We have helped a lot of people move over the years. From seniors downsizing to college kids going off to school, we have become experts in packing and moving. Our experience has taught us a lot of things. For example, we have learned a lot about purchasing moving supplies as opposed to using what you can get for free.
How much should you spend on moving supplies? That depends on a lot of things. For example, are you moving anything that should really be packed in heavy-duty boxes lined with bubble wrap? You also have to consider:
- the total distance of the move
- the vehicle(s) you will be using to transport your stuff
- the general condition and value of your possessions.
It is really impossible to put a price on moving supplies when there are so many variables. But that doesn’t mean there’s no way to answer the question. There is, and it involves a bit of honest assessment.
Moving Delicate Items
The one thing everyone worries about is how their delicate items will fare. A senior couple may have China passed down through the family for multiple generations. They would hate to see any of it broken. A young family might be into expensive electronics. They worry that their devices could be in harm’s way on the back of a moving truck.
We recommend thick, heavy-duty moving boxes for any items that are especially delicate. Those items should also be wrapped in bubble wrap or packed in packing peanuts. Everything else will probably be safe packed in regular boxes and buffered with newspaper and such.
Purchasing Moving Supplies
Most people are going to end up buying at least some moving supplies. The question is one of where. Like everything else, it pays to shop around. If you buy moving boxes from the same company you are renting the truck from, you’re likely to pay premium price. Why? Because they have you right where they want you on moving day.
A better option would be to shop online in the months preceding the move. You should be able to find a better deal on everything from boxes to bubble wrap and packing tape.
Learn A Few Packing Strategies
Another thing we have learned over the years is that you can get away with using mostly free moving supplies if you’re willing to learn a couple of handy packing strategies. For example, you have to move your clothing anyway. So rather than purchasing bubble wrap for packing the kitchen, consider using T-shirts, sweaters, socks, etc. Wash them first, of course.
Smart packers know that road vibration is the biggest risk when moving. So if you pack boxes in such a way as to minimize those vibrations, most of your belongings are going to do pretty well. Avoid loosely packed items that can rattle around. At the same time, avoid packing so tightly that there isn’t an inch to spare. Tightly packed boxes are just as susceptible to road vibrations.
When it comes time to pack the truck, put the heaviest items on the bottom. Stacked boxes should be arranged so that they gradually get lighter as the stack grows. Use furniture to block boxes so they do not move and do your best to fill in every empty space – even if it’s with something loose, like a pillow.
Use Moving Blankets
You will end up spending less on expensive moving supplies if you take advantage of moving blankets. Generally speaking, you can rent blankets pretty affordably from the same company you’re getting the truck from. A couple of dozen should be sufficient for the average move.
Moving blankets protect furniture during transit. They can also be used to provide a buffer between boxes and furniture. You can even wrap standalone items like floor lamps.
It is true that most people will buy at least a few supplies to facilitate moving to a new house. But don’t fall into the trap of believing your entire move has to be financed by expensive boxes and such. You can probably get away with using mostly free stuff.