How To Pack Cardboard Boxes For Storage

Packing your things into boxes when you are moving or for storage is never easy. It is simply not an issue of choosing which items to keep. The process also involves making sure that your precious belongings are packed tidily and safely. 

A little bit of organisation and the right number of cardboard boxes can help you get the job done efficiently! Stick around to learn how to pack your cardboard boxes like a pro!

Preparation is everything 

The first step to packing properly is preparation. You don’t want to just shove all your items in a box, right? Packing for long-term storage means that your things will be in a certain position for a long time. This means that they have to be stacked in such a way that they do not damage one another. And the key to proper packing is preparation. 

Start early enough 

It is recommended that you create a moving house checklist two months before your planned transfer. That checklist should include making preparations for packing. When you start early enough, you can do several rounds of evaluation when deciding which items to include in your move, throw away, donate, or pack for storage. 

Get the right packing supplies and tools 

Once you have decided which items you want to put in your cardboard boxes for moving, there’s something else you must do before you actually start loading them up in these boxes. Is it buying the correct tools and supplies for packing? Yes, that is right!

So what are the typical packing supplies and materials you need? 

  • Box cutters or utility knives
  • Storage box markers
  • Packing tapes and dispensers
  • Packing fillers
  • Bubble wrap
  • Cardboard boxes

Estimate how many cardboard boxes you need

Now that you know exactly how much or how many items you need to pack, how many cardboard boxes do you exactly need? Which size should you choose? 

If you are packing your items to be stored in a storage unit or a new house, here is a rough guide on how many boxes you need according to storage unit size or the number of new rooms in your new gaff: 

Storage unit sizeNo. of roomsBoxes to fill  
9 SQ FTVery small room or ½ studio room 2 large, 2 medium or 5 small boxes
25 SQ FTStudio or one-bedroom apartment84 small or 45 medium or 27 large boxes
35 SQ FTA large one-bedroom apartment140 small or 60 medium or 36 large boxes
50 SQ FTTwo-bedroom apartment189 small or 90 medium or 54 large boxes
75 SQ FTTwo-bedroom house 273 small or 135 medium or 81 large boxes
100 SQ FTThree-bedroom house378 small or 180 medium or 108 large boxes
150 SQ FTA large three-bedroom house or a small four-bedroom house546 small or 270 medium or 162 large boxes
300 SQ FTFour to five-bedroom house1092 small or 540 medium or 324 large boxes

Choose the right cardboard boxes 

It goes without saying that it’s important to pick sturdy cardboard boxes. How do you exactly know if you found the correct ones? Here are the qualities of good cardboard boxes for moving: 

  • Contains multiple corrugated papers for sturdier walls and stronger capacity (these are often called double or triple wall cardboard boxes) 
  • Multi-purpose and reusable 
  • Not bulky and it can be flattened after use 
  • Available in different sizes 
  • Eco-friendly and recyclable or biodegradable 

Shop for cardboard boxes >

Create a packing list for each room 

Did you know that it’s easier to pack if you group similar items together? One of the most common methods that people use is packing by room. Make an inventory of what you have in each room and try to plan which items can go together into boxes. 

And if you take one step further, when packing things found in the same room, you can segregate them according to similarities in size or the material they are made of. Once packed, you can also print out these items and paste them onto the outside of the box so you know exactly what each box contains. 

Loading and filling your cardboard boxes

Now that you have your boxes, it’s time to load them up! Here’s how to pack cardboard boxes for storage and moving…

How to pack small boxes 

Small boxes equal small consideration, right? Wrong. Small boxes need care as well since they typically carry heavy or fragile items.

  1. Loose items should be grouped together for easier organisation. This will also be handy by the time you unpack. You may wrap these bundled items with elastic bands or packing paper. You may also use bubble wrap or resealable bags. 
  2. Do not fill up your small boxes to the brim. Make sure you can seal the boxes properly with tape. 
  3. Avoid putting too much weight inside the small boxes. Though it can withhold up to 60 lbs, don’t go over 50 lbs. 
  4. Weigh your box before sealing it. If the box is nearing 50 lbs, fill it with packing paper or fillers instead of going over. 
  5. When stacking your boxes, place the small ones at the bottom since they contain heavy items. If you place them on top of large boxes with lightweight materials inside, the boxes can topple over. 
  6. Avoid placing these small, heavy boxes on top of upholstered pieces of furniture or fine wood surfaces.

What to pack in small boxes 

Heavy items are advised to be packed in small boxes simply because they are easier to pick up and move about.  

  • Books, notebooks, binders 
  • CDs, DVDs, tapes, videos, and other records;
  • Office supplies 
  • Small kitchen items such as cooking utensils and silverware
  • Small appliances, electronics, and/or electrical devices, such as toasters, coffee makers, blenders, hand mixers, hair dryers, radios, clocks, cameras, tablets, etc.
  • Small tools but don’t forget to wrap sharp edges or tools with bubble wrap 
  • Small framed pictures and photographs
  • Small lampshades
  • Bathroom items but make sure to put bottles or sachets containing liquid in resealable bags first
  • Footwear 
  • Craft supplies 
  • Decorations 

How to pack medium-sized boxes 

Medium boxes are sized 18″ x 18″ x 18″ or 18″ x 18″ x 24”. With medium boxes, you can pack more durable items. While it does take a bit of pressure off compared to packing fragile items inside small boxes, you still need to be careful.

