Your shortlist is certain to include having a moving company that will turn up on time, a crew of professional movers that know what they’re doing, and a truck (or two) that will not break down and delay the whole process. But another aspect that has become standard is the availability of quality packing materials. It’s understandable, especially when you consider packing your possessions safely depends greatly on the quality of the packing materials used, and that finding such materials independently can take a bit of searching and a significant investment of time.

Here’s a general guide to give you an idea as to what you’ll need.

What You Need

The list of items typically needed when moving homes is pretty straightforward. You need practical wrapping materials to protect items from scratches, vibrations and the impact from bumps and falls, boxes to put items in, and other items for packing, and sealing.

In general, residential moving service providers will have a set list of items, but experienced movers should be able to identify special packing materials when necessary, and what materials you can do without. This, of course, all depends on what the items being packed are.

The basic list runs something like this:

  • cardboard boxes
  • specialty boxes, like wardrobe boxes, mirror boxes, lamp boxes, dish boxes, flat screen TV boxes
  • packing peanuts
  • tissue paper or unprinted newspaper
  • bubble wrap
  • packing tape
  • moving blankets for furniture

Box sizes range from small to extra large and are usually measured by cubic feet. Some frequently used special moving boxes are dish pack and wardrobe boxes, but mirror, picture and even mattress boxes are also available.

  • small box (1.5-2 ft3) – for books, magazines, newspaper, DVDs, small general items like small sculptures, kitchen pantry
  • medium box (3-4 ft3) – for clothes, linen, slightly larger items, or for larger general items
  • large box (5-6 ft3) – for pillows, bulky items, larger item, lamps, toys
  • dish pack box (5.1 ft3) – designed with double extra thick walls perfect for dishes, glasses, vases, lamps, breakables
  • wardrobe box (14 ft3) – contains a cross rung so clothes can be hung just as in a wardrobe

How Many Moving Boxes You Need

This is the grey area, with precise numbers hard to calculate. A lot depends on the amount you want to move, some of which may not be very common. For example, if you have a library of books, then you’ll need a larger number of small-sized boxes.

A good residential moving service should be able to handle any kind of move, whether the client is moving from a small apartment or a large family home. The number of bedrooms may vary, and extra spaces like a guest room and home office will change things.

As a guide, however, the average family home has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, as well as a kitchen, living room and dining room. Using this as a model, Toronto moving services should offer between 90 and 100 boxes, the vast majority of which would be made up of small, medium and large packing boxes. The per-room breakdown reads something like this:

  • Kitchen – 20 boxes: 4 small, 6 medium, 4 large, 6 dish pack (for bulky kitchen appliances)
  • Living Room – 14 boxes: 4 small, 4 medium, 4 large, 2 dish pack boxes
  • Dining Room – 6 boxes: 2 medium, 4 dish pack boxes
  • Bedroom – 14 boxes: 2 small, 5 medium, 5 large, 2 wardrobe boxes
  • Master Bedroom – 23 boxes: 3 small, 6 medium, 8 large, 6 wardrobe boxes
  • Bathroom – 4 boxes: 2 small, 2 large

When it comes to other packing materials, like packing paper, bubble wrap and tape, then there are also general amounts issued by a residential moving service.  For example, 1 roll of tape is usually enough for every 10 boxes (so 9-10 tape), while 25 lbs of packing paper are usually enough for every 10 cubic feet of packing. That’s enough for 5 small, 2.5 medium, 1.5 large and 2 dish pack boxes. An average of about 1 ft of bubble wrap is needed per box too, so about 9 rolls of 12 feet-long sheets is necessary.

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