You might be debating whether you should move yourself or higher a mover. It doesn't necessarily have to be one or the other because you could always do a combination of the two. But if at any point you rent your own truck to move all or a portion of your belongings, you need to know the right way to pack the truck in order to ensure the safety of your items.
- Supplies: The most important aspect of packing your own truck is having the right supplies. Just as you can't bake a cake without all the ingredients, so too you can't correctly pack a moving truck without the proper equipment. You'll need:
- Tarp/Blanket/Plastic Sheet: Use this to cover the floor of the truck in order to keep your items from getting dirty.
- Padding: Use some sort of padding material between items (especially large and fragile ones) to keep them from being damaged in transit.
- Dolly: Undoubtedly you will have some heavy items to move. Use a dolly to help move these items so you don't break your back in the process.
- Straps: Secure your belongings with straps to keep them stable so they don't jostle during the trip.
- Manpower: Ask your friends/family to help you. You will most likely not be able to do it on your own.
- Preparation: Decide what you will pack in the truck and what you will take in your own car. First and foremost, make sure you pack a separate overnight bag with all that you'll need to live for a day. You might be so tired after you pack and drive to your new home that you may not feel like unpacking that day. So an overnight bag is essential so you don't have to dig through the truck for the things that you'll need on that first night. Also consider keeping some fragile items separate from what you plan to put in the truck (i.e. computer, TV, fine china).
- Disassembling Furniture: Taking apart your furniture will make it easier to pack and carry. Remove pieces from the main unit that can be separated (i.e. removing the cushions from your couch and removing drawers from a dresser). This will give you more individual items, but will make the items easier to move because they are smaller and lighter. If you remove screws or other small parts, make sure to pack them in a bag and place a note on/in the bag reminding you what item they belong to. Of course, you may not be able to take everything apart. In this case, if the load is just to much, you can always higher a mover to move some of the very large and heavy items.
- Packing The Truck: Place the heaviest items and large appliances (washer/dryer, refrigerator, stove) first into the truck. You don't want the back of the truck being too heavy because it could cause it to drag, resulting in unsafe driving conditions. Additionally, since you'll also be stacking items on top of each other, make sure to place the heavier ones on the bottom so they crush the lighter ones. Overall, packing the truck is like putting a puzzle together. Think about the best places to put everything. For example, lining your mattresses and cushions against the side of the truck will provide extra cushion to the things that are leaning against them. Another example is placing your dresser with the drawers facing the wall to help them stay closed while you travel. So make sure to go over the space in your head and put together the puzzle of where everything should go - DO NOT just start loading the truck with whatever you can grab first.
If you think you can brave this storm and pack and move yourself, the more power to you. But don't be ashamed to hire a professional moving company for a partial or full move, because they will have the experience and resources to perform an expert move for you.