Bubble Wrap 101: Protips, What It Doesn’t Work With, and Solid Alternatives

Author:

Publish Date:

Last Modified Date:

Category: How To Pack

Tags: Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

For keeping your most valuable, most expensive stuff protected when you move, it may seem like there’s nothing better than bubble wrap. But we’ll let you in on a little secret. 

Movers very rarely – if ever – use the stuff.

Not because it doesn’t work. It does. But the pros know, all those little bubbles add up to some bulky and relatively expensive bit of cushioning. Packing paper, used correctly, will serve most any packing purpose and save you both space and money.

Still, you may be more comfortable enveloping your flat screen TV, your electronics, your stemware and your china in bubble wrap. That’s totally understandable. So if you decide to go this route, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Using Bubble Wrap: 5 Quick Tips

  1. Put a layer of packing paper between your TV and that bubble wrap. Plastic can leave marks on your screen, particularly in extreme temperatures. This goes for anything you wrap in bubbles. For items with sharp edges or corners, some extra paper can help keep those sharp areas from poking right through the plastic.
  2. Wrap your items with the bubbles facing inward for better protection against exterior pressure and accidental impact. The flat side is easier to write on (in case you want to be able to identify each item quickly) and will hold the tape in place much more effectively.
  3. Don’t bank on one layer of bubble wrap. Two layers of small bubble sheeting might be enough for a piece of stemware, though this would be in addition to packing them with plenty of packing paper and, for extra peace of mind, individual cells inside your cardboard box. If you are using the stuff with the bigger bubbles for heavier items like a large framed mirror or your CPU, one layer may suffice – but again, only in addition to some crumpled packing paper for extra cushioning on all sides.
  4. Keep that bubble wrap firmly in place by taping not just along the edges, but all the way around the item. You splurged on that bubble wrap, don’t start skimping on the tape!
  5. Have a pair of scissors on hand when you are unpacking. It would be a real bummer to break something – or drop and break something – while trying to tear that bubble wrap off using only your hands. 

You might love our:

Moving Cost Calculator

If the quote from your movers felt expensive …
Make sure it lines up with the costs reported by other Americans.

What to Pack in Bubble Wrap

bubble wrap

Valuable items. Fragile items. Heavy and hard-to-replace items. If you’re staring at something and you can’t decide whether to bubble wrap it, err on the side of caution and wrap it.

Specifically, you’ll want to consider bubble wrap for:

  • Large picture frames and mirrors
  • Flat screen TVs
  • Glass tabletops and shelving
  • Electronics and computers
  • Stemware and fine china
  • Fragile decorative items

Remember, bubble wrap alone will not do the trick. Even surrounded by two or three layers of air pockets, the things on this list will still need to be packed firmly in cardboard cartons with enough crumpled packing paper on all sides to keep them from shifting and bouncing in transit while keeping them safe from exterior impact.

After the bubble wrapping is done, use the right kind of box.

There’s no point in being safe if you use the wrong box for your stuff. Finish the job right by packing each bubble-wrapped item properly, surrounded by plenty of crumpled packing paper. Moving boxes come in specific shapes and sizes for your items, use accordingly.

bubble wrap

Mirror Cartons

Picture frames, mirrors, glass shelves and flat-screen TVs go in mirror cartons – sets of two, if not four pieces that you can use to form a custom-sized box.

Double-Walled Dish Pack Cartons

bubble wrap

containerstore.com

Electronics and computer components are best protected when packed in double-walled dish pack cartons, the same boxes we use for dishes, plates and glasses. And yes! This includes your china and stemware. Fragile decorative items like statuettes and ceramics can still be packed in medium (3 cubic foot) boxes, provided they are cushioned well and the boxes are clearly marked to minimize the chances of someone putting a box of books on top.

Cardboard Cells

A note about stemware: Nothing gets broken more often than this stuff. Wrapping each piece well is crucial, but so is packing it all correctly into your dish pack as the items on the bottom will have to support the weight of everything else in there.

bubble wrap

cactuscontainers.com

The best thing to do is get your hands on some of those cardboard cells, which not only keep your wine glasses from knocking against each other but offer an appreciable amount of vertical support, keeping all the weight of those glasses off the ones at the bottom of the box.

