Packing 101 Checklist
Master these basic principles of packing before you seal your boxes and you’ll reap the rewards when moving and unpacking.
Pack with Principle
Start with out-of-season items. Next, pack things used infrequently. Leave until last the things you’ll need until moving day.
Empty drawers of breakables, spillables, items not recommended for inclusion in your shipment and anything that would puncture or damage other items. However, no items of any kind may be left in drawers.
Pack similar items together. For example, do not pack a delicate china figurine in the same carton with cast-iron frying pans.
Keep all parts or pairs of things together. For example, curtain rod hangers, mirror bolts and other small hardware items should be placed in plastic or cloth bags and taped or tied securely to the article to which they belong.
Wind electrical cords, fastening them so they do not dangle.
Wrap items individually in clean paper; use tissue paper, paper towels or even facial tissue for fine china, crystal and delicate items. Use a double layer of newspaper for a good outer wrapping.
Place a two- or three-inch layer of crushed paper in the bottom of a carton for cushioning.
Build up in layers, with heaviest things on the bottom, medium weight next and lightest on top.
As each layer is completed, fill in empty spaces firmly with crushed paper. It is also a good idea to add more crushed paper to make a level base for the next layer or use sheets or cardboard cut from cartons as dividers.
Cushion well with crushed paper; towels and lightweight blankets also may be used for padding and cushioning. The more fragile the item, the more cushioning needed. Be sure no sharp points, edges or rims are left uncovered.
Pack small, fragile, individually wrapped items separately or a few together in small boxes, cushioning with crushed or shredded paper.
Place small boxes in a single large box, filling in spaces with crushed paper.
Avoid overloading cartons, but strive for a firm pack that will prevent items from shifting. The cover should close easily without force, but should not bend inward.
Seal cartons tightly with tape except for those containing items listed on United’s High-Value Inventory Form. These must be left open for the van operator’s inspection.
As you finish with each carton, list the contents on the side of the carton (for easy viewing while cartons are stacked) and in a special notebook. You might want to number and/or code the cartons as well.
Indicate your name and the room to which each carton should be delivered at destination on the label. Tape a sign on the door of each room at destination corresponding to the carton labels so movers can get the cartons into the proper rooms quickly.
Put a special mark on cartons you want to unpack first at destination.
Keep Your Valuables Close
Cell phones Checkbooks
Computer data files/backups
Family photographs/photo albums
Financial documents (stocks, bonds, CDs, IRAs, deeds, tax records)
Home videos Insurance policies
Jewelry and furs
Keys (car, furniture, new home)
Laptop computers, Medical/dental records
New home documents Prescription medicine
Professional files/research projects
How to Pack Your Family Room
Before you start packing up your family room, make sure you have all the supplies you will need:
Sturdy boxes in various sizes with flaps that can be completely closed
Packing tape for sealing the boxes
Felt tip markers for labeling the boxes
Most families have a wide variety of items in their living room, including large furniture, electronics and fragile objects like lamps, photographs and decor. Follow our moving tips to safely pack up all of these valuable pieces:
When packing lamps, disassemble the lamp and pack the base and the shade separately.
For the shade, use a sturdy box that’s at least two inches larger than the shade and line it with paper. Fill the box with a large amount of crumpled packing paper to pad the shade and prevent it from moving around. Don’t be tempted to pack other items with the shade!
When packing the lamp base, wrap it carefully with paper pads and place it upright in a carton with crumpled packing paper.
Items Framed in Glass
Mirrors and glass can be easily damaged, so you might want to consult a professional who can help you pack these correctly.
If you choose to pack these things yourself, consider using a carton that is specifically designed for mirrors. Wrap the mirror in bubble wrap, place it in the carton and wrap the carton with tape in multiple directions to keep it secure.
TVs, computers and other electronics require a special carton. It is best to repack these items in their original boxes if you still have them. If you don’t have the original packaging, ask your moving service to provide special cartons.
When you are packing your TV, use a thin foam wrap to protect the screen and always pack it upright. Never lay your TV flat in a box.