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packaging and shipping furniture

Tips On Packing and Shipping Furniture

If you think packing and shipping furniture is a job only for professionals, you’re partially correct—but you can’t drop off a couch at your local post office. There’s a good chance it won’t even fit through the doors! Instead, shipping furniture short and long distances requires specialized services. 

You need someone that can handle large, heavy loads, and this likely means going to a shipping service or a moving company. However, you can take care of the packing and this can reduce your shipping and moving costs. Before you toss a blanket over the furniture and attach an address label, there are a few steps you need to follow.

How to Pack Furniture for Shipping

If the thought of packing furniture seems a little daunting, take a deep breath, it’s a little easier than you may think.

importance of packing furniture

Figure Out the Approximate Weight

There are a couple of reasons why you want to know the approximate weight of your furniture. Weight affects shipping costs and determines the best packing method. Some items like a small end table you may be able to place on a bathroom scale. 

For other pieces, like a couch, you can guess its approximate weight. You can also check with the manufacturer. They should know how much the furniture weighs.

If the furniture weighs less than 150 lbs, you’re going to need:

  1. A crate or furniture box. You can get a furniture box from the manufacturer. You may even be able to pick up a free box from a home goods store. Chances are if they sell furniture extra boxes are lying around. If you decide to use a crate, you can build or purchase one. Building a crate is fairly easy and you can get everything you need, including advice, from a hardware or home improvement store.
  2. Screwdriver to remove parts like arms and legs from the furniture
  3. Packing material like foam inserts or blankets

You’re going to need the same items for furniture weighing over 150 lbs with a couple of additions. You may want to grab some shrink wrap. Not everything fits in a box or crate. A three-person couch is an example. 

You should also pick up some moving blankets, as the blankets can protect the furniture from damage like dings and scratches.

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Choose the Right Size Box

You probably noticed furniture boxes come in all sizes. You want to use one that isn’t too big. Don’t worry about the box being too small. If your furniture doesn’t fit inside, the box is too small. While it’s pretty easy to slip something inside an extra-large box, it’s a mistake. 

You don’t want the furniture shifting around during shipping, even if it’s only a short distance. You can add extra packing in the empty spaces but this also adds to the box’s weight. Remember, shipping companies often charge by weight and you don’t want your packing material adding to shipping costs.

A good rule to follow is to measure the furniture and box. Ideally, you want the box to be around 3” to 5” wider than the furniture. This gives you some space for packing materials without adding too much extra weight.

Break Down and Protect the Furniture

Whenever possible it’s a good idea to break the furniture down. Remove the arms and legs whenever possible. If you’re shipping a sectional couch, break it down. You can pack each section separately. All lamp shades should be removed and don’t forget to take out the light bulbs.

If the furniture doesn’t break down, no worries. You can still protect the furniture from shipping damage even when it’s in a single piece.

Wrap all non-removable arms and legs in bubble wrap. A sheet or blanket can also do the trick. Grab a plastic bag and a permanent marker. The baggie will hold the assorted nuts, bolts, and screws. Label each baggie so you know where the hardware goes.

Some furniture simply won’t fit in a box or crate but this doesn’t mean you can’t protect your belongings. Remember the roll of shrink wrap? You can wrap the furniture, adding extra padding on corners, and around the arms and legs.

packing and shipping furniture is a job only for professionals

Pack the Furniture

This step only applies to the pieces that are going inside a box or crate. Larger pieces are ready for shipping once they’re wrapped in protective plastic, which may be when you want to ask your friends or family for help. Getting a large chair inside a box can be challenging, even if it weighs under 150 lbs.

You want to make sure the furniture is stabilized in the box—that is, so it will not shift during shipping. Try to center the furniture in the box, leaving equal space on all sides. Now, grab your packing materials and fill in the empty spaces. Before sealing the box, give the furniture a gentle nudge. If it shifts a little, add some more packing material.

Close the Box or Crate

If you’re closing a box, grab your packing tape—but don’t rely on scotch, masking, or even duct tape. Packing tape is designed specifically for what its name implies. 

Once the tape is on the box it’s almost impossible to remove without scissors or a box cutting tool. The last thing you want is for the box to pop up during shipping. Don’t be afraid to use a lot of packing tape. While you probably don’t need to use an entire roll, a couple of layers is never a bad idea.

Sealing a crate requires a little more than packing tape—you’re going to need a hammer and some wood nails. Place nails at the four corners and hammer the lid in place. Next, add a couple more nails to each of the four sides. You want the top to stay securely on throughout shipping.

Shipping Furniture Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult

Preparing your furniture for shipping can help you save on your small move. With a few necessary items and possibly some assistance from family and friends, packing furniture for shipping is more manageable than it may initially seem. 

Proper planning and organization can streamline the process, ensuring your furniture is safely packed and ready for transport.

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