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Question DetailsAsked on 1/23/2018

How to prepare seasonal décor and hardscape items for interstate move

Have 100+ color-coded and various shaped totes containing seasonal décor. Should the totes be boxed for an interstate move? Also want to include hardscape items such as large ceramic pots in the move. Will the pots be handled like furniture or do I need to bubble-wrap and find big boxes for them? First move in 30 years so I'm pretty much a novice at this. (Also a 66 y/o widow, as if you couldn't tell!) Thank you.

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Generally totes are not boxed but are box taped shut - but should not have fragile items in them either, should be fairly well filled (with items or crumpled paper on top) so the lids do not crush in easily, and get an agreement IN WRITING on the shipping documents that they are not to be stacked over say 3 high and should be (assuming they are relatively light) top-load items. Fragile/glass items should be separately wrapped and boxed. Light strings should be padded or individually sub-boxed within the totes - not just a tote full of exposed light strings (especially if standard rather than LED bulbs) otherwise you will get some broken bulbs. Large outdoor decor should be disassembled to the extent feasible (remove breakable arms from snowmen and such), and will be either padded and put in large boxes like wardrobes or dishpak boxes, or will be individually wrapped in padded packing paper or mover's blankets.

Basically anything you have to be moved, assuming it is not prohibited (most chemicals, aerosol cans, paints, solvents, all liquids in any quantity [sometimes they will pack very small quantities like unopen canned food goods or small perfume, shampoo bottles - sometimes not], they will pack for you - cost of packing labor and packaging materials are of course included in the moving cost. Ceramic pots for instance should be tightly packed with bubble wrap or padded paper (the internal packing restraint greatly increases their resistance to breakage) then wrapped in bubble wrap or padded paper (or both if valuable). Truly valuable vases, in addition to having specific item value insurance on them, would be normally double-wrapped plus boxed.

A note on wrapping if doing your own packing - bubble wrap gives good overall protection and protects well against impacts, but in a pressing-in situation can transmit pressure to the item inside. Padded paper gives more under pressure than bubble wrap so gives better protection against overall pressure but is not as impact resistant. Loose crumpled paper limits bouncing around, and can give better protection agaisnt crushing from outside the box (by giving more "give" before the item is pressured up) - say if something pushes hard up against the box or the outer box starts crushing due to weight on top. So - for very fragile items, initial soft wrapping to protect against breaking fragile pieces might be cotton batting or fiberfill around parts that can break off or maybe crumpled paper if fragile but no appendages or such which will break easily, possibly inside a properly sized box, then bubble wrap for impact resistance, then padded paper around that in extreme cases (most items need one or the other only), then boxed - with spare space in the box taken up by crumpled paking paper. The idea is to cocoon the fragile item, then protect that cocoon and provide an easily stacked shape by boxing that - fopr small fragile items ocmmonly multiple small individual item boxes inside a larger box for easier handling/packing in the truck. Highly fragile items like knick-knacks are commonly padded individually in paper or bubble wrap (with fiberfill or such first if pieces could break off) in a separate small box for each item, perhaps several of those boxes put in a larger box with padded paper or bubblewrap between them.

Finished furniture (tables, cabinetry, etc) should be double-padded so during the move vibration does not wear into the item by rubbing between items - commonly padded paper taped around the item, then moving quilt ("movers blankets") between items. That way any movement (and there is a LOT of vibration and jostling around in the truck on a long distance move) occursat the interface between the padding, not between the padding and the furniture.

Note - foam "beans" and "peanuts" and "air bags" are pretty useless other than to take up excess space to kepp the cocooned item from bouncing around (same as crumpled paper), because any but the lightest items willl settle to the bottom, providing negligable protection on the bottom during the move. If uyou have received Amazon or similar online store boxes you will have seen how everything of any weight was on the bottom, with the packing just sitting on top. (The "sealed air bags", which behave like bubble wrap but give more penetration resistance because of their greater thickness, can be used to cocoon like bubble wrap, but like that, has to be taped to keep the item from slipping out by gravity and vibration.)

Basically, except for things like yard tools which are commonly just taped into bundles, almost everything should be padded with packing material or movers blankets - not only to protect against wear from vibration during the move, but also so they cannot become an item that impacts other items if they fall over or move around in the move.

And of course, the items should be tightly packed in the truck, with restrainer bars (which extend across the width of the truck to prevent toppling over if truck is not 100% full) and binder straps.

Note, if packing yourself (PBO, or Packed By Owner, in moving parlance) any breakage will generally be denied unless there is physical evidence of crushing or penetration of the box in the move - otherwise if outer package is intact any interior damage is considered to be due to inadequate packing. Items that are CP - Carrier Packed (and PBO of CP should be marked on the inventory for each item) - are covered by whatever insurance you have on it excepting any pre-existing damage markedon the shipping papers at time of packing/loading. Plus on the PBO thing, unless you have relatives helping - at your (and my) age it can be a job to pack yourself - recently did several of PBO moves for my children and a full couple of days of packing was about all I could take - a full household would have been exhausting and uxcessively painful too boot.

Bear in mind - you are probably going to be paying $0.50-1.50/# for an interstate move, so pay attention to the value of heavy items. For instance, a 50# outdoor clay pot might cost as much to move as it costs to replace from Walmart. Ditto for very heavy doorstops and such which do not have sentimental value. And of course, one of the best ways to cut moving costs is to use the pre-move prep as a time to clean out the stuff you have accumulated over the years but will never use again. Elderly people, in particular ifmoving into a smaller place, can commonly save money and downsize to new retirement quarters by disposing of much of their non-sentimental value outdoor decor and lawn/garden tools, outdoor and large heavy furniture, etc through giving them to relatives or a moving garage sale. Or for a major downsizing, an in-house weekend auction with a professional auctioneer once your "keeper" items have been moved out.

Since you have not moved in ages, and do not need a hassle with a cut-rate mover or shyster, I suggest using only a major brandname nationwide moving company, and use one who will give you a guaranteed price. Best deal I have seen recently is Allied's guaranteed not-to-exceed estimate but they bill based on actual weight up to that max limit, so you have a guaranteed not-to-exceed quote but pay based on actual weight if less than that. (Other movers may have that offer too, I don't know - last few moves have been with them with zero hassle so they are now my go-to movers, with Bekins as another I have used several times with no problems and negligable damage.

And be sure to check out the comments in the Home > Moving link, under Browse Projects, at lower left regarding insurance - because normally items being moved are only covered under the moving contract for $0.60/lb (and that is per item, not total load multiplied by that amount) and also are not covered for more than X days in temporary storage by the mover (commonly 10-30 days), so look at need for supplemental insurance on the shipment, and also any needed high-value item insurance (or ship any high value items another way with insurance).

Answered 9 months ago by LCD

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