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This checklist will give you some helpful tips on how to pack your smaller items so they can be safely moved. Smaller items such as dishes, table lamps, pictures, and other fragile items must be carefully packed in boxes if they are to arrive at your destination in the same condition as they were in prior to being moved.

Packing your goods for moving is an art requiring a certain amount of expertise and knowledge. A to B Moving has well-trained, qualified packers to do all or any portion of packing that you prefer not to do. A to B Moving has all the proper equipment and materials to pack your goods safely for moving. If you need assistance packing, A to B Moving can provide this service for you.

The secret to packing is having the right packing materials. If you choose to do your own packing, the tips below will help you safely pack your goods for moving.

You can find more information about how to order boxes, packing paper, and packing tape from A to B Moving here on our boxes page.

Materials You Will Need

You will need many boxes in assorted sizes. All boxes should be in good condition, and have covers on them so they can be closed and sealed. Proper moving boxes can be purchased or rented from A to B Moving, and can be returned for a partial refund after your move. You can also start collecting boxes from your work or liquor stores. Liquor store cartons are excellent packing cartons. They are sturdy and contain dividers which make them ideal for packing glasses, goblets, vases, etc.

Packing Paper: You are going to need plenty of packing (wrapping) paper. It is best to use proper packing paper designed for moving. If you save and use your old newspapers, your items will likely be stained by the newsprint and you will need to wash them before you put them away. For items you prefer to keep clean, it would be best to purchase packaging paper from A to B Moving or from a packing supplies store.

Sealing or Packing Tape:
The best tape for this purpose is plastic tape. Your rolls of tape should be at least 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide.

Black Felt Marker:
Markers are used for marking your packed boxes with information such as the contents of the box, FRAGILE, THIS SIDE UP, and the room the box is to be delivered to. PLEASE NOTE: If you are marking on moving boxes purchased from A to B Moving and you want to be able to return them, please do not write directly on the box itself. Write only on the packing tape on the box.

Useful Tips

Start collecting boxes early. An easy way to store boxes so they will not require a great deal of space is to open both ends of the cartons and flatten them out. You can unflatten them again and re-seal the bottoms with your tape when you are ready to use them.

We recommend that you pack your items on a room-by-room basis. For example, do not pack articles from the living room in boxes with articles from the kitchen. This will save you much confusion and time when it is time to unpack.

We also recommend that you start packing early. If you pack only a couple of boxes a day, in thirty days you can have sixty boxes packed. You should start your packing in areas where your belongings are not in frequent use - such as the cellar, attic, garage, closet shelves, etc.

You might choose to have A to B Moving do some of your packing for you. It may also be necessary to purchase some specialized moving boxes that will be impossible for you to find elsewhere, such as mattress bags, wardrobe boxes, picture/mirror boxes, and china barrels.

Hanging clothing, such as suits, dresses and coats, should be hung in wardrobe boxes. This will save you the trouble and expense of having your garments cleaned and pressed later.

Hanging clothing should not be left in garment bags. Garment bags are not suitable because they will not withstand the stress of moving. Hanging clothing is usually taken out of the garment bags, hung in the wardrobe cartons, and the garment bags are folded and placed in the bottom of the wardrobe carton.

Dresser drawers do not need to be emptied. Movers usually move dressers with the contents of the drawers left inside. However, look through all drawers and remove any breakable articles, and pack them in boxes. Be sure that the contents of a drawer are not too heavy. Too much weight in the drawer could cause damage to the drawer while your furniture is enroute.

The size of the boxes you should use depends on what you are packing. Small and heavy articles, such as books, records and canned goods, should be packed into smaller boxes. Bulkier but not-as-heavy articles, such as pots and pans, linens, and small kitchen appliances, can be packed into larger boxes. Very bulky and lightweight articles, such as blankets, pillows, toys, large lampshades, and shoes can be packed into the largest boxes.

Please do not pack any flammables, combustibles, or explosives into boxes. Movers are not allowed to transport aerosol spray cans, paint thinner, gasoline, or anything else of a flammable or explosive nature. If you are unsure, please ask us and we are happy to let you know what cannot be packed.


