Moving can be a massive process, but it’s not until you actually start packing that you realise just how big of a job it can really be. While there’s plenty that will need your attention, there’s one thing you won’t get very far without – packing materials.
While you can always see if you have a few boxes lying around in the garage (or risk just throwing everything into the back of your car), chances are you’ll have to round up some boxes, tape, bubble wrap and all manner of other materials to ensure that you (and your things) come through the other side without a scratch. So, when it comes to finding good packing materials, where can you buy them, and what packing materials are essential for any move? Find out in this Canstar Blue guide.
Where can you buy packing materials?
Packing materials are available from hardware stores such as Bunnings, office retailers like Officeworks, and self-storage chains including National Storage, Storage King and Kennards. There are also plenty of online retailers that specialise in packing and packaging materials, and even ‘buy-and-sell’ sites such as Gumtree are home to plenty of materials, although you may need to check the quality before buying.
Most retailers will be a one-stop-shop for your packing needs, but if you only need a one-off purchase, or you’re after something specific, you may need to do your research to find the best fit for your goods, and your budget. Below are some of the essentials you’ll need on any move, and where you can pick up each of them.
What packing materials do you need for a move?
When it comes to packing and moving, most people simply think you need a couple of boxes and not much else. While that may be suitable for the majority of your things, what about those valuable, fragile or sentimental objects that you want to be extra careful with? Below is a list of packing essentials that you should consider picking up before the big move:
- Cardboard boxes
- Bubble wrap
- Tape and tape dispenser
- Packing peanuts
- Furniture covers
You’ll have no shortage of options when it comes to picking up cardboard boxes, with not only a wide variety of different sizes available, but you’ll have the option to opt for thicker cardboard for some additional protection, suitable for fragile and valuable goods. Cardboard boxes are also available in specialised varieties, such as a sectioned box to help transport your fancy wine glasses or to compartmentalise smaller goods while keeping them in the one spot.
While you may be tempted to simply go the first option you see (or the cheapest), it may not be what you need, and you certainly don’t want to be left picking up your belongings if the box can’t handle the load. Looking into the construction and thickness of the cardboard box, as well as being smart with how you pack your things, can save you some heartbreak down the line.
Where to buy cardboard boxes
Cardboard boxes are available from retailers such as Target, Big W and Officeworks, with flat-pack boxes also commonly found on second-hand marketplaces like Gumtree and eBay.
Can you hire cardboard boxes?
If you don’t want to hang onto your moving boxes, you can always hire them, with a number of services offering moving supplies for hire. Most operate online, allowing you to pick and choose which materials you need for your move, and they’ll arrive on your doorstep for your allotted amount of time. And once you’re done, you simply return them to a drop-off location, or arrange a pick-up service to collect them directly from you. You’ll generally have to pay a deposit, as well as pay for the use of the materials, but if you’re only after a few things for a day or two, hiring may be the most convenient, and more affordable, option.
The jack of all trades in the wonderful world of packing, bubble wrap is equal parts work and play, allowing you to protect your prized possessions while also giving you a chance to blow off some steam if the move isn’t going as well as you’d like. To some, all bubble wrap may be the same, but there are a few varieties you can choose from, each of which suit certain goods and packaging. The traditional bubble wrap comes in single-layer or double-layer (with a double-layer providing more protection), and comes in a variety of ‘bubble’ sizes to suit what you’re packing.
Alternatively, you can opt for foil bubble wrap, which is best suited for paintings, important documents and exotic food items, as the bubble wrap is laminated with foil to help with temperature control and keep moisture out. Foam bubble wrap is also available, which provides more protection for fragile goods and doesn’t sweat like plastic does, with anti-static bubble wrap additionally available for transporting electronic goods.
Where to buy bubble wrap
Bubble wrap is available from a number of moving and packaging retailers, as well as local department stores like Big W and Officeworks, with Australia Post also stocking variants of bubble wrap.
Tape and tape dispenser
Taping up your cardboard boxes can help keep the structural integrity of the boxes during the move, meaning you’re not met with a surprise when you get to your new house. Of course, how effectively your box stays together will depend on what type of tape you use, with a number of varieties available. You’ll be able to choose from different lengths, thicknesses and types, including shipping tape, masking tape, duct tape and filament tape, although due to their construction and thickness, shipping tape and duct tape are often recommended for keeping your boxes and goods together during transit.
When you’ve picked out your tape, it’s worth looking into getting a tape dispenser as well. A tape dispenser is an instrument that holds onto a roll of tape and allows you to easily apply and tear the tape off without having to use scissors (or your teeth), saving you time and hassle when you have plenty of boxes to pack. You’ll have to consider the thickness and size of your tape roll when it comes to picking out a tape dispenser, but most models can handle a wide variety of tapes and sizes.
Where to buy packing tape
Packing tape and tape dispensers are available at a number of retailers, ranging from general retailers such as Officeworks through to moving services and specialised tape retailers if you’re after something specific or a bit more heavy-duty for additional peace of mind.
Packing peanuts, otherwise known as foam peanuts, are a common packing essential, allowing you to pack away fragile objects and fill a box with soft Styrofoam pieces to protect it from bumps or knocks. They essentially do the same job as bubble wrap, although are able to fill in tighter spaces as they are individual pieces, rather than having to wrap an object entirely in bubble wrap to provide protection. As a result, packing peanuts can be handy to fill a box with plenty of small, valuable or fragile objects, with packing peanuts available in a biodegradable type to help limit your environmental impact.
Where to buy packing peanuts
Packing peanuts are available to purchase at packing and storage retailers, as well as through general retailers such as Officeworks and Bunnings, giving you plenty of options to choose from.
Furniture covers are a common way to protect your couch and fittings from general wear and tear, but can also be a safe way to protect your household items during the moving process. While some covers – such as the aesthetic cloth covers that really tie the room together – won’t do much good when you’re loading up the moving van, there are heavy-duty plastic covers available which are built for the moving process, allowing your furniture to arrive safely at the other end.
Where to buy furniture covers
Furniture covers are available from many furniture, homewares and hardware stores, such as Fantastic Furniture, Myer, David Jones, Bunnings, Target and Big W.
Are packing materials necessary?
Moving can be a massive undertaking, regardless of how much you have to physically move. And after a long weekend of moving boxes, the last thing you’ll want is to find any of your prized possessions broken or scratched. While there’s plenty of work-arounds in terms of packing, such as using towels and pillows to protect objects, packing materials are built solely for moving houses, and can be a small price to pay if it means keeping all your possessions safe and intact.
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