Home-based Business Moving/Relocation series (Pt.3): Are cardboard boxes really as good for moving and storage as we’ve made them to be?

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We recently had another round of rain and ice in the area but not as bad as the weather from the previous weeks.  Interesting enough the schools we’re eventually closed for the day; in all fairness, the bridges and bypasses were covered in ice and causing major problems for drivers on the road.  Let’s just say even salt trucks ended up on their sides… yeah.

On a positive note, the scenery has been looking pretty nice as a result…

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As much as I love winter, I am kind of glad to see it go for one reason – ice.  How can something we so commonly see and use regularly (… not to mention, beautiful) be associated with damage?  But that’s just the reality of it.

So what does this have to do with cardboard boxes?  Well, I had this same question regarding boxes as I was organizing my storage unit a couple of years ago.  How is it that something we commonly use be associated with damage?  However, we continue to use them in spite of that fact.  Think about it… we assemble the boxes, line them with tape, and then pack and cram them with a bunch of stuff, some items of which carry a good deal of weight so that we end up dropping or spilling all of the contents inside them.  Then, we lift those same boxes, taking a risk of either pulling or causing serious injury to ourselves.  If we’re storing things in the boxes in places like the basement, attic, or a self-storage unit, we throw those same packed boxes on top of each other, causing them to become damaged or overused, and they’re never replaced in order to protect your precious valuables.  Not to mention the little critters that like to feast or hide in the boxes, especially in non-climate-controlled environments.  DAMAGE!

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Now with all that said, my suggestion is one of two things… when moving or even just storing your items, consider more sturdy, reliable forms of containment such as plastic bins with lids.  Plastic bins are a great solution because they are durable and they protect your items from water damage and bugs/rodents.  However, if you must use the cardboard boxes, keep these handy tips in mind in order to get the most use out of them and to preserve the items in them:

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  • Be sure to use boxes that are in the best condition possible.  You can usually call your local grocer or department store to request some of their used boxes in order to save you a few dollars, in comparison to purchasing them.
  • Replace boxes you may have that are showing clear signs of damage, like holes, tearing, or crushing.
  • Do not over-pack the boxes.  Leave plenty of room to close the boxes completely and comfortably packed enough to lift without risking damage to yourself (be sure to lift with your knees…ALWAYS!).
  • Be mindful of items that require proper temperature-control and store them accordingly, especially your PRODUCT INVENTORY.
  • When sealing your boxes, use at least three layers of tape to secure the bottom of the box in order to prevent items from falling out.
  • When stacking, store heavier boxes on the bottom and lighter boxes on the top.
  • Use the handy label tape that identifies what boxes go in what room or write directly onto the boxes with a bold magic marker.  Be sure to write the room name on the top and side of the box so that you can identify the boxes at two different angles.
  • Package like items together or items that you typically use together in the same box.
  • Boxes with handles are very convenient for moving. (Just so you know…)
  • In the process of preparing to move, store all boxes that need to be loaded onto the moving truck close to the door for easier access.
  • For those who plan to keep their current property or frequently visit, despite their relocation, separate boxes that will be loaded on the truck for moving to your new home from boxes that will remain for storage in your current home. This will prevent confusion and mingling of the boxes when the movers arrive.

So there you have it.  Just some of the great tips to consider when utilizing boxes for your move or storage.  To continue this series on moving/relocation tips, we’ll touch on cord organization and storage.  How often do we become frustrated by the constant tangling of cords under, behind, or on the desk?  Or how can we conveniently package, store, and recover our cords in the process of a move?

Oh trust me… I gotcha’…

– Sy

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