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How to Pack Boxes for Moving

By November 8, 2022December 28th, 2022Management & Productivity, Shipping & Packaging
man holding a clipboard checking things off with boxes in the background stacked neatly

How to Pack Moving Boxes Efficiently

Being organized and strategic when packing boxes for a move is very important to ensure that nothing gets broken, and that you know where everything is throughout the process. Becoming and staying efficient while packing can make your life easier, especially when it comes to unpacking the boxes at your new destination. Having an organized system can also relieve stress and anxiety along the way, which might make moving more enjoyable. Knowing that you packed your belongings in a formulated manner can be considered the best way to pack boxes for moving, because not having a strategy can make things more difficult and confusing. Here are some tips for packing up your boxes efficiently:

  • Sort your items per category or per room. If you are moving to a new house or apartment, gather all your items per room and organize them in a way that would make sense for you. Have boxes for each bedroom, each bathroom, and for the kitchen and living room. Same thing for an office. If there are different types of rooms you have items in, be sure to sort them accordingly. Once you move, you can place all of the boxes into their specific room to be unpacked without confusion or wasted time.
  • Gather all the necessary supplies like boxes, packing tape, and the packing materials of your choice. When packing fragile items, be sure to separate them from other items to prevent damage. Packing paper, bubble wrap and packing peanuts are popular options to include inside the box in order to protect your items from breaking or becoming damaged.
  • Use dividers. If you are packing breakable items and don’t have the space or the resources to pack them individually, use box dividers to ensure they won’t break. Things like glasses, mugs, delicate decorations, and Christmas ornaments and would be some items dividers would be necessary for.
  • Label your boxes based on the items that are inside, and the room they will be placed in. For example, kitchen utensils and silverware should have the word “kitchen” labeled prominently on the box. Use a thick sharpie or get creative and use Avery labels.
  • Pack your boxes like you are bagging groceries. Move items around to fit more in the box and take your time doing so. Wrap items in packing paper to separate them and be sure to fill the box in order to not waste space.
  • Seal your boxes well. Use high quality packing tape to seal up your boxes so that you can stack others on top without the fear of the boxes concaving.

What to Not Pack in Moving Boxes

While there are many things that are good for packing inside moving boxes, there are a few things that shouldn’t be packed. There are lots of reasons why some items should not be packed, like possible explosions, chemical spills, or the risk of losing the items. Examples include:

  • Beauty products like nail polish remover
  • Household cleaners and chemicals
  • Garden and garage chemicals like fertilizer and car oil
  • Lightbulbs
  • Batteries
  • Paint
  • Perishable food items
  • Valuable items like jewelry
  • Important documents

It’s best to pack these items and transport them yourself in a car, rather than the moving truck. Some laws prohibit moving trucks from having these items packed because of the many risks they cause. Things like chemicals can spill during the trip, so it’s best to either dump them out and start fresh, or pack them safely in the car.

How heavy should moving boxes be packed?

Moving boxes should be packed almost to the brim in order to save space and time but shouldn’t be too heavy that you cannot carry it. For reference, if you cannot comfortably carry your moving box a short distance, you might need to rearrange some items in the box or replace them with lighter objects. In order to prevent any injuries or stress to your joints, it’s best that you are aware of how much weight differently sized boxes can hold. Depending on their size, moving boxes should weigh no more than 30-40 pounds, especially medium and large sized boxes because they can be tough to carry in the first place. Save smaller sized boxes for heavier objects, that way you can pack the heavy things separately. Smaller boxes should hold no more than 65 pounds.

How to Stack Boxes when Moving

Stacking your moving boxes can be seen as a science. There are ways to strategically stack your boxes in order to make your life and your move easier. When stacking your boxes in a moving truck or in a storage unit, put the heavier boxes on the bottom and stack the lighter ones on top. This way, nothing gets crushed or breaks in the process, and if a box were to tip over the lighter boxes would be the ones that tip.

It’s a good practice to stack the boxes as if you were building something out of bricks or concrete blocks. This will help them stay sturdy and will prevent them from falling or moving in any way. Think of it like a puzzle instead of placing them without some sort of order. Be sure you label the boxes with the label on top and on one of the sides, so when you go to unload the truck or storage unit that you can see the room the box is going in immediately.

What is the standard box size for moving?

While people use many sizes of boxes for moving, the standard size is medium, measuring around 18 x 18 x 16 inches. Medium boxes are known to be the standard size because they are the most common to use while moving. Small and large sized boxes are still widely used, but medium boxes are the perfect size for most household items or office supplies that need to be packed up. Medium boxes are typically bought in larger quantities because they are used more during a move.

What are the different sizes of moving boxes?

