When unpacking after a move, there’s nothing quite like finding all your items intact and undamaged – and the surest way to maximize the chances of this happening is to pack your belongings as securely as possible. To do this, you must know how to pack your items correctly and use suitable packaging materials.
While properly packing your belongings is of the utmost importance to protect them during the move, it’s the packaging materials that protect your belongings – and the better protected your items are, the more likely they are to make a move safe sound and survive unscathed.
So, what protective materials should you use? What is the best Protective packaging material for moving?
It depends on the items you are packing and the packing methods you are using.
Read on to find out which packaging materials provide the best protection for which items and how to use different packaging and cushioning materials.
Packing paper – the most common packaging material
When packing household items for a move, wrapping paper is the first thing that comes to mind. It can be used to pack almost anything and provides excellent first-line protection.
Advantages of wrapping paper
- The soft and smooth wrapping paper is very gentle on the surfaces it comes in contact with. It’sIt’s also acid and ink free, so it won’t smear or stain, making it suitable for even very delicate objects (glass, crystal, porcelain, artwork, delicate electronics, etc.).
- Paper is easy to bend, so it can be wrapped tightly around an object to protect it from scratches, dust, and dirt.
- Sheets of paper are quite thin and therefore take up little space – this saves space when packing and makes it possible to easily stack or bundle items individually wrapped in packing paper.
- When crumpled, paper is very resilient and provides excellent cushioning.
- Paper can be completely recycled and breaks down over time. This makes wrapping paper an environmentally friendly way to package things.
- Kraft paper is easily affordable – large rolls of wrapping paper can be purchased for less than $20, while a large pack of wrapping paper (500 sheets) costs around $25-30.
However, despite all these benefits, wrapping paper isn’t necessarily the best packing material for a move – it’s not very strong and can easily be torn if it comes into contact with a sharp object. In addition, the paper offers no protection against moisture and is not shatterproof.
How to use wrapping paper
Safe and easy to use, wrapping paper comes in handy. When you’re, you’re packing for a move. You can use it to:
- Protect delicate objects (plates, glasses, vases, pictures, mirrors, screens, valuable books, fine wooden surfaces, delicate devices, etc.) – as a gentle but very effective first layer of protection around fragile and delicate objects.
- Fill and pad moving boxes – to protect sensitive items.
- Filling the gaps in a box – for cushioning and to prevent items in the box from shifting and touching each other during transit
- To protect items from each other – for added protection of bottom tier items when packing the second tier of items into a large moving box.
- Covering items in a moving box (or in a drawer) provides an extra layer of protection over items in a moving box.
Bonus tips for packing with brown paper
- Wrap fragile items in multiple sheets of wrapping paper – when multiple sheets of wrapping paper are used together, they become very strong and difficult to tear, providing extreme resilience and providing excellent protection for the wrapped items;
- Pad the inside of glasses, bowls, and other “hollow” fragile items with packing paper to give the fragile items extra support and reduce the chance of breakage during the move
- Tape the wrapping paper to keep it in place
- Use crumpled packing paper to pad the bottoms of the moving boxes and to fill in the voids in the packing containers – crumpled paper is very strong and very resilient, so it provides excellent cushioning
- You can use newspaper instead of wrapping paper to cushion a moving box. However, you should never wrap delicate items in the newspaper—the newspaper is thinner than brown paper (so it doesn’t offer adequate protection), and the ink can spill onto (and ruin) delicate surfaces.
Bubble wrap – the best protection for fragile items
Bubble wrap is essential for packing fragile items – it provides the perfect cushioning and offers premium protection for fragile items during a move.
Advantages of bubble wrap
- Bubble wrap is made of air-filled bubbles, provides excellent protection against shock and vibration, and can prevent an item from shattering.
- Bubble wrap comes in many shapes and different sizes, which makes it very useful because you can easily find a foil type that works for your needs.