Packing is easier and less tiring when you have a good work area. We suggest that you clear your kitchen table and do your packing on the table.

When you are packing fragile articles you should plan to pack the heaviest objects toward the bottom of the carton and the more delicate articles towards the top of the carton. First, lay flat out on the table a sizeable stack of packing paper. Next, select a sturdy, medium-sized carton. Line the bottom of the carton with scrunched-up (crushed) packing paper for additional cushioning.

Packing Flatware

We recommend the following steps for packing your plates:

Packing Step 1: Place one plate in the center of your packing paper and take two sheets of paper at one corner and pull the paper over the plate so as to completely cover the plate.

Packing Step 2: Stack a second plate on the first plate then grasp the second corner of your paper and pull it over and cover the stacked plates.

Packing Step 3: Stack a third plate and take the remaining two corners (one at a time) and fold each corner over your stack of plates.

Packing Step 4: Turn your wrapped stack of plates upside down onto your packing paper and re-wrap the entire bundle. For this, follow same wrapping procedure as before. Start with one corner of packing paper, and pull two sheets over the bundle: cover bundle with next corner, then third corner, and finally, the fourth.

Packing Step 5: Seal the bundle with plastic tape and place the bundle in the carton so the plates are standing vertically on edge.


  • All flatware, saucers, bread and butter dishes, etc. should follow the same procedure.
  • Small dishes (saucers, bread and butter dishes) can be stacked in greater quantity in a bundle.

Packing Cups and Glasses

Cups and glasses may be nested (one placed inside another) and three or four wrapped in a bundle. Tear or cut some small sheets of paper. Use at least a couple of small sheets between each glass or cup as protective lining.

Packing Step 1: Take the first glass, and line it with a couple of sheets of your cut-up paper.

Packing Step 2: Place the second glass (or cup) inside the first one and line it with two more sheets of paper. Repeat this step until you have 3 or 4 glasses or cups nested together.

Packing Step 3: Next, lay the nested glasses or cups on a stack of wrapping paper, in a diagonal manner, towards the edge of the paper. Grasp the corner closest to you with two sheets of wrapping paper and wrap it around your glasses or cups.

Packing Step 4: Grasp the next two corners of wrapping paper and wrap them around your glasses. Then roll the glasses into a bundle.


  • If you have boxes with dividers, pack glasses, cups and stemware in these boxes. If your bundle does not fill to the top of each compartment, stuff additional crushed packing paper in the compartment.
  • If you do not have cartons with dividers, then pack your glasses, cups and stemware in boxes with your other dishes. Fit them in where there is space. Be sure these articles are toward the top of your carton.

Goblets and Stemware

Goblets and stemware should be packed one at a time. Do not attempt to nest them as you did with the glasses. Wrap them individually, following the same wrapping procedure as with glasses and cups.

Packing Small Kitchen Appliances

Wrap each appliance individually with two or three sheets of your packing paper. Place each one in the box that you have selected for appliances.

When all the appliances have been packed in a box, or boxes, if there are small spaces that are empty, crush some packing paper and fill in the spaces. However, if you have a great amount of space left over, then you should pack some other things in the box in order to fill it up and not waste the space. For example, you might pack some pots and pans to fill the space in the carton.

Packing Pots and Pans

Pots and pans should be packed in a medium sized carton. Approximately three pots or pans can be nested, one inside the other. Tear or cut some pieces of your packing paper (large enough so that they will line the entire interior of the largest pan).

Packing Step 1: Place two or three sheets of your lining paper in the largest pan.

Packing Step 2: Place the next smallest pan inside the first pan. Again line this pan with two or three protective pieces of lining paper and insert a smaller pan.

Packing Step 3: Place these pans upside down in the middle of your stack of packing paper. Use at least three sheets of packing paper to wrap the pans. Start by grasping one corner of the three sheets of packing paper then pulling it over and covering the pans. Then pull the next corner of paper over the pans; then the third corner, and finally the fourth corner. Seal with your plastic tape so the bundle will not come apart.


  • This same procedure can be followed for packing large bowls, too.


Boxed Foods (cereal, etc.): Seal any opened boxes with your plastic tape. However, if your shipment is going into storage then it is best to dispose of boxed foods. These items can attract rodents and insects.

