How to pack heavy items when moving
Packing and moving heavy items is not a walk in the park.


  • One thing is clear – moving heavy items to another home will NOT be easy.
  • Be sure to take with you only the heavy household items that are really worth the trouble.
  • Read on to learn the best way to pack heavyweight items such as furniture, appliances, books, tools, etc. so that they survive the move unscathed.

It’s no secret that proper packing is the key to a successful move – the better packed your items are, the greater chance they have to survive the relocation safely.

And what more could you wish for when moving house than to find your belongings safe and sound in your new home?

So, when you start preparing for a house move, one of the first and most important things you need to do (just after finding good movers who will take good care of your cherished possessions) is to find out how to properly pack your items for moving.

Different types of items have different packing requirements – fragile items need to be wrapped in soft protective materials, sensitive items need to be well padded and well insulated, delicate valuables need to be transported in custom wooden boxes, etc.

So, what about heavy items?

How to pack and move heavy items in a safe and efficient way?

Heavy items are very difficult to handle and pose a number of safety risks – and they can be easily damaged during the move too.

If they’re not packed well, the risks of damages and injuries become even bigger – if a heavy item falls out of a box, or a box collapses under the weight of the heavy items packed in it, the spilled item(s) can break, the floor can get wrecked, and feet and toes can get crushed.

And if a large weighty piece is not properly wrapped, it becomes very vulnerable to damage and extremely risky to handle.

So, to prevent property damage, avoid personal injuries, and ensure the safety of your heavy items, you need to pack them with utmost care and caution.

Read on to find out how to pack heavy items for moving the right way and ensure your heavy moving success:

Decide which heavy items to move to the new home

Before you start packing your heavy belongings for moving, you need to be absolutely sure that you want to take these items with you. After all, moving heavy items is not only very difficult but also quite expensive:

  • When moving long distance, the cost of your move will be based on the weight of your shipment – and the more heavy items you decide to relocate, the heavier your shipment will be;
  • When moving locally, you will be charged by the hour – and the more heavy items you have for moving, the longer the job will take (heavy items are more difficult to lift and maneuver, so they take longer to load and unload);
  • Many movers charge an extra fee for the handling of extremely heavy and bulky items;
  • Some heavy items (grandfather clocks, hot tubs, pianos, etc.) have special moving requirements – or necessitate extra moving services – and incur additional moving fees.

Moving Costs: What’s the Average Cost of Moving?

Moving heavy items is difficult, risky, and expensive.
Packing heavy items for moving is an elephantine task.

It is, therefore, not a good idea to pack and move all your heavy items – it will take you a lot of time and effort, will be very difficult and very risky, and will cost you a pretty penny.

You need to assess each and every weighty object individually and decide if it’s worth moving to your new home.

Get rid of any heavy items you don’t really need or don’t like very much (worn furniture, old appliances, rarely-used tools and equipment, books that are not likely to be read again and don’t have any special value, etc.) and consider buying new furniture after the relocation so you don’t need to move your weighty old pieces.

How to Decide What to Take When Moving

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Get the right packing materials

However important the packing techniques may be, it’s the packing materials that actually provide protection to household items during a move – and in order to ensure proper protection, it’s necessary to use appropriate packing materials.

When it comes to packing heavy items for moving, the right packing materials for the job are on the sturdier side:

Strong boxes

Heavy items should be packed in heavy duty moving boxes.
Double-wall corrugated boxes – just what you need.

Heavy objects need strong moving containers that can withstand great weight. So, you need to get quality moving boxes made of durable cardboard that are strong enough to support the weight of your heavy items (double-walled moving boxes may be your best bet).

Resist the temptation to use old boxes you can get for free – they will be weakened from previous uses and may collapse under heavier weight.

Invest in brand-new, heavy-duty moving boxes and consider purchasing specialty boxes (book boxes, dish boxes, etc.) for your more delicate and valuable weighty belongings.

Types of Moving Boxes

When packing heavy fragile items, it may even be a good idea to use wooden crates for extra security.

Risks of Using Free Moving Boxes

Thick wrapping materials

Thin wrapping materials (such as packing paper) will do little to protect heavy items during a move – they tear easily, provide no cushioning, and cannot prevent damage to a weighty piece.

Thin wrappings can be used only as an initial layer of protection to safeguard the surface of an item.

Then, you need to wrap your heavy object in thicker materials, such as bubble wrap, foam sheets, and moving blankets, that will reduce the risk of damage to the item – and to the floor – in case the heavy piece is dropped while being carried around or topples over during transportation.

