The way to wrap furniture for moving depends on specifics of your move. Is it interstate move, across the country, or local moving around the block? Loading PODS or international shipping container, or moving to long term storage? If you are getting ready to move and concerned about safely moving your household goods this series of articles will show in details how to wrap your furniture for any large or small move.
People sometimes underestimate amount of packing required for a moving job, but it is important to pack your personal belongings properly. I have been in the moving business for over 20 years, moved hundreds of families personally as a foreman and driver, and then thousands more as an owner of a moving company, both moving locally and moving interstate. I was teaching my movers the best and most efficient ways of handling and wrapping furniture, wrapping with blankets, crating, boxing, you name it.
Contrary to some statements I came across in other articles, Movers do care about your shipment, in most cases foreman is personally responsible to pay for your damages and movers also know that if something gets broken it is unlikely that they get any tips. At the same time movers do not have any sentimental attachment to your belongings and treat precious to you items as anything else. Their main goal is to secure the goods in a way that it will not break and will be easy to load.
Therefore it is important to make a foreman (moving crew leader) which items require special care. Do not expect movers to see your household goods the way you see it. The movers simply do not have time to consider how delicate each and every item might be. For example a bottle with exotic sand, layered by the color or even in a special design, will be ruined if simply laid on its side. Movers will make sure to pack the bottle that it will be safe, but they might not realize that the sand layers inside the bottle are not fixed and might mix into an ugly mess from vibration in the truck.
It is true that most damage occurs while carrying, loading and unloading, but it is also true that if movers (or yourself) do not load the truck properly some items will get damaged in transit. Word of caution about shopping for a moving company: If you have valuable furniture to move - do not look for cheap movers, look for good ones. Inexperienced movers or movers with bad reputation compete on price, not on professionalism. Good movers deserve to be paid well. As the saying goes - you get what you paid for.
Moving Packing Supplies.
There is variety of packing supplies available: bubble sleeves, plate cell packing kits, foam peanuts, bubble craft etc. We are not trying to cover 100% of the packing supplies, but only the most popular that are used by movers and that you can and should expect to find in a moving truck: Blankets, Boxes, paper, bubble wrap and Shrink wrap, plastic covers. With this set of supplies you can pack and move any type of furniture, china or artwork.
Moving blankets is mover's 'tool of the trade'. If you are moving locally and hiring a professional moving company you should expect them to show up with blankets and you should not be charged for it. But if you are moving long distance (interstate moving) or to storage, then purchasing your own moving blankets might be a good idea.
Moving Blankets can be of two major kinds: Quilted or padded moving blankets and Non-Quilted,, also called Skins or Space Savers. Each has its use. Quilted Moving blankets usually come in 72 x 80 inches size and differ depending on the outer fabric and amount of filler, the heavier the blankets the more filer they have and the more protection they offer.
Cheap moving blankets are made with nonwoven outer fabric and very light filler. These blankets can be very good if you are planning to place your stuff in long term storage or a small move. Economy moving blankets provide adequate protection and do not take much room in the storage. For long distance or interstate moving where interstate carrier charges by weight the advantage is that these blankets are much lighter than regular moving blankets.
For heavy solid wood furniture, leather couches, heavy dining tables etc. it is better to get heavier, thicker blankets that will provide better protection against bumps and dents. If you move often, moving blankets with woven outer fabric much more durable moving blankets and will serve much longer.
Non-quilted moving blankets can be made out of felt or burlap on one side and felt on the other. These should not be discounted especially if your main concern the furniture rubbing against each other. If you are packing your own pod, or container - you can use space savers with great success.
Another option is paper moving blankets. Paper packing blankets are constructed of two outer layers of brown kraft and three inner layers of light weight paper. The three inner layers can consist of newsprint, light weight kraft, tissue, bogus, or non woven papers. Most people are not even aware of paper blankets to be used for moving, meanwhile it is a very good alternative to quilted moving blankets, especially if you are moving only once or sending your goods to a long term storage or moving overseas. Paper blankets are breathable, provide good protection and 100% recyclable.
Moving boxes can be single wall, such as Book boxes, Linen boxes etc. or double wall, such as China Boxes, TV boxes, Wardrobe boxes etc. Double wall boxes are much stronger and hold more weight. But please DO NOT try to load them to capacity. Loading Wardrobe box full of books is not a good idea.
Name of the box is very suggestive: Book boxes (1.5 cubic feet) are for books, Small Linen boxes (3.1 c.f.) or Large Linen boxes (4.5 c.f.) are for folded clothes, towels and linen, China boxes, 5,.2 c.f. is for fragile items, and wardrobe box ( come in 10.1 c.f. or 15 c.f. and 4 ft tall) is for hanging clothes. And of course there are picture boxes, lamp boxes, mattress boxes and a whole line of all kinds of specialized boxes, corners etc.
When you pack fragile items in a box - you need something to provide cushioning. Most popular is Bubble wrap and Blank newsprint. Blank newsprint or white paper comes in 5, 10 or 25 lbs bundles. Blank newsprint is the best for packing kitchenware, plates, china, fragile items, or simply filling empty spaces in a box. Bubble wrap come in 12 or 24 inch wide rolls and with various bubble sizes. Movers mostly use 0.5 inch bubble wrap 24 inches wide. Bubble wrap is good for wrapping electronics or large pieces of glass.
Plastic covers for moving would include Shrink wrap or stretch wrap and Plastic mattress cover, plastic sofa cover or plastic chair covers. Shrink wrap - is widely used in shipping to keep a load on a pallet together as one unit and not to allow it to fall apart or items disappear from shipment.
In moving furniture shrink wrap was originally used to keep items with small parts or opening doors or drawers together. Then it became a substitute for plastic covers to wrap mattresses. It is not at all better than a plastic mattress cover, but it is more profitable for a moving company: it cost much less to buy a roll of shrink wrap, but it takes longer to wrap plus mover can charge more for each item wrapped. Movers might even wrap shrink wrap on top of furniture already wrapped in blankets. It looks good, but it is very expensive and absolutely useless.
If you put your items to storage shrink wrap is actually damaging to the furniture, because it traps the moisture and the furniture can actually rot under the shrink wrap if stored long enough. I would strongly recommend using mattress covers, because even if it will be wrapped in a blanket - you do not know what was wrapped in that blanket before. And mattress is what you sleep on. Also sofas with light colored upholstery would be better off if you cover it with plastic sofa cove before wrapping in the furniture blankets. Sometimes the color bleeds off the moving blanket onto upholstery.
When preparing for the move consider specifics of your move and consider the furniture you want to wrap. Need to save space? - Get space savers or paper blankets, need better protection - get premium quality thick moving blankets. Want to keep your fragile safe - pack them in double wall strong boxes with a lot of cushioning materials Want your keep furniture clean - use Plastic furniture covers.
In the next article we will go over specifics of wrapping various items of furniture.