After all the planning that goes into moving, packing your rental truck can feel like the final assault on a mountain.
Fear not! We’ve got tips to help you pack your moving truck carefully and securely — without breaking too much of a sweat!
Gather your equipment
Start by assembling the gear that will help you pack your moving truck effectively. Gather together your hand truck, straps for heavy items, blankets and pads. Keep your bubble wrap and tape handy, too, for items that might need some reinforcing. And always have your clipboard with moving inventory at the ready, so you can keep track of your boxes and other items using whichever “tracking” system you prefer — numbers, letters, or colors can all work to organize your boxed belongings.
Don’t be a super-mover
Along with the proper equipment, you’ll need the right amount of help to move your things. If you have heavy items to move, don’t try to do it alone. Line up family or friends as far in advance of your move as you can — enough of them so that you’re not shorthanded when it comes to getting all of your things safely and comfortably into the moving truck.
Store fragile & urgent items in the cab
Begin the move by placing especially fragile or valuable items you don’t want to lose track of into the cab of the moving truck. You’ll want to include your “first night” bag or box with everything you’ll need as soon as you arrive, as well, along with items for your pets. You can also put these things in the car of someone who is helping you move. Be sure to keep doors locked so that a thief doesn’t take advantage of an unguarded vehicle.
Prepare your furniture
To make the move faster, remove drawers from dressers, credenzas and entertainment units, which will lighten their load. Replace them once the furniture is on the truck and tape them shut for the trip. You can even pack items inside the drawers to conserve space.
Break down furniture as much as you can, unscrewing the legs of tables, sofas and tables. You can roll these legs up in carpets. Go ahead and cover or pad furniture as soon as it’s in the truck, before you lose the room to maneuver. Disassemble bed frames and any other furniture that can be made smaller. Gather all the screws together for a single piece, put them in a baggie and tape it to the underside of the furniture. Label the bag that identifies the pieces, in case bag and furniture get separated.
Heavy items on deck
Staging the contents of your moving truck in advance as carefully as possible will make the packing proceed much faster. You’ll want to place your heaviest items in the truck first, so they can use the support of the cab to keep from shifting during the trip. Make sure to centralize their weight to keep the truck balanced, with heavy boxes or furniture on other side to keep appliances (appropriately wrapped and padded before loading) from sliding. If you can set your largest, heaviest items out in the street around the rental truck before you start — without impeding traffic or bothering the neighbors! — you’ll have the best idea of how much you have to place and what to put in the truck next.
Fill in the gaps
Add long pieces next, along the sides of the truck. Place the remaining heavy boxes in the center and spread them out to distribute the weight evenly, stacking lighter boxes on top of appliances and furniture. Fill in the gaps underneath desks, chairs and tables and (carefully!) on top of sofas and seats. Fragile, lighter and awkward-shaped items go last, along with bags, secured into place alongside surrounding items so they won’t move around.
Careful packing starts even before you pull up the moving truck. Get the right help, equipment and strategy in place first, and the rest of your efforts will go more smoothly.