Spices: For packing and shipping spices, make sure all containers are closed and will not leak. If you are in doubt, seal them with tape.

Canister sets: The contents may be left in the canister sets but you should seal them with tape. Each canister should be individually wrapped with packing paper.


Half of the difficulty in packing a tall lamp may be acquiring a carton large enough to accommodate it. If you cannot find such a carton you can purchase a china barrel from A to B Moving. China barrels are tall, extra sturdy cartons originally intended for packing fragile articles, such as dishes.

Step 1: Line the bottom of your carton with a considerable amount of crushed packing paper. This will insure extra cushioning and protection for the lamp.

Step 2: Remove the lampshade and bulb then wrap the cord around the base of the lamp.

Step 3: Spread out several sheets of packing paper so that your packing paper is extended longer and wider than the lamp. Place lamp in the center of your packing paper.

Step 4: Roll packing paper around your lamp. Tuck in the end of the paper at the base of your lamp. Use your tape to prevent the end from coming apart.

Step 5: Seal the seams where packing paper overlaps around your bundle with your tape then fold up the other end (at the top of lamp) of packing paper and seal it with tape. Next, gently place the bundle in the previously lined box.


  • If you have several tall table lamps, you can place more than one in a box. Place each one in the box so the base of one lamp is next to the top of the next lamp. This will make them fit better in the box.
  • When all lamps are packed in the box, generously fill out the box with plenty of crushed packing paper. With your marker write, FRAGILE and LAMPS, in large, clear letters on all sides of the box (or on the tape of the box if you have purchased boxes).


Lampshades, where possible, should be nested so that you can get two or three in a box. Make sure to use clean packing paper (do not use newspaper, to avoid staining), and place the packing paper as protective lining between each shade.

Do not pack anything with the lampshades and be sure and mark on all sides of the carton FRAGILE and LAMPSHADES with your black marker (or on the tape of the box if you have purchased boxes).


Small pictures can be wrapped and stood up on end in normal packing boxes with other goods. Larger pictures, like the ones found hanging over a sofa or mantle (usually measuring 24" x 36") should be packed in a specially designed picture or mirror carton.

If you do not have a picture or mirror carton, many pictures can be packed in a self-made picture box.

Step 1: Select a box that is larger than your picture when open at both ends.

Step 2: Open the bottom of the box, and then flatten the box. Seal one of the open sides with your tape.

Step 3: Lay your picture, face down, on several sheets of packing paper which have been spread out so as to be almost twice as wide as your picture.

Step 4: Wrap the picture in much the same manner as you might a gift box. Bring one side of the packing paper around the picture so that it will cover most of the back of the picture. Then bring the second side of the packing paper around to cover the back of the picture. Seal with tape. Turn picture over and seal the areas where the packing paper overlaps.

Step 5: Slide picture into unsealed side of your box and seal the areas where the packing paper overlaps.


  • Hat and Shoe Boxes: Small boxes of this type should be packed together into larger boxes. Fill in small spaces with crushed packing paper.
  • Toys: Do not need to be wrapped in packing paper unless they are fragile. Pack them in large boxes and seal them up.
  • Loose Shoes: Same as toys.
  • Books and Records: Stand on end. Use small boxes.


The following items should not be packed because they are prohibited by law:

  • Corrosives: household cleaners, acids, liquid plumber, and car or boat batteries.
  • Explosives: ammunition, bullets, flares, fireworks and detonators.
  • Flammable Liquids: gas, lighter fluid, paint, paint thinner, glue, kerosene, acetone, alcohol and lamp oils.
  • Flammable Solids: matches and fuel tablets.
  • Gases: either pressured or liquefied, propane tanks, oxygen, helium, household fuel, aerosol cans, hair spray, paint cleaner and butane lighters.
  • Liquids: wine, beer and alcohol.
  • Oxidizers: bleach, disinfectants, organic peroxides, fertilizers, pool chemicals and chlorine in any form.
  • Poisons: pesticides, herbicides, fumigants and photographic chemicals.

Any other item that might be susceptible to combustion, like oily rags and charcoal, should not be packed for shipping. Again, if you are unsure please feel free to ask us.

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