Old towels, blankets, and thick clothes will also provide good protection for your heavy items – and will help you save some money on packing supplies.

Sturdier cushioning

To survive a move safely and soundly, heavy items need not only thicker wrapping but also thicker padding that can absorb the shock from impacts and drops and prevent the objects from coming in contact with one another when packed inside a moving box.

Crumpled paper won’t do – it will compress flat under the weight of the heavy items. You need sturdier cushioning materials – packing peanuts, foam padding, air pillows, etc.

Once again, alternative padding materials (old clothes, towels, etc.) will work fine – just make sure you use enough of them.

Heavy-duty, high-quality packing tape

When packing heavy items in a box, you want the tape to not only keep the box closed, but also to seal it and reinforce it – therefore, you need durable tape that will add to the strength of the box and won’t tear easily.

When securing thick wrappings around a heavy piece, you need strong, highly adhesive tape that will keep the heavier protective materials in place and won’t tear with rigorous movement.

Heavier items require sturdier packing materials.
It’s only logical that when packing heavy items for moving, you’re going to need heavy-duty moving boxes and heavy-duty packing tape.

Your best choice is fiberglass reinforced water-activated tape, such as filament tape or gummed tape (the water-based chemical adhesive creates a permanent bond, while the fiberglass strands in the tape make it extremely strong) – it will help keep your heavy items safely protected during the move and will make the packing process smoother and more efficient.

Using the right packing materials is the first step to ensuring safety when packing and moving heavy items. The next is to pack your weighty objects in a safe and effective manner.

How to pack heavy items in boxes

The best way to pack heavy items for moving is to put them in small, sturdy moving boxes, provide them with sufficient cushioning, and seal the moving containers tightly. 

Moving boxes provide excellent protection to the items packed in them and make household goods easier to handle and transport from one location to another.

Therefore, all of your heavy belongings that can fit in boxes should be boxed up for the move.

Prepare the boxes

Your first task when packing heavy items in boxes is to prepare the packing containers:

  • Choose small, strong moving boxes – Packing heavy items in large boxes is not a good idea. A big moving box will fit a lot of heavy objects and will become extremely heavy when packed full – so, it will be very difficult to lift and carry and may even break under the weight of its contents. Large boxes should, therefore, be used only for lightweight objects – and heavy items should be packed in small boxes;
  • Reinforce the boxes with strong packing tape to make sure they won’t fall apart under the pressure of the heavy item(s) in them when lifted and carried to/from the moving truck;
  • Create a cushioning layer on the bottom of each packing box – use thick towels, large-size bubble wrap, packing peanuts, or foam sheets.

Once the boxes are ready, you can initiate the actual packing process.

Pack your heavy items in the boxes

Packing weighty objects in boxes is quite a straightforward task – there are just a few specifics to keep in mind:

Heavy items ate best packed in boxes.
It’s time to put your heavy items in their boxes.
  1. Wrap your heavy items in thick protective materials (wrap delicate items and items with delicate surfaces in packing paper first);
  2. Place a safely wrapped heavy object in the center of a sturdy, properly padded box that is slightly larger than the item. If you’re packing several small heavy objects in one box, arrange them all on the bottom of the box and be sure to leave some space between them;
  3. Fill all the remaining empty space in the box with appropriate cushioning materials to provide extra padding to the heavy item and prevent it from shifting inside the carton. Make sure the heavy object is cushioned on all sides. When packing more than one item in a box, add plenty of cushioning between the objects as well – to keep them from coming in contact with one another during the move. Be careful not to make the box heavier than 45-50 pounds;
  4. Make sure the box has a firm top, so it doesn’t cave in when stacked under another box in the moving truck – fill the space at the top of the box with sturdy padding materials and test it before sealing the container. If it feels like the box might give way when you push down on it, reopen it and add some more packing peanuts or foam sheets on top;
  5. Pack some lightweight items on top of the heavy item(s) if there is a lot of space left at the top of the box. Keep in mind though that this is only safe to do if the box won’t be stacked under another heavy box in the moving truck (otherwise the lightweight items at the top of the box may get crushed under the weight of the upper box).
  6. Consider cutting the carton down to size if there is too much space left in a box that is going to be stacked under other heavy boxes. How do you do it? Slice down the vertical edges of the box to the desired height, then fold down the sides, overlap them, and tape them to create a smaller moving container. If possible (depending on what is inside the box), turn the cut-down box upside down – this way, the carton will have a multi-layered bottom that can withstand great weight;
  7. Seal the box tightly and label it with its contents. Write HEAVY and HANDLE WITH CARE on several sides of the carton, so that the movers know that need to be extra cautious when handling the box.

