What Are Acceptable Packing Materials?

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Of all the hassles of moving, perhaps the one area that leads to the most confusion, the most damages and the most cost, is packing. It’s important that each item be packed properly, and Ninja Movers’ moving consultants will be more than happy to provide both boxes and instruction, but what about used boxes or alternative packing materials?

Used boxes – This might surprise you, since we sell boxes, but we say go for it on used boxes. They are great for the environment and they can save you a lot of money. However, make sure they are in excellent condition. Inspect for tears and areas of possible water damage, which damages the integrity of the boxes. Also, make sure, unlike with a lot of grocery store boxes, that they have lids. Movers can’t move boxes without lids.

Laundry baskets – Sorry, but no. Movers stack things, that’s why boxes are cube shaped. If you pack with laundry boxes, things cannot be stacked, which could mean that your items won’t fit in one truck. In the end, saving a couple of bucks could cost you hundreds more.

Laundry baskets may be appropriate for the items you have to move in your car, though.

Garbage bags – See laundry baskets and add the very real possibility that they could rip.

Towels and sheets for cushioning – Absolutely, they make great cushioning.

Bubble wrap – This one seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? Bubble wrap is the holy grail of packing materials, isn’t it? Well, yes and no. Bubble wrap is great for flat items like pictures, but it’s not always so great for not so flat items. For example, if you wrap your stemware in bubble wrap, it will conform to the goblet portion but it will leave a lot of unprotected area around the stem. For odd shaped items, paper is preferred.

Packing peanuts – There are times, like with particularly delicate and oddly shaped items, that packing peanuts are the only way to pack. However, they are an environmental nightmare (unless you get the biodegradable ones) and they make a mess. Use them only when you need them or you will regret it come time to unpack.

The most important thing that can be said about packing is to make sure you don’t overpack. No box should weigh more than 50 pounds, or the box can easily break. That’s why book boxes are small. Also, when packing breakables, before sealing the box, lift them up and shake a little. If there’s any movement at all, stuff more packing material, like towels and sheets, inside. We’ll do more on packing next week.