Packing guides

Introduction to packing your home

So you’ve decided to pack everything up yourself, below we have put together some handy packing guides to help you along the way.  It’s important to use the correct packaging materials for your move, our guides not only help with how to pack, but also what materials to use for certain packing tasks.

Don’t forget if you do get stuck your surveyor can quote for packing at any time and we can do the packing for you.  Click here to take a look at our packing options (Cross link to packing section on removals page)

The Basics

We have complied our 6 top tips for packing your home to make the task more organised:

  1. Pack in bite size chunks, packing one room at a time, this will make the task more manageable.
  2. Clear an area and create a packing station to wrap items.
  3. Think about what goes into each box, don’t make a box too heavy, but ensure the box is filled to keep the rigidity and strength to the box.
  4. Clearly label the boxes, this makes un-packing easier and you may have packed something you didn’t realise you need.
  5. Once you have started packing boxes, delegate one corner of the room to stack the boxes in, this ensures everything is kept organised and the room is still useable. In smaller properties, it is often a good idea to delegate one room in the property to store the boxes so the rest of the house doesn’t become cluttered.
  6. Remember, keep your important documents (passports, driving licences, deeds, new home documents etc.) to hand and do not pack any important documents that you may need.

What’s covered as standard?

Even if you are packing your belongings yourself, there are certain elements that JamVans include as standard to pack and protect your items that you do not need to worry about:

  • Mattresses are put into our quilted mattress covers and disposable mattress covers when going into storage.
  • Settees are protected with quilted settee covers and we have a range of sizes from armchair covers right the way up to large four seater covers.
  • Quilted TV covers are provided for all TVs ranging from 26”-56”.
  • Wardrobe boxes are included for the day of your move, your hanging clothes do not need to be packed into boxes, they can stay on their hangers and remain hanging whilst in transit.
  • Any items of furniture for example, mirrored chest of drawers and glass table tops that you require moving must be wrapped by your move team on the move day to make sure they are protected for transport. Put simply, you manage the content and pack into the boxes and your move team will manage your furniture.

IMPORTANT:  Wardrobe boxes are not available to go into storage without being purchased

Boxes and Packaging Materials

One of the secrets to getting your property packed up well is to use the right packaging materials for the job.  That’s why at JamVans we can provide the packaging materials for your move.


We use two different sized boxes and each has a different purpose, however there are some things that are the same about our boxes.

  • Both sizes have the same square base, this makes them modular for when your JamVans move team are stacking our vehicles, enabling us to get the most capacity out of the space we have.
  • Having the same size base also means that all four corners stack directly on top of each other, this makes the load more stable whilst in transit and storage.
  • Both box sizes have the same quality doubled walled cardboard. This ensures the extra protection of your property and prevents the risks of boxes crumpling whilst being stacked during transit and storage.

Assembling the boxes

  1. Ensure the flat-packed box is upside down and open the box up.
  2. Fold the opposing flaps down together, it does not matter which pair of opposing flaps are folded first.
  3. Once all the flaps are folded down, tape into position with three strips of tape.
  4. Make sure that you extend the tape roughly 15-20cm up the side of the box to ensure the tape remains securely stuck to the cardboard.
  5. Turn the box over and you are ready to start packing the box.
  6. Once you have packed the box, complete the same process of taping up the flaps, ensuring that the flaps with content instructions are folded over last.

IMPORTANT: Please don’t interweave the box flaps as this creates uneven surfaces to the boxes and reduces the box’s strength.

Think inside the box

It’s important to consider what goes into the boxes.  Please take note of the weight limits written on the side of each box.  Making the boxes too heavy makes them difficult to carry and the box can also become weakened.  Please see a description of the two box sizes below and what they are best used for:

Medium Box:

Dimensions: Width: 457mm (18”), Depth: 457mm (18”), Height: 254mm (10”)

Use this box for: China/glassware, paperwork, books, CDs/DVDs, tinned foods and heavy items.

Large Box:

Dimensions: Width: 457mm (18”), Depth: 457mm (18”), Height: 508 mm (18”)

Use this box for: Pictures, cushions, lamps & lampshades, toys & games, shoes and light bulky items.

