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Tips on How to Pack Furniture for Moving - Dos and Don’ts

Published by Chris Townsend

Tips on How to Pack Furniture for Moving - Dos and Don’ts

Not many movers offer packing furniture for moving services. Most will expect you to be ready when they come to pick up your items selected for transport. Don't worry, We will guide you on how to pack furniture for moving, and it's do's and don'ts to protect your furniture when moving.

While it may seem that packing furniture for moving is an easy task, you’ll find that it poses more challenges than you think. It requires careful planning, proper technique, the best packing materials, and an understanding of shipping conditions.

Otherwise, you risk damaging your furniture or even having your order rejected by furniture moving companies. The following dos and don’ts and furniture packing tips should help you better protect your furniture and ensure smooth transportation to your new home.

The Dos of Packing Furniture for Moving

Everyone should understand the basic rules of wrapping furniture for moving. A lot goes into properly packing furniture elements, big and small, before calling the movers to do the heavy lifting and relocation.

Measure Your Furniture

If you don’t measure large furniture pieces, you won’t know what you can and can’t take with you to your new home. In addition, moving companies can’t give you accurate quotes if they don’t understand your shipping needs.

The first thing to always do when packing furniture for moving is to measure everything. This is how you figure out what you can take and how to get it out of the old place and into the new one.

Clean the Furniture

One of the most valuable packing furniture tips anyone can give you is to clean the furniture. You don’t have to deep clean everything but dusting your furniture, particularly wooden pieces, is essential.

Knowing how to pack wooden furniture for moving won't necessarily ensure that you can transport it safely and damage-free. Dust and other coarse particles can scratch the surface of your furniture during transit.

That’s why you should clean everything before tightly wrapping your furniture pieces.

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Disassemble Large Furniture Elements

When people think about how to prepare furniture for moving, they often forget one of the most important steps—disassembling complex pieces. Large furniture items can be difficult to get out of the house, especially if it’s an older home with narrower doors and windows.

These large pieces may also take up unnecessary space in the moving truck and might not fit through the doors of the new home.

Complex pieces must be taken apart and wrapped individually. This makes the moving process smoother and can save a lot of cargo space. This may allow you to rent a smaller moving vehicle.

If for no other reason, do this to save some money.

Protect Fragile Areas

Many furniture pieces will have soft spots or elements prone to damage during a move. Take couches, for example.

Knowing how to protect furniture when moving is essential. Corners should be wrapped tightly to avoid chipping or banging into other furniture pieces while in transit.

You should also wrap non-movable furniture elements like panels, drawers, and legs when possible.

Use the Right Wrapping Material

Furniture blankets are ideal when packing furniture for moving. Getting the best wrapping materials is one of the first steps if you want to know how to prepare furniture for moving.

Using packing paper is another solid alternative. While it won’t offer amazing protection, it can be overwrapped with other materials. The main reason to use paper is to have a soft layer that won’t damage the finish between the furniture piece and harder wrapping materials.

Go for Maximum Coverage

Most packing furniture tips will tell you to cover as much of your furniture as you can before moving it.

Ideally, you want to cover all exposed surfaces to protect them as much as possible during the loading and unloading process and while being transported. You’ll especially thank yourself if the moving day happens to be rainy or snowy.

Packing furniture tips

Pack Cushions Separately

Don’t know how to pack couch cushions for moving? It’s simple. Always pack them separately from the couch for easier storage and extra protection.

You can even pack cushions, pillows, and other soft furniture elements together in moving boxes.

Bonus Furniture Moving Tip – You can use cushions to protect other fragile pieces of furniture and appliances since they act like padding already.

Use Cardboard

Cardboard is an underrated material when it comes to packing furniture for moving. That's why you should know how to protect furniture corners when moving and elements that can scratch, tear, or rip through other items.

Don’t think of cardboard as only useful in box form.

Stock Up on Ziplock Bags

Packing a sofa for moving often involves a complete disassembly process. Make sure you neatly pack and label all the screws, bolts, and other installation hardware elements separately.

Ziplock bags are great for categorizing and storing small hardware pieces during a move. This will make them easily identifiable and save time when reassembling furniture.

Ask the Moving Company for Advice

Moving companies know how much cargo fits into their vans, trailers, and trucks. Taking furniture measurements and coordinating with the moving company is a good idea.

A company representative might be able to give you packing furniture tips and inform you of what you should or shouldn’t disassemble.

Start Packing Ahead of Time

When you schedule furniture transport, most movers will expect you to have all the furniture ready to load onto the truck when they arrive.

Therefore, it’s best to start packing days before the move to avoid last-minute chaos.

Secure Moving Elements

Drawers, doors, and other elements may fly open when hauled to a new location. To prevent impact damage or unnecessary wear, it’s best to secure any furniture elements that move on rails or hinges.

This is especially important if you can’t disassemble them.

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Buy the Right Packing Supplies

You’ll need a few things to make your job easier when packing.

  • Moving blankets
  • Moving boxes
  • Ziplock bags
  • Packing paper
  • Packing tape
  • Utility knife
  • Measuring tape
  • Standard hand tools

Get more wrapping material than you need to ensure you can repackage some items if necessary.

The Don’ts of Packing Furniture for Moving

Now that you know the things you must do, it’s important to go over some of the absolute don’ts regarding packing furniture for moving.

Don’t Wrap Wood Directly in Plastic

Some people don’t know how to wrap wooden furniture for moving. They use bubble wrap directly on wood because of its protective qualities. But while bubble wrap or tape can protect against impact damage, they can still scratch and hurt the finish of wooden furniture.

