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How to pack and move furniture

Discussion in 'General Residency Issues' started by armonia, May 16, 2007.

  1. armonia

    armonia New Member 5+ Year Member

    Oct 22, 2005
    Having never moved major furniture before, I was wondering what people have used to stabilize/protect dressers, beds, matresses, desks etc. My apologies if some or all of these questions sound silly.

    I imagine the desk and bed need to be taken apart, and the mattress somehow covered (I no longer have the original boxes/plastic as those left with the delivery fellow last year). Is there a strategy for placing these in a moving truck? Can the dresser be taped shut for transport?

    Is this going to be a big hassle and should I look into having an intra-state mover do it? (the move is no more than 2 hours away with traffic).

    Any advice will be hugely appreciated!
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  3. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic! Staff Member Administrator Physician Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 15+ Year Member

    Apr 9, 2000
    hSDN Member
    Having moved across country several times, I may be of some assist...

    I would not hire a mover for such a short move; they are very expensive and do not take as good of care of your belongings as you would. But if you are more flush with cash than time or desire you could do it.

    The heaviest items should go in the truck first to keep the weight more closely distributed towards the front.

    Mattresses can be wrapped with plastic covers which you can buy or with a thin Saran-wrap cover you can buy at the truck rental place for about $10. Make sure the handles on the mattress stick out for ease in carrying.

    Dressers are much lighter and easier to move into the truck without their drawers. You can then either just stack the drawers, filled with stuff, in the truck or place them back in the dresser, tape the dresser closed and place it facing the wall.

    When packing boxes, make sure they are well labeled as to destination (ie, "master bedroom") as well as with your new moving address inside and out (just print out labels on your computer). The latter is for the paranoiac who fears being truck-jacked and losing their belongings. Do not overpack boxes with books - mix some other light items in with them, otherwise you won't be able to pick up the boxes easily. If there are breakable items, label the box as such, do not stack other boxes on it, and perhaps consider putting them inside the cab with you or inside a dresser drawer, wrapped in bubbles for extra protection. If you can, arrange the boxes so that groups all go to the same location - ie, everything along the driver's side wall is kitchen, etc. Also, makes some sense to put items which are going into the room farthest from your new front door in last, so that you will fill up your new place from back to front---hard to do, but sometimes a worthy goal.

    Rent the dolly. Its only about $10 and well worth it for heavy boxes, any furniture or appliances.

    Use blankets and bungee cords to wrap wood furniture or things with sharp edges - as much as you like to think things won't move in the truck, they will. My beautiful art deco dresser has a huge gouge out of the side of it because a member of my family put a taller dresser with sharp edges next to it - the latter fell over and damaged my soft wood beauty. :(

    The hardest part is people to help you. If you have family, you can reasonably do it yourself, as they will presumably come with you and help at your destination. Friends can usually be conned with beer and pizza and since you are only going two hours away, perhaps they can come with. But if not, most moving companies have muscles you can rent or referrals to some - generally around $25 a hr for 1 guy, sometimes a minimum of rent a certain number of hours or at least two guys, but if its just you at your destination it would be worthwhile.

    There is a thread in the classified section I believe about different truck companies and which one to rent from. Almost all (except mine) state not to use U-Haul.

    best of luck...
  4. radonc

    radonc Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 17, 2002

    carefully....very carefully.
  5. dpmd

    dpmd Relaxing Physician 10+ Year Member

    Sep 14, 2006
    Never moved cross country, but have experienced more moves than I care to think about. KC is right on as usual. I will add that my family and I have never had trouble with U-haul (but that was for moves of no greater than 500 miles, perhaps the issue is with cross country moves). For the last move I had the regular dolly, plus this platform with wheels thing that was a godsend for moving the tv and other big stuff that won't fit on a regular dolly (the place I moved to had an elevator, fantastic). The bed will be easier to move taken apart, but be sure to keep all the hardware together, and either label it very well or secure it to the bed itself. We didn't bother covering the mattresses, but that was because we had plenty of old sheets and comforters that we used to make sure stuff didn't get too dirty. Depending on how much stuff you have, you may or may not take the desk apart (also depending on how heavy it is and whether it can be readily taken apart and put back together). Be careful with tape on dressers and stuff. You don't want to ruin the finish (depending on what kind of furniture you have, some stuff will do fine with tape).

    Remember not to buy too much stuff like groceries right now(you can take stuff in a cooler if you want, but now is not the time to buy 20 pounds of frozen chicken). Check into what you need to do to get the lights and phone turned on in your new place (cable too). It will be much nicer to move into the place and be able to turn on the AC if necessary during the move in process (plus lights are helpful when it gets dark).

    I have already started the process of packing boxes (sorting through to get rid of stuff I don't need, and packing stuff that I won't need before the move), just so I am not rushed when the big day comes. My family always helps with moves, but I think it is nicer to have all the packing done when they show up so we can just load the truck and go. If you are packing stuff by yourself, give yourself a couple of days (with more people you can get it done faster, but you will have less control over what goes into what boxes). You want to make sure stuff you will need right away is together and easy to get to (change of clothes, shower stuff, phone), that way if you are tired after unloading boxes, you don't have to unpack everything at once.
  6. armonia

    armonia New Member 5+ Year Member

    Oct 22, 2005
    Thanks so much for the info. It will be well used (from mattress covers to loading order to printed labels. . .now I have good use for those labels I didn't use during the ERAS process). I also had no idea about being able to hire people to help unload. My parents will be here for graduation and helping me move, but I really don't want them carrying anything heavy.

    KC, I'm sorry to hear about the art deco dresser.

    In my quote query on Penske, it seems that they don't let you do a one-way one day rental. The shortest interval was 2 days. It's 10% off if you book online and there's an additional AAA discount if you're a AAA member. Of note, they also have a truck size calculator on their site where you can enter all of the items you need to move and then calculate what size truck you would need.

    Thanks again guys!
  7. Tired

    Tired Fading away 7+ Year Member

    Dec 12, 2006
    Step 1: Join the Navy

    Step 2: Get a Navy residency

    Step 3: Call the movers

    Step 4: Watch the movers professionally pack your stuff at your old house

    Step 5: Watch the movers professionally unpack your stuff at your new house

    Works for me! :D
  8. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic! Staff Member Administrator Physician Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 15+ Year Member

    Apr 9, 2000
    hSDN Member
    Yeah, unfortunately you often cannot either do one-way in state or one-way, one day rentals. Pretty standard for Penske. Other firms will let you, but of course don't have the "SDN Seal of Approval" the way Penske does.

    If you don't want your parents lifting anything heavy, check the classifieds or craigslist for "Two Guys and a Truck", "Starving Student Movers" etc to see if you can find some muscle both in town and at your new destination. Its usually worth it...I wish I had done it when I arrived here. My family suddenly made plans to go to Puerto Rico even though my move date had been set for months and I ended up moving myself after the truck was loaded. My back was sore for days. Everyone said, "oh your neighbors will help when they see you". No one knew I was the youngest in my building by about 40 years so old Mr. Levine wasn't about to help me lift my dresser!:D
  9. grit

    grit New Member 2+ Year Member

    Jun 19, 2006

    Penske always lists a very generous, much larger time interval than what you really need, not only for one-way local rentals but also larger distances. You don't need to keep the truck for as long as they say you can. I've used Penske for every move I've ever made, both local and long distance, and have always returned the truck very early, without incident. I wouldn't sweat it.

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