The Ultimate Moving Supplies Buying Guide


When you’ve moved a dozen times over the course of your adult life, you start to become aware of everything you need to pull off a move smoothly.

In this article, we’re going to go over all the moving supplies that we buy every time we’re prepping for a move. From tape to specialty boxes, if you’re going to need it for your upcoming move, we’re going to cover here.

We don’t jam all of our articles with affiliate links like other sites do, it’s just not our style. However, this article does contain affiliate links. That means if you make purchases through links on this page, we may at no extra cost to you, earn a small commission. These commissions help us continue to build Moving Expertise into a helpful resource. Thank you!

 

Moving Supplies Reference Table
Item Check Price on Amazon
Tape
Standard Boxes (Small)
Standard Boxes (Med)
Standard Boxes (Large)
Moving Blankets Check Price
Acid Free Packing Paper Check Price
Packing Foam Sheets Check Price
Markers
Rugged Plastic Storage Bins Check Price
TV Moving Boxes Check Price
Wardrobe Box Check Price
Vacuum Sealed Bags Check Price
Nylon Straps Check Price

The Basics

Whether you’re moving a family of 5 across the country or moving yourself to a studio apartment down the street, there are basic moving supplies that we’re all going to use.

Tape

Pretty self-explanatory here. Get heavy duty packing tape… and a lot of it. The first time you do a big move there is almost a 93% chance you’ll have to go buy tape twice.

Standard Boxes

If there is one thing that I have learned over the course of a dozen moves it is this: You will need more boxes than you think… usually a lot more.

Most often, this will be your biggest expense when buying supplies for a move. It’s not that boxes are necessarily expensive. In fact, quite the opposite. Most boxes will only cost about $4 or $5. But, you’re going to need a lot of them.

If you’re closely watching your moving budget, you can always begin collecting “free” boxes. The sooner you can start this process, the more effective it can be.

First, start saving all of your Amazon delivery boxes. If you’re like us, those will start adding up fast. Then, go to your delivery room at work. Many times there are unused boxes that just end up in recycling and they’ll have no problem with you taking them instead. Finally, you can always try your local Wal-Mart or Target, etc. Speak to a manager and see if they have unused boxes you have.

Because we move so often, we save all of our moving boxes. We’ll break them down and then find a good dry place to store them. This alone has probably saved us a thousand dollars over the years.

Moving Blankets

Sure-Max Pro Moving Blanket

Moving blankets can be your furniture’s best friend during a move. Not just your furniture either, pretty much anything that you really don’t have to get dented, scratched or chipped.

Moving blankets are pretty much exactly what they sound like – big padded, blankets that you can use to cover and wrap things like mirrors, tvs and furniture. They’re super versatile and can be draped into tight spaces to provide padding and protection from knicks and dings. Highly, highly recommend having at least a handful of these on hand.

Acid Free Packing Paper

Packing paper is perfect for adding cushioning to fragile items within boxes themselves. You can use it in between items like dishware so they are not banging into each other during the move and to help fill empty space within a box.

Empty space in a box is your absolute enemy when it comes to keeping fragile items safe, because empty space allows items to shift around during the move. The more shifting items do, the more chances there are for something break.

Finally, acid free packing paper is superior to just using newspaper you have laying around the house. Newspaper will work good for certain things, but the ink from newspaper can also rub off onto things you’re wrapping it in if you’re not safe. Using Acid Free Paper alleviates this concern completely.

Packing Foam Sheets

Packing Foam Sheets are helpful for basically the exact same reasons as packing paper. Foam sheets are just a little thicker and able to provide a little extra protection.

Markers

For labeling your boxes. Every box you move should be labeled and labeled thoroughly. In the moment, you’ll think ‘I’ll remember what’s in this box’. Most often you won’t. Buy markers. Label.

Specialty Moving Boxes

If you’re thinking to yourself, ‘this guy already talked about boxes’ – then you really need this guide young grasshopper. Yes, the majority of the boxes you’ll use will be of the ‘standard’ variety, there are a host of specialty boxes that will make your move 100x easier.

