Plan a (Relatively) Stressless House Move

Specialized boxes. For dishes and other fragile or heavy items, make sure to use “dish barrels,” which cost between $5 and $7 and are made of double-walled cardboard.
Wardrobe boxes, with a metal bar for hanging clothes, greatly simplify the packing and unpacking. Some movers may supply you with free wardrobe boxes for your move, which they’ll collect once you unpack them―make sure to ask before you place your box order. Expect to pay $7 to $15 each, depending on the size, if you have to buy them.
Long flat-frame boxes are ideal for protecting most large pieces of art and mirrors. These, too, may be provided by movers. If you’re moving yourself, you can purchase them from truck-rental companies.
Tape and tape guns. Brown packing tape, not surprisingly, is ideal. Never use masking tape or duct tape―they don’t stick well to cardboard. A couple of heavy-duty tape guns―one for you, one for your spouse or a friend―make taping and cutting a lot quicker. To pack up the contents of seven to eight rooms, you’ll need at least 440 yards of two-inch-wide tape. (Tape rolls come in 55- and 110-yard sizes.)
Packing paper. This is a professional mover’s secret weapon. Sold in 10- and 25-pound packages, packing paper (unprinted newsprint) is the most economical and versatile material for protecting nearly everything you’re moving. Use it for wrapping fragile items, and crumple it up for padding. “People think we use way too much paper,” Vansant says, “but it really creates the protection you need.” And unlike bubble wrap, it can be recycled. Many moving-supply companies sell specialized packing accessories―such as little foam bags and cardboard “cell kits” to protect glassware and other fragile items―but Vansant stresses that almost everything can be packed with simple packing paper.
Because it can stain, regular newspaper should be used only for extra padding around already wrapped items. For an average seven- to eight-room move, professional movers use as much as 120 pounds of packing paper.