Think outside the box

Once the box is packed it is important to make sure it is clearly labelled with a brief description of what is in the box as well as the room that the box needs to go to at the new property.  E.g. Plates, Kitchen.

IMPORTANT:  Note on the box ‘FRAGILE’ if there are fragile items within the box as this may affect where the box is stacked whilst in transit and storage.

Delivery and Collection

Upon booking your move, your move co-ordinator will arrange for the delivery of your boxes and packaging materials.  Once you have moved in and un-packed we can collect the boxes from local client’s please call our office to arrange for this.  The boxes will need to be flat-packed upon collection.

Disassembly of the boxes

Where possible the boxes can be recycled and used again.  When collapsing the boxes please cut the tape and flat pack the box.  This makes them easier to store and more manageable to carry.

IMPORTANT:  Please do not peel the tape off as quite often the cardboard comes off with the tape, weakening the boxes and making them unusable.

How to pack glass and china

When it comes to packing fragile items most people don’t know where to start. But with our help in tips and advice along with a step by step guide, you’ll be sure to have it packed up properly.

What you’ll need:

  • Boxes – In particular not too large, our medium pack 1 box is ideal
  • Packing paper
  • Bubble wrap
  • Tape
  • Permanent marker pen

Before you start actually wrapping and packing the items, its best to get prepared first of all. Start by making up several boxes before and scrunching up a lot of packing paper at the bottom of the boxes. This creates a cushion to protect the items at the bottom of the carton. Use proper packing paper, old newspapers do not offer adequate protection and the ink is likely to transfer onto the items. Make sure you take the boxes to the area where you need to pack, do not empty cupboards and walk everything to another area to pack.

Packing plates

Start by getting a stack of plates down to an easy level, either on the kitchen work surface, table or a sideboard.

Wrap each plate individually in at least 2 sheets of paper by standing them on the paper and turning it over. Tuck any excess paper in. repeat this process until you have 3 to 4 plates all individually wrapped. Then wrap them together to create a bundle. Repeat this process until you have enough bundles to fill a box.

Any fine china may need bubble wrapping instead to add that extra level of protection as its often thinner and more fragile.

Pack the plates into the box in a row on their edge, this the safest way to transport as plates are strongest on their side. Surround each bundle with scrunched up paper, being careful to leave no voids where the items could move.

Add a layer of scrunch paper to the top of the box to pad out before closing. Seal with 3 strips of tape going across the top of the box then write on the tape with a marker pen e.g. ‘FRAGILE plates and saucers from Kitchen’.

Packing cups and glasses

Start by applying plenty of scrunched up paper in the bottom of the box. It is best to use our medium box known as a pack 1. This is the perfect size so it’s not too heavy to lift when full, and the double thickness cardboard offers great protection.

Wrap each glass and cup individually in 2 sheets of paper. When wrapping the glass, fold any excess paper inside, this will help keep the item wrapped. For cups however, especially those with a handle it is a little different. Roll the cup in the paper but use any excess slack to pad out and protect the handle. It’s likely that there may still be space to do a second tier in the box, but before doing so add another layer of scrunched up packing paper to cushion it.

Any fine china may need bubble wrapping instead to add that extra level of protection as its often thinner and more fragile.

Bowls and odd-shaped items

For bulky fragile kitchen items like Pyrex cooking dishes depending on their weight, its good practice to wrap these up early on in paper and put one or two of these in the bottom of the other boxes of plates and cups/glasses.

Wrap small bowls (soup bowls etc.) and stand on their edge in the box and deep ones (such as cake mixing bowls) nested together with paper in between.

Any large jugs with exposed handles are often vulnerable to breaking. So it’s important to heavily wrap the main part of the jug then pad out around the handle once it has been placed in the box. If putting in with other jugs then place all the handles facing in the same direction. If it looks particularly fragile, then opt to wrap it in several layers of bubble wrap instead.

With any pots and canisters that have separate lids, make sure the lids are taken off and wrapped separately. Wrap the canister first, then if possible place the lid back in the top wrapped, or if that is not possible simply keep in the same box for ease.

How to wrap pictures

Packing everything up is always risky and time consuming, but when it comes to pictures and paintings its best to give yourself plenty of time to prepare these properly for your move. After all it is often the paintings that are the most valuable, whether that’s sentimental or financial. With artwork they come in both different sizes and different forms i.e. canvas or glass, and so different packing rules may apply.

