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MOVING GUIDE

How To Pack Like A Pro



You'll need:

Blank newsprint or your own towels and linens
Medium-sized boxes
TIP: Don't use plastic peanuts or shredded newsprint, which could get into the machines and cause damage.

How to pack:

1. Group kitchen appliances, like blenders and toasters, or other small household appliances, like hand-held vacuums and telephones, two or three to a box. ( Make sure they're clean - don't pack yesterday's toast or blender drinks!)

2. Make sure the bottom of the box is securely taped, then pad the bottom of the box with blank newsprint (wadded up, not shredded) or your towels and sheets.

3. Put the appliances in and pad them well all around with packing material.

4. Then put another layer of packing materials on top, seal the box, and mark it "Kitchen Appliances." Now you're good to go!

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Appliances - Big

We're talking washers, dryers, dishwashers, air conditioners, refrigerators - the big stuff! Before you pack any of it, read your users manual for each appliance to make sure there aren't more special moving preparations you'll need to make. Also, consider servicing all your appliances a week or two before you move, if you haven't done it in a while.

You'll need:

Tape
Large pads and rope
Your towels and linens, clothes, and stuffed animals (that's right, stuffed animals) for washing machines
Baking soda for a washing machine and refrigerator
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A washing machine . . .

1. Do all your wash a couple of days before you're ready to move.

2. Drain all the water out of the washer. If possible, take the washer outside and tip it sideways to empty out remaining water from the water hose. Then dry the interior completely with a towel.

3. Take out all accessories and fittings and put them in a plastic bag.

4. Stuff towels between the washing machine sides and the tub to keep the tub from rotating.

5. Fill the basket with clothes, linens, and stuffed animals (that's rights, stuffed animals). Also include a box of baking soda (designed so you don't have to tear open the top of the box) to cut down on mildew.

6. Tape the lid and electrical cord down, then tie a large pad around the outside. Now you're done!

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A dryer . . .

1. Disconnect the exhaust hose from the back of the dryer and from the exhaust duct in the wall. Loosely roll the hose and place it in the dryer basket.

2. Tape the lint screen, electrical cord, and dryer door down.

3. Tie a large pad around the outside of the dryer. You're done!

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A refrigerator . . .

1. One day before moving, empty out the contents and defrost. (Eat what you can, then give the rest away to neighbors - never transport perishable food.)

2. Empty the drainage pan underneath and disconnect and drain out your automatic ice maker.

3. Clean the walls, drawers, and shelves.

4. Some refrigerators have "leveling rollers," which are wheels that raise and lower each corner of the refrigerator so it is even. Check your manual to see whether you should raise or lower them for the move.

5. Wrap shelves (especially if they are glass) and tape them together. Tape down all other loose parts, including the drawers on the inside and the electrical cord and doors on the outside.

6. Tie a large pad around it. That's it!

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A stove . . .

1. Clean the oven and stove top.

2. Place all oven racks on the bottom rung and tape down.

3. Tape down the burners and the protective pans under each burner.

4. Tape the electrical cord and door to the stove (lock the door, if you can), then tie a large pad around it. You're done!

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A dishwasher . . .

1. Remove all dishes and tape down the racks and silverware basket.

2. See your manual for removing and draining the water hook-up.

3. Close and lock the door. Tape the door shut. Now tape the hose and cord to the dishwasher.

4. Tie a large pad around it. That's all!

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An air conditioner . . .

1. If your air conditioner is in use, shut if off the day before so the coils can dry and cool off.

2. Remove and clean or replace the filter.

3. Tape the cord to the side of the air conditioner (not the back, where the coils are).

4. Use the original box, if you have it, or another large appliance box well-padded with wadded up newsprint. (Don't use Styrofoam peanuts, which could get inside the air conditioner and cause problems later.)

5. If you don't have a box, tie two large pads around it to protect the coils. That's it!

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Armoires

Armoires can be great packing spaces for lightweight items like pillows, lamp shades, even hanging clothes, if you use a tight tension rod inside. If you're going to pack a lamp shade, be sure to pad it all around with lots of lightly wadded up blank newsprint or bubble wrap.

