Moving and Packing Tips

Perhaps the worst product ever sold.

My wife and I are building a house so we had to pack and move most of our possessions into storage, move “essentials” into a temporary apartment, and, if that wasn’t enough, tomorrow we help my daughter move to her new house.  So, for the last 2-3 months, moving is something I have developed a competency in.  I thought I’d share some tips that will help you.

It’s just stuff.  Be prepared to throw stuff away. I don’t care who you are, you saved a lot of stuff that you know you will never use.  It is work to box it, costly to store it, and a pain in the lower back if you never are going to use it.  So, get rid of it.  Take pictures of stuff rather than keep the stuff.  Getting rid of your excess house is tricky because of COVID.  Learn the hours and rules of your local landfills.  Ours said they closed at 4:00pm but in reality, the gate closed at 3:50pm.  (I was tempted to argue with these folks but they have a rough enough job, working at a dump.)  Each landfill/dump is unnecessarily complicated – such as you can only bring one load a day or if you come in a truck you drive to a different area.  This weekend I got into an argument about geography – whether I really lived in the county or not (despite the evidence of my driver’s license).  Key here, learn the rules before you start hauling.

Donate.  We wanted to donate a lot of furniture.  That was nearly impossible given COVID.  Goodwill stopped taking the stuff.  Salvation Army stopped all pickups, as did the local RESTORE (Habitat for Humanity).  Even when they are open, they have rules and limitations.  With everyone cleaning their houses out during their time at home, many charities are full up as well.  We found a local charitable thrift store that gladly helped us out.  Make sure you keep the paperwork for your tax deductions to charity.

Boxes.  Some UHaul locations have a fantastic selection of oddly shaped boxes – like for lamps.  Lowes and Home Depot have boxes too.  Use the smaller boxes for the heavier stuff if you can.  I got a mix of boxes and sizes, making it like a game of Tetris for the movers to stack stuff for storage.  They told me that having a mix of sizes is a good thing – you can get more packed in a truck.  So…there you go.

I didn’t buy my boxes all at once.  We got ours in small batches and ended up with only three that were left over.  We used of about 45% small boxes, 30% medium boxes, 20% large boxes, and 5% extra large or strange shaped boxes.  Your results may vary.

Tape.  Do NOT buy Duck Brand Shipping Tape.  If the Duck people are reading this – your product sucks!  It wouldn’t even stick to itself for more than 10 minutes.  I’m not sure how it even stays rolled up.  It frustrated the hell out of us to pack a box and watch as the tape simply let go. I was going to complain to them but I feared they would send me more of their product.  Spend the money on good tape, it is important. This isn’t the thing to try and save a few cents on.

Glassware?  Use paper.  We bought bubble wrap and wrapping paper from UHaul.  The paper was the absolute best for wrapping stuff.  It is relatively cheap, easy to use, and you avoid all of the cutting of bubblewrap.  Most importantly, it works (based on past experience).

Mark your boxes.  Put down what room you want them to go into.  UHaul makes some tape that is great for this with bright colors for each room of your house as well as the name of the room.  Yes, the movers will tag the stuff, but they tag it based on the room it was picked up in.  You are more interested in the room it will be going to.  Keep that in mind.

Spot Shot.  We cleaned the house for two days so that the new owners could just move in.  You will have strange spots on the floor.  Spot Shot is perfect for quick clean-ups.  I have no idea what it is made of, but it works on small carpet spots.  I love this product. We used it for quick spots and the steam cleaner for the big carpet areas.


Don’t watch the movers.  You will cringe and bite your nails at some of the stuff they do to get your stuff out of the house.  Don’t watch them – focus on some other task like cleaning.

Buy help. If you are moving yourself – get a cheap four wheeled dolly.  We used this to move in a soft, box springs, mattresses, you name it.  And they only cost $11.00 at Harbor Freight.

Harbor Freight

So there you have it – unsolicited tips for moving from a “veteran.”  Feel free to share.

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