General Packing Tips

Packing tips

Everybody can pack as it takes first and foremost common sense. However, packing for international transport requires an extra level of protection. You will find on this page a few packing tips that we hope will be useful.

Packing tips: Labelling your Items

Whether you handle the move yourself or ask European Moving to take care of your transport (see the services we offer, Load & Go and Easymoves), it is good practice to mark each box with a number, your name and a list of its content. Colour coding the labels according to the room, with coloured paper or coloured tape.
Regardless of the company you use, you will need to make an inventory. You should make one even if you move on your own. This way, if a label is torn, or wet, you will have a paper with the content of those boxes with you.
It may sound like a lot of work for little gain: it is not. It will prove invaluable at your destination, and save you from opening all your boxes when you look for a specific item.
N.B. If you book your goods as a part-load, you are likely to be sharing space on the van with other people’s shipments. Therefore it is essential that you clearly label your goods with your full name (this must also be the name on the booking) and destination address. You can do them in the format of your choice but whatever you decide you need to label your goods and we would recommend using the following format:

  • Box 1 of 20
  • Customer Name
  • Number and road name
  • City
  • County
  • Country
  • Phone Number

Packing tips: Inventory List

Regardless of the company you use, you will need to make an inventory. You should make one even if you move on your own. This way, if a label is torn, or wet, you will have a paper with the content of those boxes with you.
It may sound like a lot of work for little gain: it is not. It will prove invaluable at your destination, and save you from opening all your boxes when you look for a specific item.
We request that you supply your move coordinator with an inventory list of items 3 to 5 days before your collection day, this will help us assess the size of your load and hopefully avoid any unexpected issues on the day. Please remember we are not able to gauge the weight of your goods as boxes and furniture vary so widely.
We also request that you print two copies of your inventory ready for the collection day, one for yourself and one for the driver.
Check all goods onto the van at the loading place and make sure that you (the customer) and the driver sign both copies. This will confirm that everything listed has been loaded.
Please make sure you check all goods off the van at the unloading place and that you (the customer) and the driver sign both copies once again.
Do not sign any delivery documents if there is a discrepancy. Once the CMR has been signed, we are unable to process any claim.

Packing tips: Pianos

We are not specialist piano movers. Therefore if you have an expensive piano to move, we strongly recommend using a specialist piano moving company.

We have successfully moved pianos and are willing to do so. However, please bear in mind the following:

  • We will take no responsibility for any damages.
  • The customer would need to take full responsibility for the loading and unloading, including any trolleys, ramps etc.
  • Our vans do not come with tail lifts. You need to consider how you will get it on and off the truck which is around 1.5m high.
  • Our vans do not carry moving blankets as standard. You need to purchase some of your own before collection. These will remain with you after the delivery.
  • In most cases, we cannot stack on top of the piano. Therefore any space above or below is dead space. However, you would have to pay for the unused area.
  • Our vans only come with one driver so make sure that you provide an adequate workforce. Please take into consideration the weight of the piano.

Packing tips: Furniture

Please ensure that you empty all drawers and compartments. Remove Drawers and doors and pack them separately if this makes the item too heavy. Your pieces of furniture will be subjected to minor vibrations, as well as structural constraints from the van’s movements. This can cause some of the screws to vibrate apart from the furniture and may damage your goods. To avoid this, we suggest that you disassemble all flat-pack furniture and package them in cardboard. Make sure that you protect the corners adequately for safe transport. Neither our insurers nor we will accept liability for assembled flat pack furniture damaged in transit.

Packing tips: Fabric and Leather Furniture

Items such as sofas and chairs scuff and mark easily if you do not protect them adequately. Our drivers will treat your property with the utmost care and consideration; however, you want your cream three-piece suite to arrive in pristine condition. European Moving strongly advise that you wrap the furniture in moving blankets, or at least bubble wrap and heavy-duty plastic sheeting. Reinforce all corners with cardboard or plastic casing.
Please make sure that you remove all cushions and protect them to your satisfaction. Cushions are great to fill up the remaining space on books boxes or other bulky items.
We found this useful YouTube video about packing fabric and leather furniture:

Packing tips: Choosing your Packing Materials

To do a good job of your packing, you have to start with the right materials! It should be noted that we DO NOT provide removal blankets. All of our vans will come with straps to secure larger items in the vehicle.

Plastic Storage Boxes
Please do not use plastic storage boxes for your removal! These boxes are used for storage since they are usually transparent and stack easily, but they are not suited to transport at all. Even in storage, we find that they cannot be stacked more than two high without risking the integrity of the lids, which are always very brittle and crack very easily.
Additionally, the plastic walls and base are almost always too thin and also very brittle. This makes the walls liable to cracking, and more importantly, does not allow enough “give”, which is essential in protecting the goods inside during transport. It is also very difficult to tape the edges properly so they can’t be made air-tight, which is another problem. With insufficient “give” in the boxes and no way of making them air-tight, every little vibration on the journey is transferred directly to the fragile items inside.
In short, please don’t use plastic storage boxes for a journey of 20 km, let alone a journey of over 2000 km.

