Kayla Coco-Stotts
June 29, 2021
Article type:
Moving Help & Tips
Applies to:
All Moving

5 Steps You Can Take for Packing Your Belongings So They Arrive Safely

So, you’ve decided to hire movers to transport your household goods, and you’ve decided to do the packing yourself. Now what? The process of moving your valuables from one place to another (whether it’s with the help of a moving company or not) is headache-inducing stress at its finest.

Though some customers have the moving crew do the packing, many prefer to pack their items themselves. However, without the right preparation and handiwork, an interstate move can go from good to ghastly fast. Damaged electronics, missing furniture, and misplaced toiletries only scratch the surface of avoidable mishaps that happen on move day.  

To best prepare you for an uneventful move, we’ve compiled five steps you can take to ensure your belongings arrive safely to your next destination.

1.) Keep Valuables with You

In any move, discerning where you’ve put your valuables while staring at piles of stacked boxes can feel incredibly daunting. Instead of losing precious items in the masses, you can avoid hurried unpacking by loading them separately in your vehicle, or in a carry-on bag.

Things essential to making your move go smoother include:

  • Important documents (identification, titles, etc.)
  • Toiletries
  • Daily essentials (like medication or devices)

2.) Get Liability Coverage

Sometimes, no matter how hard movers try to keep household goods safe, damage can occur to items while they’re traveling to your next destination. Obtaining liability coverage eliminates the frustration of paying out of pocket for furniture or household items that sustained damage during transit.  

If any damage occurs, you submit a claim, and the moving company or third-party insurance company will reimburse you depending on the level of protection you’ve selected.

The Ways You Can Cover Your Move

With all moves, there are three different types of liability:

  • Full (Replacement) Value Protection: Under this option, your mover is liable for the replacement value of damaged or misplaced items in the entire shipment. This is the most comprehensive option for protecting your belongings and it will increase the cost of your move.  
    • If any item is damaged or lost, your mover will either repair the item, replace the item with something similar, or reimburse the value of the item with an agreed-upon cash settlement.  
  • Waiver of Full (Replacement) Value Protection: The option is the most economical. The mover assumes liability for the released value of 60 cents per pound per article.  
    • This comes at no additional cost for the customer and compensates you according to the weight of the item, not the value.  
  • Third-party insurance: You can also purchase third-party cargo liability insurance. This can be accomplished on your own or through your mover.

3.) Get Proper Boxes

Once you’ve decided to hire professional movers, you’ve likely already gone through the stressful dance that is moving yourself. You’ve already texted a few friends, offered to pay them in pizza or beer for their help, gathered your things up, and crammed them into a tattered box you got for free from your local grocery store.  

If any of those boxes start to give out, you can quickly stop, reset, and carry on. This situation works for getting your things to your next destination in a quick, albeit stressful, manner.  

However, packing your items for handling by a professional moving crew requires that the boxes you use can handle the stress of your move without constant supervision. Get boxes that are designated for moving. They’re built for the task and will keep your items better protected. Moving boxes are specifically designed to be handled, packed, and transported with ease.  

4.) Provide Padding

Just as you've taped together donated boxes and prayed their structural integrity lasts during the trip, you’ve typically started the moving process with limited padding. After grabbing some boxes, you’d crinkled up thin sheets of newspaper and stuffed them into glasses or wrapped them around plates before placing them in their temporary homes.

That should be enough, right? The box should protect them enough, so what’s the point in wasting space with a bunch of padding?

Even when moving your own items, delicate furnishings and dinnerware can break while in transit. Try putting those same items on a moving truck and driving them across the country.  Padding your moving boxes guarantees they’re as protected as possible during your move. If you don’t feel comfortable picking up a loaded box and giving it a good shake, odds are the items within it will get damaged during transit.  

Tips on Padding Your Moving Boxes

  1. Start with padding on the bottom of your box to absorb the strain of handling during the move.
  2. Save space at the top to insert more packing materials.
  3. Use materials designed for certain types of items.
    • Styrofoam sheets are good for packing kitchenware such as plates.
    • Bubble wrap is great for glassware and fragile décor.
    • Packing paper can be used to fill awkward gaps between items.
  4. Make sure everything is secure. Give your box a good shake. Does it rattle? If it does, add more padding until everything fits snugly in the box.

5.) Label Everything Specifically

After packing and padding come labeling. Though your mover may make a detailed inventory of your household goods, it’s good for you to also make an inventoried list to keep your things organized as you pack. This will help your movers on moving day and keep you coordinated once your belongings arrive at your new home.

Go from room to room and group items together starting by room, then type, and then by location. You can use apps like Sortly or Nest Egg to inventory your items, or you can write it yourself. Make sure to take pictures of high-value items and note their location. Large furniture items can be labeled so movers know exactly where to put them.

Once you’ve inventoried your household goods and packed them in boxes, notate them so you and your movers immediately know what they are. Label boxes as fragile and note which side is up (some moving boxes have this printed on them).

Implement and maintain an organized approach to your move. It will ultimately save you and your moving company some time. You’ll know the exact condition of your belongings before, during, and after the move.  

Inhale, Exhale

Alright. You’ve reached moving day. By this point, you packed your items in moving boxes, cushioned them with proper padding, and ensured your daily valuables are in a separate bag.  You scribbled “KITCHEN UTENSILS” on that last box, and you made sure to pack boxes according to which side is up. The movers have loaded everything on the truck, and you watch them drive away, patting yourself on the back as they go.  

You’ve done everything you can to make sure this move goes smoothly, and even if it doesn’t, your liability coverage ensures that every mishap beyond your control is properly reimbursed. Now, all there’s left to do is get to your next destination.