Stuff matters – packing pitfalls

Charlotte age 5 in ‘the hat’*

I am currently packing my own stuff to send out to France. I was saddened recently to read a fellow blogger’s account of receiving her damaged belongings. This lady had paid for professional packing, so hopefully her insurance will cover the damage, but monetary value is of course only part of the story

I certainly don’t mean to patronise anyone reading this, but after 20 years (and counting) in the freight industry I know that people often do not realise what is involved in the journey their goods take. Just today, a large national courier delivery driver brought in some items and we saw him literally chucking boxes around in the back of his van. Don’t be despondent – thought and planning can save heartbreak if you are packing goods yourself, so this may just help someone else in blogspace:

  1. THIS WAY UP   The journey usually involves changes of vehicle along the way, meaning that various people will handle your goods. Markings alone cannot protect your goods. Your packing needs to be tough enough to withstand repeated handling, changes of orientation and being stacked with other goods
  2. Keep it Original    Where possible, keep things in their original packing – particularly for electrical items etc
  3. Nice and easy    When packing small items, try to make each box easily manageable for one person (rule of thumb is 30kg). For example, mix heavy books in a box with bedding to spread the weight
  4. Is it FRAGILE?    Only mark fragile items as such, because if you mark everything the same way people tend to ignore it
  5. Movement and Impact    It may sound obvious, but the aim is to ensure that individual breakables have adequate padding to stop them moving around and to protect them from knocks. Line strong boxes with bubble-wrap or similar where available, and use smaller padded boxes within outer boxes to separate and contain items in transit. If your stuff moves around or rattles when you shake the box, it will probably not survive the journey
  6. Soggy bottoms   Sometimes people close the top of a box beautifully, but neglect to put enough tape underneath. A box is only as strong as its bottom. If in doubt, add more tape!
  7. A solid top  Cut boxes down in height if they are not full. Boxes with empty spaces are weak and can collapse when things are put on top so you need to make the top surface firm
  8. Be creative   Re-use packaging wherever possible, for the sake of the environment and your purse too. I keep an eye open for useful packing materials, and stash these to one side for later use. These are typically things like strong postal tubes, protective padding, small boxes and anything ‘squidgy’ that can be re-purposed, however unconventional. If you are sending bedding, it makes excellent packing when packed into plastic bags inside an outer box

Now that’s quite enough. I don’t pretend that this is an exhaustive guide, but I have tons of packing to do and a sick chicken in my living room, so I wish you all a wonderful (breakage-free) Christmas!

*more about ‘the hat’ another time, perhaps…

Author: poshbirdy

Art deco/ art nouveau maniac enjoying a deep and meaningful relationship with alcohol

8 thoughts on “Stuff matters – packing pitfalls”

  1. Such good advice. When I moved from England to France, I had everything packed by the moving company. We paid for a single load but it turned out that we were sharing the lorry with several other drops and pick-ups. One piece of furniture was damaged and several items were lost including a painting by a friend done as a wedding present …. irreplaceable. The company compensated me but nothing could compensate for the loss. The bit that was most un-nerving about the whole experience was the lorry that the company thought suitable. It was roughly the size of the QEII or so it appeared as it drove up the avenue to our house taking bits of Plain tree with it! The crew was exhausted and bolshey but did at least listen to reason when we looked at the route they were planning out of our village and onwards to Toulouse. We hope they heeded our advice to pull over at Tulle and sleep the night. Who knows. What I know is that it was expensive and not perfect. 😦


    1. Oh no, that is so sad to hear. I have been doing relocations for people for years, and yet I am still not hardened and cannot relax until I know it has all arrived safely. It’s a huge investment for anyone, both in monetary and emotional terms, and loss and damage can be devastating. Have you stayed in touch with the company? It’s possible that your picture could turn up somewhere and that it could be returned to you – if I were you I’d keep pestering them for a few months, just in case. You have nothing to lose x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for that advice – I will! I think a lot of the problem came from the company (world renowned btw) outsourcing work to others. Two many cooks and all that less than tuneful jazz. The worst bit was breaking the news to my friend when she came to stay – however, she had taken possession of my frankly miraculous hoover the day we left because husband declared it would burst the car at it’s breeches if I tried to stuff it in. This wondrous appliance softened the blow for her. As for me – yes, I feel like being a pest so I’ll give it a whirl 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the tips. I do mail quite a lot of items overseas and I breathe a sigh of relief if and when they arrive in one piece. Like you, I’ve seen what some delivery firms do with their packages 😮
    When we moved to France – we needed two lorries and will probably need three if we move again – I couldn’t face the prospect of packing up so we paid the removal firm extra to pack everything up for us. It was worth every penny!
    I hope your chicken recovers and you all have a great Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great tips here – we’ve moved a few times (Uk to Australia and also interstate Australia) plus have had furniture sent out from the UK too. Even with the best packing techniques there is the occasional breakage but you can go a long way to avoiding accidents if you pack properly. Happy packing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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