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Packing Supplies

When you move or relocate, to ensure your household goods arrive at your new destination without a scratch, start with a good packing list so you purchase the right packing and moving supplies. This is an area where you can cut down on moving costs if necessary, just keep in mind that doing so may increase labor time either when you are packing - having to double wrap items - or unpacking - newspaper results in dirty glassware. Your time is valuable and paying that little bit extra may also buy you peace of mind.

Assuming you have decided which household goods will be moved, identify the items that will require specialized packing, based on fragility, awkward shapes or larger pieces that will be difficult to move. Once these items have been identified, take some measurements and notes, make a list, then go shopping.

Packing supplies can be purchased at a local moving retailer, a mail service store, or an office supply outlet; however, for the best choice and most variety, go online. By taking the time to surf the Internet, you can compare prices and find specialty items that may be difficult to purchase at a local retail shop. Be aware that some packing suppliers deal with large companies, so you will need to make sure you are able to purchase smaller quantities.

To save money, boxes are available from grocery stores or liquor/ wine stores. Give the store manager a few weeks notice so he or she can put aside what you need. Also, find out when the store receives large shipments and ask what time they will finish unloading. Remember that it is more difficult to securely pack items in retail boxes as they tend to be larger and more cumbersome.

Another way to save money and time, and to ensure you have all the basic supplies required to pack up your household, check out complete Moving Kits and Packing Kits. Moving Kits and Packing Kits can be purchased for particular rooms or for entire households. Do a comparison on total cost if items were purchased separately and watch out for any seasonal sales. As an example of what would be included for a 5-6 room home (up to 2800 square feet):

  • 20 Small Moving Box
  • 11 Medium Moving Box
  • 10 Large Moving Box
  • 4 X-Large Moving Box
  • 5 Heavy Duty Box
  • 6 Wardrobe Box
  • 1 Electronics Box
  • 2 Unprinted Newswrap
  • 1 Bubble Wrap - 150 ft. Roll
  • 1 Permanent Box Marker
  • 7 Box Sealing Tape - Clear

Specialty Boxes

For most people the above list will suffice. For specialty items such as large mirrors, framed artwork, computers and printers, you made need to purchase supplies outside of the kit.

Specialty boxes are available for purchase. Artwork and mirror boxes are stronger and shaped to fit, and most come with - or with an option to purchase - frame protectors. Frame protectors can be secured to the corners of the item to prevent damage during the move. Purchasing corrugated cardboard may help protect glass surfaces and keep items separated while in transit.

Lamp boxes, guitar boxes, mattress and crib boxes are some of the specialty packing supplies available online. For most people, these boxes are not necessary. Not so for file boxes. Arriving at a new destination with nothing but empty file folders and papers strewn on the bottom of a box, can take days to sort and organize. File boxes are a simple tool to keep your documents sorted and sealed even after moving houses. File boxes can be purchased at any office supply store.



Most of the items listed below are "nice to have". Most people on the move are able to manage with a pair of household scissors instead of a box cutter, markers instead of pre-printed labels and newspaper instead of packing peanuts; however, the more organized you are, the faster and easier the move. If you purchase items for the sole purpose of moving, it is easier to set aside a packing materials' box so all your supplies are within reach. Scissors and markers can quickly disappear when a project is due at school.

One item highly recommended when it comes to packing is a tape dispenser. A tape dispenser will save you time, frustration and your teeth! Purchase one, and after the move, keep it in the kitchen drawer. You will find it indispensable.


Packing Wrap, Cushioning, Protection

  • Brown Paper or Plain Newsprint: To prevent having to wash items after you've moved, use plain newsprint or brown paper to wrap items. Never use newsprint to wrap items with sensitive surfaces, such as lamps shades.
  • Foam: provides extra protection
  • Stretch Wrap: protects surfaces and keeps awkward items, such as ski poles, together
  • Inflatable bags: inflate to fill empty spaces
  • Peanuts: foam pieces that fill empty spaces


  • Custom printed: printed to suit your needs, i.e., 'Fragile' or 'Kitchen' or 'This End Up'
  • Pre-printed: already printed to fulfill common requirements
  • Blank: various sizes prepared on a single sheet that can be printed right from your own computer; cheaper and versatile


  • Box cutter: sharp utility blade to slice open difficult materials
  • Mattress covers: soft foam covers to protect mattress from punctures and rips
  • Markers: range in abilities and price, including markers that write on difficult surfaces such as glass and plastic
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