Packing for the Move

Packing the Major Appliances

  • Refrigerators: Prior to moving day, refrigerators should be defrosted and the interiors thoroughly dried to prevent mildew. Interior shelves and trays should be left inside only if wrapped and secured to prevent damage.
  • Freezers: Defrost and thoroughly dry freezers. All frozen foods must be removed prior to moving. The use of moisture-absorbent crystals helps prevent mildew.
  • Television sets and stereo equipment: Most TVs and stereos can be moved without special servicing. However, we recommend that you call your appliance service representative to determine whether service is required prior to moving your particular television or stereo. Such services normally cannot be performed by the mover. If you have the original boxes for these items, use them to safely pack and move.
  • Washer and Dryer: Consult your appliance service company to determine whether your washer or dryer requires service prior to moving. Gas dryers should be serviced and line capped by the Gas Company or a professional plumber.
  • Stoves: Both gas and electric stoves should be disconnected prior to the arrival of movers. Consult your Gas Company or professional plumber regarding the servicing requirements of gas stoves.
  • Miscellaneous: Prior to moving day, you should arrange to dismantle your TV antenna/satellite dish, yard swing set, playhouse and other large items.

From The Kitchen

  • Flatware
    1. Place a sizeable stack of packing paper on the table
    2. Select a medium-sized carton and line the bottom with several layers of paper for cushioning.
    3. Place one plate in the center of the paper.
    4. Using at least two sheets, grasp one corner and pull the paper completely over the plate.
    5. Stack the second plate on the first and stretch the second corner over this plate.
    6. Place the third plate on the stack, fold the remaining two corners over (one at a time) and fold each over the stack of plates.
    7. Turn your wrapped stack of plates upside down onto your packing paper.
    8. Re-wrap entire bundle with the same procedure described previously, then seal the bundle with masking tape.
    9. Place the bundle in the cartons so the plates are standing on edge. Never lay flatware down. Dishes can tolerate greater stress standing on edge.
    10. Follow the same procedure for all flatware, saucers, bread and butter dishes, etc. Remember: Heavy items on the bottom, lighter objects on the top.
  • Glassware - Glassware, goblets and stemware, especially fine crystal, should be handled with the utmost care and wrapped individually.
    1. Place a liberal stack of wrapping paper on the table.
    2. Starting from the corner closest to you, roll the glass diagonally across the stack until sufficiently covered and cushioned. Fold excess paper over glass and tape securely.
    3. Line packing carton liberally with cushioning material to reduce vibration and assure a safe ride.
    4. Less expensive glasses and cups can be nested (one placed inside another) and three or four wrapped in a bundle. Tear or cut some small sheets of paper and use at least a couple pieces of paper between each glass/cup as a protective lining.
    5. Take the first glass/cup and line it with a couple sheets of cut-up paper.
    6. Place the second glass/cup inside the first one. Line with two more sheets of paper. Insert next one.
    7. Using your best judgment, nest three or four and lay them on your stack of wrapping paper in a diagonal manner, off center, closer to your body.
    8. Grasp two sheets at the corner closes to you and wrap around the glasses/cups
    9. Repeat the procedure with remaining corners of wrapping paper and roll into a bundle.
    10. If you have collected liquor cartons with dividers, pack glasses, cups and stemware in these or similar boxes. If your bundle does not fill to the top of the compartment, add additional wadded-up paper to fill it to the top
    11. If you don't have liquor cartons, pack your glasses, cups, and stemware in boxes with other dishes, fitting them in wherever you find spaces. Make sure these articles are toward the top of your carton.
  • Small Kitchen Appliances - Its best to place items such as blenders, toasters, can openers, coffee makers and other kitchen appliances together in one or two boxes (more as necessary). This way, they will all be together when unpacking. Wrap each appliance individually with two or three sheets of packing paper.
    1. When all appliances have been packed, use wadded-up paper to fill in small spaces. If you have a great amount of space left over, you can fill the carton with items such as pots and pans.
  • Pots and Pans
    1. Approximately three pots or pans can be nested in side each other. Tear or cut pieces of packing paper large enough to line two or three sheets in the entire interior of the largest pan. Repeat the process and place pans upside down in the middle of your paper stack. Use at least three sheets of paper to wrap the pans.
    2. Start by grasping one corner of two or three sheets of paper, pulling over and covering the pans. Pull the next three corners over one at a time, then seal the bundle with tape. Pack in a medium-sized carton.
    3. Use the same procedure for large bowls.

More Kitchen Packing Tips

Boxed foods (cereals or rice): Seal all open boxes with tape. There is no need to wrap them when packing. Note: If your shipment is going into storage, do not pack boxed foods because they might attract rodents or insects.

Spices: Make sure all cans are closed and will not leak. When in doubt, seal with tape.

Canister sets: Contents may be left in canisters sealed with tape. Each canister should be individually wrapped with packing paper.

Packing Tall Table Lamps

The major problem in packing tall table lamps is acquiring cartons large enough to accommodate them. If you cannot find such a carton, you can purchase dishpack cartons from your mover. They are tall, extra-sturdy cartons designed especially for protecting fragile articles. Remove lampshade, bulb, and wrap cord around lamp base.

