Moving 101

Article Index
Moving 101
Moving Furniture
Moving Rugs or Drapes
Moving Electronics
Moving Appliances
Moving Lamps
Moving Books
Moving A Piano
Moving Plants
One Month Before
Two Weeks Before
One Day Before
The Big Day
All Pages

How to Pack - Moving 101

Before you start packing, read the following advice:

  • Before placing items in moving boxes, make sure they are adequately wrapped in newsprint
  • Place a cushion layer of crumpled paper at the bottom of the carton
  • Always pack heavier items at the bottom of the carton
  • As you pack, layer your goods, packing the same or similar-sized items in one layer
  • Pack moving boxes as tightly as possible to minimize movement
  • Do not pack higher than the top of the carton, as it must be closed and sealed
  • Pack no more than 50 pounds in a carton
  • Identify your moving boxes by content and by room at the new house
  • Be sure to identify fragile moving boxes
  • Secure all box seams with at least 4" overlap of sealing tape
  • Attach covers to pots
  • Tape the bottom of all boxes to prevent accidental spillage
  • Not only wrap your fragile items with bubble wrap or foam, line the boxes with bubble wrap to provide additional protection. Remember, if the contents are shaking, chances are they'll be breaking
  • Marker pen for labelling contents of packed boxes
  • Label boxes containing special, high value items with a secret marking to make it easy to identify at delivery. Leave nothing to memory. Save time and energy by labelling the sides of boxes with name, contents and it' destination location
  • For marking pens, depress the point into box several times to bring ink to the tip of the marker If you hire a moving company don't pack valuables, such as jewellery, furs, coins and stamps should be moved by you personally
  • Gas Cans
If you hire a moving company, don't pack any hazardous items including paints, aerosol cans, explosives, corrosives, propane tanks, firearms, and ammunition.

Liquids should not be packed as they may freeze or leak out during the move. If an item is questionable, it should probably not be shipped. The following moving 101 items may fit into this category.

  • Fuels / oils
  • Paints / varnishes
  • Insecticides
  • Liquid bleach
  • Matches / candles
  • Perishable goods
  • Live plants
  • Propane
  • Paint thinners
  • Aerosol cans
  • Cleaning chemicals
  • Firearms or ammunition
  • Food in glass jars
  • Pets
  • Alcohols camphor oil disinfectants
  • Liquid cleaners (i.e., spot clothing cleaners, office machine liquid cleaners, etc.)
  • Acids photographic type etching acid iron/steel rust preventions
  • Meiotic acid nitric acid sulphuric acid
  • Black powder cigarette loads dynamite (plastics, etc.)
  • Explosive arms fireworks any ammunition primers
  • Smokeless powder explosive war mementoes trick matches
  • Spear guns w/charged heads propellant or smoke devices
  • Adhesives (glue, cement) ammonia charcoal briquettes
  • Cleaning fluids denatured alcohol enamels lacquer
  • Leather dressing or bleach lighter fluids (stove, torch)
  • Liquors, matches, oil, stains, paint (flammable)
  • Paint / varnish remover petroleum products (kerosene, gasoline, oil)
  • Flashbulbs, polishes (liquid type) non-purges propane tanks
  • Propane, gas, shellac, liquid shoe polish, solvents
  • Stains, turpentine, varnish, windshield solvents, wines
  • Wood filler,
  • Engine starting fluids, fire extinguishers, welding gases,
  • Scuba diving tanks
  • Rags soaked in flammables
  • Aerosol cans
  • Flammable gas (liquid) toxic or corrosive substances
  • Chlorinated hydrocarbons
  • Hand signal flares
  • The "Setup" Box

Create a "setup" box to hold TV remote & telephones. Label this box "set-up" so it's easy to locate at your new home. Store screws, nuts & bolts from disassembled furniture in zip-lock bags. Label each bag and pack into your "set-up" box.

Furniture - Moving 101

Moving funiture should be dealt as follows.

Wrap with blankets, bubble wrap or foam. Secure padding to furniture. Do not use tape directly on wood or painted surfaces.

Remove legs from furniture if possible. Place wing nuts or screws in envelopes or plastic bags and tape to underside of furniture.

Coat fine wood furnishings with wax to protect against scratches. (Makes the furniture slippery so not too much!)

Send out any furniture that needs repair or refinishing and have it delivered to your new address.

