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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.

Moving Tip #3: Fill Moving Boxes Completely

Slightly overfill moving boxes with packing material when sealing shut. A box not completely filled will crush when stacked. Contents may shift if not packed tightly.

Moving Tip #2: Pack Plates on Edge

If packing your own china and dishes, wrap each plate in unprinted newsprint (or bubblewrap) and stand on edge in a heavy duty box. This is safer than laying them flat.

How to pack mirrors or small pictures for moving

Packing pictures, mirrors, posters or any other framed or flat item can be challenging for the non professional packer. Remember if you are using professional movers, any box that you pack will be marked on the inventory as PBO (Packed By Owner). If there is no visible damage on the outside of the box any mover’s insurance company will reject the claim. Even if you hired another professional mover or the items are brand new in the box, the insurance company will can claim that the item could have been improperly packed or broken beforehand. So for high value items it may make sense to have the mover pack these items.

If the pictures are smaller sized they can be packed in a 1.5 small, 3.0 medium, 4.5 large box, or 6.0 extra large carton.

  • Add a layer of padding to the bottom of the box. Use bubble wrap, clean unprinted newsprint or towels or flat clothing
  • Wrap each picture in bubble wrap or unprinted newsprint and stand on edge in the box
  • Fill in any empty spaces with padding. If all items are tight they can not shift and break.
  • Put a layer of padding on top there should be some resistance when you close the box.
  • Mark ⬆ “UP” arrows ⬆ on the box and “FRAGILE” or “GLASS”. As always mark each box with your name, the room the items are going to, and a description of the items.


  • You can use place pictures diagonally across the box and use smaller and smaller pictures out to the corners.
  • If pictures are too tall you can telescope two of the same size boxes together. Put the second box upside down on top of the first one filled with pictures. Remember to add a layer of padding on top of the pictures first.
  • Boxes larger than a 4.5 cu ft box may to unwieldy to move.
  • If you ordered boxes online they are often shipped in a tall flat box that can be used for pictures.
Standard Moving Box Dimensions:

Carton Name Cubic Foot Capacity Dimensions Diagonal
Small box 1.5 cuft 16″ x 12 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ 20.3″
Medium box 3.0 cuft 18″ x 18″ x 16″ 25.5″
Large box 4.5 cuft 18″ x 18″ x 24″ 25.5″
Large box (Laydown) 4.5 cuft 24″ x 18″ x 18″ 30.0″
Extra Large box 6.0 cuft 24″ x 18″ x 24″ 30.0″