If you can’t find any cardboard cells, don’t despair! A thick layer of crumpled packing paper on the bottom of your dish pack and another layer of crumpled paper on top of each successive tier of firmly-packed stemware is what the pros use to keep everything safe. If you aren’t comfortable with that, line your entire dish pack with bubble wrap and put a couple of sheets in between your tiers of glasses. This isn’t the most cost-efficient way to pack your stemware, but it beats a box full of expensive shards of glass.

Alternatives

If not bubble wrap, then what? As stated earlier, packing paper is the standard. However, towels, crumpled newspaper, or virtually anything form-fitting, sturdy and that’s plenty soft can often do the trick for cheaper. Sound too simple? It really is. As long as you pad your items in a balanced way, it doesn’t need to be as expensive as bubble wrap. Just as long as “this one, extra towel” isn’t the only thing keeping your priceless vase safe. Check the moving supplies section at your local hardware store for bubble wrap alternatives.

A Note on Packing Peanuts

bubble wrapYou may like the idea of those Styrofoam nuggets, but in general, they are bulky, costly, and non-biodegradable. The eco-friendly alternative cornstarch peanuts are even more expensive and don’t make for a very satisfying snack, no matter how hungry you are at the end of your move. Plus, they end up getting scattered all over the floor and clinging to your clothes. In short, use (and eat) them if you like, but I don’t recommend them.


Admit it. It’s hard to resist popping those plastic bubbles once you’re done with that bubble wrap. But think for a moment how easy it is to pop them – and how much all the boxes you are packing must weigh.

Keep this in mind when you are packing up all those valuable, expensive, fragile items. On its own, a sheet of bubble wrap can’t adequately protect your stuff. You’re going to need plenty of packing paper (or towels or clothes) in a pinch. Pack those items firmly in the center of your box, protected on all sides.

And really, save yourself a headache (and maybe the stomachache) and stay away from those peanuts!

Safe & No Sound: How and Why to Pack Household Batteries Correctly

Author:

Publish Date:

Last Modified Date:

Category: Pro Packing Guides

Tags: Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

So you’re packing up someone’s kitchen and you reach for the wall clock. First thing you notice is how long the pack job is taking. (Time flies when you’re having fun, right?) But then as you take that clock off the wall you hear it ticking softly and you think “Oh. Battery.”

And it’s not just the clock in the kitchen. So many things in a house that take batteries. Most of these items aren’t running – the flashlights, the handheld games, the remote controls for the TV, the toys and that drone that’s mostly illegal – so you won’t be draining their batteries if you leave them in. Unless of course a switch gets flipped or a button gets pressed in that carton packed full of stuff and something ends up turned on for the duration of the move. (I’ve had plenty of situations, including packing my own kids’ stuff, where something in a box starts making all sorts of noise and I have to dig the culprit out and shut it off and repack it.)

When you see batteries while packing

But what to do with the battery in that clock, and the batteries in all the other items you don’t want running while they’re all packed up? 

Take out the batteries and put them back in backwards. From a convenience, as well as a loss-prevention standpoint, this makes sense. But there are those who say this is not a good idea. These people usually use a lot of terms and offer explanations that are entirely Greek to most of us, so to be on the safe side for a move longer than a couple hours, we might want to just skip to our second option.

Yes, take out the batteries and pack them separately. Which doesn’t necessarily mean in a separate box, just separate from the items they came out of. Wrap them in paper, tape up the bundles and mark them well so they don’t get thrown in the trash or the recycling bin with the rest of the packing paper. Tape them directly onto the items they came from if need be. (Taping unwrapped batteries directly to unwrapped clocks and drones is a practice best avoided.)

What about spare batteries lying around?

That takes care of all the batteries being used. Now, what about the batteries not being used? You know, all the used ones half buried in a junk drawer. Can we just dump them in a box with all the other stuff in that drawer?

Yes we can. But no we shouldn’t.

Because those batteries – those little packs of stored energy – constitute a fire hazard. It’s true. They may look completely harmless lying dead in that drawer, not hooked up to anything. But under the right (see: wrong) conditions, bad things can happen.

Specifically, mixing those batteries with small metal items like paper clips or spare keys and a random scrap of paper or two spells trouble. Those rectangular 9-Volt batteries with the positive and negative terminals sticking out of the top are of particular concern. Don’t believe it? Check out this video news piece to see how easy it is for a fire to ignite where there’s nothing but a battery, some metal and a piece of paper.

