Boxes---the single most essential item for any move. Whether you're moving old tennis trophies to the attic or relocating your entire house across the country, you surely can’t do to without a box, or even a lot. There are lots of different sizes, and specific-use boxes, it can be very overpowering when you're standing there staring at mountains of cardboard that are somehow going to completely change themselves into functional packing containers.
The first thing to recognize is that while boxes are not created entirely equal, they are pretty democratic in that you can utilize just about any box for just about any item. The catch is in being smart about what to pack in which box--and forget what the box is titled, go ahead and put your golf clubs in the wardrobe box, if it seems right. The other thing witty folks (that includes you) do is not to overload boxes so they weigh a lot. You are going to be moving a lot of them, and seven pounds seems like fifty after a while.
Sizes and Weight
Boxes are classified in cubic feet. The smallest moving box is usually 1.5 CF, and is what you will use for heavy stuff like books or small appliances. Knickknacks are best in these small boxes as you can put a whole collection in one box. You may see heavy-duty boxes, but just because you can pack more weight into a box doesn't mean you should, unless you have a heavy-duty back to lift the weightier boxes. These boxes often have grips for easier moving and an average height person can usually move a couple of these at once.
The next size larger is 3.1 cubic feet. This is where you can stow shoes, toys, pots and pans--things that aren't very heavy. Some of these boxes also have the built-in grips and are a bit more unwieldy than the smaller box, so don't overload this one or it is going to be difficult to pick-up and move.
Linens, sweaters, towels, and clothes go in the 4.5 CF boxes. They are big and deep, and again, don't overload them because the bulk makes even the lightly packed ones a challenge to move unless you are vertically gifted.
The biggest standard boxes are 6.1 cubic feet. This is where you pack pillows, lampshades, blankets, and anything that's large but lightweight.
These are meant for moving one particular sort of item, but are beneficial for lots of other things, too. While they are a bit more costly, are well worth the cost in convenience of packing options and security.
A dish pack is a box with a double layer of corrugated cardboard. Don't think you can only put dishes in these, they are meant to protect all things fragile. A dish pack is anywhere between the 1.5 and 3.1 CF size, and you can either wrap items individually in paper or use the newer foam sleeves--slide the plate or glass into the sleeve and put it in the box. Some boxes have inserts for glasses, so they stand up in their spot and do not get bumped by another glass. A dish box is perfect for stereo components, lamp bases, or anything fragile that you do not want in the regular boxes.
A wardrobe box is literally what it seems like. It is taller than the 6.1 CF box, is about 10 CF, and is a heavy-duty cardboard that's meant to stand up while in transit. It has a hanger bar that attaches near the top, so you can move your clothes on hangers with ease. The usual height for a wardrobe box is about 46 inches, so you can use them to move things like dining room chairs or those golf clubs, also.
A mirror box comes in a variety of sizes, but they are all usually flat, and large. They're what you use for artwork and mirrors, but also flat screen TVs, computer monitors, large platters, or even tennis rackets.
Do not neglect the proper packing supplies--lots of paper, tape and bubble wrap--but knowing your boxes is the first step towards a smooth move.