By Polly Irion, Certified Self Storage Manager
No doubt about it, moving is stressful! We are of the firm belief that while the situation is going to cause a few gray hairs, it is entirely possible to take control of it and limit the amount of stress you experience as you make your move.
One simple way of doing that is to strategically pack your moving truck and your storage unit. Taking a few minutes of preparation now to make your battle plan will save you an exponential amount of time as you load then unload your truck; and also use your storage unit to its fullest potential.
Let’s review a list of dos and don’ts shall we?
- Consider hiring a moving company. They are trained professionals who make it their number one priority to safely pack, transport and unload your property. You’ll be able to offer light supervision while sitting back, relaxing and sipping that drink with the tiny umbrella.
- Moving company not in the budget? No problem. You can still work hard without over-exerting yourself. The best thing you can do is be prepared. Gather moving supplies before you begin packing. You can purchase just about anything you need to pack and move in our fully stocked retail shop inside our rental office at every location. This is when you want to gather blankets to turn into furniture pads, stretch wrap to hold things together, bubble wrap and packing paper to protect fragile items and plastic covers to keep your items protected from wear and tear. You’ll want to protect any upholstered items as well as mirrors, artwork, TVs and both wooden and metal furniture. Plan to get tie down straps with ratchets or rope, and plenty of tape and boxes!
- Remember that there is plenty of work to do before you or your movers are ready to pack the truck or storage unit. Make sure to label all of your boxes with their appropriate room destination, and what’s packed inside! It’s a good idea to label at least the top and two sides of each box. If any boxes have fragile items inside, notate that quite large so it is not missed and those boxes are handled with more care. And if some items are going into your storage unit instead of your new home, label it that way and pack those items all together in the truck toward the back. That will make them easy to unload after you are done at your house, and prevent unnecessary lifting and moving of those items.
- Disassembling furniture such as an entertainment center a few days before the truck arrives just makes the loading day that much smoother. My personal favorite is to place all of the furniture hardware (bolts, screws etc) in a sandwich bag and tape it or stretch wrap it to the leg of the corresponding piece so that they don’t get lost. It is also a good idea to write with a marker on the bag what item the hardware goes with, just in case it falls off during the move.
- Once your truck arrives, or you’re at your storage unit, stack intelligently. It’s easiest to maintain the box load integrity if you stack all same/similar sized boxes together. Place the heaviest items on the bottom and the lightest on top. A disassembled bed frame can go right up against a wall, same goes for the mattress/box spring, to avoid taking up too much room. A couch can be placed up on end to utilize the ceiling clearance of the unit or truck for short term, though I would recommend it lying flat on its feet for longer term storage to prevent any damage. Large, heavy items that might need to be held in place (such as a China hutch) should be placed against the wall of the truck so that it can be secured via rope or straps to the chair railing inside of the truck. This will prevent the item from falling over as you make turns while on the road. And if there are drawers and doors on the piece, use stretch wrap around the items to hold them closed during transport.
- Items that would be needed more frequently from the storage unit should be placed at the front by the door or on top of a stack for ease of access. Large heavy items to be kept in storage – such as a washer and dryer – can be placed at the back and other items stacked on top as they won’t be needed until your final move. You can even place items inside of them to maximize your storage space.
- For safety reasons, movers can’t have certain items on their trucks; such as bottles of alcohol, fertilizer, weed spray and other gardening chemicals, or leftover gasoline or oil for your mower.
- Other items simply just aren’t a good idea to place with the movers because of their importance to you for sentimental, medical or financial reasons. We recommend that you place yourself in charge of transporting important documents, alcohol, jewelry, medication, toiletries and photos. With a more personal touch, it’s a better guarantee that you’ll be able to find any and all of these items in the moment that they are needed.
- Don’t wait till the last minute! You can never be too prepared or start too soon. We suggest downloading our handy Packing Tips, Moving Guide and Storing Tips checklists to help you get started. You want to start at least 8 weeks out from moving day.
These are some of the more important dos and don’ts to keep in mind and plan for when you are moving. If you are an experienced mover, I’m sure you have plenty more that have served you well. Feel free to share them in the comments below to help others. If you have any questions about packing your moving truck or storage unit, you can contact us or ask any of our property managers for help.