Moving by yourself – that is, moving to another home without hiring a moving company – can be quite a challenging task for a number of reasons.
First of all, you’re going to need to know how to pack up your belongings so that they are sufficiently protected during the haul.
Secondly, you’re going to have to know what size of a moving truck to rent – the vehicle needs to be spacious enough to fit all the things you’re taking with you.
And thirdly, you’re going to have to know how to load a moving truck properly so that you maximize the storage space available in the van and minimize the risk of transportation damage to your valuable items.
Below you’ll learn the best way to pack a moving truck – all the steps you’ll have to follow to make sure your household items are safely loaded and secured well into the back of the rental moving truck.
What to do before loading a moving truck
There are a few tasks you’ll have to take care of first before you get to the point of packing a moving truck. In reality, these important tasks will help you prepare in the best possible way and will contribute to a much quicker and safer truck loading procedure.
Pick the right size of rental truck
The very first step in your preparation before packing a moving truck is to rent a vehicle of the right size.
On one hand, you don’t want to rent a moving truck that’s too small simply because you won’t be able to fit all your household items inside it. In such a case, doing two trips to the new home may not be possible at all and you won’t want to leave behind any of your stuff simply due to renting a van with the wrong capacity.
On the other hand, you don’t wish to rent a truck that’s too big simply because you’ll be paying for extra storage that you never actually use.
Make sure you consult with the experts at the truck rental company about how big your moving vehicles should be before you make the reservation.
10 Tips for Renting a Moving Truck for Your DIY Move
Disassemble large furniture
To make the loading process faster and safer, one thing you should definitely do prior to packing the moving truck is to disassemble any of the large furniture items that you’ve decided to move to the new home.
The smaller and lighter your furniture becomes, the easier you’ll be able to take it out of the house without any risks of property damage or personal injuries. Once outside, you’ll be able to load those disassembled furniture pieces much safer into the back of the awaiting vehicle.
Make sure you take apart each large furniture unit and cover the safely removed furniture parts in thick protective blankets. That’s right – each furniture piece must be completely wrapped up in furniture pads for safe transportation to the destination home.
How to Disassemble Furniture When Moving
Have your boxes packed up safely
In addition to some furniture pieces and maybe a few appliances, the rest of your belongings will be packed up in cardboard boxes of various sizes. All those moving boxes should be loaded last into the van, but this will be explained in detail later on.
Before you can start loading a moving vehicle, you should have tackled the packing job at 100%. It’s a well-known fact that packing for a move is the most time-consuming task when moving house – a challenging job that can take many, many days to complete.
To boost your chances of packing up your stuff without paying professional packers to do it for you, you have to follow a good packing timeline – a packing checklist that will guide you throughout the home packing process.
Packing Checklist: Packing Timeline for Moving
Clear the exit path of any dangers
Loading a moving truck by yourself will mean multiple trips from your home to the moving truck, and then back to your place. So, to make sure the loading process goes smoothly, one thing you’ll need to do is to inspect carefully the intended path to the truck and clear it of any debris or various obstacles that can easily compromise moving day safety.
The route from your home to the moving truck should also be free of any wet spots, mud, snow, or ice. Check for fallen leaves or branches along the pathway that may prove to be the cause for bad accidents during the most unpredictable day of the entire house move.
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Prepare the necessary moving equipment
Moving day safety is crucial. To avoid costly property damage or painful injuries while lifting and carrying your items to the truck outside, you’re strongly recommended to use the right type of moving equipment.
When moving house without movers, you must have a moving dolly transport the large and heavy household items – furniture, appliances, and heavy boxes – to the rental truck for safe loading. Depending on your specific case, you may want to rent or purchase either a furniture dolly (a low 4-wheel platform) or an appliance dolly (a two-wheel L-shaped hand truck).
Furniture sliders for moving large and heavy objects with zero floor damage and moving straps for securing various items are also some of the tools and equipment you should have when loading a moving truck by yourself.
How to Use a Moving Dolly
Ask friends to help you load the moving vehicle
If you’ve made the conscious choice of not hiring movers to help you pack and transport your things to the place when you’re going to, then it’s important to keep in mind that you just can’t pack a moving truck all by yourself. You just can’t, and you shouldn’t either.
Therefore, the only other option you have available is to ask friends to help you pack the moving truck. Reach out to your good pals early enough in order to minimize the disruption of their plans and to maximize the odds of them agreeing to give you a hand.
In some cases, it should be possible to load a moving truck with your family members only, without having to bother your friends at all.
