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Packing Techniques - Packing Tips

Packing Techniques

  • Packing one room at a time is helpful but not always feasible. The most important thing is to have each carton properly labeled with its contents and its destination (e.g., kitchen, bathroom). You do not need to be extremely specific here; a general description will suffice.  If you have many of the same types of item, you may want to be specific. For example labeling boxes as textbooks, magazines, children, fictions, cookbooks, etc. will make unpacking that much easier, and will tell what room in the house that particular carton belongs to.
  • When labeling boxes, avoid “Miscellaneous”. US Customs does not see this as a valid description, and labeling of this type is more likely to cause your shipment to be marked for inspection and delayed at the destination port. US Customs has the right and authority to hold any shipment for up to 30 days. Immediate clearance is a courtesy, not a requirement. Appropriate and complete labeling may not prevent an inspection, but it does make the Customs inspector more comfortable in granting an immediate release.
  • Once the packages are labeled, each piece needs to be numbered. The piece number and contents are transferred to a Household Goods Contents”list . This document accompanies the cargo from beginning until end, and it is what US customs sees when the shipping documents are presented for clearance. The inventory also serves as a packing list. If you turned over 50 pieces to your mover, based on your packing list, when you arrive at destination, you should receive the same 50 pieces. If any piece is missing, you can identify the missing piece based on your numbered inventory.
  • Keep the weight of your boxes reasonable. If possible, put heavy items in small boxes to make them easier to carry.  Mark heavy cartons as “HEAVY”. This helps identify this piece as something that can be loaded in the bottom of the stack.
  • Don't apply tape directly to any wood finishes. Removing the tape could ruin the surface – permanently. Instead, use mover’s blankets or paper pad to completely surround the piece, and then apply tape to the packing material.
  • Use good boxes on fragile items and add plenty of cushioning. Make the outside of the box as such with “Fragile” labeling.
  • If you are comfortable packing furniture items, be certain to cover completely with cloth pads, paper mover’s pads, and/or stretch wrap. This technique keeps furniture items from rubbing against one another and marring. It also keeps your furniture clean from dirt found on the trucks, trailers, and hands of your movers.
  • If you are uncomfortable with packing furniture and large items, call in a mover for help. It makes no sense to ship a valuable item unpacked or poorly packed, then have it arrive damaged or destroyed. On move day, have all drawers, cabinets, etc. unpacked and available for your packer. Furniture cannot be moved loaded with material. Attempting to do so can severely weaken the furniture. Movers pack quickly and thoroughly. Use post it notes to identify furniture, artwork, etc that are being shipped.  Secure all important documents (passport, check books, leases, etc) that you may need immediately. Once packed, it can be very difficult to retrieve important items from a stack of boxes.
  • Plan well for your move. Packing is tedious work and often slow going. You will need a good deal of time to properly pack for your move, so begin early and keep a good supply of packing materials.


Packing Tips

  • To prevent small items from being lost or mistakenly thrown out with the packing paper, wrap small items in brightly-colored tissue paper, or in zip lock plastic bags before placing them in the box.
  • On the top and front of each carton, write a general description of the contents and indicate the room from which it came (or which it will go into in your new home). Use different colored markers for each box; then, at your new house, hang colored paper of a corresponding color outside the room where you want the color-coded boxes to be delivered.
  • Use only unprinted newsprint paper to wrap items. Regular newspapers are messy as the ink may run and stain your possessions.
  • Use clean cartons designed for moving. Boxes obtained from grocery or liquor stores are not always clean, and may not withstand the weight of the items that you'll be putting in them. (Example: Diaper boxes are made to withstand the weight of diapers, not your bookshelf items and dishes. Also, their odd sizes tend to make loading more difficult.  If you choose to re-use boxes, use mask-out spray. This product covers the original makings on Kraft boxes, leaving room for your proper labeling.
  • Unpack breakables over the box you're taking them out of; that way, if you happen to drop an item, it will land on some packing material, thereby reducing its chance of breakage.

Some common household items cannot be included in your shipment because they are hazardous materials. Examples of these materials include flammables such as paint, varnish and thinners, gasoline, kerosene and lamp oil, bottled gas, aerosol cans, propane tanks, alcohol, ammunition and explosives. Most hazardous items can be shipped, but the nature of the material must be disclosed to the mover so they can label the box, placard the trailer, and/or segregate hazard classes properly.

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