A Commonly Undervalued Item: Boxes and How to Use Them Properly

packing - moving - boxesBoxes---the single most crucial item for any move. Whether you are moving old sports trophies to the garage or relocating your entire house cross country, you definitely can’t do to without a box, or even a lot. There are lots of differing sizes, and specific-use boxes, it can be very overwhelming when you are standing there staring at piles of cardboard that are somehow going to transform themselves into functional packing devices.

The first thing to be aware of is that while boxes are not created entirely the same, they are very common in that you can utilize just about any box for just about any item. The catch is in being on your toes about what to pack in which box--and forget what the box is called, go ahead and put your golf clubs in the wardrobe box, if it feels right. The other thing intelligent people (that includes you) do is not to overpack boxes so they are too heavy. You are going to be moving a lot of them, and seven pounds seems like fifty after a while.

Sizes and Weight

Boxes are measured in cubic feet. The smallest moving box is normally 1.5 CF, and is what you'll use for bulky 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 things into a box doesn't 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 easily move a couple of these in unison.

The next size up is 3.1 cubic feet. This is what you will use to stow shoes, toys, pots and pans--things that aren't that 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 no good to pick-up and move.

Linens, sweaters, towels, and clothes go in the 4.5 CF boxes. They are big and deep, and again, don't overload them because the bulk makes even the lightly packed ones a challenge to move unless you're vertically gifted.

The largest standard boxes are 6.1 cubic feet. This is where you pack pillows, lampshades, blankets, and anything that's big but lightweight.

Specialty Boxes

These are intended for moving one certain sort of thing, but are convenient for lots of other stuff, as well. While they are a little more pricey, are well worth the cost in convenience of packing options and protection.

Dish pack

A dish pack is a box with a second layer of corrugated cardboard. Don't think you can solely 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 don't get bumped by another glass. A dish box is perfect for stereo components, lamp bases, or anything delicate that you don't want in the regular boxes.

Wardrobe Box

A wardrobe box is precisely what it seems like. It's taller than the 6.1 CF box, is about 10 CF, and is a heavy-duty cardboard that is constructed 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 usual 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.

Mirror Box

A mirror box comes in numerous sizes, but they are all somewhat flat, and large. They're 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 first step of a smooth move.