Avoid using bubble wrap directly on wood surfaces if not dusted and already covered in a soft protective layer of fabric.

Don’t Forget to Take Lots of Photos

Whenever you use a moving company’s services, whether to move furniture, appliances, or even a vehicle, you should document the condition of the cargo.

Take photos of every scratch, tear, dent, stain, and other imperfection. Not doing so can leave you vulnerable to loopholes in the carrier’s insurance policy. You’re only entitled to reimbursement when you can prove that the carrier damaged your furniture.

Don’t Forget to Inventory Everything

Many homeowners get so wrapped up in the process and worry about how to pack a couch for moving that they don’t keep track of what it is they’re moving.

You shouldn’t forget to create a detailed inventory of all furniture pieces and accessories and how you packed them. It helps streamline packing, quickly identify misplaced or missing items, and even gives you an idea of what you don’t need to take to a new home.

Don’t Move Very Fragile Furniture With Everything Else

Some antique furniture elements are big, heavy, and difficult to move. It’s a good idea to avoid stuffing the moving van with heavy furniture pieces and small, fragile elements together.

No matter how well you pack them, they can still be damaged when the movers handle the larger furniture.

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Don’t Take Unnecessary or Useless Furniture Pieces

Some people believe they should take everything with them during a move. This applies to furniture elements that won’t fit in their new home or are too worn-out or damaged to be used.

Just because you have to empty your house doesn’t mean you have to ship everything with the moving company. This will only add to your shipping cost.

Disassemble, donate, or throw away furniture you won’t use when packing furniture for moving.

Don’t Try to Fit Everything in One Van

Everyone’s cargo capacity needs are different when packing furniture for moving. But you can’t always take everything with you on a single trip.

It’s okay if the shipping company has to make two trips or even three to get your furniture from point A to point B. While it may cost extra, that’s better than not leaving any wiggle room in the moving van.

It will only make the movers’ jobs harder and increase the risk of damaging the furniture.

Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

Just because movers have to use their backs to load and unload your furniture doesn’t mean your packing job is a breeze.

Packing furniture can be physically demanding and carry a high risk of injury. Use good judgment and ask for help when packing furniture for moving.

Don’t Rush

There’s nothing wrong with taking your time when packing furniture for moving. This is especially important when you don’t have instruction manuals for complex furniture pieces.

Document how everything goes together so you can easily disassemble and then reassemble the pieces in your new home. Rushing can lead to losing installation hardware and instructions and damaging the furniture.

Don’t Lift With Your Back and Arms

If you’re new to moving furniture around, you might be tempted to lift everything with your back. This can lead to severe injuries.

When packing furniture for moving and preparing for the movers, it’s best to lift heavier pieces using your legs instead of your back and arm muscles. Using legs to lift has a lower chance of causing injuries.

Don’t Lift Unless You Have To

Another mistake people make when packing a couch for moving or other furniture pieces is lifting excessively.

Many elements can be moved and prepped for transport by sliding them across the floor. This can be even easier after the furniture is tightly wrapped.

Don’t Use Coarse Wrapping Material

It’s better to spend a few extra bucks on quality wrapping paper and blankets than to use whatever you have available just to get the job done faster.

Coarse materials can scratch the surface of your furniture when packing and do even more damage during transport due to the inevitable friction.

Don’t Forget to Dust or Wash Your Furniture

When packing furniture, you want as few dust particles on the surface as possible. Anything left between the furniture surface and the wrapping material can cause scratches and tears.

Don’t Assume All Cargo Damage Can Be Blamed on the Movers

In most cases, homeowners are responsible for packing their furniture and getting it ready for the movers.

Therefore, some damage that occurs during transport may not be the moving company’s fault. It’s essential to use proper packing and wrapping techniques.

Don’t Forget to Pay Extra Attention to Fragile Items

You can never use too much wrapping paper, blankets, and bubble wrap when protecting fragile or expensive furniture pieces.

It’s also crucial you don’t forget to label fragile items as such. Otherwise, the movers won’t know how to best move and store those pieces for maximum protection.

Coordinate Directly With Movers When in Doubt

Packing furniture for moving will be one of the most stressful relocation activities. Even if you do everything right and learn how to pack heavy furniture like asofa for moving and how to wrap wooden furniture for moving, it’s a long process.

An inventory and clear plan of action will help you stay on track and not miss out on essential steps or techniques regarding the packing process. And if you’re really on the fence about handling it yourself, you can always coordinate with moving company representatives.

It’s in their best interest to assist you and give information so they can take your order and help moving furniture. If you’re already feeling more confident in your abilities to start packing, feel free to reach out and get a moving quote to speed up your move.

Frequently Asked Questions

Chris Townsend is a moving professional and relocation expert that has more than 10 years of experience in the moving industry. With a background that includes working in virtually every aspect of the company, he has distinguished himself as an integral part of our operations with expertise in all things related to moving. Chris has a keen eye for detail and brings intelligence and passion to every project he’s involved with.

While getting his degree in communications from Santa Clara University, Chris started out with the company working in the field as part of our team of professional moving associates. Following graduation, he was promoted to our main office, where he has thrived in a role that involves increasing responsibility and requires him to wear many different hats. Some days, you may find him answering the phone and providing moving estimates, others he may be writing for our moving blog, and another day he may be coordinating a large corporate moving job or helping us with our marketing efforts. Chris has authored many of our in-depth moving guides, as well as provided our clients with information and advice to handle the complexities of their upcoming moving plans. Simply put, there’s nothing he can’t do and we wouldn’t be where we are today without him.

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