How To – Load A Moving Truck

  • If you want it done right, do it yourself. Moving your pad on your own is a great way to save money (major stress) on the cost of a move. You rented a truck, but I’ll bet this is not something you do everyday so here’s a little instructional blog on part of it - how best to load a truck. Disclaimer - there are plenty of effective strategies out there so keep in mind that this is our advice after consulting with a couple of our favourite movers. And we can’t guarantee it’ll be easy or that nothing will get broken, but we do hope you’ll be a little less stressed with the following to guide you.

    Prepare - have everything fully packed inside your home before starting to load the truck. Make this operation efficient. There’ll always be a few last minute items, but you want to focus your resources (tired, hungry friends) on the major task. Establish good access from the best exit/entrance of the building to the truck itself. You’ll be going back and forth many times, so the shorter and simpler this route, the better. Avoid stairs and sharp/tight turns if at all possible. The shortest distance isn’t always the easiest - it’s worth going a little further for clear/open access. If your home is on a very busy street, call your city to reserve a parking space a few days ahead. (It might cost a little money, but could save a lot of time. And the same goes for the other end - reserve access for your new pad too.) If you’re using an elevator, talk to the building manager about reserving it and getting a key so you can lock it off and load the whole elevator each time. This will save time, energy and the stress of fighting the doors and having your stuff leave without you.

    Walls/Layers - Start loading the truck from the forward end of the box (forward end is the driving end = vehicle’s front). And work toward the rear of the truck. Think in layers, or walls, and build backward. Everything will shift forward and side to side in the drive so you want these layers to compress on the sturdy stuff and be stable under lateral forces. If you can, use ratchet straps to secure contents after each layer or two. If you stack stuff to the sides it’s likely to collapse inward to the middle when the truck turns and it’s typically less space-efficient.

    Walls of Boxes - Put your uniform boxes in first. If you’re using FROGBOX moving boxes or similar reusable moving boxes, this is quick and easy. You can make large walls, floor to ceiling. Heavy boxes on the bottom and lighter on top. Cardboard makes good walls too, but if you’ve got a hodgepodge of free boxes this will be more difficult. The more uniform your boxes the easier this will be. Do your best and interlock with the furniture too. Also, sorry but bags don’t stack! Use bags only for linens and similar and toss that stuff on top of your layers/walls.

    Big Pieces - Having loaded all your boxes first leaves you more room to move the big stuff out of your pad. Load these big pieces - mattresses, dressers, desks, tables, bookcases, pinball machines, statues of Tom Hanks and such next. A mattress against your wall of boxes is a great way to secure them. Strap this back if you can. Fit items together as much as possible. This is the real life application of video games. You played Tetris for years. It finally pays off. Think three-dimensionally: turn and rotate things - often they’re stronger upside down. Chairs are space hungry - they usually fit in better upside down on top of other furniture or on each other (with lightweight/bulky stuff in between the legs). Continue to build your layers toward the rear of the truck and sprinkle lightweight extras on top.

    Miscellany - From the beginning top each wall with lightweight/soft stuff, bags, pillows, couch cushions, stools, exercise balls etc (anything small and light, the softer the better). Avoid building a booby trap but also, don’t leave a bunch of little things for the very end when you’re stuck at the back of the truck. Pack flat art/pictures/mirrors between mattress and box spring. But be mindful of the potential surprise for unpacking (communicate between each other and to anyone else who joins for the unpack - maybe snap pics of any hidden fragile items.). Small and medium sized items can be fit into the gaps and spaces as best you can. Place things according to the load they can bare. Consider what will happen between here and the new pad - everything will settle, shift, shuffle and basically endure a continuous shaking during the drive (like a small earthquake or so).

    Final bits - potted plants and standing lamps and similar should go in last so they can be unpacked first. And there’s typically some last minute stuff - an extra drawerful of junk or a closetful of stuffed animals. Keep a couple of spare garbage bags and/or extra boxes on hand for rounding these up and slip them in last thing at the back.

    Slow drive - You probably don’t drive a vehicle this size very often, so take it extra easy through turns and over rough roads and slow to a crawl over bumps. Racing to save a few minutes in the drive will likely cost you much more in terms of damage and difficult unloading. If you have to park on a slope to unload, try to point the truck downhill for safer unloading (and to prevent everything from avalanching out the back gate).

    Do It In Reverse - repeat all that work in reverse to unload the truck. If the people loading are not also unloading, be sure to give a heads up about any booby traps (art or glass btw mattresses, etc).

    Celebrate - order pizza and chill the beers well in advance of your rewarding first meal in your new pad! Congratulations!

    Thanks for reading! Here’s to happy moving!

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