  1. Start packing by adding a layer of crumpled paper to the bottom of the box. 
  2. After a base layer of crumpled items, you can put soft items such as pillows or towels first. 
  3. When packing small pieces of appliances or equipment, make sure to wrap them individually with packing paper for additional protection. Durable items such as pots or pans are exempted from this rule. 
  4. For lamp shades, they should be packed in their own box and add a lot of fillers. In the absence of fillers, you may add crumpled paper instead. 

What to pack in medium boxes

When packing medium-sized boxes, steer clear from breakable items such as vases and casserole dishes. You can also put in lamp shades but it should fit comfortably inside. 

Here are things you can also put in medium boxes: 

  • Pots and pans
  • Trays
  • Shoes
  • Game consoles and board games
  • Toys
  • Clothing that can be folded
  • Linens, pillows
  • Blankets
  • Towels
  • Small appliances
  • Stereo components
  • Speakers
  • Large lampshades

How to pack large boxes 

The dimensions of large boxes are usually 18″ x 18″ x 24″ and its capacity is 4.5 cubic feet. Gross weight limit of what it can accomodate is 65 lbs. There are also extra large boxes with dimensions of 24″ x 18″ x 24″. Their capacity is usually 6 cubic feet with a gross weight limit of 65 lbs. 

  1. Because large boxes have bigger surface areas, there are just more places where they can be damaged. Make sure to inspect your large cardboard boxes before using them. They must be strong and not damaged. 
  2. Tape the bottom of each box to increase its strength and capacity. 
  3. Though you should only include light items inside large boxes, if you do plan to put two or more items inside a large box, place the heaviest item at the bottom. 

What to pack in large boxes 

Despite these dimensions and weight capacity, it’s actually advisable to pack light items inside large boxes. The reason is that if you pack too many things inside a large box, it is easy for these items to move around. And when they do move around, they can bump into one another and cause cracks or other types of damage. 

  • Bed sheets and other types of bedding
  • Towels
  • Tablecloths
  • Bulky winter clothing such as winter coats, winter jackets, wool sweaters, hats, scarves, mittens, etc.
  • Stereo speakers and a number of other electronic devices that will fit comfortably inside, especially when you don’t keep the original boxes
  • Pots, pans, trays and other large but not too heavy kitchen items
  • Stuffed animals which are light 
  • Board games, LEGOs and other children toys
  • Any other household items that happen to be large in size and light in weight

How to pack small and miscellaneous items 

Pens, cables, and other small items should also be handled with care during your packing, moving, and storing. 

  • Use specialised dish barrels for fragile items such as expensive China and other precious glassware. 
  • Pack fragile objects with care by encasing them in bubble wrap or crumpled paper. 
  • Small items can move around boxes a lot so it’s best if you keep them snug together. For example, pens or cables can be tied together with elastic bands. 
  • Label all boxes, no matter how small. The only boxes that you don’t need to label are the original boxes you kept and plan to use again. For example, if you have kept shoe boxes or packing boxes of lamps, it’s better to use the original for those items. 
  • Tape boxes for extra strength. Prioritise boxes that carry a lot of weight. 

How to best stack and store your cardboard boxes 

Now that you’ve properly stacked your items inside the box, the next step is stacking these boxes on top of one another. When they’re being loaded into the back of moving vans or inside your storage unit, you have to make sure that no boxes would fall over. 

Here are a few tips and tricks to make sure that you’re stacking and storing your cardboard boxes properly: 

  • Know how much square footage you have available so you can plot your boxes properly 
  • Put the heaviest moving boxes on the bottom
  • Stack moving boxes like bricks to maximise the use of the space
  • Stack your moving boxes inside your furniture to take advantage of the empty spaces within cabinets, etc.  
  • Create an aisle between box stacks so you can easily walk in between the boxes and inspect them 
  • Stack the boxes in such a way that you can see the label

Pro tips when packing cardboard boxes for storage and moving 

Make sure to follow these instructions when packing your boxes and loading them into your storage unit or new home: 

  • Label each of the boxes correctly: Have a system when labelling your boxes. Most people just write down the room where the items came from. Worse, they may just label them as “fragile” or “not fragile”! Ideally, the label should also contain the actual items inside each box. Not only will you have a clear inventory of all your things, you will also find it easier when it comes to unpacking. 
  • Don’t overload the boxes: Know the weight limit of each box and don’t exceed their capacity. This is when industrial scales can come in handy. Each box would have a different capacity but most experts agree that the standard box, which measures 1.5 cubic feet, can hold about 65 pounds at most. 
  • Fill them properly so that they don’t fall over: This is why it’s important to stack your items inside the boxes correctly. When boxes are inside a moving van or storage unit, if the items inside become unbalanced, they can topple over, causing damage not just to items inside that specific box, but to the items inside the boxes it hits on the way down. 
  • Use a trolley to move boxes: If using a trolley to move the boxes we advise moving no more than 3 boxes at one time.
  • Observe proper posture when lifting and loading boxes: When loading heavy boxes, we would advise lifting from the bottom of the box, and always remember to bend your knees. 
  • Choose a trustworthy storage unit provider: Pick a storage unit that cares about your cardboard boxes and their contents the same way you do! Nesta Storage not only provides you with cardboard boxes for storage and moving as add-ons, they also make sure that they are kept safe, secure, and organised in your personal units! 

Inquire about storage units today >