How to Pack a Moving Truck

Packing a moving truck can be almost as overwhelming as moving itself, and arranging your furniture in a way that maximizes your space and minimizes damage is a tricky endeavor. But if you know how to pack a moving truck the right way, then the task will be easy and even fun. Follow these steps to find out how to do it.

Gather materials. To pack your truck in the safest and most efficient way possible, you’ll need a few extra items to help you move your heaviest items and to protect your most delicate belongings. You can get these supplies from a moving supply store or a hardware store. Here’s what you’ll need:[1]

  • A dolly. This will help you move your heaviest furniture as well as your boxes.
  • Paper padding, plastic stretch wrap, or furniture pads. This will help keep your furniture free from damage.
  • Packing tape. This will hold the padding over your furniture together.
  • Straps. These will help your furniture stay together and will keep it from shifting.
  • A large tarp or plastic wrap. This should cover the floor of the truck to keep your furniture from getting dirty.
  • Consider hiring a move manager if you aren’t sure what you need and what companies to use. They can oversee and organize your move so it’s easier to manage

Prepare the cab. You should put the items you really need in the cab so you don’t forget about them and end up packing them up in the back of the truck. You’ll need to bring a toolkit so you can reassemble your furniture as soon as you need to, overnight items so you don’t have to search for them, as well as the most fragile items that you don’t want to put in the truck.

  • If you or someone who is helping you is also driving a car to your new home, you can also give your fragile items to that person.[3]
  • Fragile items include valuable plates, anything made of glass, and even light bulbs from disassembled lamps.
  • Your overnight items should include enough for you to live with for a day without having to unpack. This will help you avoid an annoying situation where you’ve packed away your deodorant and have to buy a new one because you can’t find it.
  • Put your computer and small electronic items, or even a television, in the cab, if they will fit. You can add these items later during the packing process.

Disassemble your furniture. This will help make your furniture easier to pack and light enough to carry. Before your furniture leaves your house, it should be taken apart into manageable pieces. Not everything can be taken apart, of course, but taking apart a few key items will make moving much easier.Here’s what you can do:[4]

  • Remove the cushions from your sofas.
  • Take apart your bed and your bed frames. Tape your bed frames together.
  • Take the bulbs out of your lamps and place them in a separate container or bag. The last thing you want is for glass to get crushed all over your truck.
  • If you have heavy dressers, take the drawers out and carry them to the truck individually. When you load the dresser back into the truck, you can put the drawers back in and even tape them shut.
  • Filing cabinets can be the heaviest item of all. Take out your drawers and carry them to the truck separately before you put them back in.
  • If you remove any screws or hardware from the furniture, put it in a bag and tape it to the furniture, or put a note in the bag that clearly says which piece of furniture it’s from.
  • Take apart your bed rails or table legs, and roll them into large rugs or carpets.

Pack books and bookcases to make the most of the space. If you have a lot of books, and a lot of bookcases, go out and get specific boxes that will fit on the bookcases. That is a lot of wasted space otherwise, and regular boxes are usually too wide and too tall to fit on bookshelves. You can pack some books on the bookcases, but you must have a way to keep them from coming off the shelves. On higher shelves, it would be better to pack lighter items in the boxes. Since books are very heavy, even the standard U-Haul “small” box is too heavy for many people to carry. Smaller boxes of books will allow less strong people to carry the books.[5]

  • You can get small and odd-sized boxes at local companies that recycle them from industry. All you’ll need is the specific measurements of the shelves you wish to populate
  • The smaller boxes will also help you with the chaos of moving. After packing the boxes, they can be put on the shelves until you move; after you arrive at your new location, they can sit on the shelves until you are ready to pack them.

Move all of your furniture out in front of the truck. Moving as much of your furniture out into the street as you can will help you see how much you’re working with, and will make it easier for you to see which items are the heaviest.

  • Only do this if you don’t annoy your neighbors or end up taking up too much space.
  • You can also load right from your house into the truck, but you’ll have to keep out an eye for which items should go in first (heaviest to lightest).
  • Make sure you have a clear path between your home and the truck.
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