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July 17, 2011

How to Pack a Moving Truck

by thenattyurbanite

So you’re moving. Collectively, everyone feels the same way about moving. Ugh. You pull out that abacus that you bought on Etsy [see it was a great buy] and after sliding some beads back and forth decide to forego hiring a moving company and finally cash in on those favours that your buddies owe you. After making a few calls, you quickly realize who your real friends are. See friend, there’s a big difference between being optimistic and naïve. Anyway, you finally get a few friends to help you with this tiring and time-consuming task just for the free pizza and beer. Awesome! However before you get excited there are a few important steps that you have to follow.

Booking the truck


  • Book your truck 45-60 days in advance. Listen to me, I have moved six times. Also, it’s best to move on a weekday – rental rates can be cheaper & the chances of availability better.
  • The booking agent can assist you in determining what size truck you need depending upon the number of rooms in your apartment/condo/house. Also never forget to ask if there are any discounts [e.g. Student, CAA/AAA, military etc.]
  • If you don’t have a driver’s license, like me, but are having a friend drive the truck, please ask if the person whose credit card is being used has to be the driver. This simple question can save you from a massive clusterf*ck. If they won’t allow you [the non-driver] to book the truck, you now have another favour to ask.
  • Book the truck for an early pick-up. 9am or 10am. Trust me.

Get time [a day or two] off work

  • Even if you move over the weekend, get a day or two off. You need it, not just to recuperate, but also to unpack and have a semblance of normality. Do you really want to be screaming at the universe on Monday morning when you can’t find a matching pair of socks? Or any underwear? Yeesh!

Moving Day

  • Greet your buddy [the driver], with a coffee and a bagel/croissant. Go pick up the truck on-time.
  • Ensure that she/he has her/his driver’s license [and that it’s not expired]. Trust me.
  • En route from the truck rental company, call the rest of your friends who will be helping you move and ensure that they haven’t forgotten and are on their way.

 Put your mattresses in the truck first.

  • Stand the mattress(es) against the walls of the truck and secure them with the ties if the truck has them. This keeps the mattress(es) out of the way and provides a cushioning on the side of the truck to cushion other belongings.
  • You can also tie box springs and other bed parts to the sides of the truck.

 Load the largest and heaviest items first.

  • The majority of the weight should be in the front of the truck, so the back-end of the truck doesn’t drag while you drive.
  • Start with large household appliances such refrigerators, ovens, washers and dryers.
  • Next, load large pieces of furniture, such as sofas, living room chairs and entertainment units.

Tuck smaller pieces and packed boxes in around and under the furniture on the truck to make good use of your space and to prevent items from shifting in transport.

Cover appliances and furniture for protection as you are loading them.

  • You can rent furniture pads from most moving truck rental companies.
  • If you plan ahead, you probably have a lot of things that you need to move with you anyway that would make great protective pads in the truck. When packing your house, leave all blankets, sheets, towels and other linens unboxed and use them when packing.

Stack your packed boxes in the back of the truck carefully.

  • Choose boxes of similar size and strength so you can stack them on top of each other.
  • Place the heaviest and largest boxes on the bottom.
  • Place only lightweight boxes in the truck above shoulder level.

Put your rugs on the moving truck last.

  • You can use them to cushion your possessions from the top and from each other, but you want them to be easy to unpack first when you arrive at your new home. That way you can put them down before moving your furniture in.

When you get to the new place

  • Unpack the truck systematically; be careful not to scuff the walls.
  • Order pizza and grab a few cold drinks. No beer for the driver 😦

Returning the truck

  • Upon renting, they will inspect the truck and see where the gas marker is. Take note of all the materials/items that came with the truck and where the gas marker was.
  • A number of trucks from rental companies are diesel only. Not every gas station sells diesel. Ensure to Google Map a station that sells diesel close to the truck rental drop-off point.
  • Ensure to fill the truck back to where the marker was upon pick-up. If you rented moving equipment, such as pads or dollies make sure that these are in the truck.

General Tips

  • Use the space inside of furniture by packing small items inside drawers and other storage areas. Put the items into the furniture after you have it on the truck if packing it first makes it too heavy to carry. Then, position the furniture with the drawers and doors facing the wall of the truck to prevent them from opening during the move.
  • If your moving truck has a small cubby above the cab, use that space for delicate items that don’t get packed in advance, such as televisions and computers.
  • If you rent a truck that is larger than you need and you do not fill the truck completely, you can minimize moving and jostling by leaving the empty space at the back of the truck and keeping the height of your packing low and even.
  • Distribute the weight evenly on both sides of the truck. Do not put too many heavy items on one side of the other.
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