You may be one of the millions of Americans who will be undertaking a long-distance, or even international move this year. If so, you will face the often-dreaded challenge of preparing for and surviving that move. According to statistics, roughly 12 percent of all individuals and families move each year, which means millions of tons of personal goods will be boxed up and sent on their way in a moving van or trailer.

Proper Preparation to Prevent Damage

While even the most carefully planned and executed move can cause some of your possessions to be damaged, there are a number of basic steps you can take to minimize the risk of such damage. You can also purchase moving insurance from a number of companies to help protect your valuables.

However, the basics of a damage-free move start with how you pack your boxes. Whether you make your move a DIY project or depend on professionals, you will want to ensure these basic steps are taken to provide as much protection and security as possible. These tips will also help make the move as hassle-free as possible.

When it comes to prepping and packing, you should always:

  • Make sure you purchase an adequate supply of boxes, bubble wrap, and packing tape before you start. There are some excellent online calculators to help you make this assessment. It may be tempting to use old boxes you can pick up from a dumpster, but these are often inadequate from a durability perspective. Additionally, movers calculate on both weight and volume, and you can pack a lot more into a space using boxes of a consistent size.
  • A word about wrapping material. If you start with a strong box, you will add a great deal to its protection by using the right packing materials. For some items crumpled newspaper is adequate, but your more fragile pieces should get the added protection for shocks and jolts provided by bubble wrap.
  • Likewise, buy plenty of smaller boxes. Instead of packing your high-value items together in a larger box, secure them individually in their own container so they don’t knock against each other.
  • Organize your packing process. When you are moving, you will need items before you head out and others when you first arrive at your new location. You might call you’re your “First Week Box.” Setting these items aside and placing them in specially marked boxes will eliminate a great deal of searching and head-scratching when looking for that item you need badly.
  • As a part of your organizing, take the opportunity to declutter as much as possible. There’s no need to pack, ship, and unpack old magazines, outdated clothes, and other items you really don’t need.
  • Separate items by how sturdy and heavy they are. You will want to place books and similar items in their own boxes, while separating glassware and mirrors into more carefully prepared containers. As noted above,  your fragile items should be wrapped individually in old newspaper or bubble wrap
  • Take special care with your electronics and computers. Televisions that can’t be placed in a good box should always be transported upright and fully covered with a foam wrap or heavy blankets.
  • Pack each room separately to make your set up after moving easier. For example, keep all your kitchen items in one box, and your bathroom linens, towels and other items in separate, clearly marked boxes. Of course, never pack liquids or opened boxes of cleaners or detergent with your other goods.

When you face the challenge of moving, proper packing will make the adventure easier and safer.