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Packing Suggestions and Techniques

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Packing Suggestions and Techniques

The following suggestions and techniques are designed to make packing easier:

Heavy packages

  • Don’t pack too much into a box. It is better to have a lot of boxes that you can lift, rather than fewer boxes and a strained back. When packing a box that weighs more than 13 kilograms, it is important to re-evaluate your package materials and check that they are adequate for heavier package contents. Cartons need to be of stronger construction, preferably with seams that are stitched or stapled, not glued. Check the Box Maker’s Certification for maximum weight. The higher the weight certification, the better your box will protect its contents from impact in handling and over-the-road vibration. Use new cartons whose strength has not been compromised by humidity or wear and tear associated with prior use. Seal with heavy duty tape, preferably reinforced.
  • Dense cushioning is a must. Peanuts and crumpled paper are not perfect for use with heavy items as they tend to crush and shift under heavy loads. Customized corrugated or moulded foam “framings” are more suitable and reinforce the rigidity of the outer carton.
  • Do not band packages together unless each individual package is in a carton designed to support the total “package” weight.  If you must band packages, use a minimum of two bands in each direction and label the individual boxes. Only band together the same sized boxes.
  • Avoid packing too many books into a box. They are remarkably heavy for their size. One suggestion is to alternate books so that it goes “pages/spine/pages/spine” as you look into the box. Most hardback books are slightly wider at the binding and they may get damaged if you put them all the same way around. Wrap fragile/valuable books individually before placing them in the box. Consider boxing books in a sensible sequence for later refilling of your shelves (e.g. by type/size and alphabetical).

 Small items

  • To prevent small items from being lost or mistakenly thrown out with the packing paper, wrap miniature knickknacks and other small items in brightly-coloured tissue paper before placing them in the box.

Dishware – crockery, china, glassware, crystal, bowls, cups

  • Most damage to dishware is due to improper packing.  Always use more cushioning than you think you need and use heavy duty boxes and tape.
  • For plates and flat china – start with the larger items and put smaller items toward the top. Select a medium-sized carton or dish pack boxes and line the bottom of the carton with crumpled newspapers. With clean newspaper stacked neatly in place on a work table, centre one plate on the paper. Grasp a corner on several sheets of newsprint paper and pull the newsprint over the plate until sheets completely cover the plate. Stack a second plate on and moving clockwise, grasp a second corner and pull newspaper sheets over the second plate. Stack a third plate. Grasp remaining two corners, folding two newspaper sheets of each corner (one at a time) over the plate. Turn your wrapped stack of plates upside down onto your newspaper. Re-wrap the entire bundle: start with one corner of newspaper and pull two sheets over the bundle; cover bundle with next corner, then the third corner; and finally, the fourth. Seal the bundle with packing tape.  Place the bundle of dishware in a medium-size box so that the plates are standing on edge.
  • For glassware and crystal it is strongly suggested each piece be wrapped individually. Never put one piece inside another. Before wrapping glasses and stemware, stuff them with crumpled tissue or clean newspaper. Glassware and crystal should make up the very top layer of your carton boxes and should be packed rim down. Delicate glassware and stemware should be placed in an upright position not on its side.
  • Especially fragile items should be packed in a separate carton and then packed in a larger carton surrounded by cushioning. Lay each item on the corner of clean newspaper and roll it one or two full rotations (depending on the size); pull sides of the newspaper up and over glass/stemware and continue rolling to the far corner. Corrugated paper rolls or dish pack cell kits may be used for added protection. The cell kits are usually available in various heights to accommodate short and long stemware.
  • Wrap bowls individually, then nest 2-3 together and wrap as an entire package. They can be placed on rims or flat. Continue to add layers in the same manner as for plates and china. Fragile mixing bowls may be packed using the same technique as for glasses and cups. You may choose to use dish pack boxes.
  • Even though they can be fairly sturdy, it is still important that each cup and glass is carefully wrapped. Pack glasses and cups with the rims down. With clean newspaper in place on the work table, position one cup six to eight inches from one of the corners. Now pull the near corner of the paper up and over the cup. Nest a second cup directly on top, with handle to left (second cup should “nest” itself in packing paper folded over the bottom cups). Pull the two side corners up and over, one at a time, and tuck corners inside the top cup. Hold the bottom and top cup in position and roll cups to the remaining corner. Again, use dish pack cell kits for maximum protection.

Statues and figurines

  • Wrap each item generously in bubble wrap, then wrap in a layer of clean paper and pack in boxes with plenty of crumpled paper or foam packing “peanuts” in between items.
  • Delicate objects, such as candelabras or figurines with extended arms should be wrapped with extra bubble wrap and surrounded by extra packing material.

Mirrors, glass/marble table tops, pictures, paintings etc.

  • Most moving companies recommend purchasing special cartons for all but the smallest items within this category. Specific mirror and picture cartons can handle most situations. Only one article should be packed in each carton.
  • Cross mirror glass with a series of masking tape in a figure of “X” to help strengthen the glass, then wrap in a generous cushion of clean paper and place in a flattened packaging carton. Consider professional crating assistance for oversized or especially heavy items such as table tops.


  • Folded clothing can be left in sturdy dressers or packed in suitcases, if desired. Other foldable clothing should be packed in medium sized cartons.
  • Hanging clothing should be packed in wardrobe cartons and hung from the steel bar included with the wardrobe carton. If wardrobe cartons are not used, clothes should be removed from the hangers and packed in lined cartons.
  • Hats should be stored in their specific boxes. If there is no hat box, a small carton can be used with the hat surrounded by clean crushed newspaper and loosely filled with the same.