What you need:

Rope
Large padding or old blankets

How to pack:

1. Remove all the contents from the shelves. Don't try to ship your CDs, TV, cards and games, or other loose items inside the armoire - they'll be jostled and probably damaged.

2. If you have drawers, you can keep some items inside if they're not too heavy. Wad up blank newsprint in the empty spaces and tape the drawers shut.

3. If you like, fill in empty spaces with lightweight items, like pillows and lamp shades (properly padded with lightly wadded up blank newsprint or bubble wrap.) Several lamp shades can be stacked together with blank newsprint in between.

4. Close and lock your doors, if possible, or tie the handles together.

5. Tie large padding or old blankets around the outside. All done!

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Artwork and Mirrors

You'll need:

Tape
Blank newsprint and cardboard or bubble wrap
Styrofoam peanuts for sculptures
Boxes (flat and/or sized to fit) for each piece of artwork
How to pack:

Framed prints . . .

1. Wrap them individually in newsprint and then tape cardboard around them. Or wrap them in bubble wrap.

2. Put them in flat fitted boxes. If they still fit loosely in their individual boxes, fill in the spaces with lightly wadded blank newsprint.

3. Tape the box shut and mark it. You're done!

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Mirrors . . .

1. Put tape across the front of the mirror like an X to keep the pieces in place in case the glass breaks.

2. Wrap in bubble wrap or blank newsprint with cardboard taped around them. Fill loose spaces with lightly wadded paper

3. Put in a flat box, seal, and mark "Fragile - Mirror." That's all!

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Original paintings . . .

1. If your painting is framed with glass, tape the front like an X with masking tape.

2. Cover the framed painting or canvas with bubble wrap and tape it closed.

3. Build a box to fit that is slightly bigger than the painting, or purchase one. If you're packing a canvas (no frame, no glass), wrap the cardboard box in bubble wrap again, tape it, then build or buy a second box slightly bigger than the first. Double-boxing is a guarantee against other sharp objects puncturing the box and canvas during the move.

4. Tape the box well and mark "Fragile - Art." All done now!

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Sculptures . . .

1. You'll need a box at least one-third larger than the size of your sculpture and bubble wrap.

2. Fill one-third of the box with Styrofoam peanuts. Wrap the sculpture with bubble wrap, put it in upright, then fill in all around and on top with peanuts. Your piece of art should be nestled in the center without touching the sides of the box.

3. Tape the box and mark "Fragile - Artwork" clearly on the outside. That's it!

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Beds

You'll need:

Rope or tape
Large pads for headboards and footboards
Sheets or mattress covers
Plastic bag
How to pack:

1. Disassemble the bed frames and mark the pieces so you know where they go later. Tie or tape rails together.

2. Take all screws, bolts, nuts, etc. put in plastic bag and tape to rails.

3. Tie large pads around headboard and footboards, if you have them.

4. Leave sheets on mattresses to protect them, or cover them with plastic mattress covers. You're done!

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Books

You'll need:

Tape
Small boxes
How to pack:

TIP: If you've collected lots of books over time, it's a great time to re-evaluate what you really want to keep. Consider selling some at a yard sale or to a secondhand book store. More weight in your truck adds to the final price if you're being moved, and puts a strain on you if you're moving yourself.

1. Never pack more than 30 pounds of books in a box, unless you're a weightlifter by trade.

2. Fill in small spaces in each box with smaller paperbacks. Alternate bindings every few books to keep stacks level in each box.

3. Tape shut and mark "Books." You're done!

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Bureaus

You'll need:

Rope
Large pads
How to pack:

TIP: Don't leave bureau drawers completely full for the move - the bureau will be too heavy. Use suitcases to pack some clothing and other non-fragile items from your bureau drawers.

1. Partially empty out drawers and fill spaces with small, fragile items like clocks or picture frames wrapped in loose clothing.

2. Don't put tape on the drawers - it could stick to the finish.

3. Tie a large pad securely around the bureau. That's it!

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Chairs

You'll need:

Bubble wrap or blank newsprint
Tape
Furniture pads
How to pack:

1. Wrap arms of chairs with blank newsprint or bubble wrap and tape.

2. Leave slipcovers on or cover with large flat sheets.

3. Cover next with furniture pads. Now you're done!

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Clothes

You'll need:

Wardrobe boxes
Suitcases
Small and medium boxes
How to pack:

1. Hang clothes from closets in wardrobe boxes. If the boxes still have some space, consider filling them with lightweight items like lamp shades covered in bubble wrap.

