moving box with old newspaper

Angie's How To Pack a Moving Box

Date Published: July 8, 2014

Time: 7 Hours

Everybody moves. Whether you’re flying from your parents’ nest, switching towns for a job or just want a permanent change of scenery, you’ll need to pack up your belongings. But do it in a way where nothing will break or become damaged. Follow this advice from professional moving companies on how to properly pack a box.


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moving box with old newspaper
1Line the bottom of the box with paper

Dan Gilbertson, owner of highly rated Movemasters in Denver, says he starts packing by crumpling up protective paper and creating a cushion on the bottom of the box.

packing a moving box
2Put heavy items in small boxes

Heavy items, like books and dishes, should only be put into small boxes, says Justin McCarty, general manager of highly rated Metropolitan Moving & Storage in Rockville, Maryland. Putting heavy items in larger boxes makes them too heavy to lift.
Gilbertson says that overpacking heavy items isn’t productive or time-effective. “Some people think, 'Instead of 20 small boxes, I’ll just pack 5 large boxes.’ But then it requires two people to carry the box.”

Wrapping dishes in newspaper
3Wrap individual items

Protect dishes and other fragile items by wrapping them in paper. McCarty says to wrap each individual plate — don’t throw all the plates into the box and surround them with paper — because even the slightest shift of the box could lead to the items breaking.

packing a moving box
4Fill the box to the brim

“No matter what you’re packing, make sure your boxes are full to capacity,” McCarty says. If there’s nothing left to pack, put paper in the box. According to McCarty, it’s important to fill all the boxes, so when they get stacked while being transported, they don’t dent or cave in, which could break what’s inside.

packing a moving box
5Line the top of the box with paper

Gilbertson says that even when the box is full and he doesn’t need to fill more space, he’ll put a few pieces of paper at the top of the box to give it a little more protection against caving.

a cardboard box with blue packing tape
6Tape the box

After you’ve filled the box, tape both ends closed. This way, if the boxes get turned sideways or upside down during the moving process, there’s not risk of items spilling out. McCarty suggests using paper tape because it’s durable, but is also easy to tear and doesn’t tangle like masking tape.

a cardboard box with blue packing tape
7Label the box

Lastly, write on the top of the box in what room it needs to go. This will make it easier for you or a professional mover who doesn’t do your packing to place the boxes, once you’ve transported them to the new house.