There is no point investing a great deal of time into carefully packing your boxes if you have chosen boxes that are too thin or are made of brittle plastic and are not suited to transport. A great source for free boxes is your local supermarket (or pharmacy). Sometimes you might have to go during a specific time of the day as some grocery shops receive shipments only once a week.
Collect both large and small boxes and if you happen to know anyone who has recently moved, ask them if they can give you a box or two. It is OK to use second-hand boxes as long as they are in good condition, not squashed, crumpled in any way or damaged from dampness etc. They should be fully sealable and not open-topped. It’s best not to use larger boxes that are too heavy or awkward to carry.
It is also possible to order specifically sized boxes for specific items if necessary (eg: bicycles, fishing rods), although most people make do with normal boxes to avoid the high cost of ordering one-offs.

Packing Tape
Easy to acquire at any DIY or stationary shop, so we trust you’d have no trouble finding these supplies. The tape is, of course, critical for taping and sealing the boxes and securing the protective wrapping materials on your furniture. There are several types available – although we tend to use the more expensive type because it is easier to use (it tends not to break and tear off at an angle as often), it is OK to use cheaper tape if you prefer, as tape can be very expensive if bought in small quantities.

Packing paper
Packing paper is essential to wrap fragile items before putting them inside the boxes. The most commonly used variety is sometimes called butcher’s paper or “news off cut” paper. Please note that it is not the same as a newspaper: do not use newspapers to wrap fragile items. The ink gets all over everything, and the paper itself is not as flexible as butcher’s paper or tissue paper. It cannot be scrunched and moulded as easily and does not do as good a job.
Tissue paper is also very useful – it is thinner than news off cut and comes in two types – traditional and “acid-free”. The latter is useful for wrapping silverware and assisting in packing oil paintings. Any of these three types of paper are suitable – you don’t necessarily need all three types. Just don’t use the newspaper!

Bubble wrap and foam
You can also use bubble wrap or foam for packing fragile items, but these are not necessary. Professional removers tend to use tissue paper as a preference in most cases. On occasion, you can use void-filler materials, but these materials are not necessary if you are doing your own packing.

Wardrobe boxes
Wardrobe boxes are incredibly useful as they save having to fold all your clothes into boxes and iron them again at the other end. Instead, they hang safely on a hanger the whole way there. Protective wrapping materials are essential for proper export wrapping. The gold standard product is “bubble blanket”, which is the generic term for Jiffy’s Furniguard and Furnisoft range. We find these products excellent. They are not as easy to find in small retailers or storage centres.
If you do not have a Furnisoft-type product, you can use bubble wrap. We recommend using at least 2 layers plus a layer of plastic outside, to provide more strength to the wrapping. Bubble wrap alone is usually too thin to provide adequate protection on its own unless it is wrapped many times around.
Other “nice to have” materials include corner protectors and corrugated cardboard. Please note again that blanket-wrapping alone is not sufficient for long-distance overseas removals. Blankets are a useful tool to provide added protection to furniture which has already been wrapped.

Packing tips: Fragile Items

Many of our customers ask us questions about the most appropriate methods for packing china, glassware and fragile ornaments. With tissue paper, you may need an extra layer or two just because it is thinner. If you are packing any silverware or any items with silver plating, please use acid-free tissue paper for these. With particularly fragile items it is OK to use some extra bubble wrap or foam, but not at the expense of the tissue paper, particularly the scrunched up “bounce” around and between the items, which fills up the box and keeps everything from moving.

Packing tips: Outside furniture & Satellite Dish

Please ensure that all outside furniture is detached from the property, disassembled and packed ready for transit before our vehicles arrive at your property. Remember that packing also protects the other items in the van.

Packing tips: Gas and Electrical Appliances

Where necessary have them prepared for removal by qualified service agents. You may need to disconnect stoves or heaters, bolt down refrigerator motors or washing machine drums, take down electrical fittings (wall heaters, electrical clocks, etc.) that are wired to the mains or get the TV aerial down from the roof.

Packing tips: Fixtures and Fittings

Technically, they are defined as items fixed to the wall, ceiling or floor, but some things such as TV aerials, clothes dryers and night storage heaters may not fall into this category. It’s best to make all these doubtful items the subject of a formal agreement between European Moving and yourself. It is also worthwhile to include items such as fitted kitchens in the agreement.

Packing tips: Carpets and Decorations

If you are laying fitted carpet, painting or sealing the floors in the new house, this is best done before the move. If you have rugs, curtains, chair covers, etc., it’s a good idea to have these cleaned and/or altered – in advance.

Packing tips: Keys

Solicitors normally advise clients to hand keys over only on or after settlement. Although this can be inconvenient, it does prevent possible concerns. Your solicitor or the estate agent can usually assist in ensuring the handover of keys at a time and place convenient to your schedule. Please contact European Moving if there are any delays with the destination as soon as possible as this will affect your move.

Packing tips: Personal Travel Arrangements

Are you going to need hotel accommodation, en route or for a couple of days at the other end? Consider booking early.
Please do not schedule your departure immediately after loading, especially if you are taking the train, or flying. Delays happen, whether it is traffic, an insufficient workforce, excessive weight… We shall not be held responsible for the consequences of delays in loading or unloading.

Do you Have any useful packing tips to share? Drop us a mail at [email protected]. We will add the best ones to our Packing Tips page.