Your Complete Guide To Moving Boxes

Packing is one of the most integral parts of moving, and doing it wrong can not only make the process before the big day incredibly difficult, but can lead to lingering distress over unnecessary unpacking and even broken or damaged items following your move. Packing your things correctly is the best way to feel prepared—it’s making sure your tie is tight before the big meeting, it’s fueling up with a full tank of gas before the road trip; it’s…not always intuitive. You can get moving boxes pretty easily, but rarely do they come with instructions. So what boxes should you use for what? How can you pack most effectively? What can you do to ensure your most prized (and fragile possessions) are safe?

Elite Moving and Storage has 15+ years experience in the industry, so we’ve packed our fair share of boxes, carried them too, so here’s our complete guide to the types of moving boxes.


Small boxes

Small boxes aren’t quite as easy to find as medium or large boxes—they’re often left out of moving box packages—but that doesn’t make them any less important. They’re also often called “book boxes” for a reason. They’re ideal for packing small heavy items like books, CD’s, canned goods, records, tools, videos, small appliances, toiletries, or kitchen items. They are also used for holding things that might get lost in a bigger box, things that might tangle or snag if unconfined, or sets that you want to keep together. Flatware, tools, wire and cords, jewelry, toiletries, or precious knick-knacks go great in boxes of this size, but make sure you label them with exactly what’s inside so you don’t end up with a thousand little boxes full of mystery miscellany.


Medium Boxes

These will often be included with your moving packages. They’re great for packing most of the belongings you’ll be moving. Easily fit small kitchen items, linens, toys, clothes, small decor pieces, and much more into medium moving boxes.

Of course, even though these are perhaps ideal for packing some heavier items, it’s easy to overpack them. Make sure you keep in mind that you or a mover will have to pick this up and lug it to a truck. If that feels impossible or, at least, impossible without sustaining some sort of trauma to your back, maybe rethink your packing strategy. Balance heavy boxes by filling the remainder with light items like pillows, sheets, or light clothing.


Large boxes

Large boxes are great for strangely shaped items like appliances, toys, pots, pans, or decorative tchotchkes. Even more so than with medium boxes, you’ll want to be careful with the weight of these boxes as they’re easy to overpack. Unless you’re Mr. Incredible (or have him on speed dial) it’s likely that you won’t be able to move all your kitchenware in the same box, so be strategic about what you put together.


Extra large boxes

Because the size of these already makes these awkward to carry, it’s recommended that you keep these as light as possible. Reserve your extra large boxes for large, awkwardly shaped items—especially those such as lamps or vases that may need extra protection. The room in the box should give you the space necessary to ensure that everything is packaged and padded to perfection so you don’t break a single item in the transition.


Corrugated Boxes

Corrugated boxes, unlike regular cardboard boxes, are specifically designed to prevent fragile items from breaking. While typical boxes are made of thick paper stock or heavy paper-pulp, corrugated cardboard is made from multiple layers of material including an inside liner, outside liner, and a fluted medium that goes between the two for extra cushioning and support. Similar to how the shocks of a bicycle absorb the impact of rough roads and bumps, these boxes are made to keep your breakable items from feeling the full effect of the moving process. The containers also protect from other potential dangers in shipping such as water damage and temperature changes.


Specialty Boxes


Though certainly not something for the average mover, crates are a viable option for especially important or valuable items such as rare pieces of art or sculpture. These are often custom made for your specific valuables, so an outside vendor would likely be involved. But for most people looking to move, getting this kind of specialty protection is not worth the time or money. Boxes picked up at a UPS or even bought in easy, pre-packaged plans from moving companies like Elite Moving and Storage, provide plenty of protection at a fraction of the cost.


Wardrobe Boxes

A Wardrobe box is essentially a cardboard closet. Fitted with a bar for hangers, these work best for nice clothes that can’t simply be folded and packed up, or clothes that you want easy access to in your new home. Because your clothes go in already on the hanger, they make it easy to transfer your clothes to a new home, but they’re also very large which makes them difficult and awkward to carry. Prioritize clothing that is particularly important or would be particularly difficult to pack such as wedding dresses or gowns, delicate or easily tearable items, or garments made of expensive materials likely to wrinkle or fray easily.


Picture/Mirror Boxes And Poster Tubes

Picture boxes and poster tubes are pretty self-explanatory when it comes to expected contents. However, it should be noted that these containers are often best loaded in last; although the containers are designed to provide optimal protection to their cargo, they are still at risk of damage from collisions with surrounding boxes full of heavier cargo.


Mattress Boxes

A mattress, while not particularly fragile, is something you really want to keep protected. No one wants to wake up on their first day in their new home smelling like the back of a moving truck. Mattress boxes and bags are engineered especially to protect mattresses from dirt and debris as well as water damage and mildew.

If absolutely necessary, you can cover your mattress with fitted sheets for the move and pop them into the washing machine when you arrive at your new home, but a container specifically designed for mattress protection is ideal.


Dish Pack Box

These boxes, created with customisable inserts to fit the quantity and shape of your dishes, are ideal for keeping fragile dishware safe. Although other types of boxes are great for protecting fragile items from outside forces, these boxes also ensure dishes don’t crash and break against each other, keeping each item (or a few items) snug and secure in their own little compartments.


Lamp Box

These tall thin boxes are ideal for floor lamps and any tall items. Make sure the lamp is wrapped in packing paper or furniture pads and the cord is placed outside of lamp to eliminate any scratching


Other Helpful Packing Tools

Aluminium Hand Truck

Collapsible dollies like this one available from Elite Moving and Storage may look small and inefficient, but they’re stronger than they appear. With a 600 lb. capacity, they are the ultimate moving tool: lightweight aluminum, rugged and easy-to-handle, and ideal for transporting heavy loads up and down steps and curbs. You won’t want to try your move without it.


Edge Protectors

Use these cheap customisable cardboard protectors to keep your furniture, art, or other valuable items safe during your move. Corner furniture protectors provide a great cost effective way to secure valuable shipments and avoid costly damages.


Elite Has You Covered

Elite has nearly two decades of experience with packing and moving, and we’ve used that knowledge to help you get your moving boxes, supplies, and movers all in one place.

Shop Elite for pre-designed box packages, available for 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom, 3 bedroom, or just order your own medium and large boxes with additional specialty boxes like lamp boxes, dishware boxes, and more.

Visit today to purchase moving materials, to get a free virtual quote on your move, or to learn more about how else Elite Moving and Storage can support your move.