A Commonly Undervalued Item: Boxes and How to Use Them Properly

packing - moving - boxesBoxes---the single most crucial item for any relocation. Whether you're moving old tennis trophies to the basement or relocating your entire house cross country, you unquestionably can’t do to without a box, or even a lot. There are so many differing sizes, and specific-use boxes, it can be really paralyzing when you're standing there gazing at mountains of cardboard that are somehow going to convert themselves into functional packing devices.

The first thing to know is that while boxes are not created entirely the same, they are somewhat democratic in that you can utilize just about any box for just about anything. The trick is in being intelligent about what to pack in which box--and forget what the box is called, go ahead and put your golf clubs in the wardrobe box, if it feels right. The other thing smart people (that means you) do is not to overload boxes so they weigh a lot. You're going to be moving a lot of them, and seven pounds feels like fifty after a while.

Sizes and Weight

Boxes are measured in cubic feet. The smallest moving box is normally 1.5 CF, and is what you will use for bulky stuff like books or small appliances. Knickknacks are best in these small boxes as you can put a whole collection in one box. You may see heavy-duty boxes, but just because you can pack more weight into a box does not mean you should, unless you have a heavy-duty back to lift the weightier boxes. These boxes often have grips for easier moving and an average height person can easily move a couple of these at once.

The next size larger is 3.1 cubic feet. This is where you will stow shoes, toys, pots and pans--things that aren't super heavy. Some of these boxes also have the built-in grips and are a bit more unwieldy than the smaller box, so don't overload this size or it's going to be no fun to pick-up and move.

Linens, sweaters, towels, and clothes go in the 4.5 CF boxes. They are large and deep, and again, do not overload them because the bulk makes even the lightly packed ones a challenge to move unless you're vertically gifted.

The biggest standard boxes are 6.1 cubic feet. This is where you pack pillows, lampshades, blankets, and anything that's sizeable but lightweight.

Specialty Boxes

These are meant for moving a specific sort of item, but are beneficial for lots of other items, too. While they are a bit more pricey, are well worth the cost in convenience of packing options and protection.

Dish pack

A dish pack is a box with an additional layer of corrugated cardboard. Don't think you can only put dishes in these, they are meant to protect all things fragile. A dish pack is anywhere between the 1.5 and 3.1 CF size, and you can either wrap items individually in paper or use the newer foam sleeves--slide the plate or glass into the sleeve and place it in the box. Some boxes have inserts for glasses, so they stand up in their spot and don't get bumped by their neighbor. A dish box is perfect for stereo components, lamp bases, or anything breakable that you do not want in the regular boxes.

Wardrobe Box

A wardrobe box is exactly what it sounds like. It's taller than the 6.1 CF box, is about 10 CF, and is a heavy-duty cardboard that's constructed to stand up while in transit. It has a hanger bar that attaches near the top, so you can move your hanging clothes with ease. The standard height for a wardrobe box is about 46 inches, so you can use them to move things like dining room chairs or those golf clubs, also.

Mirror Box

A mirror box comes in several sizes, but they are all somewhat flat, and large. They are what you use for artwork and mirrors, but also flat screen TVs, computer monitors, large platters, or even tennis rackets.

Do not forget the proper packing supplies--lots of paper, tape and bubble wrap--but knowing your boxes is the first step towards a trouble-free move.