Boxes---the single most crucial thing for any move. Whether you are moving old tennis trophies to the basement or relocating your entire house across the country, you surely can’t do to without a box, or even a lot. There are a multitude of different sizes, and specific-use boxes, it can be very overpowering when you're standing there gazing at mountains of cardboard that are somehow going to mutate themselves into functional packing devices.
The first thing to be aware of is that while boxes are not created exactly equal, they are very autonomous in that you can use just about any box for just about any item. The feat is in being on your toes about what to pack in which box--and forget what the box is named, go ahead and put your golf clubs in the wardrobe box, if it seems right. The other thing intelligent people (that includes you) do is not to put too much in the boxes so they weigh a lot. You are going to be moving a lot of them, and six pounds feels like fifty after a while.
Sizes and Weight
Boxes are measured in cubic feet. The smallest moving box is usually 1.5 CF, and is what you will use for heavy stuff like books or small appliances. Knickknacks are best in these small boxes as you can put a whole collection in one box. You may see heavy-duty boxes, but just because you can pack more weight into a box does not mean you should, unless you have a heavy-duty back to lift the weightier boxes. These boxes often have grips for easier moving and an average height person can normally move two of these at once.
The next size larger is 3.1 cubic feet. This is where you can stow shoes, toys, pots and pans--things that aren't super heavy. Some of these boxes also have the built-in grips and are a bit more unwieldy than the smaller box, so do not overload this size or it's going to be difficult to pick-up and move.
Linens, sweaters, towels, and clothes go in the 4.5 CF boxes. They are big and deep, and again, do not overload them because the bulk makes even the lightly packed ones a challenge to move unless you're vertically gifted.
The biggest standard boxes are 6.1 cubic feet. This is where you pack pillows, lampshades, blankets, and anything that's big but lightweight.
These are designed for moving a particular sort of thing, but are useful for lots of other stuff, also. While they are a bit more pricey, are well worth the cost in convenience of packing options and protection.
A dish pack is a box with a double layer of corrugated cardboard. Do not think you can only put dishes in these, they are meant to protect anything fragile. A dish pack is anywhere between the 1.5 and 3.1 CF size, and you can either wrap items individually in plain newsprint or use the newer foam sleeves--slide the plate or glass into the sleeve and set it in the box. Some boxes have inserts for glasses, so they stand up in their spot and do not get bumped by their neighbor. A dish box is perfect for stereo components, lamp bases, or anything breakable that you don't want in the regular boxes.
A wardrobe box is literally what it seems like. It is taller than the 6.1 CF box, is about 10 CF, and is a heavy-duty cardboard that is meant to stand up during transit. It has a hanger bar that attaches near the top, so you can move your hanging clothes with ease. The standard height for a wardrobe box is about 46 inches, so you can use them to move things like dining room chairs or those golf clubs, also.
A mirror box comes in numerous sizes, but they are all usually flat, and large. They are what you use for artwork and mirrors, but also flat screen TVs, computer monitors, large platters, or even tennis rackets.
Don't neglect the proper packing supplies--lots of paper, tape and bubble wrap--but knowing your boxes is the opening step of a smooth move.