What you’ll need:

  • A selection of large and small boxes (leave them flat packed for now)
  • Bubble wrap
  • Packing paper
  • Tape
  • Wax paper if needed (for canvas paintings only)
  • Permanent marker pen

Start by collecting all the paintings from around the home and grouping them all together in one area.  Usually the living room is the best place for this as the floor provides a large space to wrap the larger pictures, whilst smaller ones are best done on a dining table.  Clear these areas now so you are prepared to start packing.

Step 1:

Lay out the necessary amount of bubble wrap in a long line with two layers, making sure you have enough to completely wrap the picture, If the picture is wider than the roll of bubble then put another strip alongside. Depending on the size do this on the table or floor.

IMPORTANT:  Is the picture a canvas or oil painting? If so bubble wrap can stick to this and cause damage when un wrapping and pull the picture off. So lay a sheet of wax paper the same length on top of the bubble wrap.

Step 2:

Lay the picture face down into the bubble wrap, then fold in all 4 sides on the back and seal with tape.

For smaller pictures that will fit within a box, start wrapping these in bubble wrap or packing paper (for small photo frames etc.). Once you have enough to fill a box then build the box up, label the contents within and seal

Step 3:

Now that the picture itself is protected, we need to prepare it for transport. The bubble wrap protects the picture, but we need to make sure that the picture is protected from anything pushing against it.

Start by selecting a flat packed box that has a larger perimeter than the painting in question. With the box still flat packed seal up one end with tape, making essentially a large cardboard envelope. Turn the box up the other way, and slide the painting inside. If the box is large enough, you may be able to put another painting in together of a similar size, but make sure you put them front to front, so there are no protrusions to push on the pictures themselves.

Step 4

Once they are within the envelope box, simply tape up the top. It is good practice to then stick a strip of tape in the middle of the box and mark fragile then writing what room these need to go to in the new property e.g. FRAGILE 2x pictures, Living room.

If the painting is too big for one box then slide another one over the top, essentially making a telescopic box that you can then adjust to the necessary size.

Picture too big to pack?

Some pictures and mirrors are simply either too large or too deep to pack this way. Or they may be of such a high value that getting a crate made is the only way to completely eliminate any risk.

Let us know the dimension and we can get a bespoke crate made for the item. For some dimensions we even have stock size crates that you can rent to keep the costs down, so feel free to contact us to discuss your requirements.

How to pack other fragile items

We have just about covered everything with our packing guides, however there are always a few bits that quite often people get left with and are not sure how to pack.  We have complied a guide for the following items with tips and how to pack them.

What you’ll need:

  • A selection of large and small boxes (leave them flat packed for now)
  • Bubble wrap
  • Packing paper
  • Tape
  • Permanent marker pen

Lamps and Lampshades:  It is important to remove the lampshades from all lamps, whether fabric or glass.  If they are left on the lamp they become difficult to stack into the vehicles and the lamp shades can get squashed and damaged.  The lamp shade then needs to be packed into its own box, it is important to avoid putting lampshades into boxes with other content as this can result in the lampshade getting damaged.  Use packing paper to pad the box out and wrap the lampshade in bubble wrap.  Further padding is to then be placed on top.  Remember to remove the bulb from any lamps, wrap in packing paper and place into a box.

Televisions:  At JamVans we provide the covers for your television so this is not something that you need to worry about when carrying out the packing yourself.  If you do have the original box, then it is a good idea to still put the TV in its original box.  The stand needs to be taken off with either option, the stand can be wrapped in bubble wrap and placed into a box.

Our quilted TV covers do not go into storage; therefore, they require wrapping.  When wrapping TVs, they need to be wrapped in multiple layers of bubble wrap, we will then use the quilted TV covers to transport your TVs to and from storage.  Blankets will also be used to protect your TVs whilst in storage.

Small Ornaments:  Quite often there are a few small ornaments and breakables throughout the home, these can quite often be neglected as there are no other fragile items in that particular part of the house.  It’s a good idea to collate these items together from all over the house and place them in one medium box together.  Pad the box out with scrunched up packing paper then individually wrap each item, ensure that you pad the top of the box before sealing with three strips of packing tape.

