Moving Tips: Organizing Your Move

Start packing early.

For example, pack a box per night and you will be pleasantly surprised at how effortless the chore of packing can become. Reserve your moving truck well in advance of your move date and advise the rental company of the estimated size of your load. If you are moving at the end of any summer month, reserve at least a month ahead as this is peak moving season.

Organizing your move is the key to success.

You will have to decide what type of truck you are going to need, as well the required equipment such as cartons, dollies, refrigerator carts, moving pads, etc.

Make sure you wrap all of your unpacked goods in blankets to avoid scratching.

Don’t forget to include goods at other locations, such as the office or a friend’s home.

If you live in an apartment building make sure you reserve the elevator with your superintendent or property manager (on both ends).

If you are moving locally you can rent a smaller truck and make 2 or 3 trips, but if you are moving long distance make sure you have a truck that will carry all of your goods in one trip.

Keep in mind that loading a truck is an art. Always place the heavy goods on first i.e. appliances etc. Next, place the lighter goods on the top. Use cartons and small items to fill in all of the empty spaces. Keep in mind the tighter the goods are packed, the more safely they move.

For more information about loading, contact your truck rental company. They usually supply a very good instruction package.

1.5 to 2 Cubic Foot Cartons (2 cube)

These are used for small, heavy items such as books, files, tools, CDs, records, etc. A 2 cube is just that – 2 cubic feet in size (a little bigger than a breadbox). As one full 2 cube can weigh up to 50 lbs., it is important to identify extensive collections such as books, records, files etc.

To calculate the size of a 2 cube carton, first extend your measuring tape to 2 feet. Hold the tape up to the bookshelves. The number of books in the 2-foot measurement will fit into a 2 cube box. Use the same process for records and extend the tape to about 3 feet for CDs.

4 Cubic Foot Cartons (4 cube)

These are cartons used for pots, pans, shoes and all the things that we keep in our cupboards and closets excluding linen and clothing. These cartons are also used for things such as small garden tools, gardening pots, small appliances, etc.

The rule of thumb for this type of carton is one single door cupboard is equivalent to one 4 cube box.

In the kitchen, for example, if the bottom cupboards are full of pots, pans, etc., check off one 4 cube per cupboard. Think of this cupboard size when you are calculating items such as sports equipment, balls, hockey gear, toys etc.

5 Cubic Foot Cartons (5 cube)

These are mainly used for linen and clothes. One cupboard equals one – 5 cube box. A clothes hamper full of clothes and linen would be equal to one- 5 cube box.

TIP: Leave all of the clothes inside your dressers. Do not count them when adding up as packed items. Breakables, however, must be removed from your cupboards and included as packed items. SEE PACKING TIPS

China Cartons

This is a carton with thicker cardboard walls designed to give china and glass extra protection. They are about 5 cubic feet in size. A china carton will hold the contents of a kitchen cupboard – approximately 2 feet by 3 feet. If you are estimating in your kitchen, mark one china carton for every cupboard full of glassware. In the dining room, use the same principal. If the china cabinet has 4 cupboard size sections, 4 china cartons would be required. Rule of thumb: 1 china carton for every room in your house. Therefore, 8 rooms are equivalent to 8 china cartons.

Picture/Mirror Cartons

All paintings and mirrors are packed in picture cartons. Generally, 2 to 3 items may be packed into each carton. For this estimate, use 2 paintings or mirrors for every one carton. For example, 3 hanging paintings and 1 mirror would equal 2 picture cartons.

Mattress Cartons

Always count the box spring and mattress separately as they are placed into individual cartons or mattress bags. King size beds usually have two single box springs, so you would need 1 king and 2 single mattress cartons for most king size beds. For other beds the box spring and mattress are same size.


Items such as glass shelves in china cabinets, glass and marble table tops, mirrors without frames, marble table bases, grandfather clocks and very rare antique pieces have to be crated.

Be advised that crating is expensive so only have necessary items crated.

For round tables, measure the distance across the piece and use that for length and width. For example, a circular table that measure 35 inches across would be crated in a box 35″ x 35″ x 4″. Use the back of the inventory sheet if you need more space and the transfer the info later.

Chandeliers should also be crated. Measure the extreme edges of the piece as well as the height. Add 2 inches to the height as the chandelier is actually hung inside the crate.

Miscellaneous Items

Most homes will have a catchall area – usually in the basement, garage or locker. The easiest way to estimate what needs to be packed is to measure the area that the items fill. For example, you may have an 8-foot high room, which is piled to the ceiling with items. The goods come out 4 feet from the wall and they are 6 feet across. Write these dimensions and general contents in the “other items” section of the Inventory Sheet.

(If you are interested, you just multiply the 3 numbers together – 8 x 4 x 6 = 192 cubic feet. Multiply this number by 7 to get the weight – 192 x 7 = 1344 lbs.)


Pianos require special equipment and, in some cases, extra help to get it out of the basement or down the stairs.

Other Bulky Items

Make note of any other bulky items such as boats, garden tractors, outdoor swings, TV dishes, above ground pools, utility sheds, building material, motorcycles, etc.