Packing for Your Move

Helpful packing tips


Need to buy packing materials? Buy them online through Abels Moving Services and have them delivered to your door the following day. Click to go to the packaging page.

If you don’t want it to arrive damaged, pack it properly

If you have chosen to pack your own belongings, we have some help and guidance to assist you packing for your move.

Hints and tips 

  1. Select the right Abels carton for the job. i.e:
    Marked ‘A’ = large – larger lighter items kitchen Tupperware, pans. (Lightweight)
    Marked ‘B’ = small – Books, Tinned Food, Records, Tools and Heavy Items.
    Marked ‘C’ = medium – China, Glass, Ornaments etc.
    Marked ‘L’ Linen / Bedding (These cartons are only used for Overseas Moves)
  2. Use adequate tape to secure the base and top of the carton.
  3. Pack heavier items at the bottom of the carton, lighter items at the top.
  4. Pack cartons as fully as possible, being generous with packing materials, particularly at the base and top of each carton.
  5. Plates should be stood on end, not laid flat with all items individually wrapped.
  6. Do not pack higher than the carton as this must be closed to provide a cube, which can then be stacked on the vehicle.
  7. Identify on each of the cartons, the contents and in which room it is to be placed. Also, if it contains fragile items, please mark appropriately – except when moving overseas.
  8. Stack full cartons in corners, allowing the removers sufficient room to work.
  9. Clothing and paperwork can remain in drawers. However, breakables, spillable and heavy items must be removed and packed separately.
  10. Hanging clothes can be left in your wardrobe until the removal day when they will be transferred to a wardrobe carton.
  11. Mirrors and pictures, which are too large for our cartons, will be protected individually by the moving crew on the day.
  12. Bundle and tie or tape loose items, such as brooms, shelving, garden tools etc.


The condition of your treasured belongings when they arrive at your new home will largely depend upon the way they were packed: specifically, the skills of the packing crew and the quality of packing materials.

Once upon a time, tea chests, newspapers, corrugated paper and string were the order of the day. There is no place for these today: modulised cartons, which are cleaner, far more practical and cause no damage to packer or the contents, have replaced tea chests! Half tea-chest size cartons now accommodate heavier items like books, records and tool-kits. Whilst the full size are for chinaware, glasses and kitchenware, with lighter goods, such as clothes, bedding, toys and the like are accommodated in equivalent 1½ tea chest cartons.
There is an array of specialist cartons for items that need special care, such as pictures, wine, hanging clothes and layflats, which are like suitcases. This modulisation allows for maximum density and usage of space, which is important to reduce freight costs. However, ensure your mover is going to use heavier export gauge cartons (many don’t due to the cost).

Different levels of packing are needed for different forms of transportation. Where your goods are being consolidated with others, such as in groupage or LCL (less than container load) or where there is any trans-shipment, there needs to be expert packing. LCL really requires over-packing as your goods will be handled by port labour which is unskilled in stacking furniture or breakables. Similarly with airfreight; it is unwise to send loose goods to airports as they are not known for their loving care. Here, over packing in special palletised airfreight modules is the way professional companies will complete the task.

The more adventurous and less time sensitive clients will look to pack smaller items themselves and movers will sell packing materials and give helpful hints on how to avoid the more obvious pitfalls. Whilst clients may wish to pack non-breakables leaving the high-risk items to the professionals, they often overlook the opportunity to pack lightweight soft items inside the furniture cupboard space and drawers. Another reason to leave it to the experts is the heightened security at customs points around the world who now will insist on checking owner packed goods causing some delays and potential damage.

Van deliveries across Europe can allow for furniture items to be simply woolen blanket wrapped on the vehicle. This is especially true on full loads when there is no trans-shipment between warehouses or vehicles and if the vehicles have air-ride suspension for smoother and safer transportation. Small items need to be carefully and individually wrapped prior to packing into cartons to avoid potential chaffing, chipping or breakage. This internal wrapping can include tissue (acid free for silver), clean unprinted white paper (newsprint), globular straw bossed sheets (found between new crockery), bubble-wrap, polystyrene granules, carton inserts and dividers.

Clients for Europe may still require full export packing of furniture based upon their personal needs, the mode of transportation and/or the value of their goods. Sometimes value dictates that items are fully export wrapped prior to movement.

Once again, standards can vary dramatically. Although a standard paper blanket can be quickly wrapped around a furniture piece in the home, it actually gives less protection than a woolen blanket used on normal van movements. All materials used must be full export quality and not so flimsy that they will tear at the first lift. The professional packer will create a “work of art” with every part of the item ensconced within the neatly taped package of materials.
The need for non-abrasive products which nestle against the polished surfaces of furniture eliminates the use of corrugated paper, cardboard or other materials that can soon be impressed onto the furniture. The packaging needs to be sturdy enough to give outer protection against knocks and abrasions. This usually entails several layers of padding or simply over-wrapping so there is a soft inner layer is combined with a stronger outer core, which will not imprint through the inner protection. Ideally, a specialist export blanket, consisting of five or six layers of varying strength and composition, possibly followed by an overlay of card for final impact protection, should be used. There is also foam bubble available which has been designed not to make the item sweat or cause indentation marks.

The use of plain polythene needs to be avoided due to the climatic changes and the fact most items contain an element of moisture, especially fabrics, which will then easily change into mildew – certainly not recommended for beds of sofas.

Professional movers will pack everything inside the home. This is to reassure customers as they can see the care and attention taken by the crew. Once the goods are all individually packed, a full inventory is completed which both numbers the items and declares their condition, which acts as the receipt for the shipment.

If you are worried about just how careful a mover is, ask about its insurance claim record – the number and level of claims it is always a good indication.