Clocks:  When wrapping clocks that do not have a screen protecting the hands, it is very important to stop the clock from ticking before it is wrapped.  If the clock is wrapped without this then the wrapping will restrict the clock from ticking and break the mechanism.  It is normally easiest to take the batteries out, where possible it is best to take the handles off and also wrap them individually using bubble wrap.

Grand-father clocks

Moving a grand-father clock requires extra attention.  Take a look out our step by step guide to packing your grand-father clock:

  1. Carefully wind the weights three quarters of the way from the top of the case.
  2. Unhook the weights, wrap them in packing paper and label them left and right.
  3. Remove the hood of the clock and wrap using bubble wrap and packing paper. Place into a large box, making sure that lots of scrunched up packing paper is used to pad the box out.
  4. Next, remove the pendulum, taking special care not to distort the spring at the top known as the feather. Again, wrap the pendulums with bubble wrap whilst padding the box out with packing paper.
  5. Remove the clocks workings by lifting them up off the base and placing into a large box using bubble wrap and packing paper for protection.
  6. Put any screws and keys into a plastic bag and label, place into the same box.

Item still not on the list and want some more advise on how to pack?  Use our online chat facility or call us now 0208 166 1665.

What to do with oversized items

Wherever possible it is best to put as much content into boxes, this ensures the best protection of your property for transit.  However, not everything can fit into boxes and there are some items that still need extra care being taken of them.

What you’ll need:

  • A selection of large and small boxes (leave them flat packed for now)
  • Bubble wrap
  • Packing paper
  • Tape
  • Permanent marker pen

Common items that require wrapping and protection that do not fit into boxes:

Sound system sound bar:  These are often too long to fit into any boxes.  It is best to remove the plug and pack this in a separate box.  The sound bar can then be wrapped in multiple layers of bubble wrap and placed into an open top large box or left loose for the JamVans move team.

Large ornaments and statues:  It is important to ensure that these are wrapped in multiple layers of bubble wrap.  Your move team will then wrap these items in blankets whilst in transit or storage.

If you have a particular concern, we can arrange a bespoke wooden crate to be made for an item.

Microwaves:  Some microwaves are too big to go into boxes.  If you have the box that the microwave came in this is best, however if this is not possible, wrap the microwave in multiple layers of bubble wrap, removing the plug to avoid this scratching the exterior of the microwave.  The plug can then be individually wrapped and placed into a box.

Tennis rackets, wrapping paper & telescopes:  These are all examples of longer items that are too large for boxes, however they are too small and vulnerable to go into the removal vehicles without any protection.  Make up a large box and leave the box open and raise the flaps up so they are extending from the main body of the box.  Once the flaps are all up, run a reel of tape around the top of the box, this creates a taller open topped box.

IMPORTANT: Do not make any more than 2 or 3 open topped boxes as they cannot be stacked in the removal vehicles easily.

Standard lamps:  Remove the lamp shade whether fabric or glass and pack this into its own separate box using packing paper to pad the box out and bubble wrap to protect the lamp shade.  With the lamp stand, wrap this in multiple layers of bubble wrap from its base right to the top.  Remove the bulb and wrap this separately and place into the same box as the lampshade.

Still not sure about an item?  Use our online chat facility or call us now 0208 166 1665.

What if I run out of boxes?

Make sure to contact us and we can send more boxes out to you.

When can I have my boxes?

Whenever you like, even if you do not have a move date yet.

If I go with packing, when will you pack?

Usually we pack the day before the move. If your packing is carried out the day before the move we will leave a couple of boxes for your last minute items and label these ‘essentials’. For some smaller moves we can pack and move the same day, the surveyor will let you know if this can be achieved.

Do I need to be there on packing and move day?

This is preferable but not essential.  Put all the items you don’t want us to pack in one area so we know what to leave out, e.g. passports, keys and important documents. All the boxes have a contents label so you can prioritise what needs un-packing and where they need to go at the new property.

Should I go for packing?

On Average 80% of our customers choose us to pack. Moving can be a very busy time for you, let our experts take one less job off your hands, and you rest assured everything has been packed to perfection