6 Of The Very Best Packing Materials

Placing your items in storage is a great move. It enhances space around your home and allows for a seamless transition if you’re moving to a new property. But if you’re storing items long-term, there are some precautions you should consider. Fragile items need some extra attention—even if you’re only storing them for a short amount of time—and some things are prone to damage when stored the wrong way, or with the wrong materials.

 So if you want to minimise damage and ensure your precious belongings stay safe for years to come, here are the six best packing materials.

1. Packing boxes

Packing Materials - Boxes


Packing box from Bunnings

The mover’s best friend, packing boxes are flexible, robust, and stack well in storage. They are typically available in a range of sizes, but knowing which items to pack into which sized box is essential for a positive moving experience.

Large moving boxes are ideal for bulky but lighter items like bedding and pillows. Medium-sized boxes suit things like toys, small appliances and kitchen equipment like pots and pans. However, depending on what you’re storing, it’s always a good idea to use a combination of sizes to keep boxes from becoming too heavy, particularly if you’re doing all the moving yourself!

Try to also pack a combination of light and heavy items — the heavier ones on the bottom and the lighter ones on top. And don’t leave empty space in the boxes — use other packing materials to fill them so they’re stable. That way, they will stack better and will be easier to move. This is especially important when you’re packing breakable items like glass or dishware (we wrote a whole article on the best packing material for glass, if you’d like to read).

In terms of what not to store in packing boxes, avoid electronic items, as they need protection from moisture, which cardboard can’t necessarily provide. You should also avoid storing paper items like documents and books in packing boxes as paper harbours mould better than most other materials. Consider airtight plastic containers for these items instead, with handles that keep them firmly closed.

If you need to purchase packing boxes, you can find them at a ton of places including Bunnings, Kennards, National Storage, and Storage King. They’ll cost between $2 to $8 per cost, depending on the size and where you buy them from.

2. Bubble wrap

Packing Materials - Bubble Wrap

Fragile items like china and glass should be firmly bubble wrapped, to prevent them from breaking

Bubble wrap typically comes in rolls, has small to large bubbles, and is usually serrated so it’s easy to tear off the sheets as you need them! It’s also one of the best packing materials for fragile items. Basically, if a few layers will protect an item from breaking outside a box, then it should offer adequate protection when stored.

Smaller bubbles are ideal for more delicate items like teapots, figurines, crockery and dinnerware. It’s also the best packing material for glass items like mirrors and photo frames that need extra protection.

Bigger bubbles can be used for heavier objects like vases, sculptures and electronic equipment. However, remember to wrap items with the bubble side facing inwards for the best protection, and be sure to use plenty of layers for extra delicate or expensive items.

When placing these items into boxes, you should also use other packing materials (like packing paper) to pad the boxes out and fill empty spaces so that nothing shifts when moving. The goal is to have a super-tight box with generously bubble-wrapped items.

3. Packing peanuts

Packing Materials Packing Peanuts

Biodegradable packing peanuts from Packstore. Not to be mistaken for real peanuts

Packing peanuts are essentially small pieces of styrofoam that fill empty spaces in boxes. They help to keep items more stable, as well as provide soft cushioning when moving around. Individual items should be wrapped in packing paper or bubble wrap before adding packing peanuts.

Essentially, items need a buffer of at least one layer of packing material between them. Packing peanuts come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and because they are so light (they’re 99% air!) and numerous, you can use them in virtually any sized box.

They allow you to pack lots of smaller items into a bigger box, minimise the gaps around awkwardly sized items, and provide added protection around delicate items like vases, ceramics, china, photos, and artwork. You can also use them to fill hollow items like vases and teapots. One of the other pros of packing peanuts is that they absorb shock if your packing boxes move around. They can prevent items from knocking against each other, however, they can only do this if they’re packed tightly, so be sure to buy plenty of them.

Unfortunately, one of the cons of styrofoam packing peanuts is that they aren’t kind to the environment. They are made from toxic chemicals and don’t biodegrade. The good news is that many companies now manufacture packing peanuts from other materials like corn starch. They may be slightly heavier, but they completely dissolve in water, and also don’t produce static electricity, so are safe for packing electronic items.

4. Packing paper

Packing Materials Packing Paper

Wrap & move packing paper from Bunnings

When it comes to the best packing material for moving, another popular choice is packing paper. It’s light, affordable, and can be used to wrap almost anything. It cushions items, protects them from scuffs and scratches, and keeps them from shifting — just crumple it up, and it will fill any empty spaces. Ideally, combine it with styrofoam or bubble wrap for the ultimate protection, as it won’t prevent breakages if boxes are roughly handled.

Packing paper is much thinner than bubble wrap or packing peanuts, so is great for packing large quantities of smaller items like glassware and crockery. It also lies flat against surfaces like glass, so an optimal first layer of protection for items you don’t want to be scratched.

However, make sure you use clean paper such as butcher’s paper, or plain wrapping paper. Newspaper or coloured paper can smudge ink onto your items and create more work when you go to unpack, as you’ll need to wash them.

Packing paper can be one of the most affordable packing materials you can buy.

5. Shrink Wrap

Packing Materials Shrink Wrap

Shrink wrap from Officeworks

Shrink wrap comes in a range of sizes and has a multitude of uses, from wrapping furniture like chairs and couches, to furniture with drawers to prevent them from sliding open. It is also great for wrapping cutlery, as well as utensil and makeup trays, as when it comes time to unwrap, you simply place them back into the drawers they belong in.

Plastic shrink wrap is surprisingly strong, being able to withstand a lot of tension before it breaks. This makes it handy for wrapping fragile and expensive items like televisions and computer monitors. For extra safety, be used to add a layer of bubble wrap before the shrink wrap. Another good thing about shrink wrap is that despite its name, it won’t leave a sticky residue on your items. It’s also pretty cheap and can be recycled.

Finally, shrink wrap can add an extra layer of protection to delicate items like jewellery, antiques and collectables, and keep long, loose items like mops, brooms and poles stored safely.

6. Cotton materials

Packing Materials Cotton

A TV wrapped in a cotton blanket. Image from My Moving Reviews

One of the most diverse and robust packing materials are drop sheets. Typically made from cotton which “breathes,” they are ideal for storing furniture as they minimise scratches and keep dust and mould off their surfaces. You can also secure them to furniture by using heavy-duty wrapping tape or even plastic wrap, which will enable you to shrink-wrap items together.

Other cotton-based items like sheets, blankets, and towels can also be used to wrap precious electronics, furniture, and other delicate items. Finally, you can use them to fill and pad storage boxes, which will not only minimise your packing time, but the number of boxes you’ll need too!

You’ve finished packing — now it’s time to book your storage unit! For advice on renting, call More Space today on (07) 5598 3355.