How to Wrap Furniture for Moving and Storage.
Regardless if you hire professional movers or move it yourself, it is good to know how to wrap the furniture and what to expect. We sell moving supplies and often hear questions: – How many moving blankets do I need? Which moving blanket should I use and how do I wrap my furniture? How to wrap furniture for moving depends on specifics of your move. Is it interstate move, moving across the country, or local moving around the block? Are you loading PODS or packing international shipping container, or moving to long term storage? If you are getting ready to move and concerned about safely moving your household goods this series of articles will show in details how to wrap your furniture for any large or small move. People sometimes underestimate amount of packing required for a moving job, but it is important to pack your personal belongings properly.
I have been in the moving business for over 20 years, moved hundreds of families personally as a foreman and driver, and then thousands more as an owner of a moving company, both moving locally and moving interstate.
Contrary to some statements I came across on the web, Movers do care about your shipment, in most cases foreman is personally responsible to pay for your damages and movers also know that if something gets broken it is unlikely that they get any tips. At the same time movers do not have any sentimental attachment to your belongings and treat precious to you items as anything else. Their main goal is to secure the goods in a way that it will not break and will be easy to load. Therefore it is important to make the foreman (moving crew leader) aware which items require special care. Do not expect movers to see your household goods the way you see it. The movers simply do not have time to consider how delicate each and every item might be. For example a bottle with exotic sand, layered by the color or even in a special design, will be ruined if simply laid on its side. Precious Antique items might be viewed by a moving man as simply old. Movers will make sure to pack the bottle that it will be safe, but they might not realize that the sand layers inside the bottle are not fixed and might mix into an ugly mess from vibration in the truck. And that antique piece might be perceived by a mover as not worth being wrapped at all! It is true that most damage occurs while carrying, loading and unloading, but it is also true that if movers (or yourself) do not load the truck properly, items will get damaged in transit by rubbing against each other or by load shifting if there are turns or sudden stops..
Word of caution about shopping for a moving company: If you have valuable furniture to move – do not look for cheap movers, look for good ones. Inexperienced movers or movers with bad reputation compete on price, not on professionalism. Good movers deserve to be paid well.. As the saying goes – you get what you paid for.
Moving packing supplies.
There is variety of packing supplies available: bubble sleeves, plate cell packing kits, foam peanuts, bubble craft etc.
We are not trying to cover 100% of the packing supplies, but only the most popular that are used by movers and that you can and should expect to find in a moving truck: Quilted moving blankets, cardboard boxes, wrapping paper, bubble wrap, shrink wrap, plastic furniture covers, packing tape. With this set of supplies you can pack and move any type of furniture, china and artwork.
Moving blankets are mover’s “tool of the trade”. If you are moving locally and hiring a professional moving company you should expect them to show up with blankets and moving dollies and you should not be charged for it. But if you are moving long distance (interstate moving) or to storage, then purchasing your own moving blankets might be a good idea.
Moving Blankets can be of two major categories:
Quilted or padded moving blankets and Non-Quilted,, also called Skins or Space Savers. Each has its use.
Quilted Moving blankets usually come in 72 x 80 inches size and differ depending on the outer fabric and amount of filler, the heavier the blankets the more filler they have and the more protection they provide.
Cheap moving blankets are made with nonwoven outer fabric and have very light filler. These blankets can be very good if you are planning to place your stuff in a long term storage or planning a small move. Economy moving blankets provide adequate protection and do not take much room in the storage. For long distance move or interstate moving where interstate carrier charges by weight, the advantage is that these moving pads are much lighter than regular moving blankets.
For moving heavy solid wood furniture, leather couches, heavy dining tables etc. it is better to get heavier, thicker blankets that provide better protection. If you move often, buy moving blankets with woven outer fabric, which are much more durable moving blankets than non-woven storage pads and will serve much longer.
Non-quilted moving blankets can be made out of felt, or burlap on one side and felt on the other. These should not be discounted especially if your main concern the furniture rubbing against each other. If you are packing your own pod, or container – you can use space savers with great success.
Another option is paper moving blankets. Paper packing blankets are constructed of two outer layers of brown kraft and three inner layers of light weight paper. The three inner layers can consist of newsprint, light weight kraft, tissue, bogus, or non woven papers. Most people are not even aware of paper blankets to be used for moving, meanwhile it is a very good alternative to quilted moving blankets, especially if you are moving only once or sending your goods to a long term storage or moving overseas. Paper blankets are breathable, provide good protection and 100% recyclable
Moving boxes can be single wall, such as book boxes, Linen boxes etc. or double wall, such as China Boxes, TV boxes, wardrobe boxes etc. Double wall moving boxes are much stronger and hold more weight. But please DO NOT try to load them to capacity. Loading wardrobe box full of books is not a good idea, no-one will be able to move that! Name of the box is very suggestive: Book boxes (1.5 cubic feet) are for books, Small Linen boxes (3.1 c.f) or Large Linen boxes (4.5 c.f.) are for foldable clothes, towels and linen, China boxes, 5,.2 c.f. are for fragile items, and wardrobe box ( come in 10.1 c,f or 15 c.f. and 4 ft tall) is for hanging clothes on hangers. And of course there are picture boxes, lamp boxes, mattress boxes and a whole line of all kinds of specialized moving boxes, corners etc.
When you pack fragile items in a box – you need something to provide cushioning. Most popular is Bubble wrap and Blank newsprint, also called White paper.
Blank newsprint or white paper comes in 5, 10 or 25 lbs bundles. Blank newsprint is the best for packing kitchenware, plates, china, fragile items, or simply filling empty spaces in a box. Bubble wrap come in 12 or 24 inch wide rolls and with various bubble sizes. Movers mostly use 0.5 inch bubble wrap 24 inches wide. Bubble wrap is good for wrapping electronics or large pieces of glass.
Plastic covers for moving would include Shrink wrap or stretch wrap and Plastic mattress cover, plastic sofa cover or plastic chair covers.
Shrink wrap – is widely used in shipping to keep a load on a pallet together as one unit, in order not to allow it to fall apart or items “magically” disappear from the shipment. In moving furniture shrink wrap was originally used to keep items with small parts or opening doors or drawers together. Then it became a substitute for plastic covers to wrap mattresses. It is not at all better than a plastic mattress cover, but it is more profitable for a moving company: it cost much less to buy a roll of shrink wrap, but it takes longer to wrap, plus mover can charge more for each item wrapped. Movers might even wrap shrink wrap on top of furniture already wrapped in blankets. It looks good, but it is very expensive and absolutely unnecessary. If you put your items to storage shrink wrap is actually damaging to the furniture, because it traps the moisture and the furniture can actually rot under the shrink wrap, if stored long enough.
Simply for sanitary reasons, I would strongly recommend using plastic mattress covers when moving mattresses, because even if it is wrapped in a blanket – who knows what was wrapped in that blanket before? Also sofas with light upholstery would be better of if you cover it with plastic sofa cover first, before wrapping with the furniture blankets. Sometimes the color might bleed off the moving blanket onto upholstery.
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