All waterbeds must be completely drained of water. Failure to due so can ruin the mattress.

It is not necessary to remove clothing from dresser drawers. These can normally be moved with the contents intact. Move dressers with contents in drawers to avoid repacking and secure drawers from opening during transit. You can also place sofa cushions and pillows in bags to use as pads or fillers in the trailer. Remember to secure all furniture drawers.

Moving Rugs or Drapes - Moving 101

Send out rugs and draperies for cleaning, and have them delivered to your new address. Attach curtains to rods.

Moving Electronics

Whenever possible use original shipping boxes for computers, printers and other electronic items. You might even consider double boxing and follow manufacturer's instructions for moving when available.

  • Immobilize moving parts and remove all detachable cables and wires.
  • Color code or label wiring for easier re-installation.
  • Tape electrical cords to back of appliance to prevent plug damage and wrap each piece with bubble wrap or foam.
  • C.D.s and software do not survive high temperatures. If you are shipping your goods during the warmer seasons, consider keeping these items with you.

Moving Appliances - Moving 101

  • Clean and dry all appliances at least 24 hours before your move date.
  • Consider using empty space in your appliances to move lightweight or crushable items.
  • Remove broiler pan and racks from your oven.
  • Tape burners or coil elements to the top of your stove and tape down all knobs.
  • Disconnect and empty all washing machine hoses and store them inside the machine. Immobilize the tub with a brace or by placing towels between the tub and sidewall.
  • Tape electrical cords to each appliance and tape all doors and lids closed.
  • Dishes or Glasses
  • Wrap breakables in tissue paper and use newspaper to fill extra spaces in boxes.
  • Pack plates on their edges. Consider using potholders and dishtowels to cushion the bottom and sides of your boxes.
  • For greater protection, consider purchasing "dish packs" sold by packaging stores.
  • Fine silver should be wrapped in cloth or silver paper.
  • Wrap all pieces individually with enough newspaper, bubble wrap or foam to create a cushion effect.
  • Do the same for decorative pieces or bric-a-brac.

Moving Lamps - Moving 101

The proper way of moving lamps is as follows. This is safe, secure and should remove any possibility of breaking during a move.

  • Remove all bulbs and shades from lamps.
  • Pack in sturdy moving boxes labelled "fragile".
  • Wrap each wall hanging individually with bubble wrap or foam, blankets, or towels.
  • Pack flat items on their edges.
  • For large mirrors or pictures, cover both sides with bubble wrap or foam and heavy cardboard, and then bind with tape.

Moving Books - Moving 101

Lay your books flat in our medium boxes and alternate the bindings from front to back to prevent spine damage.

Moving A Piano - Moving 101

If you are moving a piano, consider hiring a specialist to pack and load it or sell it and buy a new one.

Moving Plants - Moving 101

Check with your local Department of Agriculture for regulations regarding moving plants from one area to another. Many areas have restrictions on certain plants to prevent importing bugs or pests that can destroy valuable cash crops.
When moving plants to your new residence via your car, try not to let foliage rest against the windows, as the leaves will scorch.
A Couple of Weeks Before You Move

Prune plants to facilitate packing.
Consult a florist or a plant book for instructions.
A Week Before You Move

Place your plants in a black plastic bag, along with a bug/pest strip, conventional flea collar or bug powder. Close the bag and place in a cool area overnight to kill any pests on the plant or in the soil.
The Day Before You Move

Place the plants in cardboard containers. Hold them in place with dampened newspaper or packing paper. Use paper to cushion the leaves and place a final layer of wet paper on top to keep them moist. If you must leave your plants behind, then take cuttings. Put them in a plastic bag with wet paper towels around them.
On the Day of You Move

Set the boxes aside and mark "do not load" so they won't be taken on the moving van. Close the boxes and punch air holes in the top before loading into your car.
When Moving

Park your car in a shaded area in the summer and a sunny spot in the winter.
Upon Arrival

Unpack the plants as soon as possible after arrival. Remove plants through the bottom of the box to avoid breaking the stems. Do not expose the plants to much sunlight at first. Let them get gradually accustomed to more light.
Lawn or Garage Tool

Drain all gasoline and oil from lawn mowers, weed eaters, chain saws and other equipment. Disconnect all batteries.
Empty propane tanks from barbecue grill and properly purge hose. Secure lid and immobilize moving parts.
Strap long garden tools together into a bundle. Pack heavy power tools into small sturdy boxes and fill spaces with newspaper.
Children and Pets

Don't pack the kids and pets in the same box ;o)

Resist the urge to pack the kids in boxes! Get your children involved and keep them occupied by giving them each a large box to pack their toys in. Toys are usually pretty tough so you don't have to worry too much about how well the toys are packed.