2. Pack some clothes from bureaus in boxes or suitcases so the bureaus won't be too heavy to move.

3. Consider using some clothes as packing material in between breakable items or to fill spaces in other boxes that contain items from bedrooms.

4. Mark boxes "Clothing" or with the person's name. You're all done!

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Computers

You'll need:

Tape
Small pieces of cardboard
Plastic bags
Original cartons and foam forms
-or-

Two sets of boxes, one larger than the other (for double-boxing components)
Styrofoam peanuts.
How to pack:

1. Back up all the files on your computer.

2. Your computer company may recommend that you "park" your hard drive. That means using a special program (possibly called "SHIP.EXE") that makes recording heads in the hard drive pull back from the data area into a "safer" area of the CPU.

3. Pack your disks in a separate box, but not with anything magnetic.

4. Bundle cables and wires and color code them to their matching holes so it's easy to reconnect in your new home.

5. If your computer is completely cooled off, put each component part in a plastic bag to keep dirt out during the move, then inside the foam forms in their original boxes. Fit cables and other accessories in the sides of each box and fill with peanuts.

6. If you don't have the original boxes, use the double-box method. Fill the smaller of the two boxes with Styrofoam peanuts, put the "bagged" monitor or CPU in the middle, and fill the box the rest of the way so the component sits in the middle of the box without touching the sides. Fit in cables and accessories, close and seal that box, then fill the bottom of the second box with peanuts, put the sealed box in, and fill all around the rest of the way with peanuts.

7. If you have a small printer, you can pack it with your CPU. Be sure to remove the printer cartridges. If your printer uses pins to form-feed paper, leave the paper in during the move to keep the pins in place.

8. Mark each box "Fragile - Computer." Now you're finished!

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CDs

You'll need:

Tape
Plastic peanuts or blank newsprint
Small boxes

How to pack:

1. Pad the bottom of the box with wadded-up blank newsprint or Styrofoam peanuts.

2. Place a stack of CDs in the middle of the box. If your box is big enough and you don't have a lot of CDs, put your entire CD holder in the center, CDs and all. CDs can weigh a lot, so you'll probably have to divide them into several boxes.

3. Fill in tightly all around and on top with peanuts or wadded paper so the CDs won't jiggle.

4. Tape and mark "CDs." You're all done!

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Collectibles

You'll need:

Tape
Small and medium boxes
Bubble wrap
Styrofoam peanuts or blank newsprint

How to pack:

1. Wrap each fragile item separately with bubble wrap and tape.

2. Put a layer of peanuts or wadded paper on the bottom and layer in wrapped items with peanuts or wadded paper in between.

3. Put a final layer of peanuts or wadded paper on top

4. Seal and mark "Fragile - Collectibles." Now you're done!

** If your collectibles are really valuable, consider moving them in your car or shipping them separately.

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Flammable Items

You'll need:

To call your local recycling pick-up provider, fire station, or the nearest Environmental Protection Agency office to learn how to properly dispose of flammable and hazardous materials before you move, such as paints, solvents, oil, and gas from your grill.

How to pack:

DON'T!!!!!

It's dangerous and illegal to pack and move flammable and hazardous materials. If you have a small can of turpentine or leftover paint, ask your neighbors if they can use it. Otherwise, dispose of it properly with assistance from your recycling company or the EPA.

TIP: Many towns have an annual "Hazardous Materials Disposal Drop-Off Day" at a recycling center or fire station. If you know you're moving, plan ahead to dispose of materials then.

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China and Crystal

You'll need:

Tape
Small and medium boxes
Cardboard
Styrofoam peanuts and bubble wrap
Blank newsprint
Lots of patience

How to pack:

Plates and bowls . . .

1. Layer bubble wrap in between, leaving space at the top of the box to fill in with wadded newsprint.

2. Place wadded newsprint or peanuts in the bottom of a box and put layers of plates or bowls on top. Then fill in top and sides with peanuts or newsprint.

