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How to Pack a Moving Truck

family moving day

Moving is a big job, but it helps when you know how to get the job done right. If you have a plan for how you’re going to pack your moving truck, it can make the entire process of moving smoother. Here’s how you can pack a moving truck like a pro.

Break Down What You Can

The more compact something is, the easier it will be to move. Disassemble all the furniture you can, like bedframes, dining tables and desks. You can even take the feet off of your couches and upholstered chairs if you need to save space. If you are disassembling a piece of furniture, keep all parts (including screws, bolts and other small pieces) together, so that there is no confusion when you reassemble it in your new home.

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Protect Your Furniture

Even if you can’t fit your items in a box, they still need to be protected. Use furniture padding to protect the surfaces of your belongings on their journey, so that it’s harder for them to scrape against each other. Rolling up a rug? Roll it with the carpet backing on the inside and cover the outside with plastic. Most moving trucks will include hooks and loops to help secure your items with tie-downs, which help anchor your items so they don’t shift and bump into each other when you hit the road.

how to pack a moving truck - family moving day

Get in Formation

When packing a truck, the experts at Penske recommend using the “I” formation. The heaviest items in should be flush along the front and back of the truck, with a line of heavy furniture and boxes running through the middle of the truck, creating the letter “I.” This helps the truck stay balanced and can prevent your items from being damaged.

The largest and heaviest items in your home, like your washing machine or refrigerator, should go in the moving truck before anything else. Make sure you have other people to help you carry these items – it’s probably going to be more than a two-person job. Put these items in the front of the truck, closest to the cab, and make sure they’re balanced along the width of the truck. Keep all items in an upright position.

Along the center of the truck, make a line of heavy furniture and boxes. A good strategy is to fill the center with your tables and desks, then store your heaviest boxes underneath them. On either side of the tables, you can store softer furniture items, like couches, upholstered chairs, rolled-up rugs, box springs and mattresses. Set aside all of your smallest items and boxes for later.

The back of the truck, closest to the doors, should be where you put all your additional heavy boxes to anchor the “I” formation.

Fill in the Gaps

Even after you’ve loaded in all your biggest furniture and heaviest boxes, you probably still have a lot of stuff left over. Fill in the gaps and crevices of your moving truck with your smaller items and boxes. A densely-packed truck will make sure that things don’t slide and knock into each other. This is also a good time to try and fit in your irregular-shaped items, like floor lamps.

Transfer your lighter boxes to the truck and stack them on top of the heavy ones. If you need to put more fragile items in the body of the car, put them close to the top and secure them so they won’t move around. It’s also a good idea to wrap them in a lot of padding. If you have small and extremely fragile items, it might be best to keep them in the cab with you.

Don’t forget – when renting a truck from Penske, AAA members receive exclusive savings of 12% or more.

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