Boxes---the single most fundamental item for any relocation. Whether you are moving old tennis trophies to the garage or relocating your entire house cross country, you definitely can’t do to without a box, or even a lot. There are so many varying sizes, and specific-use boxes, it can be very mind-boggling when you are standing there looking at mountains of cardboard that are somehow going to completely change themselves into functional packing receptacles.
The first thing to know is that while boxes are not created precisely the same, they are very common in that you can use just about any box for just about any item. The catch is in being on your toes about what to pack in which box--and forget what the box is called, go ahead and put your golf clubs in the wardrobe box, if it feels right. The other thing smart people (that includes you) do is not to put too much in the boxes so they weigh a lot. You're going to be moving a lot of them, and six pounds seems like fifty after a while.
Sizes and Weight
Boxes are measured in cubic feet. The smallest moving box is normally 1.5 CF, and is what you'll use for heavy items like books or small appliances. Knickknacks are best in these small boxes as you can put an entire collection in one box. You may see heavy-duty boxes, but just because you can pack more stuff into a box doesn't mean you should, unless you have a heavy-duty back to move the weightier boxes. These boxes often have grips for easier moving and an normal height person can normally move a couple of these at a time.
The next size larger is 3.1 cubic feet. This is where you can stow shoes, toys, pots and pans--things that are not super heavy. Some of these boxes also have the built-in grips and are a bit more unwieldy than the smaller box, so don't overload this one or it's going to be difficult to pick-up and move.
Linens, sweaters, towels, and clothes go in the 4.5 CF boxes. They are large and deep, and again, don't overload them because the bulk makes even the lightly packed ones a challenge to move unless you're vertically gifted.
The biggest standard boxes are 6.1 cubic feet. This is where you pack pillows, lampshades, blankets, and anything that's sizeable but lightweight.
These are meant for moving one specific sort of thing, but are convenient for lots of other items, as well. While they are a little more expensive, are well worth the cost in ease of packing options and protection.
A dish pack is a box with a second layer of corrugated cardboard. Do not think you can solely place dishes in these, they are meant to protect anything fragile. A dish pack is anywhere between the 1.5 and 3.1 CF size, and you can either wrap items individually in packing paper or use the newer foam sleeves--slide the plate or glass into the sleeve and set it in the box. Some boxes have inserts for glasses, so they stand up in their spot and do not get bumped by their neighbor. A dish box is perfect for stereo components, lamp bases, or anything delicate that you don't want in the regular boxes.
A wardrobe box is exactly what it seems like. It's taller than the 6.1 CF box, is about 10 CF, and is a heavy-duty cardboard that's meant to stand up during transit. It has a hanger bar that attaches near the top, so you can move your clothes on hangers more swiftly. The usual height for a wardrobe box is about 46 inches, so you can use them to move things like dining room chairs or those golf clubs, as well.
A mirror box comes in numerous sizes, but they are all somewhat flat, and large. They're what you use for artwork and mirrors, but also flat screen TVs, computer monitors, large platters, or even tennis rackets.
Don't forget the proper packing supplies--lots of paper, tape and bubble wrap--but knowing your boxes is the opening step of a trouble-free move.