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Insider Tips for Buying Moving Supplies

When my husband and I moved into our house five years ago, we both declared that move would be our last — for a very, very long time, at least. Neither one of us could stomach the idea of schlepping boxes around anytime soon. But it’s not the actual moving that drives me up the wall; it’s the packing. At this point in my ultra-cluttered adult life, I wouldn’t know where to start.


Thankfully, there are people who do. People like Joe Devost, a field operations manager with the moving company You Move Me. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t even be able to guess at the types of boxes and other supplies I’d need for a move. These tips from Devost are like gold.


For Boxes, Get a Professional Opinion


The number of boxes needed for a move is never a one-size-fits-all affair, Devost says, which makes it tough to give general guidelines. To avoid getting too many or too few boxes, schedule an in-home consultation with your moving company or describe your dwelling to a moving supplies provider. Your magic box number will depend on your dwelling’s type (apartment, bungalow, two-story house), square footage, and number of bedrooms. Or, if you prefer to do-it-yourself,   search for a moving supplies calculator online, which can help estimate the number of boxes needed when you pack.


Plan for Packing Paper


It’s never a bad idea to wrap breakable and easily scuffed items in packing paper before putting them in a box, Devost says. Packing paper is essentially blank newsprint — it prevents friction between items without leaving an ink residue. For homes measuring 1,200 square feet or smaller, Devost recommends one 25 lb. roll of packing paper. But if your kitchen cupboards are bursting at the seams, then you may need one roll for that room alone.


Be Safe, Not Sorry with Bubble Wrap


For highly breakable items like glass ornaments and china, you may need more protection than paper can offer. Bubble wrap is often the answer.


According to Devost, bubble wrap usually has one of two sizes of bubbles: small and large. “Small bubbles are best for trinkets like ornaments, while large bubbles are good for wrapping items such as oil paintings,” Devost says. As for the amount, Devost suggests one roll (48 by 750 inches) of the small bubble wrap for every 1,200 square feet of living space. Add a roll (48 by 250 inches) of the large bubbles only if you have items that require it.


Protect Where You Rest Your Head


One thing you don’t want to overlook is a mattress cover. “These airtight bags keep your mattresses from being exposed to dust and moisture,” Devost explains. You’ll need two mattress bags for every bed in your home — one for the mattress and one for the box spring. Some king beds have two separate twin-size box springs, so be sure to adjust your count for these.


Don’t Forget About Furniture


The best way to protect your furniture, Devost says, is to use fabric moving blankets. But these can run anywhere from $10 to $20 a blanket, so the cost can add up rather quickly. (Devost estimates that most two- to three-bedroom homes need 80 to 100 blankets.) “Paper moving pads, often priced at around $2 each, are less expensive, but they are likely to be less effective,” Devost cautions, adding that shrink wrap could be used as a last, budget-friendly resort.


Use Tape to Strengthen and Secure Your Boxes


My trick for closing boxes is to weave the flaps shut, but Devost says this is a no-no. “Sealing your boxes with tape keeps out moisture, insects, and debris while ensuring their strength and stability,” he says. (Insects? Say no more!) For maximum protection, Devost calls for three rows of clear packaging tape on the top and bottom of each box. He says you can expect to need six rolls (48mm by 50m) of tape for every 1,200 square feet in your home.

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