Packing Supplies 101 – What You Need and What You Can Live Without

You have completed your budget, secured your new home, and reserved a moving truck.  Now, the real fun begins, power packing.  It is amazing the amount of stuff you acquire over time.  If it has been several years since your last move, the piles and a container full of unpacked items from the last move can be staggering.  It is like Christmas morning when you dig into the back of the closets or the depths of the garage.  “How on earth am I going to get everything packed,” you may ask. Keep packing fun and think of it as wrapping birthday gifts that you will unwrap in your new home.  Do not fear, we are here to help!

First things first, you will need moving boxes and supplies to pack everything up to ensure your precious belonging are not damaged in shipping. Make sure you keep your budget in mind and don’t over purchase on things you really don’t really need because there is usually an emergency that will come up.  There are some trendy items available, but not all of them are necessary for moving day.  Let’s get started.


What You Need

There are many options these days that it can be overwhelming when you start to look for packing supplies.  I advise you stay away from cheap moving supplies because they will not have the durability that is needed.  Take a trip to the moving supply store to get an idea of what is available to you, but do not purchase.  A moving supply store will have all of the bells and whistles of moving.  Rest assured, you do not need everything on their shelves.   

Where to Buy Moving Supplies

There are many different places you can go to get packing supplies.  First, you should write a list of thing that you need for your packing party.  You can look online for u haul moving supplies, home depot moving supplies, ups, fedex, usps or moving supplies at lowes to get an idea of what is available.  Walmart moving supplies can generally be found at discounted prices.  However,  you need to be aware of quality.  When packing the most valuable items you own, I would highly recommend uline, uhaul moving supplies or lowes moving supplies to ensure your valuables arrive safely to their destination and at discount price.

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Trends come and go, but the basics of packing remain the same.  Put your belongings in a box, tape it up, and mark the box.  That doesn’t seem too difficult.  The problem is, it can become much more complex before you know it. Packing supplies for moving are essential, but don’t bust the budget when you start to purchase.  The bare essentials you will absolutely need: boxes, packing tape, magic marker, some type of paper to wrap glass items in, and a hand truck comes in quite handy.

Tips to Save Money

Make sure you are smart about how you get your supplies.  More often than not, you can go to a local retailer or grocery store and ask if they have boxes that have not been crushed.  These boxes come in all shapes and sizes.  You will be able to find that awkward sized box for the unique item that will not fit in a regular box.  Do you know the best part about getting boxes like this?  It is free!  Retailers are happy to get them out of their store room and it is less work for them.

If you have appliances to move or heavy items a hand truck will become your best friend. While this tool will save your back, don’t let it break the bank.  Most moving truck rental facilities or equipment rental stores have hand trucks available for rent. Check with your friends and family to see if they have one you could borrow for free, and let them off the hook of actually helping you move.

shutterstock_68120392Marking the boxes you have packed is something that will save you a ton of time in the long run.  Each box should be marked with which room that box will go to in your new home, not the room it is being packed from.  This will allow people moving the boxes to place them in the correct locations on moving day so they will not need to be moved again, until you are ready to unpack it. Also, list the contents of each box. This will help you find your favorite frying pan without opening every single box in your kitchen. You can use a simple magic marker, or be creative and color code each room by using a different color to mark the boxes or with a special sticker.  I would not suggest you spend a lot of the budget on a rainbow of markers unless you will have a genuine need for them after the move.

When you have glass, a valuable dish or other items you do not want to get broken you will need to wrap those items in paper, styrofoam or foam.  Packing supply stores will offer these items at a price.  If you have something super valuable you may want to invest in a bit of these packing supplies, but my suggestion is to hit the news stand.  Gather newspapers!  Ask you friends and family to keep all newspaper they receive so you can use them for packing.  Again, this is free and accomplishes the same goal.  Once you unpack don’t trash it, recycle the newspaper or pass it along to the next person you know that is moving.

Do not waste valuable budget dollars on quilted pads to protect your furniture.  These items can be quite pricey and you will most likely not use them again after the big day.  Instead, use comforters, blankets, pillows, or sheets to cover your furniture while it is being moved.  I always wash all of the linens after moving so everything is clean in my new home.  Why not have the linens serve a purpose in the mean time.

There use to be a school near me that would allow students to help neightbors that were moving pack up their homes.  The idea behind it was to allow student the opportunity to plug into the neighborhood and lend a helping hand.  At that time the school was rebuilding relatonships with neighbors.  Once the packing was completed the school would invite the neighbor that was moving into the school building for a meal.  Check out your local schools to see if they have a program like that.

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Packing tape is an entirely different ball game.  From experience, do not go with the cheapest quality or quantity of packing tape!   Boxes that are not sturdy can be reinforced with a good quality tape. Do not use staples because they can get stuck in food boxes and makes the boxes hard to unpack. They can also cause cuts on your hands, you won’t have time to deal with a war wound, so stick with the tape. It is important that the bottoms of boxes be taped as well as the top.  By taping the boxes correctly you will keep dust and debris from getting into the box and invading your valuables.  Taping the bottom of the box will reduce the chance of your things falling out of the bottom.  If you think you will need three rolls of tape, buy four or five rolls.  Wholesale clubs are a great place to find this item in deluxe bulk packs. You will also want to invest in a good quality tape gun to save time on cutting tape to a desired size.  These are packing supplies that can be used beyond moving day.

There you have it. Packing on a budget is also something that can be accomplished if you are mindful of your needs. Keep this simple thing in mind:  If you will use the items after the move, give yourself the permission to spend a little extra on quality and a little more quantity. If it is something that will only be used on moving day see if you can rent one for a reasonable price or borrow the item from friends or family.  You may be able to find someone in the office that would be willing to help out as well.  Packing is a process.  You don’t have to be wonder woman and get everything completed in one day.