After a 30-minute chat with a representative from a nearby moving company, everything is sounding great–they’ll pack everything up, load it in the moving van, and deliver it to your new home. They seem like really nice people, too. The friendly voice gives you a quote and your face goes white. Your wife looks at you with grave concern. You hoarsely whisper, “I’ll think about it and call you back.” barely able to hang up the phone. With a moving company clearly out of the question, you go online and look at what the alternatives are. You keep seeing this thing called self-pack removal. What is that? How much does it cost? Keep reading for a pleasant surprise that won’t end in a pale face and the shakes.

What is Self-pack Removal?

In a few words, you pack your own home furnishings for transport at a fraction of the cost of a full-service moving company. The way it works is that you call a company to drop off a container  for you to load with all your belongings. When you’re finished loading it, they come pick up the container and deliver it to your new home. When you are finished getting settled in, you call them back and they come and get the empty container.

There are a few ways to go about this. You can call the moving company back and ask them about self-pack removal. They will give you a quote that is a lot less than before, but you can probably do better than that. A lot better.

After calling the moving company, call a container rental company and ask them how much it would cost to rent a container for a month (28 days). Once you get over the reverse sticker shock, tell them that you are getting ready to move and would like to rent a clean, like-new container. They will probably ask you to stop in and look at the containers they have so you can choose the one you want. After choosing your container, you pay up and return home, waiting for the container to arrive.

While waiting for that container, you have a lot of work to do. First, you will need to purchase several items that will make packing a lot easier and keep things damage free:

  • Moving Blankets You can buy the expensive ones at the moving company, or you can order some cheap from your favorite online retailer. Get different sizes–you will probably need them.
  • Cushion Foam This can be placed between heavy pieces of furniture with sharp corners
  • Shrink Wrap This is something you don’t realize you need until you need it. A couple rolls should be plenty.
  • Packing Tape This will help you securely wrap everything up and tape your boxes closed.
  • Masking Tape use this on your mirrors to prevent the glass from shattering if a mirror gets broken.
  • Packing Paper If you have a bazillion old newspapers or magazines, you might not need this. Otherwise, get it; you will need it to wrap dishes, glassware, and other fragile items.
  • Moving Boxes You can buy them or talk the local grocer out of giving some up. Either way, you will need boxes. While you’re at it, get twice as many as you think you’ll need. You’ll be glad you did. Don’t forget to get them in small, medium, and large sizes.
  • Lifting and Moving Straps These things should be required. They are handy and they make moving large, bulky furniture a breeze. You put them on, so to speak, and use them to lift heavy furniture and appliances.
  • Hand truck Perfect for moving entire stacks of boxes at once. A real time saver.
  • Bubble Wrap This will come in handy for packing fragile items that won’t pack with others.
  • Zip Ties These are the handiest little things. They help secure electrical cords, cables, and just about anything you can think of.
  • Tools You will need to keep these handy while packing: Medium Flat Blade Screwdriver, Medium Phillips Screwdriver, Pliers, Wire Cutters.

Moving Furniture and Packing It

There are some general rules of thumb to follow when packing furniture:

  • Mirrors Mirrors require special care when packing. First, Using masking tape, tape across the front of you mirror in a criss-cross pattern about every 10cm. If the mirror breaks during transport, it won’t shatter. To help prevent it from shattering, take some of the bubble wrap and cut it to fit on the glass. Tape it in place. Wrap the mirror in shrink wrap. Finally, wrap the mirror in a large moving blanket.
  • Glass doors and Panels Pack them the same way as the mirrors.
  • Wood Furniture Wood furniture is easy to mar up in transit, so care must be taken to protect its finish. Place foam padding on the corners and secure it with masking tape. Wrap with a moving blanket.
  • Appliances These must be loaded so that they are upright and stable. To prevent dents and scratches, pad the corners. If you have plastic handles on your refrigerator, us a screwdriver to remove before wrapping and loading. If you don’t remove the handles, make sure the refrigerator is loaded so the nothing can push against the handles.
  • Freezers Make sure your freezer is fully defrosted and drained before packing to load.
  • Washing Machine Be sure to drain the bottom of the machine. Water often collects and the pump can’t remove it. Remove the drain hose at the bottom of the machine and tip back to drain.

Packing up the garage and shed

You’ve got tools and equipment galore. You will need a separate container for all your stuff. Take your time and go through everything, making note of what you will take and what you plan to leave behind. Attempt to realistically estimate how much space you will need to pack it all up and load it. Order a container for your stuff. If you will be loading lawn mowers and other gasoline or diesel-powered equipment, drain all the fuel out of them. This will prevent it from leaking and becoming a fire hazard while in transit.

After it’s all loaded

Once you have everything loaded, it’s time to call the container company to come and relocate your container/s to your new home. Once the company drops off your loaded containers, it’s then time to begin unpacking everything. Self pack removals is that easy!