A small mover on  forklift loading a wooden crate for shipping.

The Art Of Crating: Advice From Experts

Logistics matter when moving long distances. You need a solid plan to safely and securely transport your belongings. One option is to ship them with crating services. Crate shipping places items into durable crates and transports them to your desired location. By following the right tips, shipping crates, whether across the country or via international shipping, can be streamlined.

Why Proper Crating Matters

Valuable and fragile items are more likely to be damaged during transport. One way to prevent this is to properly crate them. Proper crating tips and techniques can protect the integrity of your items.

Protection During Transit

Moving can be rough, especially when driving items long-distance at freeway speeds. It's possible for things to jostle around, and without the proper crating techniques, fragile items can become damaged.

Efficient Use of Space

Items could also become damaged when packing them into crates if they aren't carefully organized. Proper crating provides the most efficient packing strategies, potentially reducing the number of crates used, as well as the cost of shipping or storage.

Choosing the Right Materials for Crating

Not all items need the same crating materials. Choosing the right ones helps optimize your move. The most common crates include:

  • Wooden crates. Wood crates are versatile and durable. However, they're heavy and can be vulnerable to moisture.
  • Plastic crates. Plastic storage containers offer protection against water, insect, and rodent damage. However, they're not as strong as wood or metal.
  • Metal crates. Metal is more durable than other options. However, they're also often much heavier than other crating options.
  • Specialty crates. Specialty crates allow for further flexibility when shipping items that need careful packaging, such as chandeliers or pieces of framed art.

Pairing the right crate with the right internal packaging materials helps optimize space and ensure all items are sufficiently protected.

Internal Packaging Materials

Transporting crates causes plenty of movement, and without internal packaging materials, like padding and fillers, the items within the crates will likely shift. Fragile paintings, mirrors, or ceramics could bang together and chip. Try these packaging materials to protect your items.

  • Bubble wrap: Bubble wrap is lightweight and can be cut to any size or shape to wrap just about anything. The pockets of air within them offer flexible cushions.
  • Foam: Foam is also extremely versatile, coming in sheets, pouches, wrap rolls, tubing, blocks, and other shapes. Foam can wrap smaller items or be used on the edges of furniture or frames to prevent nicks and scratches.
  • Packing peanuts: Packing peanuts fill the gaps between all items in crates with spongy cushioning.

Step-by-Step Guide to Crating

Following general rules and best practices can keep your belongings safe during transport. While these tips are simple to implement on your own for a small DIY move, larger moves often benefit from professional furniture moving assistance. Keep these small move tips in mind when planning your long-distance move.

Measure and Plan

The best way to optimize your move is through carefully measuring and planning to determine the size and number of crates you'll need. Remember, padding will add to your measurements.

Assemble or Purchase the Crate

Many crates can be DIY assembled if you're handy. You'll need plywood (avoid particle board or MDF), some lumber planks, an impact driver and drill, and screws, along with a plan to build the crate to the specified dimensions you need.

If you're busy, it's often easier to buy premade crates. While they're a larger up-front investment, you don't have to worry about the labor and time involved.

Pack With Precision

You can help prevent damage by packing with precision. Layer heavy items at the bottom with lighter items on the top. Make sure that empty spaces are filled with packaging materials, and label your crates, especially if they're filled with fragile items.

Special Trips for Fragile or Valuable Items

When it comes to shipping, there are certain items that are more delicate and prone to breaking or getting damaged. Ceramics and artwork are common examples, as are musical instruments, antiques, furniture, and electronics. You'll want to take special care when shipping these items, as well as any items that are particularly valuable to you and cannot be easily replaced.

Customized Padding and Support

The most important step you can take toward protecting your valuables and fragile items is tailoring the support and padding used for them. Take the time to carefully protect each item using foam and bubble wrap. Don't forget that some items may need specialty padding, such as anti-static foam for protecting electronics.

Climate Control and Sealing

Some items are sensitive to temperature or humidity. Using sealed crates can protect packed items from external elements, such as rain and humidity. Packing peanuts and foam provide insulation, and vapor barrier bags prevent water infiltration. For extra protection, external plastic sheeting affixed to the crate can also provide an additional barrier against the elements.

Final Checklist Before Shipping

Understanding how to pack and secure your belongings in crates can reduce the risk of damage during transportation. If the job is too big for you on your own or you don't know where to start, hiring a professional team can simplify the process.

Inspect and Secure

Prior to shipping, performing one final inspection can also help reduce the risk to your items. Make sure all edges and seals have been secured, and take the time to double-check all labels and addresses so items arrive at the right location.

Choosing the Right Shipping Option

Distance, speed of shipping, and cost all play a part in your shipping decisions. With over 20 years of experience and full insurance coverage available, Ship Smart can provide peace of mind during your move.

Protect Your Belongings With Proper Crating

The best way to protect your belongings during a long-distance move is with proper crating. Whether you already have your furniture packed or you need custom wrapping and crating services, Ship Smart can help via live chat or by phone at (866) 333-8018. You can also turn to our online free estimate tool to get started.

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