- The air-filled material is lightweight and doesn’t add weight to your boxes;
- Bubble wrap can be made to fit any shape, so you can safely wrap any object, no matter how big or small it is.
- The plastic material is very durable and can be reused multiple times, which helps reduce moving waste and can save you money on packing supplies on your next move;
- Bubble wrap is a lot of fun and can help relieve stress – popping the bubbles is fun and even believed to calm nerves and relieve stress.
Considering all these aspects, it is obvious that bubble wrap is one of the best packing materials for moving. However, it also has its downsides – it’s bulky (and therefore takes up a lot of space in a box), not very cheap, and not eco-friendly (unless you buy biodegradable bubble wrap, which is much more expensive). Also, the plastic material is not safe for direct use on delicate surfaces – it can stick to the surface and stain it, especially in hot weather.
How to use bubble wrap
When you’re moving, bubble wrap is your best friend. They can be used to:
- Protect fragile items (anything made of glass, crystal or china) – cushion the pieces so they don’t break;
- Wrap odd-shaped items (artwork, protruding pieces of furniture, accessories, etc.) to form a protective layer around hard-to-pack, bulky items;
- Pad the moving boxes to create a “buffer zone” within the boxes to absorb bumps and shocks during transport;
- Additional padding – to fill the void space in a box and cushion the items inside the box;
- Covering items in a moving box – to create a protective layer between two layers of items or on top of items in a box (just like wrapping paper).
Bonus tips for packing with bubble wrap
- Use anti-static bubble wraps to ensure the safety of sensitive electronic equipment – the anti-static, bubble-free material cushions accidental shocks and dissipates accumulated static electricity to protect sensitive electronic equipment from r)(e damage.
- Bubble bags are great for packing CDs, DVDs, small pictures in frames, and other small, flat, fragile items.
- Put some bubble wrap between the handle and the body of an item to prevent the handle from breaking.
- When wrapping an item in bubble wrap, turn the air bubbles to the inside (the air pockets should face the item)
- When packing valuable or extremely fragile items, use multiple layers of bubble wrap to ensure effective protection against impact.
- Use packing tape to hold the bubble wrap in place – secure the protective layer on all sides to prevent the wrapped item from slipping out of the wrapper.
Your belongings are in reliable hands!
The competition between bubble wrap and wrapping paper
So what is the best packaging material for fragile items – bubble wrap or wrapping paper?
Use brown paper and bubble wrap to protect your fragile items during the move. First, wrap your fragile items in brown paper, then put a layer of bubble wrap over them. Safe for delicate surfaces, the wrapping paper hugs the item snugly, giving excellent first-line protection – the bubble wrap cushions the item and absorbs shock, reducing the risk of breakage. It couldn’t be safer!
Foam film – The best choice
Packing foam is a high-quality material that protects your valuables and keeps them from getting broken while you move.
Advantages of foam film
It offers unparalleled security for electronics, artwork, jewelry and all other fragile and sensitive items;
- Foam sheets are non-abrasive and safe to use on delicate items;
- Foam sheets come in many forms (foam sheets, foam rollers, foam bags, and foam corners), making them extremely versatile and easy to use;
- Foam panels easily conform to any shape, allowing them to form appropriate padding for bulky items;
- Foam is lightweight and does not add weight to a box;
- Foam packaging is strong and resilient, making it a great way to protect heavy items that bubble wrap could crush.
All in all, foam film is one of the most protective packaging materials on the market. However, it is also quite expensive.
Use of foam sheeting when moving
Because of its high price, packaging foam is typically only used for items of high financial or sentimental value. When packing with foam, you should consider the following:
- Place small valuables (jewelry, china figurines, crystal glasses, small collectibles, small antique items, etc.) in foam bags. Pack each piece in a separate foam bag and seal the bag with packing tape;
- Purchase foam rollers or sheets for larger items. Secure the foam wrap with packing tape to keep it in place;
- Use foam corner protectors to protect the corners of framed pictures, mirrors, flat screens, etc.