In addition to the room and contents, have children write their names and new address on the moving boxes from their rooms so they can become familiar with their new address before they get to their new home.

Cats and dogs can be taken in your car. If so, remember to take along the following items:

Leash for letting your pet out of the car
Newspaper or sheets to keep your car clean

Animals can get carsick and will require frequent stops along the way. Also, check ahead to see if the hotel where you are staying allows pets. Depending on the animal's temperament and size, it might be better to have it shipped by air. Be sure to check if your destination has any local requirements or restrictions on animals.

To have your pet shipped by air, make sure someone can meet your pet at the destination airport and take care of it until you arrive. A kennel can do this for you and keep your pet until you have completed your move, if necessary.

If you are flying to your new destination, your cat or dog can ride in the baggage compartment. You may need the following items:

Health certificate. Obtain this from your veterinarian.
Pet container. The airline might have a special container available or you can use your own as long as it complies with airline regulations.
Tranquilizers. Your vet can provide tranquilizers to be given to your pet immediately before going to the airport.
Your scent. Having a piece of cloth with your scent on it can comfort your pet.

Hamsters, birds and other small animals can easily be transported in your car. To help keep the animals calm and quiet, cover cages with a cloth. Also, make sure they have food and water available. It can be very impractical and risky to move fish. Check with your local pet store for recommendations on moving your specific type of fish.

One Month Before - Moving 101

Remember to reserve apartment elevator and make a furniture floor plan for the new location.
Hire a . . .

  • Hire the truck or trailer - get one that is too big - you will fill it don't worry - it's cheaper than a second trip!
  • Arrange to pick it up a least a day before. 
  • Arrange to rent moving blankets - the "rent a truck" companies often run out - they are used to protect furniture. Drive around and watch moving companies load a truck - they use thousands of blankets. 
  • Rent a hand truck or "dolly" the moving company have special ones with winching straps etc that climb stair easily. 
  • Arrange some help on moving day - hire a couple of movers or strong people to help with the bulk items 
  • If you are driving two vehicles consider a couple of C.B. radios or "personal communication devices" to communicate car to truck - good fun for the kids too (and dad) 
  • Buy (from G.M. Packaging of course)
  • Disposable camera - kid entertainment


Below are the boxes you may need for your moving purposes.

  • Barrel; purpose: dishes, fine china, glass
  • Mirror/picture carton; purpose: mirrors, art 
  • Lampshade carton; purpose: lampshades 
  • Mattress carton or plastic cover (various sizes); purpose: mattresses 
  • Wardrobe; purpose: clothes and drapes 
  • Protecting chandelier container; purpose: chandeliers/light fixtures 
  • Small carton (2 cu. Ft.); purpose: books and small, heavy items 
  • Medium carton (4 cu. Ft.); purpose: groceries, pots and pans, small appliances 
  • Large carton (5 cu. Ft.); purpose: linen, stuffed toys and light, bulky items 
  • Utility cartons; purpose: brooms, mops, garden tools, guns and other loose items 
  • Small china 12" x 12" x 16" fragile items, glassware, china, flatware 
  • Large china 17-3/4"x 17-3/4"x 28" fragile items, glassware, china, flatware 
  • Mirror* 37-1/2"x3-3/4"x 27-3/4"-59" small mirrors, pictures, paintings, flat glass 
  • Two mirror boxes can be purchased & taped together to create a larger mirror box.


Bubble wrap; purpose: wrapping of dishes and other fragile items
Packing paper; purpose: wrapping of breakables
Stretch wrap; purpose: covering sofas and chairs to prevent soiling
Tape; purpose: sealing cartons
Tape gun - automatically cuts tape
Clean newspaper - not a real newspaper the newsprint on a roll - the real newspaper leaves ink on everything.
Plastic mattress bags
Tissue paper or foam wrap for delicate items
Garage Sale

