So you're moving to a new space, updating your furniture, or simply unloading some stuff. At some point in this process, you're going to need to ship some of these items. No matter what you're sending, if the paperwork on your new home or office is signed and the pickup and delivery dates for your shipment are scheduled, it's time to start packing and preparing your belongings for transport.
Make sure your goods are protected and prepared for transport using our shipping checklist:
Regardless of what you’re shipping, make sure you check off each of these items:
▢ Make a list of everything you’re shipping.
Creating a detailed inventory of everything you’re shipping will help you keep track of all your belongings during a move. It will also ensure you don’t forget anything, and you’ll need it if you end up filing an insurance claim.
When you’re making your inventory, include:
- A description of each item.
- How much it weighs.
- The value of the item, as well as the cost of a replacement.
- Pictures of your items, including close-ups of any existing damage.
▢ Insure antique or valuable items.
All shipments are covered by federally mandated basic liability insurance, but basic liability insurance won’t cover the full cost of your item in the event of damage or loss, especially antique or valuable items. On average, 15% of shipments incur damage across the moving industry, so if you’re shipping items of high value—monetary or sentimental—make sure you purchase additional shipping insurance to help recoup some of the loss.
▢ Double check your paperwork.
Double and triple check your all your paperwork and shipping labels before your shipment is picked up. Make sure addresses and names are filled out properly and that everything is spelled correctly.
If you’re packing and shipping boxes, make sure your shipment checks all these boxes:
▢ Your boxes are in good condition.
Used, already torn, or otherwise worn boxes are more likely to tear or fall apart during transit, which can lead to lost or damaged items. Use fresh, double-walled cardboard boxes for maximum security, and reserve your older boxes for smaller items that can be packed into larger, stronger boxes.
▢ Your boxes are full.
Underpacking boxes leaves space for your belongings to shift around during transit, which can lead to damage.
There should be no contact between the items packed inside your box and the wall of the box itself. To make sure your belongings are fully protected, use smaller boxes (packed inside larger boxes) for fragile items, and fill empty spaces with packing peanuts or bubble wrap.
▢ Tape boxes securely.
There’s no such thing as “too much tape” when it comes to packing and shipping boxes. Use packing tape instead of masking or duct tape, and seal up every seam.
▢ Label boxes containing fragile or breakable items.
Make sure boxes containing breakable or valuable items are noted as “FRAGILE” or “THIS SIDE UP”.
▢ Remove old shipping labels.
If you’re reusing boxes (that are still in good, near-new condition), make sure you cover or remove any old shipping or address labels to avoid any confusion. The only label on your box should be for the current shipment.
▢ Label each box with the destination address.
Each box should be clearly addressed to ensure your boxes make it to the correct destination. Labelling each box also ensures your packages all arrive safely if they are loaded onto multiple trucks during their journey or get separated in transit. For extra clarity, tape a label onto the top and side of each box.
Check off these items to keep your furniture safe:
▢ Clean your furniture.
Dust and debris can scratch your furniture during transport. Before you wrap your furniture, give it a rub down to remove any dirt. You may also want to consider waxing wood furniture for added protection.
▢ Empty the drawers and shelves.
Clear out drawers and shelves entirely before your pickup date, and pack the content into other boxes.
▢ Disassemble what you can.
Remove any protruding or detachable items, such as:
- Knobs and drawer pulls
- Table legs
- Doors and drawers
Place screws and small pieces into a plastic bag and securely tape it to the furniture it came from. Don’t forget to label the bag so you know which piece of furniture it goes with.
▢ Wrap your furniture.
Before pickup day, wrap your furniture in moving blankets, then cover with shrink wrap to ensure maximum safety in transit. Upholstered furniture doesn’t need to be wrapped in blankets first, but make sure you leave air holes. Speaking of...
▢ Leave air holes.
It can get warm inside the back of a truck. Plastic shrink wrap can limit air flow and cause moisture and mold to build up inside soft or upholstered furniture, so be sure to leave some air holes in the shrink wrap around your upholstered furniture to prevent damage.
▢ Pay special attention to corners.
Corners are especially vulnerable to damage, especially on hard pieces of furniture like wood tables. Protect corners using corner protectors, cardboard, or bubble wrap.
▢ Tape an X across glass, mirrors, and framed artwork.
Taping an X across glass, mirrors, and framed artwork will keep the glass in place if it cracks or breaks during transit. Glass should also be wrapped in bubble wrap or moving blankets.
Download a Printable Checklist
Make sure your furniture and boxes are properly prepared for shipment with our free printable PDF checklist: