Packing: Know Your Boxes

When it comes to packing your living space, knowing what moving boxes and materials are necessary can be a daunting task. There’s already so much to do, and getting prepared is half the battle. We at Bookstore Movers do offer comprehensive packing services, but for those hoping to take matters into their own hands, we’re happy to give a bit of guidance! In this first article, we’ll handle moving boxes–there’s plenty to talk about!

There are a few good reasons to let your movers handle packing, including just giving yourself a bit more free time during a strenuous life event. Typically, we recommend sticking with the same company for both jobs (even if we’re not available, we can send you a list of referrals that may be!). However, for people looking to save money, take stock of their belongings, or just maintain the level of control they prefer, packing by yourself can be a real option–as long as you arm yourself with knowledge, materials, and plenty of advance time.

The first type of boxes are the kind you’d typically imagine– just regular cardboard boxes in small, medium, and large size. Small boxes, also known as bankers or book boxes, are ideal for heavier items. Items like books, small appliances, or papers can be surprisingly weighty in a larger box! Medium boxes are a more all purpose box. Most items tend to go in medium boxes. For large boxes, stick to really lightweight items like pillows, stuffed animals, or fluffy blankets. Think of things that you can easily lift in a larger box, all while looking substantially stronger than you need to. Reusable bins are also a great idea–our program is currently on hold, but we often recommend LendABox.

Dishpacks are boxes specifically made for packing fragile dishes. Some of these boxes come with prepared separators or cells, but the important part is that these boxes are twice as thick as a standard box to better protect its contents. Use plenty of packing paper with these (and any!) boxes to insure your items are secure. When it comes to items like mirrors or art, there are a few options. Often, they can be carefully wrapped in moving blankets and then transported in a commercial bin (a bin in the truck for odd shaped items that is three times as thick as a normal box). You can also use mirror boxes, or have a custom crate made for valuable items by a company like Bonsai Fine Arts.

One type of box we often rent or sell to clients is wardrobe boxes. These are tall boxes that stand upright and have a bar inside for hanging clothing (or, occasionally, curtains). This helps with ease of transfer– you just hang the clothes in the box and then hang them up as soon as you get to the new place, wrinkle-free. If you’re moving one day and need your business casual work clothes ready the next, this may be an important option for you. Typically, we’ll pack and unpack these boxes for our clients whether or not they’ve scheduled a pack job, since they are so quick and easy to use.

We also rent TV boxes, which are large, padded boxes for moving flat screen tvs. These are adjustable, to accommodate multiple sizes of TV. Usually we just wrap TVs in moving pads and blankets, but for clients who’d like extra protection TV boxes may bring a bit more piece of mind. 

These are the main types of boxes you’ll need when moving: standard boxes (small, medium, and large), dishpacks, wardrobe boxes, and TV boxes. Hopefully you’ve learned a little more about your packing options, whether it’s what types of boxes you’d like to use or that you may like to ask for a packing estimate instead. Either way, we’re happy to help at Bookstore Movers! 

