Have you ever moved house?
I have, and it sucks.
All the excitement of moving into a new place is quickly stamped out by the prospect of packing.
And as someone who has moved between different houses and countries even, I can tell you that nothing pulls a handbrake on proceedings quite like having to figure out how to get all your items into as few cardboard boxes as you can.
The conundrum involves the need to maximise space — the more boxes you use, the more expensive moving becomes — and at the same time minimise damage to your items.
That’s why we thought it would be a great idea to a transporter from TheLorry — a platform connecting people with movers — to teach us how they pack boxes.
To facilitate the lesson, we assembled a range of items varying in size, shape and fragility from around the office — stuff that you might find yourself packing if you need to move between houses, too.
And not forgetting this small child’s chair.
What we needed next was an experienced mover and packer.
Enter 42-year-old Tom Chin.
He’s been a mover for 12 years now, and has been a partner-driver with TheLorry for the past four.
When I presented him with our plethora of items to be packed, Chin didn’t seem at all daunted.
In fact, I could see that he was no longer listening to my superficial small talk. Rather, his eyes were set on the task at hand, this brain spinning all the calculations it needed to determine how many boxes would be needed.
“This one, two boxes can already.”
Tip 1: Wrapping items
The first thing Chin and his colleagues did was to cling wrap all the fragile items.
This prevents them from getting damaged or scratched when placed in the box with other times.
Objects that are sharp are also wrapped up for extra protection.
Once that’s out of the way, packing proper can begin.
Tip 2: Heavy things at the bottom
Chin decided that for today’s assignment, two boxes would be enough: a small one and a slightly larger one.
Each box can only carry about 30kg, he tells me, as they tape the bottom of the boxes up.
The first things that go into the larger box are the heavy things, which in this case are the books.
Tip 3: Odd-shaped items fill the gaps
He then fills the box with some of the lighter odd-shaped items, fitting them into gaps like it’s a game of Tetris.
Once a nice foundation has been laid, the larger, but not-so-heavy items (our pair of plushie hippos) take up the rest of the space in the box.
It is sealed and put to the side, but there’s no time to rest because Chin is already onto the next box.
Tip 4: Scrunch up newspaper or plastic for padding
This one is a bit trickier.
First to go in are the bulkier items like the desktop monitor.
Padding is improvised by placing scrunched up balls of newspaper and shrink wrap between the screen and the walls of the box.
In most cases, just newspapers would work fine — but ever the professional, Chin gets his team to show me alternatives in case newspapers aren’t available.
After this, the same principles are applied: heavier items, then odd-shaped items, then the lightest ones on top.
Tip 5: Be ready to improvise
Halfway through the packing process, though, things aren’t quite working out as planned so Chin pulls the screen out and rejigs the items in the box.
It turns out the arrangement of items uses the box space far more efficiently when the screen is placed upside down. Rest assured that lots of padding was added.
The box is filled with more scrunched up newspaper balls to prevent items from shifting around and potentially getting damaged before it’s sealed up.
There is one more item left, though: the baby rocker, which is too large to fit in either box.
There’s a simple solution to this, Chin tells me — shrink wrap it straight to one of the boxes:
And tadah, we’re all packed up.
Tip 6: Problem-solving skills needed
So if you find yourself scratching your head the next time you need to pack your things into a box, here’s is what to remember:
- Wrap the fragile and sharp items to prevent damage
- Heavy items go first
- Odd-shaped items can be slotted in after
- Use newspaper or plastic wrap to pad the interior of the box to prevent loose items from moving around
- Each box should weigh a maximum of 30kg
Yet, with all these principles in place, a big part of a successful packing process is the Tetris-esque problem-solving skills displayed by Chin and his team.
Those, unfortunately, can’t be taught.
You’ll just have to get in contact with TheLorry and their movers, like Chin, for that.
Find out more about them here.
Top image by Andrew Koay
Writing this sponsored article by TheLorry taught the writer the importance of packing well.