  • Never pack perishable items, aerosol kitchen products or frozen food.
  • Dry food should be placed in medium sized cartons after taping any openings and tops closed. Jars should also be taped shut and wrapped, as well as cushioned. Both cans and jars should be packed in the smaller cartons due to their weight.


  • Remove the lampshade, bulb and harp assembly (the loop that supports the shade). Double wrap the bulb and harp assembly. Wrap the base and cushion it in a dish pack or similar type box. For lampshades, select the carton size as close to the shade measurements as possible. Pack only one shade per container. Glass lampshades and chandeliers should be packed in sturdy boxes as you would any fragile glassware.

White goods

  • Many appliances require professional servicing, disconnecting and preparation work, though you may be able to perform some of the requirements yourself. Taking the time to prepare these items carefully prior to packing will ensure there is little work for you to do later.
  • Refrigerators and freezers should be emptied of all food, thoroughly cleaned and dried to prevent mould and mildew build-up. Shelves should be either secured in place or detached and wrapped. Leaving an open box of baking soda within the refrigerator can help avoid unpleasant odours. The electric cord should be unplugged and taped to the back. If there is an ice maker, it should be disconnected from the water line and drained in advance. Be sure to wedge refrigerator and freezer doors open when placing into storage.
  • Washing machines should have all hoses disconnected and placed in container. If you choose to place hoses in the tub or drum, be sure to wrap the metal parts with cloth or paper to avoid damage to the surfaces which could result from handling. The electric cord should be unplugged and taped to the back. The washer drum should be secured (see the manufacturer’s instruction manual for specifics).
  • Dryers should have the vent hose removed and placed in container. The electric cord should be taped to the back. Clean the lint trap.
  • Barbecue grill grates should be wrapped separately in newspaper and placed in carton. Pad carton with newspaper to reduce movement of contents.

Small Appliances

  • Clocks, radios and other smaller appliances should be individually wrapped and packed with linens/towels or surrounded with crushed paper for protection. Tangles in the electrical cords can be minimized by neatly looping the individual cords and bundling them with rubber bands.


  • Any power tools containing gasoline or oil should be drained before moving. Never pack or store flammable fluids, like gas or oil. Long handled tools can be bundled and secured with tape or stretch wrap. Hand tools should be wrapped and packed according to general packing rules.

Draperies and Curtains

  • Wardrobe cartons are excellent for hanging curtains and drapes. If wardrobes aren’t used, pack folded curtains and drapes in cartons that have been lined with clean newspaper.

Beds and mattresses

  • As you take beds apart, mark all pieces so you know which goes where later. Tie bed rails together with a rope or a plastic tape.
  • Mattresses should be covered to keep them clean during moving and storage. Once placed in storage, it is recommended the top of the mattress bag is left slightly open to stop mould and mildew forming.

Flowers and Plants

  • Living plants and flowers are not appropriate for storing.
  • Artificial flower arrangements should be carefully wrapped and packed in individual cartons. If possible, secure the arrangement to the bottom of the carton then cushion and label appropriately.

Electronics and Clocks

  • Original manufacturer’s wrapping provide the best protection for moving electronic goods. If these are not available then large or medium cartons should be used and the item well wrapped and cushioned. Larger home electronics such as flat screen TV’s should be moved as furniture instead.
  • Grandfather clocks and other delicate mechanical devices require special preparation prior to moving and it is best to consult a specialist.


  • Make backup copies of all your files. Store the backup disk with your original program disks and keep in a secure container.
  • Remove any USB sticks, CDs and all other media and wrap separately.
  • Remove all cables from the back of the unit, loop individually and tie the leads to prevent tangles.
  • When possible, you should always pack your computer in its original box. If this is impossible, pack all equipment in sturdy boxes with generous cushioning. Don’t use Styrofoam “peanuts” as they can generate static electricity that may damage some components. Use crumpled newspaper instead.
  • Printers should be wrapped similar to computers, with ink cartridges removed. Same can be done with a fax machine.
  • Some scanners need to have the scanner bed secured before moving. For this we suggest you consult the manual.

Hi-Fi and home theatre systems

  • If you are taking a hi-fi/home theatre system apart, ask yourself whether you know enough to be able to assemble it again? If your hi-fi/home theatre system was installed professionally, then maybe it is best to hire someone with specific knowledge. If however you feel safe doing this yourself, get a roll of sticky labels and mark up every lead and connection. Check that the colours of the leads are consistent through the connections.  Do the same for home theatre set-ups.
  • Certain equipment (record decks in particular) may need to have transit screws placed/tightened to prevent damage in transit. Remove all cassettes, CDs, laser discs etc. from their apparatus before securing them for transit. Before reassembling the equipment, it is a good time to clean all the contacts and the ends of the leads with an appropriate cleaning product.

Record albums, tapes, CD’s

  • Stack these items on end so they can absorb shock with less chance of damage. Pack tightly so that they are secure and cannot shift.

Packing the truck

  • Looking to access any of your goods while in storage? If so, it is recommended that you pack these items into the truck first, so that they are packed into the unit last.

Unpacking at Thomas Storage

  • Be aware of your surroundings when you are in your unit. If you see a potential problem or anything suspicious, please alert the managers immediately (Maria or Ingrid).
  • Don’t give out your password, gate code or any other information to people that are not listed and approved as having access to your possessions.