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How to pack like a professional

Careful packing is one of the most important aspects of your move. Well-packed household goods stand little chance of being damaged. Also, packing room by room can help to make unpacking and storage much less of a chore.

Whether you have us do the packing or you do it yourself depends upon your circumstances. Some people simply do not have the time to devote to what can be an intimidating task. In such cases, we provide the finest in safe and professional packing services. But for families on a budget, self-packing can mean considerable savings.

Even if you choose to do the packing yourself, you might still consider having us pack the more fragile items such as dishes, crystal, lamps, etc. You enjoy the security of having these more costly items professionally packed while reducing your costs by doing the bulk of the job yourself. Paul’s Transfer can also provide wardrobe cartons to hang your clothes in so they don't get wrinkled during your move.

Packing Materials

Dish Packs

These are "extra thick walled" cartons specifically designed for dishes, glasses and other fragile items.


Optional separators for china or glassware with individual compartments for the items being packed.


Very light, bulky articles, such as pillows, comforters, and lamp shades.


Non- fragile and moderately heavy items, such as pots, pans, games, folded clothing, misc.


Smaller cartons designed for very heavy items, such as books, records and canned goods.

Wardrobe Cartons

Equipped with metal bar so that clothes may hang naturally.


Narrow cartons that adjust in length and width to accommodate different sized mirrors, pictures and other fragile, flat items.

Mattress Cartons:. Sized for various mattresses.

Tape: Movers use either a plastic tape called "PVC" (approximately 1 1/2-inches wide) or "strapping tape."

Stop by our Packing Supplies page to order any boxes and supplies you may need.

Most of these moving cartons may be purchased from Pauls Transfer by stopping by our offices or calling to have them delivered. You also may be able to obtain cartons from your local grocery store. However, grocers usually slit cartons open along the sides instead of at the seams making them unusable for packing. In any case, be certain the cartons you use are of adequate size and strength.

The most important aspect of packing is good wrapping and cushioning material. NEVER USE NEWSPAPERS! Newspaper ink has a tendency to rub off on everything it touches and can be almost impossible to remove from items like fine china.

Professional packers, like the ones at our company, use "newsprint" (unprinted newspaper) as cushioning material. You can get newsprint from us or, in many instances, from your local self storage center.

The amount of newsprint you use depends on the items being packed. Obviously, towels or sheets in a carton require no packing material at all. For dishes or fragile items, a layer of crumpled paper should be used to line the bottom of the carton to a depth of approximately four inches. Each item should be individually wrapped--with crushed paper between items as needed.

Packing Specific Items


Plates, Saucers, China: Wrap individually and then bundle three or four together. Stand on end in carton. Never lay flat. Use the larger items as the bottom layer and place crumpled paper as cushioning between each layer.

Hats: If the hat is in a hatbox, the pack that box into a larger carton.
If not, place in smallest carton posible, loosely stuffed with crushed paper. 
You can do this either by itself or with other hats, just make sure they are not bent or crushed.

Bowls: Odd-shaped items and bowls should be individually wrapped and placed in the upper layers. Place on edge in the carton with bottom facing up.

Lamps: Lamp bases should be wrapped, cushioned and packed in Dish-Pack cartons. Lampshades should be packed singly in appropriate sized carton. Be careful not to put too much paper in lampshade carton as they dent easily. Cushion loosely.

Cups and Glasses: Like bowls, cups and glasses should go on top, rim down and individually wrapped.

Glassware and Crystal: Always individually wrap as top layer. Never put one piece inside another. If items are particularly fragile, pack first in smaller carton, then in large one with cushioning all around.


Flowers: Dried flowers should be packed alone in appropriate sized carton loosely cushioned with paper. Live plants will probably not survive on a long distance move and movers cannot accept responsibility. Some states do not allow the movement of live plants at all because of pest problems like the gypsy moth.


