6 Of The Very Best Packing Materials
December, 11, 2018
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
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.
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 boxes for these items instead.
2. Bubble wrap
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. You should also use other packing materials (like packing paper) to pad boxes out and fill empty spaces so that items don’t shift when moving.
3. Packing peanuts
Packing peanuts are essentially small pieces of styrofoam that fill empty spaces in boxes. 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 there are so many of them, 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.
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
When it comes to the best packing material for moving, another popular choice is packing paper, as it is 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 a clean paper such as butcher’s paper, or plain wrapping paper. Newspaper can smudge ink onto your items and create more work when you go to unpack, as you’ll need to wash them.
5. Plastic wrap
Plastic wrap comes in a range of sizes and has a multitude of uses, from wrapping furniture like chairs and couches to furniture with drawers … so they don’t slide open! It is also great for wrapping cutlery, utensil and makeup trays, as when it comes to time to unwrap, you simply place them back into the drawers they belong in. It 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
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. Cotton-based items like sheets, blankets, and towels can also be used to fill and pad storage boxes — you’ll not only be minimising your packing time, but the amount of boxes you’ll need as well!
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.
- Liz Wolf, 2021, Must-have Packing and Moving Supplies and How to Use Them, Sparefoot
- Julia Campbell, 2019, The Best Packing Materials and How to Use Them, Move.org
- Easton Smith, 2019, How to Use Packing Peanuts, Reviews.org