Related: How to Pack Boxes When Moving

So far, so good.

What about heavy items that can’t go in boxes though? Or heavy items that have special packing requirements?

Read on to find out the specifics of packing different types of heavy items for moving.

How to pack heavy furniture

Make sure your furniture are well cushioned in moving blankets.
Ready for the trip to your new home.

There is no doubt that furniture pieces are among the heaviest – and most difficult to move – items in a home.

You can, however, make them easier and safer to relocate by packing them properly:

  • Empty your furniture (when applicable);
  • Disassemble larger pieces – remove drawers, shelves, furniture legs, and any other detachable elements to make the furniture lighter and safer to lift and carry. When necessary, take apart the furniture completely;
  • Use packing paper, bubble wrap, cardboard pieces, and other appropriate protective materials to protect delicate furniture parts and protruding parts;

Wrap the entire furniture piece in moving blankets. Use packing tape or stretch wrap to secure the wrappings in place.

How to Pack Furniture for Moving

How to pack heavy fragile items

Heavy fragile items (electronics, large artwork, large glass items, etc.) are especially tricky to relocate – they weigh a lot and they’re extremely vulnerable to damage, so you need to be extra careful when packing them for moving:

  • Prepare strong moving boxes of appropriate sizes – reinforce them and line their bottoms with padding materials as detailed above;
  • Wrap your breakables in packing paper and bubble wrap;
  • Arrange carefully the wrapped fragile items in the packing container and add plenty of padding in the box so that the breakables are cushioned on all sides and can’t move within the carton. Do not forget to add a protective layer of bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and/or foam sheets on top of the fragile items;
  • Tape the box shut;
  • Take another strong box, several inches larger than the first one, and line its bottom with foam sheets, packing peanuts, or other sturdy padding materials;
  • Place the first box in the center of the second one, on top of the cushioning layer – there should remain about two inches of empty space around all four sides of the inner box and on top of it;
  • Fill the empty space between the inner and the outer box with air pillows, packing peanuts, or other adequate cushioning materials;
  • Close the outer box and seal it securely with quality packing tape;
  • Label the box with its contents and mark it as HEAVY and FRAGILE. Indicate which side is up.
Double boxing is an effective packing hack.
A box within a box – it doesn’t get safer than that.

The double boxing method is extremely efficient in ensuring the safety of heavy breakables during a move – the outer box takes all the outside impact, the cushioning materials between the two boxes provide an additional layer of protection, the inner box keeps the packed items isolated from shocks and vibrations, and the padding materials inside the inner box cushion the fragile objects and keep them from moving around the packing container.

So, even if the box is accidentally dropped or topples down during the move, there are two hard covers and two cushioning layers to protect the packed fragile items from impact.

Make sure the boxes containing heavy fragile items are not stacked under other heavy boxes in the moving truck.

How to Pack Fragile Items for Moving

How to pack heavy kitchen items

From large appliances to big mason jars, the kitchen is full of heavy items – and most of them present serious packing challenges:

How to pack large kitchen appliances

Large appliances – such as refrigerators, cooking stoves, and washing machines – need special packing attention:

  • Unplug your electric appliances, empty them (when applicable), and make sure they’re clean and dry. Defrost refrigerators and freezers and drain washing machines and dishwashers;
  • Tie-down power cords and hoses;
  • Secure appliance doors with plastic wrap;
  • Wrap the appliances in moving blankets to prevent scratches, dents, and other damage during the relocation. Use plastic wrap or packing tape to secure the protective coverings in place.

How to Pack Kitchen Appliances for Moving

How to pack small kitchen appliances

Small kitchen appliances – coffee makers, toasters, blenders, etc. – are best packed in boxes:

  • Clean and dry the appliances;
  • Remove any detachable parts from them;
  • Secure electric cords;
  • Wrap the appliances in packing paper and/or bubble wrap;
  • Put each appliance in its original box. If you don’t keep the original box, use sturdy boxes of appropriate size. Make sure the boxes are reinforced and lined with cushioning materials;
  • Fill all the empty space in the boxes with packing peanuts, bubble wrap, or other appropriate cushioning materials;
  • Seal and label the boxes.

