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Moving into a new house can be thrilling. The bare walls give you a canvas on which to paint a new life, while your old belongings remind you of the memories of the place you left behind. But a move can be hard on your possessions, especially fragile or valuable ones. If you want to start your new home experience off on the right foot, check out our tips for protecting your belongings during a move.

Use the Right Package

Trying to pack up your whole life can be overwhelming. You may feel tempted to throw things haphazardly into boxes and be done with it. But careless packing leads to broken items. The best way to protect your belongings during a move is to consider your packing choices. Keep these principles in mind:

  • Put heavier items in smaller packages, and lighter items in larger packages
  • If you’re putting heavy and small items into the same box, put the heavy items on the bottom
  • Choose heavier-duty cardboard boxes for heavy things
  • If you’re moving appliances, try to transport them in their original packaging
  • Pack exceptionally valuable or fragile items in carry-ons with you
  • Avoid putting more than 40 to 50 pounds in a single box

Also, keep in mind that certain items require special care. For instance, linens can become torn or mildewed if you don’t store them properly. Keep an eye on fabrics or wooden items during and after the move.

Fill in Spaces

Even in the right box, items can slide around and become damaged. In these cases, you must fill in the gaps around the item to keep them from moving. Packing chips were made for this purpose, but they aren’t the only option. Old towels, newspaper, or even clothing can keep items from moving, too. For items that are particularly fragile, try to wrap them in something soft.

Label Things Carefully

Labeling a box with “Fragile: handle with care” can help protect delicate items while moving. But it’s a good idea to label all of your items, not just your fragile ones. Knowing what’s in a box will help movers gauge the weight before picking it up, which helps them avoid dropping things when they lift them. Extra labeling also makes unpacking much simpler.

Measure Large Items

Even if a furniture piece makes it to the new house without being scuffed, it may still get damaged while you bring it in. Worse, it may damage the walls or doorways. To avoid this, measure the dimensions of the furniture and other large items before moving. Then, measure the doorways in the house. That way, you can strategize how to bring the furniture inside without any damage.