Let’s face it, our homes, offices, apartments, and garages are all filled with stuff. These items, whether large or small, cherished or junky, have been collected over many years for a variety of uses and purposes. Some items, when the cleaner feels compelled, will be thrown away, but the majority of items, from bowling balls to little league trophies to old magazines, will need to be stored. To be safely gathered up, packed up, and put away, our treasured items will need to be correctly stashed in storage containers. The following pointers should help any beginning box-filler become a packing pro.

Size Matters

While some factions insist that size does not matter, size definitely does when referring to storage containers. Boxes come in all shapes and sizes, in a variety of materials, and picking the right boxes for your storage needs is important. There is no reason to for a savvy packer to jam a giant comforter in a shoebox while a large storage tote sits half-filled with hats. Inventory the items you intend to pack, then decide what size boxes you will need and proceed from there. Also take into account the size of the closet or shed in which you will be storing your items. Small boxes may fit in closets, but if you’ve filled an 84 gallon tub, don’t expect to jam it behind your behind your winter coats or under your bed. Remember, as well, that heavier items should typically be stored in smaller boxes, while lighter items can be stored in larger boxes.

Label, Label, Label

No matter where you will be stashing your treasured goods, always remember to label your storage containers clearly. Sure, you remember what you put in them now, but after a few nights of sleep, or a few months in the attic, those boxes all start to look the same. Labeling helps cut down on confusion, extra hauling, and unnecessary unpacking and re-packing.

The Bottom-Up Approach

For the most efficient packing of any box or storage container, begin with the heavier items on the bottom, followed by the medium weight items with the lightest items at the top of the box. Make sure to protect each layer from the other by placing layers of newspaper or filling between each one. As a general rule, objects that are square or rectangular in shape should be place in the corners of a box to allow odd-shaped objects more center room. For objects that are long and relatively flat, but not fragile, placing them upright against the walls of the box allows for the most center room as well.

Large, Awkward and Funny Shaped

If your item fits any or all of these descriptions, it may be best to pack them in separate storage containers of a non-conventional shape. For circular items, hat boxes or popcorn tins are often useful. For longer items, such as hockey sticks or golf clubs, specialty wrapping paper storage tubes may be your best option.

Don’t Forget the Filling

No matter how good of a packer you are, or have become through reading this, never forget to pack using cushioning materials such as newspaper or packing peanuts. When adding a cushion layer between items, packing peanuts or newspaper works best; for fine china or other keepsakes individually wrapped, use packing or tissue paper.

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