Based on height, width and length, there are hundreds of size combinations to choose from when buying moving boxes. W.B. Mason offers many different sizes along with all other shipping and packaging supplies you may need for your upcoming move. Moving boxes as small as 12 x 12 x 12 inches and as large as 24 x 24 x 24 inches and anything in between are available from W.B. Mason.

Because differently sized boxes are meant for packing different kinds of items, small sized boxes are great for packing small kitchen appliances, tools, and other heavy or fragile items. Using a small box for one heavy item is going to be much easier to carry and transport compared to packing multiple heavy items into a larger sized box. Large boxes are used for packing lighter objects such as pillows, jackets and outerwear, and lamp shades so that it’s easier to carry them in and out of the moving truck or storage unit. Medium boxes are usually more popular because they can be used to hold a wider variety of items compared to small and large boxes. People tend to purchase medium boxes more frequently due to the space they have for multiple of items while still being easy to carry.

Where to Buy Moving Boxes

You can find moving boxes anywhere where shipping supplies are sold, or you could purchase them online to be sure you are getting the correct sizes. Sometimes the box section in retail stores can be a bit messy and different sized boxes can be mixed up with others. Ordering your moving boxes online and in bulk saves you the time and energy on making sure the boxes are the correct sizes you need. W.B. Mason offers low prices on moving boxes and can be shipped as soon as the next business day after ordering. Be sure to start the organize process early so that by the time your boxes arrive, you will be all ready to pack them up.

Different Types of Moving Boxes

Along with different sizes of moving boxes, there are also different types. Moving boxes can have different features to accommodate the types of objects you want to put inside them. For an example, regular packing boxes will do a great job protecting your items, while deluxe packing boxes might be a better option for fragile items. Dish pack boxes, artwork boxes, and wardrobe boxes are available to cater to your specific needs, while boxes with hand holes make it easier to carry. Here is a complete list of W.B. Mason’s moving box options:

  • Artwork boxes
  • Deluxe moving boxes
  • Dish pack boxes
  • Moving boxes with hand holes
  • Moving kits
  • Regular packing boxes
  • Wardrobe boxes

All of these types of moving boxes are made of corrugated cardboard for extra protection.

Based on your moving situation and whether you are moving into a new house or apartment or a new office space, weighing out your options and choosing the best type of box for you is key. Think about who is going to be helping you move, what time of year you are moving, and what the weather will be. Those factors can contribute to the type of moving box you choose immensely. For an example, if there is snow or ice on the ground or if someone is helping you who has history of back pain, it would be best to go with the boxes with hand holders for more stability. If you are doing it on your own, regular, or deluxe packing boxes might work depending on your level of strength and the number of boxes you have. If you have large pieces of art that need extra protection, look into some of the artwork boxes that W.B. Mason offers so no damage occurs during the move.

Cardboard vs. Plastic Boxes for Moving

While most people automatically think of cardboard when they think of moving boxes, plastic boxes are also an option. There are pros and cons to both cardboard boxes and plastic boxes when it comes to moving. While cardboard boxes are more traditional, plastic boxes have some benefits as well. Here are a list of the pros and cons for each option:

Cardboard Boxes: Pro

  • Easily accessible, especially in bulk
  • Relatively affordable
  • Comes in a wide variety of sizes for all types of items
  • Can be broken down and recycled
  • Can be reused if not damaged
  • Best for moves that are short in distance

Cardboard Boxes: Con

  • Can be hard to carry
  • Rain and moisture can damage them easier
  • Not always practical in a long-distance move

Plastic Bins: Pro

  • Good for long distance moves
  • Very protective and can be stackable based on size
  • Moisture and humidity won’t affect the items inside
  • Can be reused
  • Good for if you are storing in a storage unit
  • Can hold a lot more and will last longer than cardboard
  • You can see what is inside without opening it

Plastic Bins: Cons

  • Can be expensive
  • Can he difficult to find in bulk
  • Much heavier than cardboard boxes
  • Not very practical for short distance moves

Packing Boxes for Moving

Whether you are packing up your office or your home, learning how to pack boxes for moving in a strategic way can help your process tremendously. There is a science when it comes to packing moving boxes, and the organizational system you use can ease stress levels and anxieties that surround moving to a new space. Take one room at a time, start the process as early as possible, and try to get helpful hands along the way to make it easier.


Alero Moving & Storage. How to Properly Pack Cardboard Boxes for Your Move. ( Accessed September 26, 2022.

Life Storage Blog. How to Pack Moving Boxes Efficiently. ( Accessed September 26, 2022.

Megan’s Moving. Moving Box Sizes Explained. ( Accessed September 26, 2022.

Public Storage. The Organized Life. ( Accessed September 26, 2022.