How to effectively pack your moving truck or trailer

If you’re moving, one of the steps will be packing your belongings into the vehicle you’ve rented. Loading your vehicle right takes proper planning. This article covers some key things to keep in mind when loading your trailer or truck to make sure your move goes off without a hitch. Read on to find out more.

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Planning your move

If you intend to move without using a moving company, the first thing you need is a plan.

Formalities to take care of before the move

Before you get down to business, you should plan everything out so you can make the most of your time on the big day. Then, it’s just a matter of going through the steps one by one so you’re ready when it’s truck-loading time.

  • First, you need to choose the right truck or trailer to rent. Talk to a few rental companies to get an idea of what size vehicle you need. When in doubt, go with the bigger size—you don’t want to end up short of space on moving day!
  • After finding out when your truck will be available, talk to your friends and family to see who is free to help you load it up when the time comes.
  • Knowing when the truck is available and when people are free to help you will allow you to figure out the best day to move.
  • Once you’ve picked a date, you can determine which route to take and what stops you will need to make. Planning it all out in advance will save you time on moving day. If it’s a long-distance move, you’ll also need to plan logistics for rest stops on the way and storage space rental, if needed. 
  • The last thing to figure out is who will drive the truck. It’s not easy to drive such a large vehicle, so make sure you’re familiar with Highway Safety Code rules and safety precautions for driving a trailer or moving truck. Remember that the person driving the rental truck must hold the right class of driver’s license.

Once you’ve ticked these preliminary tasks off the list, you’ll be ready for the actual move.

Equipment to pick up for the move

When the big day arrives, you’ll want to have some equipment on hand for the move. This may include:

  • Bubble wrap and protective coverings to keep your belongings in good condition;
  • A dolly to help you move heavy objects to the truck;
  • Tape and straps to secure your belongings so they don’t move around;
  • Tarps and cardboard boxes to protect and carry your things;
  • A toolbox for any repairs and a first aid kit.

Once you have all these items you can move on to the next step—preparing everything to load into the truck on moving day.

Preparing to load the truck or trailer

If you plan and prep in advance, the tasks on moving day won’t seem so overwhelming. Before you start loading your belongings into the truck or trailer, check to make sure everything is where it should be. If you’ve done all the legwork in your initial game plan, you’ll be ready to move on to the second step.

  • First of all, you’ll want to take apart anything that can come apart. Use the toolbox you set aside for the occasion to take apart some of your furniture, making sure to pack the screws or bolts in separate labelled containers so you know which piece of furniture they go with.
  • Ideally, all of your items should be completely packed up. You can pack them in the boxes you collected or wrap them in tarps if they’re too big or oddly shaped to fit in a box. Pack the boxes full enough so they won’t get crushed and make sure they aren’t too heavy to pick up. Pack fragile items separately from other items and label the boxes they’re in.
  • In addition to boxes, you can also pack your belongings in drawers so as not to waste space. Just make sure you securely tie down your furniture and close up anything that’s open. 
  • You’ll also need to tie down or secure any moving parts on your belongings, like wheels on tables or dressers. This will prevent your furniture from shifting around too much during transport.
  • The last thing to do is deal with any appliances that contain liquids. Be sure to drain your barbecue or motorcycle as well as your lawnmower.

Once you’ve done all that, you can take your belongings outside before loading them into the moving truck or trailer. To avoid having to do things twice, sort the boxes by weight and clear a path from the house to the moving truck.

Properly loading the truck or trailer

Once you’ve finished all the prep work, you’re ready to start loading your truck like a pro. Think of it like Tetris—it’s all about finding just the right spot for things. Don’t overthink it, you’ll do just fine.

  • Give your friends clear instructions. If there are a lot of you, split up into two teams—one team to lift and carry things and the other to arrange, protect, and secure the items in the truck.
  • Position heavier items at the bottom and lighter items on top. Start with the heaviest items on the floor at the back of the truck and work backwards, placing lighter items at the top. This is also for safety so the truck isn’t top heavy.
  • Try to distribute weight evenly on both sides. Place heavy objects on both sides of the truck, making sure that one side isn’t much heavier than the other to prevent the truck from swaying back and forth while driving.
  • You’ll also need to optimize space. Your planning didn’t take into account objects with unusual shapes, so you’ll want to get those items in first and calculate where everything else needs to go after you’ve arranged them. Stand long pieces of furniture upright, place mirrors next to mattresses, and secure fragile objects between cushions.

Before you start packing everything into the truck, you’ll need to tell your friends what to do. Even if everything seems to be going smoothly, don’t underestimate the risk that some items may get damaged during the move. Tell your insurer that you’re moving so they can cover your belongings during the move.

A few extra tips

In addition to all the advice above, here are some things you’ll want to pay special attention to.

Restrictions to consider

The long list of things not to do during a move begins with restrictions on hazardous and perishable materials. No matter how big your moving truck or trailer is, it’s a very bad idea to use it to transport flammable or unstable materials such as fuel, oil, or gasoline. Food should be kept elsewhere as well.

It is also prohibited to leave live animals in a moving truck. An animal could get crushed by your belongings or suffer from the stress of travelling under such conditions. For the safety of your other belongings, we recommend you don’t transport liquids in the truck. Keep any necessary travel documents with you.

If you’re using a trailer, make sure not to overload it. If you do, you won’t be able to control it. Drive slowly and be careful when taking corners. And remember that no matter how carefully you plan your move one unforeseen event can really throw a wrench in the works. That’s where insurance companies come in.

How to insure your move

It’s impossible to take every eventuality into account, no matter how prepared you are. That’s why you need to make sure your belongings are covered while they’re being moved from your current residence to your new home. Let your insurer know you’re planning to move and they will go through all the steps with you.

Remember that most home insurance policies come with an additional benefit. It provides coverage for a maximum of thirty (30) days and insures property at your principal residence, property being moved, and property at your new residence. Include your insurer’s instructions in your own moving plan to further reduce the risks. You can also use auto insurance to protect the rental truck by adding an endorsement to your insurance contract: Q.E.F. No. 27 – Civil liability resulting from damage caused to vehicles of which the insured is not the owner.

To properly load your moving truck or trailer, plan ahead, follow all the steps, and get some good home insurance to cover any unexpected mishaps.

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