Storage for Everyone

The Van Packing Guide

Moving from place to place seems to require continuous packing and unpacking, doesn’t it?

First you need to pack up your belongings from their original location, load them on to a van, unpack the van and then move them into their new location – whether that be a house, business premises or a storage unit. Packing up your possessions into boxes and crates can seem like a never-ending and tedious task and one you would rather put off until the last minute.

But, this isn’t a part of the process you can put off because when it comes to the big moving day you may find yourself desperately throwing your belongings into boxes and cursing yourself for not allowing the time to sort through everything properly. In fact, you might even find that you are taking up precious space in the van with items that could have been thrown away or sold, if you had given yourself longer.

So, when it comes to loading up the van, you need to think about this in the same careful and methodical way that you will when you are later unpacking it, into the storage unit or property. You need to make sure that you don’t break anything, that it is organised in a way that it fits and that items are easily accessible if you need them.

So, with this in mind, here is our quick guide to packing your van – to take the stress out of the process.

Consider the size of the van: it is very important that you get the right size van, if it is still half empty you will have wasted your money and your items could end up rolling around the extra space. But, too small and you risk squashing items in and potentially breaking things. This is where packing early comes in handy – you will have, hopefully, already sold, given away or thrown away the items that you no longer need. So, you know that every inch of the van is filled up with items that you want to keep.

Make a plan: you don’t just want to start filling your vehicle and then quickly realise you would have been better off doing it differently, having to take it all out and start again. Think about what you need to transport and how best to fit it in the van. What do you need to get out first? Is there anything breakable? What is heaviest/biggest? Do you need to be able to access anything before you later remove it all?

Ask for help: don’t try and pack the van yourself – ideally you should have two people in the truck, and at least a couple outside of the truck – so time to call in a few favours! Those outside of the van can carry the furniture to it and hand it to those inside (if light enough).

Heaviest items first: the last thing you want to do is fill the van with boxes of breakables and then realise that you have heavy furniture to squeeze in on top. The chances are those breakables are going to get broken during the journey. Instead, make sure you have put the heaviest items in first. Position these along the back wall of the van to distribute the weight.

Start with appliances – washing machine, fridge-freezer (don’t forget to defrost it!), dishwasher and then move on to furniture – sofas, beds and so on. Remember you will be packing floor to ceiling, so the heaviest items need to be at the bottom all the way through the van and strap everything together to keep it secure. Items with drawers should face the walls so they can’t open and use mattresses to provide a cushion for other items.

Pack and label boxes: this may feel like it could make the packing process longer, but when you are packing sellotaped brown boxes into the van it will help if you know which ones hold valuables and breakable items.

In fact, it’s a good idea to put a fragile sticker on those boxes that hold vases, mirrors, wine glasses and so on – just so you know to be extra careful with them. And, make sure that those breakables are wrapped in newspaper or bubble wrap – the box won’t necessarily be enough protection, no matter how careful you are with it. Start by packing the van with a layer of heavy items, then medium-sized and then light boxes – move from the front to the back of the truck doing this and create tiers of similar heights. As you go place items that are hard to stack in crevices.

Dismantle furniture: you should disassemble bulky furniture before you put it in the van. Firstly, it will be lighter and smaller and therefore easier to handle and manoeuvre. It will also take up much less room in the van, enabling you to pack far more in there than you otherwise would have been able to. Finally, you are far less likely to damage the furniture if it is broken down.

Make sure everything is properly secured, use blankets and sheets to cover and protect furniture and then smaller items to plug any gaps.

Top Tip: when you have dismantled your furniture make sure that all screws and fittings are kept together and with the item they belong to. The best way to do this may be to put them in a sandwich bag and attach this to the furniture.

Moving day essentials: pack a moving day essentials box which will include the kettle – and don’t forget to pack this last into the van because you will need access to it at all times!

Now, you have packed the van, before you set off remember: drive slowly – you are carrying delicate items, but also the vehicle will be heavier than you are used to.

Once you arrive at the storage unit – or your new property – the process of unpacking will be so much easier if you have taken the time to pack the van efficiently using the tips above.