Getting (And Getting Rid Of) Boxes

boxes   Prior to your move, getting cardboard boxes can be a hassle. They’re cumbersome, surprisingly expensive, and can leave cuts more obnoxious than paper cuts if you’re clumsy. (Full disclosure: I am clumsy.) After your move, you’ve got roughly a billion boxes and it’s just, if not more, as annoying because suddenly you have to get rid of them. Sure you could toss them in the trash, but then you have to live with the fact that you single handedly are probably causing global warming–you shouldn’t have taken that 20 minute shower. It felt so good, but at what cost? This is a handy guide to getting and getting rid of boxes. Hopefully after going through some options, you can see which is the best for you and your move. Getting Boxes Buy Boxes The first and probably most common step is just to straight up buy some boxes. You can get boxes from a ton of retailers, and even online at specially sites or plain old Amazon. Life Pro Tip: if you book us for packing services, you can buy boxes directly from us. We got you covered. Rent Reusable Boxes If you’re more earth conscious, you may want to rent reusable bins instead of using cardboard boxes. This is a quick and easy process– schedule deliver and pickup, pack bins, unpack bins, and you’re all set. You don’t have to worry about tape or cardboard everywhere, and you already know what to do when you’re done with them. Occasionally we have our own reusable bins for rent, but when we’re out we also recommend lendabox.com Ask for Boxes This is what I lived with as a kid! Any time it was time to move, my mom would be at grocery stores asking if they have any boxes. There’s no shame in trying! This strategy pretty much always landed us with loads of boxes for free. You could also check websites like Craigslist or ask apartment offices. When it comes to used boxes, though, you always need to test durability. You don’t want them falling about on you. Getting Rid of Boxes Return Boxes This is the easiest option! If you rented your boxes, bam, return them and you’re all done. Toss Boxes You could throw boxes out, but every time you do a rare type of animal goes extinct. Recycle Boxes There are multiple ways to recycle your boxes. Literally putting them in a recycling bin is one. You could also use them to compost, or to line garden beds. You could also list your boxes on Craigslist for free, and they’ll be gone in no time. Sell Boxes If you’re looking to sell boxes, you could use Craigslist as well. Some places will buy back boxes that they’ve sold you (someone should really just telling them about renting boxes). Check out things like BoxCycle.com to buy and sell boxes. Donate Boxes While it may not be the first thing you think to donate, a lot of charities really appreciate donations of cardboard boxes. Check out some charities in your area to see if homeless shelters or food banks may be in need. Make Something New I could have lumped this in with recycling, sure, but I was much too excited to. When I was little, my mom would let us make play houses out of boxes. We went wild with leftover boxes–we even got in trouble for covering the basement stairs in boxes to make them a slide. At one point we covered a hill in disassembled boxes and slid down it on other boxes. When you’re a kid in a new place with no friends and a ton of boxes, you make your own fun. Nowadays the trend is to make furniture out of boxes (we’ve blogged about this before!), which I think is just about the most genius thing ever. Why’d I even move all this furniture then–I got boxes galore! Check out pinterest, youtube, and instructables for loads of tutorials, and be on the lookout for when we can do one of our own! I’m itching to get back to my cardboard crafting roots. There you have it! There’s a multitude of ways to acquire and dispose of boxes, so don’t let it become one of your moving stressors! Don’t let old ideas about moving box you in–moving can be painless. Do the world some good and rent, recycle, donate, or up-cycle some boxes. Have fun with it! You’ll be glad you tried.

Moving Waste

What can you do with moving waste after your move?

We hate waste!  It’s something that we think makes us a better moving company.  We don’t waste your time, we don’t waste your money, we don’t waste your moving supplies. But inevitably, moving creates trash.  If you move a 4-bedroom house once every ten years, you’re going to have a lot of moving boxes and moving supplies left over afterwards that are just not very useful.  So, what can you do with them?  Here are some more moving tips – we’ve seen some pretty great ideas over the years, these are some of our favorites… Cardboard furniture: Wondering what to do with your moving boxes?  If you have the double-layer corrugated boxes that are stronger and that you may have used for moving heavier items, and you have a flair for design (and a whole lot of creativity), one of the best ways to get rid of moving waste is turning moving boxes into cardboard furniture.  Here are some of our favorites:

turn moving waste into cardboard furniture

turn moving waste into cardboard furniture

Cardboard Gardens: If your new house includes a garden, you can use moving boxes as mulch for your plants.  The boxes make a barrier against new weeds coming up, and with enough water and soil they decompose over time and add fertility to your garden.  Just be sure to take off any tape and glue before you plant them, you don’t want that stuff in your soil:

turn moving waste into cardboard mulch Bubble Wrap Painting:

Moving waste can be more than just moving boxes – there is always the beloved bubble wrap.  We confess, when we have a pile of bubble wrap lying around, we’re more likely to spend hours popping it than to turn it into bubble wrap art.  But that’s a shame really, because there are some amazing works of moving waste art out there made with bubble wrap. Bubble Wrap Dishes: We’d give it about five minutes into the meal before our wine is dripping all over the table because we couldn’t stop popping our glass…

turn moving waste into Bubble wrap dishes Recycling and selling old moving supplies:

And if you don’t have a garden and you don’t have tons of time on your hands, and you’re not a creative type, you can always just recycle or re-sell your old moving supplies.  Boxcycle is a company that connects people selling boxes to people buying boxes.  And with a quick Google search with the name of your new county and the words “recycle cardboard” you’ll come up with the local recycling guidelines and regulations. Having the right moving supplies is what makes for a safe, successful move.  Disposing of them the right way afterwards is the best way to keep your home orderly, to take care of the planet, and sometimes even to create something beautiful!