How to Pack a Moving Truck

Friends and family are standing by to serve as moving crew, you’ve rented a moving truck, you’ve got plenty of water on hand and a pizza delivery number in your back pocket. You’re ready to get everything in the truck, right?

Planning how you will load the moving truck from the beginning of your moving preparations can save you wear, tear and broken belongings. Here are some tips on how to pack the truck and make sure everything gets to your new place in one piece.

Getting the truck

Be sure to use a reputable company and also reserve plenty of blankets, pads, locking straps and a dolly. Inspect your truck carefully, including the tires, and get a padlock in case you’ll need to leave the packed truck unattended. For details about renting a moving truck, read How to Rent a Moving Truck.

When your rent your truck inquire about renting moving supplies as well. Items such as dollies, hand trucks, straps and blankets can make moving large items easier and help keep your belonging in place en route to your new apartment.

Packing basics

A safe move starts with good packing techniques. When you gather moving boxes, make sure that most of your boxes are the same size for easy and stable stacking. You can also use plastic storage tubs, but try to match the dimensions on those as well.

It’s wise to invest in packing materials such as bubble wrap, which won’t transfer ink like newspaper and offers peace of mind when it comes to packing glassware and other breakables.

When you fill up a box, consider what it will be like for someone to carry it around. Big boxes should contain lighter items, like bedding. Small boxes are best for heavy items like books or fragile things. If you want to mix weights in a box, the heavy things go on the bottom. You might also consider putting what you will need for the first few days at your new place (including bedding and towels) into a large suitcase or a box that you load into the truck last. Clearly label boxes so you know which ones are fragile and should go on top.

Whenever you’re working with heavy items, it’s important to consider safety. Be sure that children and older people, who may not be able to move quickly in case of an emergency, steer clear of the moving truck. Observe the rules of safe lifting as well: bend your knees and lift with your legs, when picking up and putting down heavy objects. Safety straps don’t just eliminate shifting during the load that could damage your items, they also assure that heavy items don’t fall while loading and unloading the truck, so be sure to use them!

Load her up!
First create a wall of same-size boxes at the front of the truck, stacking them snuggly together and securing with straps. Next, hunt up all the square pieces of furniture (bookcases, nightstands, etc.) from each room, carefully wrapping them in blankets or pads. Always pack items across the truck, from left to right, so that the weight is evenly distributed. Very light pieces, such as plastic chairs, can be placed on top of blanketed furniture.

The mattresses come next, protected from dirt by a moving blanket on the bottom of the truck. Put the headboard, footboard and any mirrors between mattresses or mattress and box spring. Now, load your sofa, with the back against the mattresses, using its soft seating space for more fragile pieces, like a light-weight television wrapped in blankets. If you have a loveseat, you can place it upside down on the sofa, with the back facing out, creating a box. Secure these pieces together with straps.

Miscellaneous pieces of furniture can be snugged around the sofa. The appliances, if you are moving any, come next, also held in place by straps. Now that the bulk of the work is done, fill any remaining space with light-weight items, rolled rugs and bags of linen.

Hopefully the weather was nice and you had plenty of help. Once the crew is fed, watered and thanked profusely for getting your worldly goods from one apartment to another, you can return the truck …and hope you don’t have to do it all again anytime soon.

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