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Compare Removal Costs

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How to Pack Boxes When Moving House

Martha Lott

Written by Reviewed by Dave Sayce

15th Aug 2018 (Last updated on 16th Mar 2023) 8 minute read

Packing boxes is one of the more tedious tasks of moving house. To ensure a more efficient process, we’ve listed a step-by-step guide on how to pack moving boxes, as well as a few helpful packing tips that will ensure your items are fully protected.

One of the biggest tips for packing before a house move is to allow yourself enough time to plan and prepare. It can sometimes feel a little overwhelming when you look at the mountain of items to be put away - but the more organised you are, the easier the process will become. Don’t forget to gather all the necessary materials before you begin to ensure your belongings are safe and secure during transit.

As the home of moving home, Compare My Move works alongside a number of property and finance experts to create insightful guides that will help you through every step of the moving process. In this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to pack boxes when moving house, as well as some useful tips that will make the process more efficient.

  1. What Materials Do You Need When Packing Moving Boxes?
  2. How Soon Before Moving Should You Start Packing?
  3. What is the Best Way to Pack Moving Boxes?
  4. How to Pack Fragile Items
  5. How to Pack a Moving Essentials Box
  6. How to Pack For Storage
  7. Tips For Packing Moving Boxes
  8. Save Money on Your Home Removal

What Materials Do You Need When Packing Moving Boxes?

You will need to find moving boxes of all sizes to help you through the packing process. You will also need to ensure they are sturdy enough to support the weight of all your items - if you’re obtaining second hand cardboard boxes, don’t forget to inspect them for damage, dampness and insects. We highly recommend you ask your removal company if they provide packing materials before you begin, as they will ensure the materials are of high quality.

When packing boxes before moving house, you will need:

  • Cardboard or plastic boxes
  • Bubble wrap
  • Brown tape
  • Tape dispenser
  • Bags for smaller items
  • Packing paper or old newspapers
  • Fragile labels or tape
  • Labels and a pen

If you’d prefer to purchase your packing materials, you can find a variety of moving house kits online. You can also ask your removal company if they supply packing materials, but it will often come with an added fee. However, by purchasing the materials, you will have peace of mind knowing that your items are stored in high-quality boxes that can fully protect them during transit. If you require further help, some moving companies will offer additional services such as full or part packing.

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How Soon Before Moving Should You Start Packing?

To ensure you’re fully prepared, you should start packing about 2 months before the move. Follow our 20 packing tips for moving home to help prepare for your move.

The packing process often takes much longer than people expect. You need to allow yourself enough time to carefully plan it out and go through the property, room by room. To reduce moving stress, you should start packing as soon as possible but 2 months before completion is often considered a sensible amount of time - this will often mean packing before you even have an official removal date.

What is the Best Way to Pack Moving Boxes?

To prep the cardboard boxes before packing, you should use bubble wrap or some sort of packing paper to line the inside, creating padding for the items and strengthening the box. Once that’s done, you can begin packing heavier items at the bottom. Wrap any fragile or valuable items in bubble wrap or newspaper before inserting them into the box and make sure nothing heavy is placed on top. If you have access to a wardrobe box, then this will be the best method for packing clothes, otherwise, you can simply roll them up to save space.

If you have to assemble your cardboard boxes, you’ll want to start sealing them at the bottom to maximise safety. Use plenty of packing tape to form the 'H' method on the box, as shown in the graphic below, to strengthen the structure and protect your items.

Make sure that you’re confident that your box has been sealed correctly. If you're unsure, add some more tape along the other lengths for added security. You should use thick parcel tape as it’s the strongest type and will stop the box from breaking and causing damage. Once everything is sealed, you can begin labelling.

Here is our simple process for safely sealing a moving box:

how to tape boxes

Step 1 - Start by folding the two smaller flaps of the box in.

Step 2 - Follow this by folding the two larger flaps to complete the shape of the box.

Step 3 - Place secure brown tape along the centre of the box where the two large flaps meet.

Step 4 - Seal the edges along the left and right-hand sides of the larger flaps to form the shape of an ‘H’.

