Packing For the Big Move

After the last blog about moving, I thought it would be a good idea to get some expert packing tips from the people who know what they’re talking about. Our Connections partner, United Van Lines is Canada’s largest network of moving companies. With over 5 decades of moving experience, they seemed the best ones to give you tips about how to pack your belongings for the big move.

Packing Tips…Courtesy of United Van Lines

The proper preparation of your possessions is essential to the success of your move. That is why most people prefer to have their household goods professionally packed. Some do choose to pack their own belongings and move the items themselves, or they can have a professional moving company move pre-packed items for them.

If you elect to pack part or all of your goods yourself here are some tips to assist you:

Gather Your Packing Materials:

  • Use rigid heavy-duty boxes of different sizes with good lids
  • Use clean newsprint and tissue paper for wrapping and cushioning
  • Bubble wrap to protect breakable items
  • Use packing tape to seal up your boxes

Start Packing Early:

  • Start packing a few weeks in advance of your move date
  • Work on packing one room at a time. It will keep you focused and organized during your move
  • Pack areas where goods are not used frequently such as: garage, cellar, attic, etc.
  • Stay organized. Record what is being placed in each box and label each box by the room it will be placed when it arrives at the destination location

15 Helpful Packing Tips for Moving:

  1. Posture is important when packing. Pack standing straight. Use a clear table top or counter in each room for packing boxes. You will get more accomplished and your back will hurt less!
  2. Pack heavier items on the bottom and lighter items on top
  3. Pack articles snugly so they will not shift
  4. Wrap small articles in colored paper so they will not be discarded with packing material
  5. Do not over fill or under fill cartons; this will increase the risk of damage
  6. Tops of boxes must close flat and be sealed with tape. Always record what is in the box before taping shut
  7. Boxes should not exceed 50 lbs (max.); heavier boxes lead to injuries, tape may break or the box may be dropped
  8. Cushion every box with clean, crushed paper on the bottom
  9. Use brightly coloured storage boxes, one for each person. Let each family member fill theirs with items they’ll want right away in the new home. These items include: a set of sheets, a towel, a couple of extension cords, a phone, nightlights, pen and paper, toiletries, medications, a flashlight, address book, a favourite toy and pet supplies
  10. Keep your important items and papers with you. Your list of “important” papers may include: birth certificates, school records, new job contacts, utility company numbers, recent bank records, current bills, phone lists, closing papers, realtor info, maps, and more. Valuable items such as jewelry should be kept with you
  11. Flowers and plants are shipped at your own risk. To allow your plants the best chance of surviving the trip, we suggest:
    • In winter – water them for the last time two or three days before the move
    • In summer – water the plants well on the morning of packing day and let the excess water drain away, and do not place them in direct sunlight until one or two weeks after the move. Shock can cause the leaves to yellow and drop. This is normal and should not last.
  12. Keep parts together. When taking apart items to be moved, such as tables, securely tape screws and other small parts to the underside of the item. You’ll always know where to look and save time putting things back together.
  13. Small appliances and radios should be wrapped individually before being placed in boxes. Roll, tie, or wrap electrical cords so they will not tangle.
  14. If you must ship liquids, fasten and tape lids, seal in a plastic bag and place upright in a box.
  15. Do not pack hazardous materials. These items are not permitted by the Government of Canada to transport, they include: paint, thinners, solvents, oils, varnishes, firearms and ammunition, bottled glass, propane, lamp oil, anything flammable, explosive or corrosive, motor fuels and oils, nail polish remover, bleach, and aerosol cans. Always keep in mind the safety of yourself, the driver and others on the road.

For more useful tips on how to pack your household items like a professional, see United Van Lines (Canada) Ltd.’s packing videos.

*United Van Lines (Canada) Ltd. would like to thank CENTURY 21 Canada for allowing us to guest blog.


  1. Chris Newald 08/29/2011 at 8:11 AM

    There’s always a great deal of stress involved with a move so having your things packed properly and well organized makes the whole event much more manageable. Using coloured paper was new to me but a fantastic idea – it’s so easy to lose something among the clutter of boxes. Great article – very comprehensive!

  2. Budget City Movers 11/09/2012 at 4:20 PM

    Some great tips for customers and professional moving companies. These type of tips help customers and movers save time and money. We hope to release some of our own tips for moving videos in the near future.

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