A Division of Estes Express Lines

Move like a Pro with the Estes SureMove Packing 101 Checklist

Packing 101


Early Preparation

Gather these time-saving tools and supplies ahead of time:
The Basics
  • Sturdy, double-corrugated boxes
  • Packing tape/box tape and dispenser
  • Mattress bags
  • Wardrobe boxes
  • Sandwich bags to hold small parts and hardware (tape them to their corresponding item)
  • Color-coded stickers for each room (affix to the boxes according to their contents)
Packing Protection
  • Furniture pads and blankets
  • Bubble wrap
  • Stretch wrap (to secure loose or movable items like furniture parts or appliance drawers and doors)
  • Cardboard (to place on the trailer floor and as a buffer between items)
  • Newspaper (to wrap items and stuff into boxes to prevent shifting)
  • Tarps to place under and over your possessions on the trailer
  • Work gloves
  • Dolly/hand truck
  • Scissors
  • Box cutter or pocket knife
  • Small tool kit (with at least one flathead screwdriver, one Phillips head screwdriver, a hammer and an adjustable wrench)
Items for Bracing Your Things
  • Ratchet straps
  • Rope
  • Bungee cords
  • Nails and wood blocks (for anchoring freight on the trailer floor to prevent shifting)

Packing Basics

Use new packing boxes rather than old (possibly damaged or weakened) containers. Sturdy, double corrugated boxes are a good choice.
Seal packed boxes with packing tape instead of duct tape. (Duct tape doesn't stick well to cardboard.)
Pack rooms one at a time.
Don't mix items from different rooms in the same box. This will help simplify the unpacking process at your new home.
Use color-coded stickers or mark the top and side of each box with the contents' origin (such as Kitchen or Master Bedroom).
Pack heavy items—such as books—in small, manageable boxes.
Pack some essentials separately that you'll need as soon as you arrive at your new home. It should contain cleaning supplies, trash bags, toilet paper, extension cords and batteries, work gloves, disposable plates, cups and utensils, pet supplies, toiletries, a hammer and screwdriver, bedding and linens, snacks, canned/boxed drinks…and even toys for the kids. (NOTE: For easier accessibility, pack these items last on the truck.)
To help prevent crushing, pack larger, heavier items under lighter ones.

Protect Against Breakage

Wrap glassware in bubble wrap, padded paper or towels/linens and place each piece in a box filled with wadded newspaper, Styrofoam peanuts, more bubble wrap or additional linens to prevent shifting and damage. Whenever possible, pack them standing up and not lying flat, filling in between each piece with wadded packing material.
Completely fill each packed box to help prevent its contents from shifting.
Put pillows and linens in plastic trash bags and use them as space-fillers on the truck to help keep the boxes from shifting in transit.
Protect your furniture by wrapping it with furniture pads or bubble wrap.
Pack your electronics (computers, printers, stereos, TVs, etc.) in their original boxes and packaging, if possible.
Whenever possible, disassemble furniture, removing table legs, securing cushions and placing bubble wrap around glass shelves and on glass doors, etc.
Protect mirrors and large wall art by covering them with bubble wrap or heavy cardboard.
Tape down both sides and pack flat items, such as wrapped wall art, on their edges.

What Not to Pack in the Truck

Perishable items—even if packed in ice or dry ice—should not be put on the moving trailer with your other possessions.
Be sure to review the Do Not Haul list to make sure you're not packing anything that is banned by the Department of Transportation.
Consider buying all but the basic liquid cleaning supplies once you reach your new destination instead of moving open bottles that could spill in transit.

Appliances and Machinery

Secure stove doors, knobs, electrical cords and heating elements with packing tape or stretch wrap. You can also secure doors with a rope or bungee cord.
Disconnect and empty your washing machine's hoses and put them inside the unit.
Drain the fuel and oil from lawnmowers, chainsaws and other gasoline-powered yard equipment.
Remove the refrigerator shelves and trays and pack them separately. Tie down the door(s) of your emptied refrigerator with a rope, bungee cord or stretch wrap to prevent it from swinging open. Avoid taping the door since this can damage the appliance's finish. Secure the electrical cord to avoid damage.

Bracing Your Belongings

Don't depend on the partition to hold your things in place. It is not designed to withstand the shifting of heavier objects and is only there to separate your belongings from the rest of the freight on the trailer.
Use ratchet straps, ropes or bungee cords with the fixtures on the trailer's walls to secure your possessions and limit shifting.
Since the trailer's floor is wood, nail 2" x 4" blocks to the floor as anchors for tying and blocking your freight and preventing shifting in transit.
Fill in all empty spaces with softer items that can help hold everything in place and limit shifting.
Since you only pay for the actual space used, pack your belongings all the way to the ceiling. Not only will you save money, but you'll also minimize shifting in transit.

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