Stereos, Radios, etc.: Components and small electronics should be well wrapped and cushioned in either medium (3.0 cu. ft.) or large (4.5 cu. ft.) cartons. Large console stereo and televisions should not be packed. They will be padded by driver and moved as furniture.


Books: Pack upright with open edges and bound ends alternating. If any have fragile covers, wrap in paper.

Mirrors, Marble Tops, Glass Tops, Pictures: All mirrors, pictures, marble or glass tops should be packed in picture-mirror cartons, unless they are very small. The small items may be wrapped and packed in dish-pack cartons on edge. Very large marble or glass tops should be crated by professional packers. Their weight makes them impractical to be moved by carton.

Clothing: Hanging items should go into wardrobe cartons. Clothing may stay in dressers if dressers are sturdy. All other folded clothing should be packed in medium (3.0 cu. ft.) cartons.


Food: Boxed dry food should be packed in medium (3.0 cu. ft.) cartons with openings taped shut to prevent spillage. Jars or canned goods should be packed in book (1.5 cu. ft.) cartons with all jars wrapped and cushioned. Never pack or move perishable or frozen food.


Refrigerator: Don't forget for thoroughly clean your refrigerator and freezer before you ship. This is especially important if you are going to be storing it for any amount of time. Completely wipe down and dry the interior of your fridge. Any moisture can quickly turn into mold and bacteria. To avoid moisture accumulation after cleaning, put in a baking soda pack to absorb any moisture that remains. Make sure it is new and dispose of it once you are in your new residence. I recommend using the new Arm & Hammer Fridge Fresh packs. They work great and since they stick on the walls, they are out of the way and don't spill. Click on the fridge fresh picture to get money saving coupons.

Use a heavy marking pen for easy reading. On carton top, list major items such as "GOOD CHINA" or "CRYSTAL." On carton side near the top,
 mark which room carton goes into. If carton contains fragile items, mark "FRAGILE" on all four sides. On cartons containing fragile items or liquids, mark "THIS END UP" on carton top and put arrows pointing up on all four sides.

Additional Common Sense Tips

Use cartons of adequate size and strength. Try not to pack any one box heavier than 50 pounds.

Cushion bottom of carton and between layers when packing fragile items.

Wrap all fragile items individually.

Pack heavier items in lower layers, lighter items in upper layers.

Paper cushioning absorbs shock. Be generous.

Loose packing creates damage. Make sure items are firmly packed.

Do not overfill carton. Top should close easily without bulging.

Use "PVC" or "strapping tape" to guard against carton bursting open in transit.


Items Not to Pack
Remember that all of your possessions are being loaded into the van and, by law, movers may not accept hazardous materials for shipment. Restricted items include:

Paint, thinners, oils and varnishes
Ammunition and firearms
Lamp oil
Bottled gas, propane, etc.
Explosives and corrosives
Motor fuels and oils
Nail polish remover
Cooking fuel
All aerosol cans

Moving and Children -  The following tips often help children adjust before, during and after a family relocates.



Include the children in making plans for the move. For example, take them go house-hunting with you.

Help your child(ren) learn about the new area.

Through play-acting with dolls, boxes and a wagon, children can get a feeling of "moving".

Let the children help decide how their new rooms are to be arranged and decorated.

Encourage children to exchange addresses and phone numbers with their friends.

Prepare a package for each child containing snacks, some clothing, and a few favorite toys for the move.

Take a "family break" as soon as the major unpacking is done. Don't try to do everything when you arrive.

Parents should spend time after the move listening to each child about new schools and new friends.

Follow progress in new schools. Accompanying your child(ren) to school the first few days may ease tension.

Any lingering abnormalities (loss of appetite, insomnia, constipation, diarrhea, menstrual disorder) should be reported to a doctor.

If your move involves suburban to rural, or vice versa, caution children about new situations they will face.

Here are some IRS forms and publications pertaining your move.

Moving Expenses Form (Form 3903)

Change of Address Form (Form 8822)

Moving Expenses Publication (Publication 521)