At the tail end of the piece, we’re told that “it’s only 9-volt batteries that have this problem”. Tell that to the victims of this fire, started in the console of their SUV by the combination of a few AA batteries, a couple of DVDs and some random bits of paper. “You confine (these things) in a drawer or put it in a paper sack and confine it, it will build up enough heat that it can’t dissipate out into the air,” says Fire Captain Ken Bailey. “Eventually it will reach 451 degrees, which is the ignition temperature of paper.”

Yep, just in a drawer or a paper sack. Or a cardboard moving box.

Preventing the possibility of igniting a fire is simple: Pack any and all loose batteries separate from anything metallic. Wrap them in plenty of paper, taped side by side or sealed in a plastic bag if you really want to go that extra mile.

To be quite honest, with all the millions of loose batteries lying in all the millions of junk drawers in this country and only a couple of fires on record (that we know of), the chances of those loose batteries actually starting a fire can seem pretty slim.

But then again, why take chances?

A Trash Bag Is by Far the Most Useful Movehack Item. Here’s Why

Author:

Publish Date:

Last Modified Date:

Category: How To Pack

Tags: Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

When you’re in the midst of a move, you may find yourself running to the store every other day to pick up supplies. It may seem like you can never have enough boxes, tape and packing paper, but there is another item you should add to your essentials list… trash bags!

This versatile item can be used in so many ways to help you move. Let’s review all of these trash bag hacks.

They’re Essential for Hanging Clothes

Instead of purchasing wardrobe boxes for your move, we suggest keeping your clothes on their hangers and protecting them with trash bags. All you have to do is take a stack of clothes off the rack and bring a trash bag from the bottom of the clothing up towards the hanger. Then, use the drawstring on your trash bag and tie it tight around the hanger. This will ensure that the bag doesn’t come off during transport. It’s the perfect garment bag hack! Bonus…buy those scented trash bags so your clothes smell fresh when you get to your new home!

Make a Simple Donation Section

Trash bags make it super easy to corral and easily identify all of the items you’re planning to donate. This is especially helpful when it comes time to clean out that stuffed wardrobe of yours! We suggest that you keep a trash bag in your closet in the months leading up to your move.  As you try on items that you no longer love, toss them into the this conveniently located trash bag. Little by little, the bags in your closets will start to fill up with donation items, and you won’t have to spend an entire weekend purging out your closets! Trust us, you won’t want to move any other way.

Trust us, you won’t want to move any other way.

Transport Your Plants Without the Mess

Plants are a tricky one to move because no one wants dirt all over their vehicle – so grab that handy dandy trash bag of yours and place the bottom of the plant inside. This ensures that the dirt doesn’t get all over and you can easily move your greenery to your new space. If you can though, keep the top of your plant out so it still gets lots of fresh air!

Wrap Unusual Objects Easily

When packing, you’re bound to run into items that will make you scratch your head and say, “How the heck do I pack that up?!” (Lamp shades are one of them.) How can you make sure your shade doesn’t get dirty and gross on its ride to your new pad? Well, use a trash bag to cover those unusual objects and keep them safe!

If It’s Anything Other Than Sunny, You’ll Need a Ton of Them

If you’re worried about special items getting wet during your move, we suggest using a trash bag inside your cardboard box. Simply put your precious items in a trash bag (books, papers, throw pillows, etc) and then put that bag inside the box! That way it’s got double protection from the elements.

And You Can Throw Your Away Trash (Duh!)

Okay, of course, you’ll need trash bags for trash. And you’ll probably have a lot more than usual when you’re packing up your home to move. Stock up on a lot of garbage bags and you’ll be set for this, and everything else on this list for the duration of your move.

It’s official: you need to head to your nearest Costco before your move and find the largest roll of trash bags you can find. Trust us!

How-To Guide for Getting the Best Rental Truck For You

Author:

Publish Date:

Last Modified Date:

Category: Moving Trucks

Tags: Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

You’ve spent weeks packing up. You’ve spent days cleaning your bathroom and your floors. You’ve spent hours tying up loose ends and your last few spare minutes posting about how crazy your move is making you. Now all you have to do is rent a truck.

A truck! Crap, I forgot!

If you planned well ahead and reserved your truck, you’re part of an admirable, enviable minority. If you’re moving tomorrow and haven’t started comparing rental trucks for moving? May the gods of the move be with you. (But seriously, we”re here to help.) Deciding what size truck to get to searching for a decent deal, renting a truck blindly can be as bumpy as driving one, so here are some key areas to focus on for smoothing things out.

