Boxes---the single most crucial item for any relocation. Whether you are moving old tennis trophies to the garage or relocating your entire house cross country, you without question cannot do to without a box, or even a hundred. There are lots of different sizes, and specific-use boxes, it can be super overwhelming when you are standing there looking at piles of cardboard that are somehow going to transform themselves into functional packing receptacles.
The first thing to be aware of is that while boxes are not created exactly the same, they are pretty common in that you can use just about any box for just about anything. The feat is in being smart about what to pack in which box--and forget what the box is called, go ahead and put your golf clubs in the wardrobe box, if it seems right. The other thing witty people (that means you) do is not to overpack boxes so they weigh a lot. You're going to be moving a lot of them, and five pounds seems like fifty after a while.
Sizes and Weight
Boxes are measured in cubic feet. The smallest moving box is normally 1.5 CF, and is what you will use for bulky things like books or small appliances. Knickknacks are best in these small boxes as you can put a complete collection in one box. You may see heavy-duty boxes, but just because you can pack more things into a box doesn't mean you should, unless you have a heavy-duty back to pick-up the weightier boxes. These boxes often have grips for easier moving and an normal height person can normally move a couple of these in unison.
The next size larger is 3.1 cubic feet. This is what you will use to stow shoes, toys, pots and pans--things that aren't super heavy. Some of these boxes also have the built-in grips and are a bit more unwieldy than the smaller box, so don't overload this one or it's going to be no fun to pick-up and move.
Linens, coats, towels, and clothes go in the 4.5 CF boxes. They're large and deep, and again, don't overload them because the bulk makes even the lightly packed ones a challenge to move unless you are tall.
The largest standard boxes are 6.1 cubic feet. This is where you pack pillows, lampshades, blankets, and anything that is big but lightweight.
These are designed for moving a specific sort of thing, but are convenient for lots of other stuff, also. While they are a bit more costly, are well worth the cost in convenience of packing options and security.
A dish pack is a box with an additional layer of corrugated cardboard. Do not think you can solely pack dishes in these, they are meant to protect all things fragile. A dish pack is anywhere between the 1.5 and 3.1 CF size, and you can either wrap items individually in plain newsprint or use the newer foam sleeves--slide the plate or glass into the sleeve and place it in the box. Some boxes have inserts for glasses, so they stand up in their spot and do not get bumped by others in the box. A dish box is perfect for stereo components, lamp bases, or anything fragile that you do not want in the regular boxes.
A wardrobe box is literally what it seems like. It is taller than the 6.1 CF box, is about 10 CF, and is a heavy-duty cardboard that is built to stand up during transit. It has a hanger bar that attaches near the top, so you can move your clothes on hangers more easily. The standard height for a wardrobe box is about 46 inches, so you can use them to move things like dining room chairs or those golf clubs, also.
A mirror box comes in numerous sizes, but they are all somewhat flat, and large. They're what you use for artwork and mirrors, but also flat screen TVs, computer monitors, large platters, or even tennis rackets.
Do not neglect the proper packing supplies--lots of paper, tape and bubble wrap--but knowing your boxes is the initial step towards a trouble-free move.