Your Place: Moving tip: Get the right box for the right stuff

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

The last time we moved was in 2001. The time before that was in 1987.

I hate moving, although I know that the hour is coming when I will have to leave my little bungalow in Brigadoon and head to a mortgage-free, low-property-tax land more conducive to retirement.

Traditionally, when those of us who do the bulk of packing ourselves need boxes, we go to the supermarket or the liquor store and ask for used ones. For the more delicate stuff, I buy new, usually at U-Haul or similar outlets.

The Paper and Packaging Board says I have been doing it all wrong.

Older boxes arenít as sturdy and may lack such helpful features as cutouts for hands, or even top flaps for taping down box contents, the board says.

Make the box accommodate your belongings, not the other way around.

AMONG OTHER TIPS:

If boxes are too large, overfilling makes contents impossible to carry. Heavy items such as books and kitchen supplies should go in smaller boxes to minimize the risk of damage.

If boxes are too small, you canít maximize available truck space and may end up creating more trips loading and unloading.

Whatever youíre trying to move (mirrors, china, or clothing), thereís a box specially designed to keep it safe in transit. Valuables, including such breakables as fine china, should be packed in a barrel or dish box. Wardrobe moving boxes are great for any clothing on hangers, whereas suitcases are best for clothing items stored in drawers.

Donít underestimate how many new boxes youíll need. Consider the square footage of your home, then use this box calculator, http://goo.gl/RNsCJK, to determine the right number.

Now they tell me.

The best move I ever made was the one for a new job almost 40 years ago that was paid for by the employer.

The movers did all the packing. They were so efficient that they packed the coffeemaker with the grounds.

The worst move was in 2001. The mover called it quits at 5 p.m. and left what had not been brought into the house by then in the backyard.

We finished the job. In the dark. Nothing was broken. At least I think nothing was broken.