How to Get Friends to Help You Move
How to pack a moving truck like a pro
Here are the steps that will enable you to load a moving truck properly. Just follow them closely and you should the final moving task like a true professional.
Step 1. Attach the loading ramp
All rental trucks come with loading ramps for an easier and safer loading procedure. So, the very first step is to attach the loading ramp to its designated position on the tailgate of the vehicle.
Check to make sure that the ramp is firmly secured and will not shift while you’re pulling up heavy items along its length.
Step 2. Load the heaviest and largest items first
Now comes a critical question: what to load first into the moving truck?
To answer this question, you should follow the example of professional movers who load trucks during each and every house moving job they work on. So, the real question is this, Do movers load boxes or furniture first?
Do as experienced movers do and load the largest and heaviest items first of all. Such bulky objects include furniture, appliances, and any specialty items that are both big and heavy.
The reason for loading furniture and appliances first is to achieve even weight distribution that will keep the moving vehicle stable during the relocation trip.
Step 3. Arrange the heavy items in a triple T-formation (TTT)
Now that you know that movers load furniture first and then boxes, the logical question here is how to arrange the heavyweight items to achieve good overall weight distribution of the load.
Position tall furniture and appliances – items that have to stay upright during the haul – in the front of the vehicle so that they touch the wall closest to the truck cab. Such tall household items include but are not limited to dressers, china cabinets, bookcases, grandfather clocks, refrigerators, washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, and so on.
Position long furniture items such as sofas, headboards, mattresses, and so on along the long sides of the truck.
Finally, place desks, tables, and chairs in the middle area of the storage space, parallel to the two side packing formations. In the end, all your big and heavy stuff should resemble a triple-T (TTT) formation.
Step 4. Secure each heavy-stuff tier
Use (ratchet) straps or rope to secure each tier of heavy items that you’ve loaded into the moving truck. Those large and heavyweight things should not shift during transport for fear of getting damaged or damaging other stuff around them.
Make sure no furniture piece or appliance can move freely before you start loading up cardboard boxes.
Step 5. Load all moving boxes
Load all moving boxes, one by one, and arrange them in the spaces between the furniture items and appliances.
While arranging the cardboard boxes, follow the safety rule of keeping heavier boxes (the ones containing books, for example) at the bottom and then stacking on top of the lighter boxes (containing soft goods, for instance). Pack moving containers in rows from floor to ceiling.
Boxes that contain fragile items (glasses, kitchen plates, lamps, etc.) should be tucked underneath hollow furniture items such as tables, desks, and chairs.
Remember to load your essentials boxes last so that you can have quick access to those open-first boxes as soon as you arrive in the new home.
Step 6. Fill in all small gaps
Use soft, non-breakable items (bags full of clothing, for example) to fill in all small gaps left between the furniture and boxes. This way, you’ll succeed in packing your belongings tighter inside the moving truck and prevent unnecessary shifts during transport.
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Safety tips for packing a moving truck
Packing a moving truck – regardless of whether it’s a UHaul truck, a Penske truck, or a Budget truck – is not rocket science, so you should be able to manage the vehicle loading task just fine… provided that you follow the steps above and you’ve got helpers by your side.
For your information, loading a moving truck during a house move could prove to be dangerous if you turn your back on safety, partly due to overconfidence.
Here are some tips to help you stay on the safe side of things when packing a moving truck:
- Make sure you extend the truck’s loading ramp fully and secure it well to the tailgate of the vehicle. The ramp should be clean and dry.
- Do your best to distribute the weight of your items evenly inside the moving truck for increased stability of the vehicle on the road.
- Use as many straps and ropes as necessary to secure the large items in the back of the truck. Nothing should be shifting around during transport.
- Avoid stacking up boxes that contain fragile items. Also, always position heavier boxes on the bottom to serve as foundations.
- Be extra careful when walking along the loading ramp – any instances of lost concentration could result in bad injuries.
- Be sure to wear your most comfortable pair of shoes when loading a moving truck – closed shoes with rubber soles that provide excellent traction. In most cases, sports shoes are a good option.
If you feel pretty nervous about the whole truck loading task ahead of you, it’s important to know that you can hire moving labor only for loading up a moving vehicle. That way, you’ll not only save yourself from possible accidents during the loading process, but you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that your valuable items will be loaded quickly and secured well in the back of the truck.
Get free quotes from top-rated movers in your area to learn how much it’ll cost you to get professional help loading a moving truck.
Hire Movers or Move by Yourself?
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