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Outside The Box

A Moving And Shipping Blog

How to Safely Pack Your Furniture for Shipping

Posted in Packing on May 08, 2015, tagged with shipping furniture

When it’s time to pack your furniture, don’t over think it. With simple household items like tube socks and laundry baskets, you can help avoid damage to your furniture. Use the guide below to help you safely pack your furniture for moving and shipping.

Bedroom furniture

Mattress and box spring

Mattresses and box springs tend to get damaged if not packed appropriately. There are two ways to pack a mattress and a box spring: 

  1. The best way to protect your mattress and box spring is to purchase a mattress bag and shipping box. Once the mattress and box spring are put into the bag, seal with packing tape. You can then put both mattress and box spring into the box and seal with packing tape.
  2. If you'd rather not purchase a box for your mattress and box spring, you can use a common house blanket or moving blankets to cover the top of the mattress and box spring. Once both items are wrapped, use plastic shrink wrap to wrap your mattress and box spring separately. Secure the shrink wrap with packing tape. Shrink wrap will help protect your items from dirt and moisture, but it does not guarantee safe arrival.

Headboard or footboard

  1. Unscrew the headboard and foot board. Store screws and bolts in a sealable bag labeled ‘Headboard and Footboard’ to avoid misplacing them.
  2. Wrap both head and footboards with a layer of moving blankets.
  3. Secure blankets in place with plastic stretch wrap. Use packing tape on all ends to keep items from coming unwrapped.
PRO TIP: Using plastic wrap or bubble wrap directly on a wooden headboard/footboard could damage the wood. Always wrap wood furniture in blankets before you shrink wrap. 

Dresser 

You have two options for packing your dresser:

  1. Without removing the drawers. If you chose this option, empty out all of the drawers to help lighten the weight of the dresser. This option will ensure that your drawers stay with the dresser and are not misplaced during shipment. Use boxes, baskets, laundry bins, and suitcases to pack all of your belongings you had in the drawers.
  2. Removing the drawers. You can also use the drawers to transfer your belongings to your next destination. Press and seal cling wrap can be used to secure your belongings in place. After securing the contents of your drawer, individually wrap each drawer with moving blankets (or household blankets) to prevent damage and dirt. Secure with plastic stretch wrap and packing tape.

Whether you remove the drawers or transport your dresser without removing the drawers, always wrap your dresser with moving blankets. Secure the moving blankets in place by wrapping the entire dresser in plastic cling wrap, and apply packing tape to secure the plastic wrap.

Cedar chest

There are many factors to consider when packing your cedar chest, including:

  • Fragility
  • Size
  • Value
  • Pickup conditions
  • Final destination requirements
  • Mode of transport
  • Environmental factors such as climate

To ensure the safety of your cedar chest, first remove any items from inside the chest. Wrap the entire chest in moving blankets, then secure with shrink wrap and packing tape. Crating your cedar chest is also an option for additional security during shipment.

FACT: Cedar is resistant to fungus, bacteria, many insects, and moths. Cedar is also more resistant to humidity (which is why it is used in saunas). This may decrease the likelihood of damage due to humid weather conditions.

Decorative bench

Boxing a decorative bench is the most economical way to ship it to your new home. For added protection, place clean tube socks on the legs of the bench. Wrap the entire bench with a moving blanket (securing blankets in place with shrink wrap and packing tape), then place bench inside the box and seal with packing tape. Keep in mind not to allow shrink wrap or packing tape to have direct contact with a wooden bench, as it could damage the surface.

Living room furniture

Bookcase 

Always remove books from shelves prior to preparing a bookcase for shipment. If your book shelves are not secure, remove them and wrap each shelf individually in a towel. Then:

  1. Stack the shelves on top of each other, wrap them in moving blankets, and use shrink wrap to hold the shelves together. Secure plastic wrap with packing tape.
  2. Place shelves in a box and seal box with packing tape.
  3. Wrap your bookcase in moving blankets and secure blankets with plastic shrink wrap. Use packing tape to secure the shrink wrap.

Rug

Roll your rug around a long piece of 3-inch PVC piping to prevent it from from bending in the middle. Once the PVC piping is in place, roll the rug around the piping against the direction of the pile. This results in a tighter roll, allowing for a smaller final size. Once the rug is rolled, use shrink wrap to secure the entire rug from unrolling. You can then place the rug in a plastic bag and/or telescoping box. Use packing tape to secure box closed. 

Sofa

Prior to packing your sofa, dissemble any removable parts and place them in labelled sealable plastic bags. Protect your seat cushions and throw pillows from dirt by placing them in large outdoor trash bags. Attach the removable parts bag to the cushions with packing tape so they stay with the sofa.

Place bagged seat cushions on the sofa and throw pillows atop the seat cushions. Wrap your sofa completely with moving blankets, and the legs with bubble wrap. Secure blankets and pillows by wrapping the sofa fully with shrink wrap. Use packing tape to hold down plastic wrap.

Hutch 

Regardless of the type of hutch you have, all contents should be removed to lighten the weight of the piece. Remove shelves that are not fixed into position—this will help avoid breaking or scratching. Wrap shelves identically to book shelves mentioned above. Wrap the hutch in moving blankets and secure with plastic shrink wrap. Secure plastic wrap with packing tape from top to bottom.

PACKING TIP: Add more protection by overlaying the moving blankets with cardboard.

Dining room furniture

China cabinet

Remove all fine china from your cabinet. You can also wrap your china plates with bubble wrap (1/16 inch bubble thickness with 1/8 diameter work best) prior to placing them vertically into a box. Similar to your hutch, the china cabinet should be wrapped with moving blankets from top to bottom, then shrink wrapped and secured by packing tape to ensures doors do not open during shipping.

Grandfather clock

When you're packing a grandfater clock, always take extra precautions to ensure it's packed as securely as possible. How do you securely pack the inner workings of your grandfather clock?

  1. Remove the access panel.
  2. If the clock has a cable holding the weights, insert three 2″ square Styrofoam blocks above each pulley between the cables. If your clock has chains, use simple twist ties to string the chains together, then wrap them with newspaper and secure them in place using rubber bands so they don't move around and damage the finish.
  3. The pendulum can be removed by holding it from the middle and slightly moving it up causing it to un-hook from the pendulum leader.

Dining room set

It's best to remove the table legs from your dining room set first, if possible. Put clean tube socks over the legs to protect the wood, then wrap them with bubble wrap (3/16 inch bubble thickness with 3/8 diameter is perfect for cushioning). Secure with packing tape. Follow these same steps for the legs of the dining chairs.

Use furniture blankets to protect the remaining areas of your table and each chair. Secure with shrink wrap and moving tape. Wooden table tops and leaves can easily be wrapped with moving blankets and secured with shrink wrap and packing tape. If you have a glass tabletop, wrap with moving blankets, cushion with moving pads, wrap in bubble wrap and secure with moving tape.

Buffet and armoire

While movers will provide moving pads and blankets to protect your buffet during shipment, adding padding is always a good idea. Wrap your buffet & armoire in moving blankets, then secure with shrinkwrap from top to bottom. Secure the shrink wrap with packing tape. You can also use cardboard for additional protection around both pieces.

Get more packing tips

Need help packing your home? Check out our comprehensive room-by-room packing guide, request a moving quote online, or give us a call at 1-800-626-1257.