  1. Line bottom of carton with liberal amount of wadded-up packing paper to insure extra protection and cushioning.
  2. Spread out several sheets of paper so that they extend longer and wider than the lamp. Place lamp in the center of the paper.
  3. Roll packing paper around lamp, tucking in the end of the paper at lamp base and seal with tape.
  4. Seal seams with tape where paper overlaps, going around entire bundle.
  5. Fold up remaining end (at top of lamp) and seal with tape.

Should you have several tall table lamps, place them in the carton so that the base of one lamp is adjacent to the top of the next lamp. Alternating in this way will help them fit better in the carton. When lamps are packed, fill out the carton with a generous amount of wadded-up paper. Mark FRAGILE and LAMPS in large, legible letters on all sides of the carton.

Lamp Shades

Where possible, lamp shades should be nested so that two or three can be packed in one carton. Use clean packing paper--never newspapers-- as protective linings between each shade. Use the wire rim of the shade to gently lower it into the box to avoid soiling shade fabric.

To more fully utilize some of the lost space in a lamp carton, place something soft such as hats, small pillows, small blankets or bath towels inside the shades. Do not pack wadded-up paper around the shades because this could crush them and cause damage.

Be sure to make all sides of the carton in large, bold letters: FRAGILE: LAMP SHADES

Packing Pictures

Small pictures can be wrapped and placed on edge in normal packing boxes with other goods. Extremely large pictures such as the type commonly found hanging over a sofa or mantle (usually measuring 24 x 36 or larger) should be packed by your mover in a specially designed carton made expressly for pictures and mirrors.

Some pictures that are just a little too large to fit in regular cartons (16 x 20 or 18 x 24) can be protected in a self-devised picture carton.

  1. Select a carton that when open at both ends is larger than your picture.
  2. Open bottom of carton and flatten out. Seal one of the open sides with tape.
  3. Lay pictures face down on several sheets of packing pager, which you spread out so it measures twice as wide as the picture.
  4. Wrap the picture in much the same manner as you might a gift box and seal with tape. Turn the picture over and seal across where packing paper overlaps.
  5. Slide picture into unsealed side of carton and securely seal the open end with tape.

Hat and shoe boxes--Small boxes of this type should be consolidated and packed into larger boxes, filling in all spaces with wadded-up paper.

Toys--Most toys do not have to be wrapped in packing paper; just place them in large cartons and seal.

Loose shoes--Same as toys.

Books--Pack back-to-back on edge in small cartons. Use paper between nicely bound books to prevent rubbing.

Artificial flowers--Wrap generously and pack separately in well-cushioned carton.

Medicines--Tape all caps securely. Do not pack with food items. Remember to carry all important medications with you.

Plants--If you can, give your live plants to a friend rather than move them. If you must move a special plant, do not pack them in the van; take them with you. Some states have rules prohibiting the transport of certain plants across state lines, so be sure you know before you go. For more information on moving your plants, call your local florist or nursery.

Tools--Brooms, rakes and other tools should be bundled tightly together. Hand tools should remain in a tool box or wrapped individually and placed in a well-cushioned carton.

Clothing--Wardrobe cartons that are specially designed to provide clean, wrinkle-free movement of clothing can be purchased from your mover. Suitcases and cartons lined with clean paper may also be used.

Drapes/Curtains--Fold lengthwise and secure to padded hanger in clothing wardrobe or pack carefully in cartons lined with clean paper.

Mattresses--Specially designed mattress cartons or bags can be purchased from your mover to protect mattresses from snagging, soiling or chafing while loading and en route.


  • Start collecting boxes early. An easy way to store cartons so they do not take up storage space is to open both ends and flatten them out. Cartons can be resealed with tape as you use them.
  • Pack on a room-by-room basis. Separate the living room articles with things from the kitchen. This will eliminate confusion when its time to unpack.
  • Start packing early. Even if you only pack two boxes a day, in thirty days you will have packed sixty boxes. Start in areas where the goods are not in frequent use such as the cellar, attic, garage, closed shelves, etc.
  • Consider purchasing some specialized cartons for items such as mattresses, clothing, mirrors, pictures and tall items such as table lamps.
  • Utilize movers wardrobe cartons for hanging clothing such as suits, dresses and coats. This will save you the trouble and expense of having your garments cleaned and pressed later. You should not leave clothing in garment bags because they are not designed to withstand moving stress. Clothing travels better in wardrobes with the garment bags folded and placed in the bottom of the wardrobe carton.
  • Dresser drawers do not need to be empty; movers can handle chests with the drawer contents left intact. Do look through all drawers and remove any breakable and/or valuable articles. Make sure that drawer contents are not too heavy because too much weight can cause damage to the drawer while en route.
  • Small, heavy articles like books, records and canned goods should be packed in smaller boxes. Bulkier but not-so-heavy articles such as pots, pans, linens, and small kitchen appliances can go in somewhat larger boxes. Very bulky, light-weight articles such as blankets, pillows, toys, large lamp shades, and shoes go in the largest boxes.
  • Avoid overpacking cartons. Weight of small cartons should not exceed 40 lbs., medium cartons 50 lbs., and large cartons 60 lbs.
  • Do not pack any flammables, combustibles or explosives. The safety of the shipment is of primary concern and it is also in violation of Federal regulations. Movers are not allowed to transport aerosol spray cans, paint, paint thinner, gasoline, or anything else of a flammable or explosive nature.