A Commonly Overlooked Item: Boxes and How to Use Them Properly

packing - moving - boxesBoxes---the single most necessary thing for any relocation. Whether you are moving old tennis trophies to the garage or relocating your entire household cross country, you absolutely can’t do to without a box, or even a hundred. There are lots of different sizes, and specific-use boxes, it can be super paralyzing when you're standing there looking at piles of cardboard that are somehow going to mutate themselves into functional packing containers.

The first thing to be aware of is that while boxes are not created entirely equal, they are very democratic in that you can utilize just about any box for just about anything. The catch is in being intelligent about what to pack in which box--and forget what the box is called, go ahead and put your golf clubs in the wardrobe box, if it seems right. The other thing intelligent people (that includes you) do is not to overload boxes so they weigh a lot. You are going to be moving a lot of them, and seven pounds seems like fifty after a while.

Sizes and Weight

Boxes are classified in cubic feet. The smallest moving box is normally 1.5 CF, and is what you'll use for bulky items like books or small appliances. Knickknacks are best in these small boxes as you can put a complete collection in one box. You may see heavy-duty boxes, but just because you can pack more stuff into a box doesn't mean you should, unless you have a heavy-duty back to pick-up the weightier boxes. These boxes often have grips for easier moving and an average height person can usually move a couple of these at a time.

The next size larger is 3.1 cubic feet. This is where you can stow shoes, toys, pots and pans--things that aren't super heavy. Some of these boxes also have the built-in grips and are a bit more unwieldy than the smaller box, so do not overload this size or it is going to be no fun to pick-up and move.

Linens, sweaters, towels, and clothes go in the 4.5 CF boxes. They are large and deep, and again, don't overload them because the bulk makes even the lightly packed ones a challenge to move unless you are vertically gifted.

The biggest standard boxes are 6.1 cubic feet. This is where you pack pillows, lampshades, blankets, and anything that's large but lightweight.

Specialty Boxes

These are intended for moving a certain sort of thing, but are useful for lots of other items, also. While they are a little more expensive, are well worth the cost in ease of packing options and protection.

Dish pack

A dish pack is a box with a double layer of corrugated cardboard. Don't think you can solely put dishes in these, they are meant to protect all things fragile. A dish pack is anywhere between the 1.5 and 3.1 CF size, and you can either wrap items individually in packing paper or use the newer foam sleeves--slide the plate or glass into the sleeve and set it in the box. Some boxes have inserts for glasses, so they stand up in their spot and don't get bumped by others in the box. A dish box is perfect for stereo components, lamp bases, or anything delicate that you don't want in the regular boxes.

Wardrobe Box

A wardrobe box is exactly what it sounds like. It is taller than the 6.1 CF box, is about 10 CF, and is a heavy-duty cardboard that's meant to stand up during transit. It has a hanger bar that attaches near the top, so you can move your hanging clothes more easily. The normal height for a wardrobe box is about 46 inches, so you can use them to move things like dining room chairs or those golf clubs, as well.

Mirror Box

A mirror box comes in numerous sizes, but they are all somewhat flat, and large. They're what you use for artwork and mirrors, but also flat screen TVs, computer monitors, large platters, or even tennis rackets.

Don't neglect the proper packing supplies--lots of paper, tape and bubble wrap--but knowing your boxes is the initial step of a trouble-free move.