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Moving Tip #5: Use “Packing” Tape to Pack Boxes

Use “Packing” Tape for packing boxes. It may seem like common sense, but many people use the wrong types of tape that are not designed for sealing cardboard boxes. The wrong tape can rip or not stick to the box.

Packing tape is available for purchase in office supply stores, moving companies, and self storage facilities, and pack and ship companies as well as online.

Standard rolls are 55 yards or 110 yards. Usually available in Tan or clear. Tape is used up pretty quickly. So get plenty. You may want to invest in a tape gun or a simple tape ring with a serrated edge. It makes cutting the tape much quicker.

Do NOT use these types of tape to seal moving boxes:

  • Masking tape
  • Duct tape
  • Painters tape (green or blue)
  • Electrical tape

I have seen people use this type of tape before and it does rip and peel off. Which then requires the mover to re-tape costing you time and money. Or if you have a flat rate move they may not retape and let the box fall apart.

If you pack a box it will be marked as PBO (Packed By Owner). With out any obvious damage to the exterior of the box, Moving companies and their insurers will reject any claim. As the packing was not performed by the company, they do not know if the contents were improperly packed or broken beforehand. If you are taking insurance in additional to standard cargo protection, it may make sense for you to have the mover repack any expensive or fragile items that you have packed yourselves.

Moving Tip #4: Mark Essential Items Box as “OPEN FIRST LOAD LAST”

Whether you are moving Locally, Long Distance, or Internationally you will want access to some items as soon as you arrive at your new home. Mark the box:


You can mark this in large letters on all sides. You may want to use a brightly colored tape to distinguish it from other boxes.  You can also mention the importance of the box  to the crew. A great place to leave the box is on a kitchen counter. This way it wont be mixed in with other boxes.

A similar box is a hardware box. Some companies use a “PARTS BOX” which is prominently marked and also loaded last and comes off first at the destination. This is done especially when moving long distance or internationally. This contains ALL the hardware for all your items.

Some Suggested Essentials to include are:

  • Bedding
  • Toiletries
  • Toilet paper
  • Paper towels
  • Clothing

Brings items with you that you need immediate access to, such as new keys, medicine, important papers.

How to prepare your access & entryway during a move

It may seem simple but this is the best way to prepare your entry access for a move in or a move out. Doors are best left open when actively moving in and out. (Yes you will lose heat in the winter and cold in the summer. But you will save time.1)

  • Prepare a parking area for the moving truck. (see related post)
  • Remember to secure any pets and have young children looked after!
  • Prepare access to the main door, Shovel snow / clear ice in Winter. Turn off automatic sprinklers in Summer. Sweep leaves in Autumn. 2
  • Remove interior and/or exterior welcome floor mats / rugs
  • Place rubber floor mats or carpet mask to protect floors and rugs (PRO mover)
  • Remove any boxes or  furniture that may be in the way
  • Prepare screen door to remain open – remove the pin from the piston and place back so you do not lose it (no need to unscrew any screws. If it sticks close the door to relieve any pressure when you remove or try the pin located at the frame)
  • Prop the screen door open. An old school moving rubber band works well tied to a railing, or lean a dolly against it or heavy door mat. Screen door are usually too high to be held in place by a door chuck.
  • Use a door chuck to hold open the main door.
  • Protect door jamb edges with specially designed pads. (PRO mover)
screen door piston unscrewed

How not to move.  Removing screen door piston

“Professional” movers unscrewed the bracket holding the piston. In the process they stripped the screws. Plus it took longer and caused a damage.

Apartment buildings often have service entrances with doorchucks or hooks to secure doors. For the DIY mover you probably don’t have a moving rubber band or rubber mats. You may buy carpet mask/carpet shield from your local home improvement center, Lowes, or Home Depot to protect that brand new white carpet. If you are really worried about dirt getting tracked in, you can request the company use booties to cover their shoes. This only works if some of the crew stays inside the home with booties on their shoes while the rest of the crew places the furniture and boxes at the entryway. This in inefficient and will add time and cost to the move.

1)I once had a client station their father at the door on a chair to open and close the door to open and close it to keep the air conditioning in at an offload with 5 movers. Kinda ridiculous – like a doorman at Macy’s on Christmas Eve. kinda ridiculous. And it added time and could have caused a damage.

2) I was once on a move in the Fall. There were many leaves outside on the walkway. And as it turned out, dog feces as well. We discovered that out when it was tracked into the home.