Packing Tips

Chicago Movers

Packing Tips for a Smooth Move

Chicago Movers has made a name by pairing clients with our relocation partners. These businesses are dependable, trustworthy, and provide excellent value. But what you might not know about us is that we’re also an excellent resource for moving-related information geared toward the Chicago area.

The big move can be difficult and stressful, but much of this hardship occurs because of inadequate preparation. Take the packing process, for example. Many people dive right in with little thought and, in doing so, set off a chain reaction of troubles.

Since packing is a vast pitfall for first-time movers, we’ve assembled some tried and accurate packing tips that should have you on solid ground right from the start.

packing tips


  • Moving companies typically charge based on the amount of stuff you move.
  • Determine how the service measures that amount, and then plan accordingly.
  • Read the moving pack carefully. Most companies have specific packing requirements, and compliance can cause you to incur additional fees.


  • Plan your packing based on the rooms in your new residence. Keep all items specific to a room/area in the same boxes, but exceptions exist.
  • Pack small, loose items together regardless of their appropriate room. This makes it easier to protect those items.
  • Use small boxes to pack the heaviest items and large boxes to pack multiple light items.
  • Set aside enough time. Most people need to pay more attention to how long packing takes.

What You’ll Need

  • Tissue paper
  • Packing paper or newspaper
  • 2” packing tape
  • Masking tape
  • Scissors
  • A utility knife
  • Permanent markers
  • Boxes


  • Boxes have a lot of diversity, including shapes, sizes, and styles.
  • Take the time to consider what you’re moving, and choose the boxes accordingly.
  • You can usually get free boxes from your local grocery, but they’re only suitable for clothing, blankets, pillows, sleeping bags, etc.
  • Refrain from packing boxes because even professional-grade cartons will cave in. Use extra packing material or blankets to fill the space in these boxes.

Common Box Terminology

Note: The industry often refers to boxes as cartons. The terms are interchangeable.

  • China Barrel or Dishpack – Heavy-duty boxes intended for glassware
  • Double-wall – China Barrel boxes with an extra layer of protection
  • Mattress – Boxes for mattresses and box springs are available in bed sizes
  • Mirror – Telescoping boxes used for framed pictures, glass, and mirrors
  • Stretch Wrap – A plastic covering used to protect furniture
  • Wardrobe – Boxes with a built-in bar that allows clothes and draperies to hang

Common Box Sizes

  • 1.5 cu. Ft. – Small boxes intended for heavy items
  • 3.0 cu. Ft. – Boxes for pots, pans, toys, and small appliances
  • 4.5 cu. Ft. – Large boxes for bulky items, such as linens, towels, and toys
  • 6.0 cu. Ft. – Extra-large boxes used for lightweight items, such as lampshades and pillows

Packing Glassware and Other Fragile Items

  • Keep these items together.
  • Use a heavy-duty, high-quality box. These boxes will absorb much of the vibrations that can damage these items.
  • Use several layers of wrapping paper or newspaper for each item. It’s better to use “too much” than too little.

Paring Down

Even if you handle the move yourself, the more you move, the more fuel, time, and other resources will cost. One of the most essential packing tips you can adhere to is to pare down. In many cases, selling or disposing of an item and then purchasing it again at the new location is far more resource-effective. Here’s a series of questions you can ask yourself to help decide on any given item:

  • Does it have sentimental value? If yes, then keep it.
  • Is it replaceable?
  • Does anyone still use it? Take this opportunity to rid yourself of all that “junk” you’ve collected over the years.
  • Is there room for it in the new residence?
  • Is it worth the cost of moving it?

The "Garage Sale"

Now that you’ve made the difficult choices about what to leave behind, this is your chance to make some spending money that can help ease the move a great deal. In the good old days, people used garage sales to prepare for the move. Today, it’s often easier to move it all using a website such as eBay.

The Pack

  • Pack room by room.
  • Pack based on how soon you’ll need the items.
  • As you finish a box, sort it based on weight—light, medium, or heavy.
  • Try to limit heavy boxes to 50 pounds.


  • Include cushioning and fill gaps with packing paper.
  • Wrap fragile items before packing them.
  • You can set aside all items for a box; start with the heaviest items and work towards the lightest.
  • Refrain from overstuffing. The boxes should close flat.
  • Seal boxes tightly unless they must be open for inspection, after which you can seal them.
  • Label the boxes clearly.


  • Write in large letters.
  • Mark both the room and contents.
  • Indicate notes like FRAGILE, NEED NOW, and THIS END UP.
  • If you have a bill of lading, include it on each box.
Chicago Movers

Get Moving Quotes
It’s Fast, Free & Easy!

Get Multiple FREE Quotes from Top Chicago Movers!