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When Moving – Should You Pack Everything Yourself or Not?


People are always asking us how they can save money when using a full-service mover.  They actually want to know if they can save on the cost if they go ahead and pack some items themselves in advance.  The answer is yes they can, but not if they try packing things that are fragile.

The reason for this is because when the moving company transports your belongings, they assume responsibility for anything lost or damaged. But if the mover didn’t pack the box or they didn’t watch you pack it, they have no idea if it was packed properly and that everything is adequately protected.  So how can the mover be held responsible if something is damaged during the move?

Then the question becomes, “Okay, can I pack boxes without sealing them up so the mover can look inside to make sure everything’s secure?” In this case the mover would be worried about the durability of the boxes.  Have they been used before? How strong are they? It’s easy to see that expecting your mover to be responsible for the safety of all the contents is a tall order when he didn’t provide the boxes or pack them.

If you have heavy items, small boxes are the answer.  If heavy items are packed into a large box, it can become so heavy that the box breaks. Or, it can get so heavy that it requires several men to lift and move it, which can slow the entire process down.

If you have items that are not breakable, like paper files or books, then you probably can save some money packing these things yourself.  You still need sturdy boxes and strong tape, because these boxes are going to be transported with all your other boxes in the moving truck.

You would probably be fine packing your linens, towels, blankets and pillows, however these items are also good for providing cushion and padding for other durable items that will be packed in other boxes.  You just need to remember that once you start packing a lot of your own boxes, your mover will not readily agree to being responsible for any damage on the items you packed yourself once you reach your destination.

Take your valuables with you.  These would be things like cash, credit cards, jewelry, etc. or you can have them shipped separately, making sure everything’s insured and that you can track the package.  But, if you do decide to transport items like these in the moving truck, do not pack them yourself because they would not be listed on the inventory and therefore the moving company wouldn’t be liable if they went missing.


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