Palmer Moving

Packing Tips

Packing Tips

Careful packing is one of the most important aspects of your move.


The most important aspect of packing is good wrapping and cushioning material. NEVER USE NEWSPAPERS! Newspaper ink has a tendency to rub off on everything it touches and can be almost impossible to remove from items like fine china.

Use “newsprint” (unprinted newspaper) as cushioning material. You can purchase newsprint from Palmer Moving and Storage, or from many other local sources such as mini storages or office supply stores. The amount of newsprint you use depends on the items being packed.

Assemble boxes. Invert box, fold in flaps. Place one or two long pieces of plastic packing tape across center seam, and one piece along each side seam. Do not cover any printing.

Make bottom cushion. Put loosely crumpled unprinted newsprint in carton bottom to a depth of approximately four inches. Each item should be individually wrapped–with crushed paper between items as needed.

Wrap all fragile, breakable items in paper. (Not necessary for soft items like bedding, etc.) This not only protects the item, but protects other items from it. Wrapping also helps things fit snugly in the box and prevents them from shifting. Use unprinted newsprint for most items, tissue paper for very fragile things.

Pack large and heavy items first. Pack smaller items next. Use these to fill in spaces around larger items. Fill all empty spaces with small items or crumpled paper. Leave no gaps in the carton. This helps make it crush-proof.

Periodically lift carton to check weight – box should not be too heavy for one person to lift comfortably.

Make a top cushion. Leave 1/4 to 1/2 inch of space at the top of the carton. Fill this space with crumpled paper. When closed, the carton’s top or sides should neither bulge nor sag.

Tape top seams securely.

Label boxes clearly. Write your name, North American contract number, the room to which the box should go in your new home and a general description of contents.

Write “fragile” only if items within are truly fragile. (Otherwise, good loading decisions will be impossible.)

Mark “unpack first” on boxes containing items you’ll need right away in your new home. You may want to pack a special box with items such as toilet paper, paper plates, napkins, plastic ware, light bulbs, bar soap, towels, etc.

We can also provide wardrobe cartons to hang your clothes in, so they don’t get wrinkled during your move.


  • ​Plates, Saucers, Flat China: Wrap individually and then bundle three or four together. Stand on end in carton. Never lay flat. Use the larger items as the bottom layer and place crumpled paper as cushioning between each layer.​
  • Bowls: Odd-shaped items and bowls, individually wrapped, should constitute the upper layers. Place on edge in carton with bottom facing up.​
  • Cups and Glasses: Like bowls, cups and glasses should go on top, rim down and individually wrapped.​
  • Glassware and Crystal: Always individually wrap as top layer. Never put one piece inside another. If items are particularly fragile, pack first in smaller carton, then in large one with cushioning all around.​
  • Books: Pack upright with open edges and bound ends alternating. If any have fragile covers, wrap in paper.​
  • Clothing: Hanging items should go into wardrobe cartons. Clothing may stay in dressers if dressers are sturdy. All other folded clothing should be packed in medium (3.0 cu. ft.) cartons.​
  • Food: Boxed dry food should be packed in medium (3.0 cu. ft.) cartons with openings taped shut to prevent spillage. Jars or canned goods should be packed in book (1.5 cu. ft.) cartons with all jars wrapped and cushioned. Never pack or move perishable or frozen food.​
  • Hats: If in hat box, pack in larger carton. If not, loosely stuff with crushed paper and pack in smallest carton either alone or with other hats.​
  • Lamps: Lamp bases should be wrapped, cushioned and packed in Dish-Pack cartons. Lampshades should be packed singly in appropriate sized carton. Be careful not to put too much paper in lampshade carton as they dent easily. Cushion loosely.​
  • Flowers: Dry flowers should be packed alone in appropriate sized carton loosely cushioned with paper. Live plants will probably not survive on a long distance move and mover cannot accept responsibility.​
  • Stereos, Radios, etc.: Components and small electronics should be well wrapped and cushioned in either medium (3.0 cu. ft.) or large (4.5 cu. ft.) cartons. Large console stereo and televisions should not be packed. They will be padded by driver and moved as furniture.​
  • Mirrors, Marble Tops, Glass Tops, Pictures: All mirrors, pictures, marble or glass tops should be packed in picture-mirror cartons, unless they are very small. The small items may be wrapped and packed in dish-pack cartons on edge. Very large marble or glass tops should be crated by professional packers. Their weight makes them impractical to be moved by carton.


Remember that all of your possessions are being loaded into the van and, by law, movers may not accept hazardous materials for shipment.
Restricted items include:​
  • Paint, thinners, oils and varnishes​
  • Ammunition and firearms​
  • Bottled gas, propane, etc.​
  • Lamp oil​All flammables, explosives and corrosives​
  • Motor fuels and oils​
  • Nail polish remover​
  • Bleach​Sterno​
  • All aerosol cans​
  • Matches


All stocks, bonds, currency, jewelry, furs, stamps, coins, securities, negotiables, insurance policies and valuable papers should not be packed for transit in the van. Either transport these items yourself or make arrangements with your banker for their transfer.

Some helpful hints:

  • ​Begin by Following a Timetable! Make sure you allow yourself enough time to pack properly for your move – this is not a time to rush!​
  • If you decide to do your own packing or partial packing, remember that the moving company is not liable for damage to the contents of boxes packed by the customer. However, if there is obvious exterior damage on packing up your goods, make a note on the inventory sheet of your shipment, these items may be covered under an exception to the rule.​
  • If you decide to do your own packing, get packing supplies and start collecting strong boxes suitable for moving. Complete all packing by moving day. You will be busy enough on moving day to have to worry about packing.​
  • Packing room by room will help you stay organized and will make unpacking easier on the other end. Establish work areas in each room.​
  • First, pack items you won’t need right away. Start with your less-used serving dishes, seasonal items, and small appliances. Next, tackle your large serving bowls, tablecloths and specialty pots and pans.​
  • Keep your everyday dishes for the last week before moving. You may even want to consider buying some disposable plates, cups and utensils for those last few nights when everything is packed away. Wait and pack things you’ll use right up to moving day last.​
  • Items such as articles stored in the basement, garage or attic are also ideal for packing first as garages and storage sheds typically take the longest to prepare for moving because they are often filled with odd-shaped, sharp or heavy items that require special care to pack correctly. We recommend starting by safely disposing of items that cannot be shipped, like pesticides, fertilizers, oil and gas – a complete list can be found in our list of Items That Cannot Be Shipped.​
  • As you move through your home packing and you complete each room, sort packed boxes by weight (light, medium, heavy). This makes loading the moving van easier and quicker.​ 
  • If you require more detailed information about how to pack, please ask your Palmer representative for a copy of North American’s Home to Home Better Move Planner as a guide, which is available for free just for asking!