Properly Measure How Much You Need to Move by Trying This

For most people, it’s hard to believe how much stuff they really have. It’s even harder trying to figure out how big a truck they’ll need. If you’ve rented a truck before, your experience will be invaluable, but if this is your first time, don’t underestimate how bulky your world has become!

Not a blind endorsement for Penske, but it’s a valuable tool

General packing guidelines, based off a typical move

Penske’s online “Truck Wizard can help determine what size truck you’ll need. Inputting items like furniture and appliances is easy. But estimating how many boxes of varying sizes you’ll have is tough if you haven’t already packed up. As an experiment, I tried it out using my own place. At first, I couldn’t believe I’d need that big a truck. But the next size down ended up being too small. 

Finding out halfway through your move that your stuff won’t fit in your truck is a nightmare you don’t want to live through. So when estimating how much stuff you have, be over the top thorough. And don’t forget all that stuff in the closets and the garage!

Pick Your Move Day Wisely to Get a Good Deal

Do you have any flexibility at all in scheduling your move day? If so, take advantage. When trying to rent a truck, moving on a weekday in the middle of the month versus moving on the last or first day of the month is the difference between heaven or hell.

If your flexibility is limited and you find yourself running into roadblocks trying to nail down that rental, try a few of these tricks:

  • Rent round trip if possible. Dealers need to keep their inventory of trucks in places that are busiest. Otherwise, they have to move the trucks around themselves. Got a car? Leave it behind, make your move, then return your rental and drive your car to your new home. (Or have a friend follow you in your car.) They can help you unload and drive the rental back. (Check with your rental company’s policy on this.)
  • Try a dealer somewhere out of town. The smaller dealers out in the boonies might have trucks hanging around while their colleagues in the city are scrambling.
  • If your move is local, consider making two trips in a smaller truck.
  • If you’re moving long distance, try drop-off points that may not be in your new town. For example, if you’re moving to Eugene, OR, look for a deal that involves dropping your truck off in Portland. Again, inventory logistics can drive a rental company’s truck availability, not to mention the price. You might even ask where they need trucks and try to figure out a deal. Even with the extra day or the cost of getting back to Eugene, you may still come out ahead.
  • As implied in that previous point, it pays off to physically call all the rental companies. Speak to people. Ask about possibilities that don’t show up online. Be friendly. Be inquisitive. Be persistent.

Dealing with Price Differences

The quotes you get from the various truck rental companies out there can vary significantly. Put as simply as possible, there are three main reasons for this:

  • The quality of trucks available that day
  • The quality of customer service
  • Hidden charges

Ultimately, because prices depend so much on where you personally live and who else is moving that specific day, it’s impossible to flat-out say which company has the best deal every single time. However, you can find all sorts of information on truck rental companies online. 

Moving101 is an exhaustive resource with as much information about every moving truck company under the sun, including dimensions, tons of real, up-to-the-day reviews, and a ton more.

moving101.hireahelper.com/

In addition, here’s one fairly comprehensive forum thread that may be of interest that discusses a few tips and warnings that may also be useful. Keep all of these resources in mind, as your personal (and figurative) mileage is subject to local quirks.

Some (Not So Obvious) Protips

  • If you’re worried about insurance on your rental truck… good! It’s not likely that your credit card or your personal car insurance will cover you in the case of an accident. Thus, you’ll want to know exactly what you’d be facing in case of a mishap and what kind of insurance is available to avoid a financial disaster. Rental companies will offer various types of insurance, and sometimes at different levels. Here’s a good rundown by ValuePenguin on the wonderful world of rental truck insurance terms.
  • If you’re worried that the truck you reserved won’t be there waiting for you, you’re not crazy. It happens (maybe with some companies more than others). Trucks break down, people return them late and some trucks just seem to vanish. To increase your chances of getting the truck you reserved, one idea is to get to the rental place early. Another idea: if for whatever reason you are super-concerned you won’t get the best one, arrange to pick up your truck in the evening after people have already (presumably) begun dropping them all off.
  • If you are booking your rental online, HireAHelper does offer discounts on Penske and Budget
  • If you are in a real pinch and you don’t have all that much stuff, think about renting a trailer from Uhaul instead of a truck (from anyone). Even if you have to pay to have a trailer hitch installed on your vehicle, the money you save renting a trailer instead of a truck will in all likelihood more than cover the cost. Plus trailers don’t break down nearly as often as trucks. Just make sure there’s a spare tire!