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How to Pack Fragile Items

When packing fragile items, make sure you take your time and use quality materials to ensure they’re protected in the van. You can use bubble wrap, packing paper or even your own clothes to cushion the bottom of the moving box for added safety. If you have a lot of valuable items to move, you should ask the company if they offer white glove delivery services when comparing removal quotes, as these will specialise in moving fragile, awkward and valuable items.

When packing smaller fragile items such as drinking glasses, it would be wise to create a barrier to separate each item once they’ve been wrapped. This will reduce the risk of breakages as they will be unable to hit each other during the drive.

Once the cardboard box is carefully sealed, use a pen or marker to label it as ‘fragile. If required, you should also add a ‘this way up’ sign to let the moving team know it must be handled with extra care.

How to Pack a Moving Essentials Box

Towards the end of the packing process and closer to your moving day, don’t forget to pack a moving essentials box for the first few nights at your new home. This should contain some of the more vital items you’ll want to immediately unpack. Keep absolutely essential items such as your medication or phone charger in the car with you, but place this particular moving kit in the van after everything else has been loaded to ensure easy access after the journey.

Your essential moving kit should contain:

  • Work/school clothes (if necessary)
  • Bedsheets and duvet
  • Canned food and snacks
  • Pots and pans
  • A can opener
  • Eating utensils
  • Tea/Coffee
  • Mugs
  • Toiletries
  • First aid kit
  • Pet food (if necessary)
  • Towels
  • A toolbox

How to Pack For Storage

When moving house, you may find that you have excess furniture that would be better off being in storage until after the move is finished. This ensures a more efficient and less time-consuming process on your moving day.

To ensure your goods are completely protected, it's recommended that you request help from your chosen removal company when packing for self-storage. Many removal companies will offer additional services such as professional packing. They can provide you with the correct packing materials to protect your items from damp and potential damage whilst in storage.

When packing for storage, you should:

  • Consider the unit size
  • Create an inventory
  • Use high-quality packing materials
  • Categorise and label your boxes

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Tips For Packing Moving Boxes

To help you through the packing process, we’ve created a quick list of useful packing tips for when you’re moving house:

1. Declutter Your Home First

Cleaning and decluttering the property is a great way to start the packing process. By donating or discarding useless items, you are reducing the amount of work you and your removal company need to do. It can also mean you save a little more money as the fewer items you have, the fewer moving boxes and packing materials you need. You could even try selling unwanted items to get a little extra cash.

2. Plan it Room By Room

Plan the process in advance by tackling your packing room by room. Start from the top of the property and work your way down one room at a time. This will ensure you’re more organised and will help break down the process into simple steps.

Another option is to begin with the items you use least as this ensures they’re loaded into the removals van first. This will make unpacking a lot less stressful as you won’t be searching inside the van for the more important or essential items.

3. Create an Inventory

Write down a detailed inventory for each box as you go along. If you have large collections of things such as CDs or books, this will ensure that nothing is left behind. An inventory will also be helpful when unpacking at your new home as it will help you locate the most essential items. If you create a digital version of the inventory, you could keep it on your phone or tablet for easy access.

4. Sort Your Items Into Categories

Sorting your items into specific categories will make the process much easier. Whether they’re simple categories such as separating your books or more personal descriptions such as collections or valuables, it will be much easier to sort through when unloading.

5. Do Not Exceed 30lbs Per Moving Box

It’s very easy to overpack a moving box, especially if you’re in a rush. However, this can increase the risk of damages and injuries. If you overpack, you or someone on the removal team could suffer from a back injury or the cardboard box could break, damaging your belongings. A good tip to avoid this is to pack heavy items in small boxes and light items in large boxes, whilst ensuring you do not exceed a maximum weight of 30lbs.

Save Money on Your Home Removal

Now that you’ve got all your packaging materials together, you’ll want to book a removal company to help get your belongings organised and on the move. Get connected with Compare My Move to save up to 70% on the cost of your home removal today.

Martha Lott

Written by Martha Lott

Having guest authored for many property websites, Martha now researches and writes articles for everything moving house related, from remortgages to conveyancing costs.

Dave Sayce

Reviewed by Dave Sayce

Owner & Managing Director, Compare My Move

Dave Sayce is the owner and managing director of Compare My Move and has over 10 years of experience in the house removals industry.