- Bonus Tip: Foam is great for padding, but foam products are too expensive to use as fillers in storage. However, if you have some pieces of foam that you can no longer use for packing (e.g., torn pieces), consider using them as extra padding in a moving box.
Packing chips – the best space fillers
Packing chips are great for filling voids in moving boxes and preventing items from shifting or breaking during transit.
Packing chips are extremely easy to use – all you have to do is cover the bottom of a box with a layer of packing chips, place your securely wrapped items inside and fill all the remaining space in the box with the small styrofoam or wrapping paper. Next, shake the box to spread out the pieces and fill in any gaps, then fill the box with more Packing Chips. Finally, seal the box tightly with packing tape.
Additional space filler tips:
- Don’tDon’t pack an item in a box of dunnage chips without first wrapping it in brown paper or bubble wrap – although they provide excellent cushioning, dunnage chips alone are not effective;
- Note that heavy objects can crush packing chips;
- Consider using cornstarch packing chips instead of Styrofoam packing chips — cornstarch is non-toxic, biodegradable (an environmentally friendly option), and doesn’t statically charge (so it’s safer for electronic devices). However, they are quite expensive.
Plastic film – the most versatile packaging material
While most packaging materials are only used to wrap and/or cushion items during the move, plastic wrap can help you in many ways. For example, it can protect against dust, dirt, and moisture, hold packaging in place, secure furniture doors and drawers, bundle belongings, prevent leakage, etc.
The plastic material is inexpensive, recyclable, and harmless to your furniture – it sticks to itself but not to surfaces, so it doesn’t leave a sticky residue. However, be careful not to use the film directly on wood or leather, as moisture can collect under the plastic and damage the polished surface of wooden items, warp the leather or wood, or cause mold.
Cardboard – the unexpected packaging material
The words “packaging” and “cardboard” go hand in hand – but mostly, only packing in a box is thought of. However, cardboard is versatile and can be used in various ways during a move, including as a protective material.
Cardboard is ideal for protecting screens, mirrors, and glass furniture elements. All you have to do is cut a piece of cardboard the size of the fragile thing you want to protect, place it over the fragile surface, and tape it down. Then, for maximum protection, wrap the entire piece of furniture in bubble wrap, placing it over the cardboard cover.
Cloths, towels, blankets, and other fabrics – the alternative packaging materials
Using fabric instead of special packaging and padding materials is a tried and true trick:
- The thick, soft fabrics provide excellent cushioning and can successfully protect all kinds of household items;
- You save money on packaging materials because you use things you already have at home instead of buying bubble wrap, foam padding, and other professional protective materials;
- You’llYou’ll need to transport most of your textiles to your new home anyway, so using packing material kills two birds with one stone.
- The only downside to using fabric items as a packaging material is that they take up a lot of space in a box, and the arena isn’t as light as professional cushioning materials (thus adding weight to the box).
How to use fabric items for wrapping
You can use fabrics for several different packaging purposes:
- Wrap furniture, appliances, and other larger household items in blankets to protect them from dust and dirt and to prevent scratches, dents, and breakage (don’t forget to secure the blankets with packing tape);
- Use towels and heavier clothing to wrap your items for the move—they’re big enough to completely wrap an item, flexible enough to wrap comfortably around an item, soft enough to protect delicate surfaces, and thick enough to provide effective protection against damage;
- Line the bottoms of the moving boxes with towels to provide a layer of cushioning for your items;
- Fill the empty spaces in the moving boxes with t-shirts and other thin pieces of clothing.
What is the best packaging material?
All the above protective packaging and cushioning materials provide excellent protection for household items during a move in different ways. Instead, you can also temporarily use chilled packaging material to store your food and medicines. Each material is better suited to different types of items and packaging purposes due to their different properties and benefits, but they all work best when combined.
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