Some plants will not survive the trip plan on taking these in your car or find new homes for them.
Moving is tough, but it can also be an opportunity. This is the perfect time to get rid of the extra "stuff" you've accumulated. Take it one room at a time and prepare to make tough decisions. Lighten your load!
Survey each room and ask yourself:
Does this have sentimental or monetary value?
Does anyone really use it?
Is it worth lugging around?
Is there room for it in our new home?
If the item in question doesn't make the cut, ditch it! Plan a yard sale, post an online auction or simply donate anything that does not meet your criteria. This is a great way to earn a little extra cash or another tax deduction.
If you need to store some of your goods, it's a good idea to tour the warehouse of the mover you're planning to use. Look for cleanliness, organization, security, etc.
Eat a Lot

Start using up items that can't be moved to your new home. Properly dispose of flammable or potentially hazardous chemicals. This would include anything in an aerosol can, cleaning and lighting fluids, paint, matches and ammunition.

Eat foods that are frozen or stored in glass jars and don't plan on replacing these items until you are in your new home.

Notify hydro, gas, water, telephone and cable companies to advise of disconnect dates and schedule reconnections at your new home.

  • Post office
  • Relatives and friends
  • Phone
  • Hydro
  • Water
  • Gas
  • Fuel
  • Cable TV
  • Water treatment
  • Doctor(s)
  • Dentist
  • Lawyer
  • Veterinarian
  • Insurance company
  • Health insurance
  • Income tax
  • Family allowance
  • Veteran's affairs
  • Canada pension plan
  • Old age security
  • Motor vehicle/driver's license
  • Banks/trust companies
  • Credit cards
  • Diaper service
  • Department stores
  • Dry cleaner
  • Drug store
  • Cleaning service
  • Schools
  • Clubs/camps
  • Sports
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Mail order houses
  • Book & record clubs
  • Arrange to have keys for your new home.
  • Paper Work

Check into the laws and requirements of your new city regarding home-based businesses, professional tests, business licenses and any special laws that might be applicable to you.
Pick-up or e-mail change of address notices to magazines, charge cards, home and auto insurance companies and clubs or organizations.
Cancel paper delivery or other home services, i.e. Lawn, bottled water
Don't forget your records: obtain copies of family medical and dental records have school records transferred.
Check out your insurance policy: check your homeowners' policy to see what coverage you have during the move. Get extra coverage, if necessary.
Close out or transfer bank accounts.
Collect valuables from safe-deposit box. Make copies of any important documents before mailing or hand carry them to your new address.
Save all your receipts: many costs involved in a move may be tax deductible. Check with your accountant or tax advisor.
Take inventory of your belongings before they're packed in the event you need to file an insurance claim later. If possible, take pictures or videotape your belongings. Record serial numbers of electronic equipment.

Two Weeks Before  - Moving 101

Start Packing

Our experience has shown, that without professional assistance, it takes two people at least two to three days, to prepare and pack the contents of an average three-bedroom home. Improperly packed items can be easily damaged or broken.
It is also very important to use the proper packing containers and wrapping materials. Odd size cartons constructed of improper materials or without lids take longer to load and move, increasing your transportation charges and risk of damage.
Pack as much as you can into boxes. This will provide greater protection for your belongings and will make loading your trailer much easier. Unusually shaped items take up more space and make loading more difficult.
Don't skimp on packing supplies. They are far cheaper than broken or damaged belongings. Check our moving-related links for sites that feature a wide variety of boxes and packing supplies.
Start packing one room at a time. Begin with things you use less frequently, such as books and knick-knacks. Pack each room in separate boxes and label each box with its contents.
Reinforce the bottom of all boxes with tape. Fill each box to its capacity, using paper or fillers to eliminate empty spaces. The top and sides of each box shouldn't bulge, nor should they cave in when closed.
Pack heavy items, such as books, in smaller boxes. Keep the weight of each box down to a manageable level. (50lbs)
Leave lightweight linens and clothing in their drawers. Pack extra linens, pillows and stuffed animals in large garbage bags and tape closed. Plan to use these bags as cushions or fillers in your trailer.
Disassemble any items you can. Be aware of items with sharp corners or projections and keep them from puncturing or scratching other objects.

Pack your valuables and essentials separately and plan on keeping these items with you. Know what you will need upon arrival to your new home and plan ahead and make a checklist of things you will need to pack in suitcases and an "essentials" box.

Allow for extra clothing and be sure to make room for treasures, toys and snacks for the kids. Your essentials box should include things you'll be scrambling for upon arrival.