3. Seal and mark "Fragile - China." You're done!

Glasses and teacups . . .

1. Wrap each glass or teacup in a piece of bubble wrap and tape it.

2. Put a layer of peanuts or newsprint on the bottom of the box. Place wrapped cups or glasses on top, upright as if you were placing them on the table.

3. Place a layer of cardboard and another layer of packing material on top and the sides.

4. Keep layering in wrapped cups and peanuts until you've reached the top. Put a final layer of packing material on top, seal, and mark "Fragile - Crystal/China." That's all!

TIP: Don't use compartmentalized liquor boxes unless the compartments are made of sturdy cardboard and you put a layer of packing material on the bottom first. (Usually the compartments are too flimsy.) Glasses and cups should still be wrapped in bubble wrap.

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Hippos

You'll need:

1,000-gallon tank per hippo
1,000 gallons of water
Crane
1-pound sedative
Soothing hippo music
2 Aspirin (for you)

How to pack:

1. Fill your tank with 800 gallons of water. Start yesterday. Remember, a medium-sized hippo takes up at least 200 gallons. (Just out of curiosity, why do you have a hippo, anyway?)

2. Apply sedative. Take two Aspirin.

3. Hold it, hold it - put the hippo in the tank, first. Start with soothing hippo music, followed by a large winch and crane.

4. Now go relax in a hot bath before the forklift arrives.

WAIVER: We in no way advocate moving a hippo or any animal without the express advice and consent of your local vet or zoo keeper. If you'd like advice from a veterinarian on moving with pets click here .

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Kids' Stuff

You'll need:

Lots of love and time
Attention to feelings
Tape
Blank newsprint
Medium and large boxes

How to pack:

1. Pack kids' rooms last if they are still small. The security of their routine until the very end will make the transition go more smoothly.

2. Give older children (probably ages 5 and up) advance time to pack their rooms with you. Packing up is a good time to talk about things they might be worried or feel sad about - leaving friends, school, a home they've always lived in, and facing a new school and strangers. Understanding feelings and offering your reassurance will ease the transition for them.

3. Allow them to select some items to take with them in the car or in their carry-on bag.

4. Most kids' toys are somewhat non-breakable and can go in boxes with some wadded newsprint or extra clothes to fill in spaces.

5. Breakable toys like models or porcelain dolls can be wrapped in extra clothes and packed in wadded newsprint.

6. While the kids are packing, ask them to think about where they'd like things to go in their new rooms.

7. Make sure you drain water from squirt guns and seal paints and other safe but messy materials in ziplock bags or containers. Pack them together in a box lined with a plastic bag.

8. Have your kids seal the boxes and write their names or put their favorite stickers on each box. Now you're done!

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Kitchen Items -- Non-Breakable

You'll need:

Tape
Medium and large boxes
Your kitchen towels and linens
Blank newsprint

How to pack:

1. Select a few pieces of essential cookware - a couple of pots, a frying pan, some cooking spoons, a spatula, and utensils for everyone - for the first day you're in your new home.

2. Put blank newsprint (or ripped-open paper bags) between the items. Fill in spaces with wadded newsprint.

3. Seal and mark "Kitchen." On the box you need for cooking when you arrive, mark "Kitchen - First Day." You're all done!

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Kitchen Items - Breakable

You'll need:

Tape
Small and medium boxes
Bubble wrap
Peanuts or blank newsprint

How to pack:

1. Wrap each glass and mug in bubble wrap and tape shut. Put layers of bubble wrap in between plates and bowls.

2. Fill bottom of box with peanuts or wadded paper. Layer in glasses and mugs with peanuts and paper, or place stacks of layered plates and bowls on top. If your glasses have stems, place them upright, as if you were putting them on the table. Fill in sides and top with peanuts and wadded paper.

3. For larger breakable items - Pyrex dishes, china serving bowls, glass coffee pots - wrap in bubble wrap and tape shut. Put two or three smaller items or one larger item in the center of a small box filled with peanuts. Make sure you put a layer of peanuts or wadded paper between smaller items.

