A limited number of these corrugated board boxes, usually called ‘moving boxes’, are sometimes provided by moving companies for free. But, more boxes are often required and the company charges you for it. And these charges can be quite a bit in order to cover the cost of the ‘free’ boxes too. It is therefore a good idea to organize boxes yourself.
There are two main points to be considered while looking for moving boxes. They are:
- Technical specifications of boxes
- Types of boxes
All moving boxes are not the same. They come with different properties. The three most important properties that you must consider for your moving boxes are:
- Burst Test
- ECT value
- Burst Test: This indicates the weight capacity of boxes made from specific types of cardboard. This is the older, though still valid, method of determining box strength: the newer one is ECT value.
- ECT value: ECT is abbreviation for ‘Edge Crush Test’, an industry standard test that determines the minimum force required to crush a standard size of board standing on an edge. Essentially, ECT is a measure of the box’s sturdiness.
- Size: Remember that the box should be bigger than the size of its intended content in order to keep space for cushioning materials like packing paper or – where ink-sensitivity is not an issue – old newspapers.
General purpose box recommendations:
Which of the above specifications your moving boxes should have depends on what will be accommodated in them. The following are some recommendations of box specifications (remember that these recommendations are only indicative):
- To pack larger books, collectibles, glasses, dishes and nearly all kitchenware.
- Box size: Medium, 18x14x12 inches.
- ECT value: 32
- To pack stereo and computer equipment, larger household items such as pillows, bigger collectibles, larger dishes, serving platters, lamps, and plants.
- Box size: Large, 20x20x15 inches
- ECT value: 32
- To pack larger household items such as blankets, comforters, pillows, clothes, lamps, and any large but light items.
- Box size: Extra large, 23x23x16 inches
- ECT value: 32
Special purpose box recommendations:
Special purpose moving boxes are heavy-duty boxes normally used by professional moving companies. You too can purchase them to pack your own kitchen with or without professional help. Such boxes include:
- Kitchen boxes: Avoid using expensive, pre-packaged cell dividers and partitions to pack your kitchen. Instead, pack them in heavy-duty boxes and wrap your glassware in protective packing paper. Ideal kitchen moving boxes come with an ECT value of 44, and size 18x18x22 inches. Six to eight such boxes should be enough to pack a standard size kitchen, including glasses, china, dishes and cookware.
- Wardrobe boxes: An ideal size for wardrobe moving boxes is 24x24x40 inches with an ECT value of 44. The higher-end wardrobe moving boxes come with a metal bar to hang your clothes, so that they are not crumpled.
- Artwork / photograph frame boxes: Boxes to ship large but thin items – such as paintings, picture frames and mirrors – should always be extra-tough (ECT value of about 44) and their usual size is 41x6x26 inches. Always wrap such items in bubble wrap before placing them in the box.
- File boxes: Purpose-made file boxes come with attached lid and require no tape, though it is advisable to use tape for long-distance transport. They are used to pack home office items including documents of legal (8.5 x 14 inches) and letter (8.5 x 11 inches) sizes. The preferred size of files boxes is 16x12.5x10 inches.
Of course, all of the boxes described above – with the exception of file boxes that come with locking tabs – require certain accessories such packing tape and dispenser as well as bubble or stretch wrap. Professional packers will advise packing paper which comes at a cost. You can substitute packing paper with old newspapers for items that are not ink-sensitive.
Conclusion / Summary
Moving home or office can be expensive, but there are ways to economize. One area where you can definitely economize is: moving boxes. Moving companies do provide a few boxes for free, but more boxes are usually needed to pack all your items. You can buy, or even get some free or at throwaway price if you have good relations with the neighboring supermarket. You also don’t necessarily need new boxes since used ones can also suffice if they are not damaged.
You can further cut costs by doing the packing yourself as much as possible with help from friends. Do, however, keep in mind the ECT or the older Mullen Burst values of the boxes and look for the stamp that shows these values. The better moving boxes have an ECT value of 32 for general-purpose boxes and 44 for the heavy-duty ones. The best general-purpose moving boxes have ECT value of 32 while the special purpose or heavy-duty boxes – such as for kitchen and wardrobe – should ideally have an ECT value of 44. Minor accessories such as packing tape and dispenser, as well as bubble or shrink wrap, will also be needed. Expensive packing paper can be substituted with old newspapers for items that are not ink-sensitive.