  • Scissors, masking tape, utility knife, can opener
  • Coffee cups, paper plates, paper towels
  • Plastic forks, spoons, knives
  • Dish soap, trash bags, towels
  • Instant coffee, tea, beverages
  • Toilet paper, toiletries
  • Prescriptions, aspirin or other pain relievers
  • Flashlight, light bulbs, hammer
  • Phone books, pencils and paper, your "move file"
  • Telephone, radio, batteries
  • We supply janitorial supplies as well.
Plan on keeping your essentials box and luggage handy, preferably in your automobile.

One Day Before - Moving 101

Pack at least one box with bathroom and kitchen essentials and carry it with you to your new location so that it may be readily accessible.

Go get the truck and dolly and blankets.

Drive into a parking lot and drive out - these things are big you will need the practice of backing up etc. They are fun to drive too (don't wave at the big highway tractors - your not a real trucker!)

The Big Day - Moving 101

Remove doormats and other obstacles. Cover floors and banisters with protective coverings. Give children a disposable camera, and let them document the move themselves. Keep your pet calm and away from the activity on moving day by arranging for a friend to watch your pet at their house.

Remember to "squat" when handling heavier items and lift them with your knees, not your back. Ask for help with anything that tests your limits.

If you have a sizable shipment and/or heavy items, you will want to consider renting a ramp and appliance dolly. Both can typically be rented at reasonable rates, and the additional cost is worth reduced wear and tear on your body.
Check your yellow pages under "rental equipment" or "rental stores and yards."

Make sure your ramp is sturdy and is securely in place. An unsafe or improperly used ramp can cause serious injury to you and damage to your goods.

Loading in a pre-planned "smart" order will greatly reduce loading time and fatigue. It will also ensure a safer ride for your belongings.

Start with heavy appliances and load them on the floor against the front wall of the trailer. Continue by loading heavier items toward the front of the trailer and on the floor. Save the space above for lighter items.
Long pieces, such as sofas, can be stood on end and anchored by other large heavy items. This greatly reduces the "footprint" of what is normally a significant space taker.

Load lighter items and boxes marked "fragile" on top and properly secure them. Load all items as tightly as possible to reduce shifting, rubbing and puncturing during transit. Be generous with blankets and padding, and place cardboard under anything that may be scuffed or soiled by riding directly on the floor of the trailer. Load mattresses and upholstered furniture up off of the floor. Remember to use bagged pillows, stuffed animals and furniture cushions as well as additional paper and cardboard to fill all gaps and spaces.

If necessary, you may use blocks and braces throughout the loading process. These can be nailed to the floor of the trailer and are helpful in preventing shifting. You can also use screw in hooks and eyes to assist in tying down your shipment. As a final step, you will want to protect your shipment from becoming dusty by covering it with large sheets of plastic. Plastic sheets are cheap, easy to find and definitely worth purchasing for extra protection.

Once everything is loaded and secured, you will install a plywood wall or "bulkhead." This critical final step must be made with care. The bulkhead is used to prevent the stuff from flying out the back or shifting. Real movers may use one or two of these in a load

Place pictures in boxes between sheets and blankets to give them added protection. Defrost fridge and freezer. Set aside jewellery, cash, and documents that you will be moving personally. Attach "do not remove" tags to goods that you intend to leave behind. Set aside your personal luggage and any other items (e.g., children's favourite toys) that you will be moving personally. For the comfort of your children, it is often helpful to have them stay with a friend or relative during the delivery process. Turn furnace down, or off. Shut and lock all windows and doors.

Arrival - Moving 101

At the destination, you might want to consider having the TV and VCR hooked up first to occupy the kids while the rest the van is being unloaded. This of course relies on you moving your electronics carefully. Check off Inventory

To ensure that everything loaded at origin is delivered at destination, you must check off the inventory yourself. Ask that the driver and crew call off the inventory numbers, which are on all pieces, including cartons.

It is best to have two people at destination so one to check off the inventory and the other to show the movers where to place your belongings.

Check the condition of everything as closely as possible for damage. Make note to any exceptions to the condition on the inventories upon delivery. There is a column within the inventory especially for your exceptions. Immediate unpacking:

  • Cartons that contain valuable items such as silver, artwork, etc., should be unpacked immediately
  • Upon arrival at your new home, let your pc "acclimate" itself to room temperature before plugging it in.
  • Arrange for disconnection of appliances and/or hook-up in your new home.