgeshire without the fear of damage. Only use them sparingly though, as they take up lots of space.

Styrofoam peanuts are small enough to be used for objects of any size, especially boxes full of many small ones. They’re also ideal for filling in the gaps around other materials.

Styrofoam sheets don’t wrap around objects as well as bubble wrap, meaning that delicate items will still be able to jump around. However, they are ideal for more durable, rigid objects.

Size it up

Of course, it’s not just the materials you use when travelling from St Neots, Ely or elsewhere that matter, but the size of your containers and boxes too. Here are a few standard storage options to choose from when storing your items in the back of a van.

Small items: carrier bags are commonly used, especially as a last-minute resort for items which had been previously forgotten, but the protection they offer is minimal. With their padded siding, bubble mailers are a far more practical alternative.

Medium to large items: what counts as a medium-sized or large-sized item is a subjective choice, and fold-up and corrugated boxes come in a wide range of sizes to accommodate this. As a rule of thumb, if it’s bigger than a few heavy, hardback books, go for a width of five inches or more.

Very large or heavy items: cargo containers are there for the items that cardboard just can’t cope with. In a nutshell, if it’s likely to break the box or there isn’t a box big enough for it, go for a container.

Get it ready

Packing doesn’t begin the day you move, at least not for the well-prepared. It starts weeks beforehand when you begin to consider what you’re going to take and what you’ll need immediately. Here’s some guidance on how to make the right calls from day zero.

Make an “essentials” box that’s equipped to help everyone last a few nights. Many people only pack for one day then come unstuck when they later realise how long unpacking in a new house can take.

Finish all laundry in advance – don’t shove damp, dirty clothes to the bottom of a bag where they may be left for weeks unnoticed.

If it’s never going to be used again, don’t waste time and space packing it. Make a charity shop pile on one side and a bin pile on the other.

Bear in mind physical strength when filling large boxes. The measure shouldn’t be whether there’s space left, but whether it could be lifted without any spinal cords snapping.