Price, quality and customer service. Insurance, truck size and availability. It’s a difficult road to navigate – we know – but with knowledge, persistence and a few tricks up your sleeve, you’ll be well-equipped to handle this last, important piece of your moving puzzle.

How To Properly Take Care of Your Back While You Pack

Author:

Publish Date:

Last Modified Date:

Category: Pro Packing Guides

Tags: Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

This month’s packing tip has nothing to do with protecting our customer’s belongings. Instead, we’re going to talk about protecting ourselves.

As movers, we know well the importance of lifting and carrying stuff the right way so we don’t kill our backs. Packing rarely involves heavy lifting, but spending a few hours in someone’s kitchen can still end up being a pain in the lower back (yes and the neck but that’s different). Here are three steps for avoiding that physical strain.

First, clear a space on a table or a counter where you can set and wrap your customer’s dishes, bowls, glasses and everything else waiting in those cupboards and cabinets. You want to be standing upright, not hunched over a coffee table or kneeling on the floor. (If you are packing and moving your customer on the same day, make sure your team leaves that kitchen table until the end, or at least until you’re done packing in there.)

Second, place the box on top of something, so you don’t have to bend over so far as you fill it with bundle after bundle of wrapped dishes and coffee mugs. Wrapping and packing an entire kitchen can involve a hundred or two hundred separate items. Setting your dish pack on a chair or a low (and adequately wide) stool, or even a couple of (extremely well-packed) book boxes, can save you from a lot of unnecessary back-bending.

As a bonus, your box will be easier to lift once it’s all packed.

Third, simply apply these simple tips to every other box in every other room you pack. Even when you’re packing light stuff – clothes, bedding, shoes and small picture frames – the less you have to bend over the better and stronger you’ll be throughout the day.

It may seem like not a huge step to pack boxes in this elevated way, but trust me – the energy saved absolutely adds up throughout the day, let alone throughout a career.

The Pros Pack Entire Homes With Just 5 Things

Author:

Publish Date:

Last Modified Date:

Category: How To Pack, Moving Boxes & Supplies

Tags: Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

We are sorry to report – in case you didn’t already know – that packing your entire home into moving boxes is no small task. You’ll be happy to hear, however, that the list of packing supplies you need is short.

But while the list is short, there’s a catch; You’ll need a lot more of each thing than you think.

(more…)

How to Use a Moving Dolly Like the Pros

Author:

Publish Date:

Last Modified Date:

Category: Loading & Unloading Guides

Tags: Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Moving house without a hand truck – or a moving dolly – is like riding a bicycle without a seat. It’s technically possible, but honestly, who does that?

A sturdy, reliable hand truck is any mover’s best friend. Used properly, it saves you time, rescues your back and it can singlehandedly keep your stuff from getting damaged.

(Thinking of a square furniture dolly?)

But they’re not as easy to use as they look, provided you are using them in the proper way. With that in mind, here are tips compiled by moving pros as to how to optimize that hand truck you found in the back of your moving truck, or that one your friend let you borrow and you don’t want to return broken.

(more…)

The Do’s and Don’ts For Shooting Your Own Real Estate Photos

Author:

Publish Date:

Last Modified Date:

Category: Buying & Selling a Home

Tags: Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

When it comes to selling your home, it’s all about making that good online impression. The only way to get serious buyers to physically see your home in person is to hook them online. And honestly, the quickest way to do that is with some amazing real estate photography!

But let’s be real – hiring a professional photographer isn’t always in the budget. If you’re looking to save money by snapping your own pics, then we’ve got some great tips for you to keep in mind when you’re roaming your place, camera in hand.

(more…)

×

I'm Moving

Moving? Thinking about moving? Whether your move is off in the distance or you already have one foot out the door, you'll learn about everything you should expect through our useful how-to's, cool articles and much more. It's all specially curated for you in our "I'm Moving" section.
Explore
×

I'm a Mover

For rookies or veterans alike, our "I'm a Mover" section is filled with extensive industry news, crucial protips and in-depth guides written by industry professionals. Sharing our decade of moving knowledge is just one way we help keep our professional movers at the top of their game.
Explore