How to pack other heavy kitchen items

Many kitchen items are both heavy and fragile.
The kitchen presents a great packing challenge.

All other heavy kitchen items (pots and pans, canned goods, glass jars, glass bottles, chinaware, silverware, etc.) should also go in boxes (see the above guidelines for packing heavy items in boxes).

Here are some tips to make the packing process faster, easier, and safer:

  • Use dish barrels for heavy china plates;
  • Use heavy-duty moving boxes with cell dividers for glass jars and glass bottles;
  • Wrap glass items in packing paper;
  • Nest pots and pans inside one another;
  • Wrap six to eight silverware items of the same type and size together in several sheets of packing paper and tape the bundles;
  • Wrap kitchen knives in thick towels or several layers of bubble wrap;
  • Wrap oddly shaped utensils individually;
  • Avoid moving heavy pantry items (bags of rice, sugar, flour, etc.), canned goods, frozen foods, and other food items – try to use up your food supplies before moving day and consider donating (or giving away to neighbors) any remains. What to Do With Food When Moving

The Appetizing Guide to Packing Your Kitchen for Moving

How to pack heavy books

Books are surprisingly heavy, so you need to be extra careful to keep the weight of their packing containers reasonable:

  • Group books by size. Wrap more valuable volumes in soft packing paper;
  • Get a small sturdy box (a book box is the best choice), reinforce it with packing tape, and line its bottom and its sides with packing paper;
  • Pack books upright, with their open parts facing the side of the box, or place them flat and stack them up along the side of the box (just make sure you put the heaviest volumes at the bottom). Keep the box no heavier than 40-45 lbs.;
  • Place a sheet of packing paper on top of the books and tape the box shut;
  • Label the box with its contents and mark it as HEAVY.

Alternatively, you can pack your heavy books in wheeled suitcases.

Travel suitcases are very sturdy and padded on the inside, so they will provide good protection to your books during the move – and they have wheels, so they will roll around easily, allowing you to move your heavy books with no effort.

How to Pack Books for Moving: 40 Steps for Packing Books

How to pack heavy tools

Oddly shaped, sharp-edged, and heavy, tools are quite difficult to pack for moving:

Tools are heavy and dangerous.
Small hand tools belong in a toolbox.
  • Pay special attention to any tools that have open blades or sharp edges (hand saws, chisels, pickaxes, gardening sheers, etc.) – wrap the dangerous blades and edges in a few layers of bubble wrap (or old towels, or rags) and secure the protective covers with strong strings or cable ties;
  • Pack smaller hand tools such as screwdrivers, hammers, wrenches, pliers, etc. in a toolbox. If you don’t have a toolbox, use a strong small box and seal it tightly;
  • Group garden tools according to their size and wrap them in old blankets. Use ropes or strong packing tape to secure the bundles;
  • Pack power tools in their original boxes (or sturdy boxes of appropriate sizes) – remove any detachable parts (including any batteries), wrap the power cord around the electric device, wrap the entire power tool in an old towel or a piece of old clothing, place it in the box, fill any remaining empty space with sturdy cushioning materials, and seal the box shut. Larger power tools may need to be disassembled;
  • Empty gas-powered tools (lawn mowers, leaf blowers, chain saws, etc.) of their fuel and wrap them in moving blankets or old clothing.

How to Pack a Garage for Moving: 7 Garage-Packing Steps

If you have any heavy specialty items that you intend to take to your new home, you need to pack them according to their specific requirements.

Follow the links below to find out how to pack different kinds of specialty items for moving:

Keep in mind though that while it’s perfectly safe to pack your books, tools, and smaller kitchen items yourself, you’re strongly advised to leave specialty items and items heavier than 50 lbs. to professional packers and movers who have the right equipment, technical know-how, and rich experience to take proper care of your weighty belongings.

See also: Professional Packing Services: The Secrets of the Pros

Knowing how to pack and move heavy items the right way will help you make your move safer.
Moving heavy items is a job better left to the professionals.

What’s more, even when you know how to pack heavy items the right way, moving them to another location is very difficult and very risky.

You’re going to need specialized moving equipment (moving dollies, moving straps, etc.) and will have to use safe lifting techniques to avoid injuries and damages when taking your weighty pieces out of your old home, loading them on the moving truck, unloading them, and taking them into your new place.

Your move will be much easier – and much safer – if you hire professional movers to do the job for you. Your belongings – including your heavy items – will arrive safe and sound at your new home and you will have a smooth, successful, and stress-free relocation experience.

Good luck!

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