Rugged Plastic Storage Bins

Standard boxes work just fine for most items, but for items that are either particularly heavy or fragile, heavy duty storage bins can work great.

For heavy items, like books, workout equipment, tools, etc plastic storage bins are perfect because you don’t have to worry about tape ripping or the box collapsing from weight shifting around. For the exact same reason, a dozen cans in a paper bag at the grocery store doesn’t always workout great, a bunch of heavy tools (some with sharp edges no less) can destroy a regular cardboard box.

Packing fragile items are another good use for a rugged plastic bin to better protect the contents of the bin from everything else in the back of a moving truck.

Finally, these are great because they double as, well, plastic storage bins! Whether you keep what you actually moved in it or use them for storing something else, you can usually always find a good use for a storage bin.

TV Moving Boxes

Artwork packed in a TV Moving Box
One of our favorite paintings is this cow poking his head out of the box here.

On our first couple moves, I scoffed at the idea of a TV Moving Box – mainly because of the price. Compared to standard moving boxes are much more expensive. But, I was forced to buy them on a move because the moving company demanded it and I realized I had been completely wrong about them.

Unless you have the original box along with the inner ‘cushioning’ pieces for protection – I highly recommend getting TV Moving Boxes for your TVs, Large Mirrors and bigger pieces of artwork.

They are so much thicker and sturdier to make sure your items do not get crushed and they are (literally) designed to handle those larger, fragile pieces.

Finally, they’ll last you forever. We’ve used the same boxes four or five times now since that experience with the moving company so every move my overall cost goes down. They’ve turned out to be an amazing investment and one you should strongly consider.

Wardrobe Box

This is another type of box that I scoffed at when I first learned about them. ‘What a waste of money!’, I thought. Then, all of the coaches at the school I was at were given wardrobe boxes to pack to have shipped to our bowl game.

Turns out, they can be really handy to have.

If you’re not familiar, a wardrobe box is a large box with a bar built into it that allows you to hang your clothes inside the box.

Now, to be honest, I’ve still never bought one – but if I were someone who had a lot of suits and business attire that need to be hung up and I didn’t want them all showing up a wrinkled mess to my new home I would 100% buy one or two wardrobe boxes to pack all of those type clothes.

Misc

The moving staples are going to be pretty much the same across the board no matter what your situation. The biggest thing that changes is how much of everything you’re going to need.

There are, however, some miscellaneous odds and ends that may be helpful, or unnecessary, depending on your situation. Let’s go over a few.

Vacuum Sealed Bags

Vacuum Sealed Bags are great if you’re really trying to be efficient with space. This is especially handy if you’re moving using only your personal vehicles, or maybe a moving van. In those situations every inch matters so being able to place items like clothes and blankets into a vacuum sealed bag can be a gamechanger.

They’ll also keep everything in them from collecting dust and dirt along the way so you won’t have to rewash everything you own when you move into your new place.

Nylon Straps

Chances are you’re going to run into at least a couple situations where you’ll want to use some straps to secure things in place.

The two scenarios where we use them the most is, one, if you have a tall stack of boxes that have an open end. In other words, there is nothing on one side of the stack securing it in place. This is a great place to use a strap to secure the stack (and everything behind it) in place.

The second, for me personally, is for my motorcycle. I always try to account for fitting my motorcycle in the back of the moving truck and part of that process is using straps to make sure it stays in place to protect both the bike and everything around it.

If you don’t need something quite as strong, Bungee Hooks can work for this purpose as well, but I tend to sleep better with the added strength and security of stronger straps.

Final Thoughts

We all want to save money where we can and trying to keep your move on a budget is a natural desire to want to do. However, we’re talking about all of your possessions here, things that you care enough about to pack onto a truck and move to an entirely different location.

It’s always going to be worth it (if you can) to spend the little bit of extra money to make sure all of your things make it to your new home safe, in one piece and without a bunch of new scratches, dents and dings.

Ryan

I've been a college coach for going on 20 years now and that career has led Jen and I on quite the journey. We've lived in 7 different states and have moved a dozen different times. We've learned A LOT over the course of all those moves and we want to pass on our knowledge to help others going through the moving process.

Recent Posts