Doing Your Own Packing: Before You Pack

Consider Your Packing Responsibilities

If you decide to do the packing yourself, you automatically assume a major portion of the responsibility for your move’s success – including having everything properly packed and ready for loading when the van arrives. All packing must be completed by the evening before moving day. Only the things you’ll need that night and the next morning should be left for last-minute packing.

In addition, your packing will be expected to meet specific standards. This means complying with the principles of goods packing as outlined here, as well as following the suggestions for items that should not be included in your shipment.

Prior to loading the van, moving company personnel will inspect the cartons you have packed. If it is their opinion that items are improperly packed or cartons are susceptible to damage, the company may refuse to load the cartons until the questionable items are repacked by the moving company or removed from the shipment. There is, of course, a charge for any packing service performed by a moving company.

Plan Ahead

Normally, packers from a moving company can complete packing for an average move on the day before goods are loaded on the van. “Pack-it-yourselfers” should allow more time – several weeks, if possible. Since it’s unlikely you’ll be able to drop everything to devote an entire day to packing, plan to work at it between your other pre-move activities.

Prepare a Work Space

  • Prepare a convenient place to work and keep your packing materials in one location. If there’s a spare room available, consider making it your packing headquarters.
  • A large table covered with a heavy blanket, quilt or mattress pad makes a good, firm work surface. It is helpful to have a second covered table nearby for soon-to-be-packed items.
  • Gather Together Everything You’ll Need:
    • Various sizes of sturdy cartons with flaps that can be closed completely.
    • White paper, tissue paper, paper towels or newsprint (unprinted newspaper cut into 20” x 30” sheets) – good for all-purpose wrapping and cushioning.
    • Newspapers for cushioning or use as outer wrapping only. Note: No matter how old the newspaper, the ink always rubs off and even can become embedded in fine china if used for wrapping. When using newspaper, wash your hands frequently to prevent leaving ink smudges on items you handle. Although ink smudges can be washed off some items, it’s better not to take a chance.
    • Gummed tape for sealing packed cartons.
    • Scissors and/or sharp knife.
    • Felt-tip marker for labeling cartons.
    • Notebook and pen/pencil for listing contents of cartons as they are packed.
    • Labels or stickers.

You may purchase cartons (including those for special uses, such as for dishes, mattresses and clothing), unprinted newsprint, tissue paper, bubble pack and tape from the moving company at a nominal charge. There is a charge for delivery to your home.

Not Recommended for Moving Van

It’s best to make other arrangements for the transfer of certain negotiable items or articles of extraordinary value – or, take them with you. If you decide to include such items in your shipment, be sure to list them on the High-Value Inventory form that will be provided by your Mergenthaler representative. See Protection for Damage/Filing Claims.

To guard against damage that can be caused by combustion, leakage or explosion, these items should not be packed.

If it is absolutely essential to pack a liquid, such as a medical prescription, the lid or cap should be fastened tightly and taped shut. The container then should be placed in a tightly sealed plastic bag.

Do not pack heat-sensitive items if your shipment will be transported during the summer. This includes decorative candles, computer diskettes, videotapes, compact discs, record albums and cassette tapes. During hot weather, consider these options for heat-sensitive items: taking them with you, selling or giving them away before moving, or sending them by air freight to reduce transit time.

Loss and Damage Protection

You may choose from Mergenthaler’s Full-Value Coverage or Released Rate Liability (see Protection for Damage/Filing a Claim). The option you select determines Mergenthaler’s maximum amount of liability to you. Valuation is not insurance; it is a tariff level of motor carrier liability. How much protection you have and its cost to you depend on the option you choose.