Inter-Island Moving

Pre Packing Preparation Guide

Generally, most families do their own packing prior to moving. This section passes on our best advice and experience so that your household arrives in top condition after a very long journey.

Prepacking Cartons

Many clients are amazed by the number of boxes needed to complete the pack job.

The bookcases, the wardrobes, the kids toys, dads junk in the garage, the computers, and oh yes the stuff in the roof.

Most volume miscalculations occur with the carton estimate.

If you can locate good used cartons from retailers and local businesses, start collecting early (Sometimes more difficult in smaller towns).

Select solid stackable cartons able to hold up to compression without crushing and collapsing. Supermarket cartons are often too soft for the job.

Choose a variety of carton sizes;

  • Banana boxes are great for heavy items, books, garage tools etc.
  • A number of bigger deeper cartons will be needed for the remainder of the house
  • Flatter longish cartons for wardrobe clothes.

New cartons present costs that can become a factor. Tea chest size boxes [called dishpacks] retail for about $4.00 each depending on quality.

Heavier duty dishpacks may cost a little more so the costs can soon mount as you discover your cupboards are holding more than you thought at first.

You will also need many medium sized cartons, paper and tape. When no recycle options are available, you may need to order them in advance. I found it impossible to locate new cartons immediately in Queenstown when needed to finish a job.

tea chest moving box for Moving House Furniture with an Inter-Island Moving Company

Packing can be a very big undertaking, you may want to consider having it all done professionally.

It may be cost effective and easier overall than you think.

We can give you a close estimate over the phone.

Contact us Quote

The Priority Box - Make it the first job

Prepare a priority box

Label it very clearly and place it where everyone knows where to find it.

This box is to hold all the items you will need immediately at your new home.

Examples for the priority box

  • The jug, coffee and tea,
  • Remotes,
  • Phone chargers,
  • Tools for assembling dismantled furniture,
  • Bolts and legs for the beds etc;
Be sure this box goes on the truck last.

This will guarantee moods are not challenged after the long drive.

Where to start when packing

With the priority box set up, the next step is to avoid the common pitfalls.

Firstly assemble the few simple tools and materials you will need as in the photograph.

  • Wrapping paper,
  • vivid marking pen,
  • cutting blade,
  • 35 mm wide packaging tape, [the shiny one, usually brown or clear]
  • and a tape dispenser.

The one illustrated and favoured by most movers, are much better than the pistol grip variety and will become a handy tool for years after.

For wrapping, the best and easiest answer is to purchase a pack of 'butchers wrap' available from packaging merchants. There are various sheet sizes available as flat packs, and larger sheet rolled packs that are used by the trade. The sheet sizes in flat packs are a little small.

You will be surprised how much you use. One rolled pack will be enough for an average sized household and very easy and pleasant to use compared to old newspapers which will blacken your hands with ink and you will keep running out.

Newsprint off cuts in rolls are sometimes available but this alternative only tears easily in the wrong direction making it very tiresome and wasteful to use, several rolls may be required. It will drive you nuts. A roll pack of butchers wrap is way better.

packing tape and scissors for Moving House Furniture with an Inter-Island Moving Company

The biggest job is usually the kitchen.

Kitchen packing is complicated by most awkward items such as: cake mixers, electric fry pans, heavy skillets, large serving plates casseroles etc. Start with these first.

Assemble them all to view, for easy selection. This will speed up your progress.

Getting down on your hands and knees every couple of minutes to find the next item is painfully slow. Select your first large item, perhaps a cake mixer, then add smaller compatible items to fit around it. Use generous paper padding as you go.

Don't pack all the small items first.

If you work the other way round and pack all the easy items, mugs, cups, glasses and everyday crockery first you will end up with a table top covered with all the difficult stuff making you wish you had not sold the house in the first place, and be short of fillers as a result. Spread the weight. China can be very heavy.

Keep an eye on weights as you go.

  • China can make cartons very heavy, very quickly.
  • By incorporating plastics or foodstuffs as you go to fill the gaps, the weight can be controlled.
  • Fill right to the top and pad generously with crumpled paper wherever necessary.
  • Remember filled cartons resist crushing more easily.

Be Creative and Crafty

The overview here is that you need to be bit crafty and strategic as you search for items to use as fillers.

If you are finding it difficult to find something suitable, something that will fit nicely.

Don't forget to use the odd towel or linen from the linen cupboard.
A safe, well padded pack is the aim always.


Finally label the carton with the vivid pen along with your surname. There is no need to create fancy computer printed labels.

If the carton contains fragile items identify it as Top Stow.

The best strategy is to ensure all items are labelled with a short description, room, name and destination (as shown).

Remember good strong cartons will not collapse.

It will not be necessary to number the boxes or make an inventory because, unlike other movers we do not offload or reload on route, our services are door to door in a single operation.

Once your household is loaded on the truck, it stays there until unloading into your new home.

Packed Boxes for Moving House with an Inter-Island Moving Company

label fragile items as top stow - for Moving House with an Inter-Island Moving Company

Plastic bins

Plastic bins with lids are satisfactory but expensive if you decide to purchase especially for the move. Generally they do not stand up well to stacking particularly if heavily loaded. The best strategy is to limit their use to lightweight items, toys, clothing etc; and to make sure they are full to the top so that they can resist crush damage to lids and wheels.

Tall Boys, Dressers

We usually load with the draws full provided they are not overloaded. Very large chests of draws become too heavy to move when over full risking damage to the cabinet. Where possible remove mirrors from dressing tables. Any cabinets with lots of loose items in drawers should be pre-packed into boxes. Quite often we need to lay cabinets on their sides, loose items will tumble out. It can be worthwhile to wrap a couple of layers of shrink wrap around large chests of draws, [especially those with roller draws] this will minimize the chance of the draws flying out.

Pre assembled Desks

Many of the modern light-weight desks on the market damage very easily even if moved from room to room. Usually the panels are secured by simple clamping pins only, which will hold only if left in one place. These items are best flat packed or partially taken apart so that damage can be minimized.

Clothing Boxes

Clothing boxes as pictured will hold around 30 -35 standard garments each on their hangers. Heavier jackets and coats will need more space. Calculate to need about three cartons per linear metre of hanging clothes when bunched firmly together. The clothes will remain tight and flat and easy to reload directly into the wardrobe.

Clothing Boxes packed up for Moving House with an Inter-Island Moving Company

Pictures and ornaments

Try to incorporate all the valuable little items you treasure and small pictures as you go. It is quite safe to place the little pictures between clothes in the clothing boxes along with small trinkets and other valuables. Similarly do not miss the opportunity when you are packing the linen cupboard to insert other fragile items, small lampshades and anything else suitable as you go.
When packing the bedrooms there will be many little fragile items you can sneak into the draws.

Approximate carton size guideline.

Moving companies use two principle cartons for most packing.

  • Dishpack carton [roughly similar to a tea chest] 7 x cartons = 1 cu metre
  • Book boxes 14 x cartons = 1 cu metre
  • Banana boxes [similar to a book box] 14 x cartons = 1 cu metre
  • Clothing boxes, about 3 cartons per linear metre of hanging clothes compacted together

It is not absolutely necessary to use the above boxes; the most important parameter is that the boxes you use are able to be stacked without crushing or collapsing and with enough size choices to complete the job with minimal loose items.

Moving Truck loading onto Picton Ferry - Moving House with an Inter-Island Moving Company
Bon Voyage, sailing for Picton

Moving Truck about to exit ramp from Picton Ferry - Moving House with an Inter-Island Moving Company
Lowering the ramp, Picton

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