Pre-move preparation: special tips on oddly-shaped, fragile and hazardous items

packing fragile items

Moving can be challenging without guides to follow, which is why it is only natural to look for articles on how to go about it. If you’ve been researching for the best home moving tips for your relocation, chances are you’ve encountered ideas about smart ways to pack.

Unfortunately, not many of these tips and hacks offer relevant information about how to deal with items that require special packaging and handling due to their shape, material, or durability. Aside from that, there’s also a matter of potentially dangerous items and substances that need to be considered— some of which cannot be transported altogether.

3 Kinds of Items with Special Packaging Requirements

Items that require special care when it comes to packaging and transportation can be categorized based on three main factors: the shape, material, and durability.

1. Odd-Shaped Items

Packing for a move would be a lot less stressful if everything you own can fit into boxes. Unfortunately, there would always be at least one item that is too tall, too big, or too misshaped (geometrically speaking) to pack the traditional way.

Tall items like fishing rods, camera tripods, and ladders, are either to be moved as is or packed using the double-stacked or high-hat carton technique. As the name implies, this packaging strategy entails putting one carton box on top of the other with the bottom of the upper box open to make a somewhat taller container.

Those that are too big or have awkward sizes, like sofas and bed frames, are loaded and unloaded as is with the help of unique tools like dollies and furniture sliders.

2. Breakables

Breakables are extremely fragile items that cannot just be tossed inside a carton, box or plastic container during a move. Extra care is required when packing these items, so make sure you know how to do it with minimal – if not zero – damage.

When packing items made of glass, porcelain, or other fragile materials, make sure to label the boxes as ‘Fragile’, indicating to the removalists about how to handle or carry them. These labels must always be visible and, therefore, should be put on all sides of the box or container.

When packing glasses, plates, cups, mugs, it is wise to use cardboard dividers to prevent them from moving around and bumping with each other during transport. You should also add cushioning inside the box. For this, you can use either store-bought bubble wrap, Styrofoam, and packing peanuts or pillows, blankets, socks (for glasses), and bedsheets.

3. Sharp and Pointy Items

Sharp, pointy, and other items that may damage things they are packed with, or can cause injury, should also be packed with extra caution. The rule of thumb is to ensure that the sharp and pointy items and people moving them are both protected.

When packing knives, for example, you can use knife guards or knife rolls before wrapping them with old newspaper or magazines. Knife guards can be bought at local kitchen supplies shops or online. You can make your own knife rolls—which are typically made of canvas—by rolling the knife within an old towel that is thick enough to prevent the sharp edge or pointy end from piercing through.

After wrapping, make sure to put them in one box with an appropriate label. You can also do the same for your gardening tools if you don’t want movers to transport them as is. Using the packaging these items came with when you first bought them can also help you save time and money.

6 Types of Non-Transportable Items

During a move, you often need to segregate the things in your old home based on whether you’re bringing them to your new place or not. Toxic and potentially dangerous goods are most definitely among the latter.

Although the need to move such items can be quite rare, it is important that you know which objects and substances your movers would most definitely leave behind for safety reasons.

To help you plan ahead, here are six types of non-transportable items and some examples:

1. Flammable Goods

This comes in three forms: solid, liquid and gas. Some of the most common examples of liquid flammables are petrol, kerosene, paint, turpentine, and methylated spirits (or denatured alcohol). Gas-form flammables include acetylene, methane, oxygen, and LPG—most of which are contained in tanks. Finally, flammable solids cover firelighters, matches, magnesium, and phosphorus.

2. Oxidizing Agents

Oxidizing agents are substances that can cause chemical reactions when put with other elements by causing a removal of electrons within them. These include ammonium nitrate, hydrogen peroxide, sodium nitrate, and calcium hypochlorite.

3. Corrosive Substances

These substances, like caustic soda, oxides, hydrochloric acid, and sulfuric acid, can destroy or damage other materials they come in contact with. They can also cause poisoning and injury when mishandled.

4. Toxic Chemicals

Pesticides, arsenic, weed killers, and photo developers are considered toxic substances. Instead of bringing them to your new home, it would be better to leave them and buy new ones when the need arises in your new place.

5. Explosive Substances

Explosives like flares, ammunition, fireworks, and black powder cannot be transported by typical movers since they aren’t usually trained to handle such items during relocation.

6. Compressed Gas

Compressed gas like scuba tanks, aerosol cans, gas cylinders and explosive devices also require special handling and should never be transported during a relocation.

Special Packaging for Special Items

While it is well and good to know the basics, having detailed knowledge about special items that require unique packaging care is the best way to ensure the safety of the removalists, yourself, and your property. When uncertainty strikes, talk to your movers for guidance especially when it comes to chemicals and potentially hazardous items.

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