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5 tips to pack like a pro

Moving house? Most people make big mistakes when packing up their belongings simply because they don’t know the tricks of the trade, according to packing pro Javier Lirman, founder of Toronto moving company Cargo Cabbie. Before you run out to buy a mountain of plastic bins, read these professional tips to make moving a breeze.

To bin or not to bin

One popular misconception is that plastic bins are the ultimate packing accessory. “They’re really not,” says Lirman, “And to be honest, you want to avoid them if you are moving into a house with hardwood floors as they can scratch them and also the walls – especially if you have to move the bins up a tight staircase.”

On the other hand, these bins do make sense for a condo situation. Since all condos provide dollies, making it easy to stack and pack them into an elevator, Lirman says pre-fab bins can streamline a condo move. It’s also easy to move them into a condo unit because usually there are no staircases to negotiate.

One size does not fit all

Moving ‘stores’ have been popping up everywhere in big, urban centres – usually stocking the perfect-sized container for every item imaginable. It is helpful to have some specialty boxes for certain items. Book boxes, for example, need to be small (approximately 1 cubic foot) so they are light enough to be carried easily and not bend or buckle in the middle. The same goes for boxes meant to transport dishes. Designed at about 1.5 cubic feet, the ideal box for china is double-lined with cardboard for extra cushioning.

Stand, don’t stack

Another common packing mistake is to stack your plates, says Lirman, who advises that they should be packed vertically. “Yes, you heard me correctly,” he laughs, “You know how an egg is easy to crack if you put pressure on its sides, but almost impossible to break from top to bottom? Well, plates are the same.”

Use newsprint to cushion the spaces between vertical plates and other delicate cups or wine glasses. In fact, fill every empty space with crushed newsprint balls (no need for expensive bubble wrap).

“Empty space means objects can shift around easily and breakage can happen,” says Lirman.

The clothes conundrum

Garbage bags have transported many a college closet full of clothes. And yes, they do the job. But wardrobe boxes are a much more sophisticated means of transporting clothing. At around two-feet wide and three-feet tall, the boxes are designed to accommodate clothing that stays on the hanger, so it’s super easy to unpack and rehang. Folded clothing from dressers can fit snugly in larger boxes.

Start in the kitchen

Packing up can be a pain and Lirman says most customers woefully underestimate how long it takes. “Especially the kitchen,” he says, “This is hands-down the most frustrating room to pack because everyone thinks they don’t own a lot of kitchen stuff.”

To ease the frustration factor, try packing the kitchen first. “People leave it until the bitter end because they still want to make meals,” says Lirman, “But what ends up happening is people simply aren’t prepared enough and end up cramming mismatched objects into boxes – increasing the chance for breakage.” Much better to set aside a few kitchen essentials to use while packing, and carefully box up the rest before diving into the rest of the house.

If the prospect of packing alone just seems overwhelming, know that most movers also offer packing services too. So if you can’t become a pro yourself – hiring one is the next best thing.