4. Seal and mark "Fragile - Kitchen." You're all finished!

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Lamps

You'll need:

Tape
Medium or large boxes
Bubble wrap

How to pack:

1. Take lightbulbs, harps, and lamp shades off lamp.

2. Wrap lamp shades in bubble wrap and stack them in a large box with wadded paper, or put them in an armoire or large chest.

3. Wrap cord around lamp and wrap lamp in bubble wrap. Place in empty, defrosted refrigerator, unplugged dryer, or drained, unplugged washer. Or put them in boxes with wadded paper, seal, and mark "Lamps." That's it!

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Lawn Furniture

You'll need:

Tape
Large, flat boxes for any glass tabletops
Blank newsprint and bubble wrap for glass tabletops

How to pack:

1. Packing is easy if you have furniture with no breakable parts. Hose down/clean off your furniture.

2. Disassemble any parts. Tape them together, or put small pieces in ziplock bags and tape to the furniture. You're good to go!

3. If you have glass tabletops, wrap them in bubble wrap and put them in flat boxes used for mirrors and artwork. Seal and mark boxes "Fragile - Glass." Now you're done!

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Lawnmowers and Lawn Tools

You'll need:

Tape
Storage containers for hazardous materials

How to pack:

1. Clean your lawnmower underneath of all grass and debris (use a hose). Clean other lawn tools and equipment.

2. Drain gas and oil out of the lawnmower into storage containers. Contact your local recycling company or Environmental Protection Agency office for information on disposing of the gas and oil.

3. Tape or tie handles of rakes, shovels, and other garden tools.

4. Pack smaller garden/lawn items in a box.

5. Drain your garden hose down a hill, roll up, and put in a box. Now you're done!

For tips on safe disposal of hazardous materials, click here.

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Stereo Components

You'll need:

Tape
Plastic bags
Original boxes and foam forms
-or-

Double boxes (one a size larger than the other)
Plastic peanuts

How to pack:

1. Make sure all components are completely cooled off. Use color-coded tape to mark where cables and cords should go in the equipment when you get to your new home.

2. Check your CD player manual to see whether you need to tighten screws that will keep internal components from moving around.

3. If you have a turntable, tape down the "platter" the record sits on and tape the arm to the arm rest. (Pack the plastic turntable cover separately from the turntable, if it comes off, it may screw down.)

4. Put all components in individual plastic bags to keep them from getting dirty during the move and to keep peanuts out of the equipment.

5. Put components in original boxes, or put them in double boxes. The component goes in the smaller box filled with peanuts, and the smaller box goes inside the larger box, also filled with peanuts.

6. Don't bundle components together in the boxes unless they're small enough to be separated by peanuts.

7. Seal and mark boxes "Fragile - Stereo/Audio Equipment." That's it!

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TV -- Big-Screen

You'll need:

Tape
Original packing boxes and foam forms
-or-

Large new box and foam forms

How to pack:

1. Unplug your big screen TV. Be sure to leave the cable and cable box behind, since those belong to the cable company.

2. Lay it gently on its side and slide the foam forms on either end. Then slide it into the box, set it upright, seal it, and mark it "Big-Screen TV."

3. If you don't have the original box, you will still need more than plastic peanuts. Companies that sell packing materials probably have dense Styrofoam blocks you can use. Gently lay the TV on its side on top of a piece of foam. Tape another piece of foam on the bottom and slide the whole thing into the box. Fill in all sides with foam, then seal and mark "Big-Screen TV."

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TV/VCR -- Less than 30"

You'll need:

Tape
Original packing boxes and foam forms
-or-

Large new box and foam forms

How to pack:

1. Make sure the TV is cooled off and you've left the cable and cable box for the cable company (they own those).

2. Do the same for the VCR. Check your manual to make sure there are no special moving preparations you need to make to stabilize internal components.

3. Wrap up the cord for the TV and VCR and put in the original boxes. Or use foam forms you purchase or peanuts. (Wrap your TV and VCR in a plastic bag before immersing in peanuts so the peanuts don't get inside the machines). Put the TV and VCR in separate boxes.

4. Seal and mark the boxes "Fragile - TV/VCR." Now you're done!

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