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Our Ultimate Packing Tips for Moving Tricky Items

Moving? Frustrated with trying to pack up all those awkwardly shaped items like lampshades? Our ultimate guide will show you exactly how to pack those precious household items so they're in tip-top condition when you reach your new home.

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MirrorsVadim Ivanov/Shutterstock

Packing Your Mirrors and Pictures

Naturally, breakable items like mirrors and picture frames need careful protection against knocks and bumps. Packing tips for moving these items include wrapping them individually in bubble wrap or soft cloth and stacking them vertically in a large box. Keeping them together will reduce the movement, making it less likely that the glass will shatter. Laying a piece of foam over larger frames before wrapping will give added protection. And when you reach your new home, follow our guide to hanging a heavy mirror for perfect results.

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ToolsChepko Danil Vitalevich/Shutterstock

Packing Your Power Tools

No-one wants to arrive at a new home and find that their precious, expensive power tools have been damaged. So, begin by removing any detachable parts from your tools, and use rags or bubble wrap to protect sharp edges. Pack the tools securely in a tool caddy or strong box, and add extra packing (e.g. rags or crumpled newspaper), to stop the tools from sliding around and bumping into each other. Lastly, add a layer of tape around the toolbox to keep it firmly closed. This handsome, easy-to-build grab-and-go storage unit is ideal for storing your DIY tools and supplies.

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Packing Your Furniture

Whenever possible, disassemble your furniture to make it easier to transport. Break the items down into the smallest possible components, and wrap delicate or precious furniture in moving blankets to protect against gouges and scratches. And don’t forget the furniture hardware! One of our best packing tips for moving is to put the screws, nuts and bolts into a small bag and tape it to the bottom of each piece. That way you’ll have everything you need to reassemble your furniture upon arrival. If you have any flat-pack furniture, here’s how to make it sturdier and stronger.

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tv Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

Packing Your Television

Modern televisions can be pretty large and need careful handling. With monitors becoming very thin, it’s essential to pack and carry them correctly. Ideally, keep the original box and packing, but if you don’t have it, wrap your monitor and pedestal carefully in a sheet or blanket and secure it well with tape. Make sure the TV is loaded in the van where nothing heavy can be laid on top and it doesn’t move around in transit. And remember, if you have a plasma screen NEVER lay it face-down—that can damage the screen. If you’re looking for some inspiration to install your TV in your new home, check out these awesome TV installations.

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Lampshades Orsan Elitok/Shutterstock

Packing Your Lampshades

Lampshades are best transported in a box. Always wash your hands before handling lampshades, as they can get soiled very easily, and remember to lift fabric shades by the wire rim to avoid bending them. Ideally, nest several shades together so they can protect each other, and then stuff any gaps with paper towels, rags or plain paper–never use newspaper as the print may come off the shades. Mark the box as “fragile” and make sure it’s packed at the top, with nothing heavy resting on it. And check out this genius tip for cleaning fabric shades easily!

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Packing Your Mattress

Mattresses are cumbersome to move, and you also want to be sure they stay clean during the journey. If you can, leave your mattress in the sun for a couple of hours to be sure it’s completely dry, and take this opportunity to check for any infestations like bedbugs (here’s how to get rid of bedbugs).

Packing tips for moving usually recommend buying mattress storage bags to wrap your mattress during the move, but a simpler way to protect against dirt is to cover the mattress, on both sides, with fitted sheets (after the move, wash these sheet before making the bed in your new home). Mattresses should be loaded onto the van first and secured well, and don’t place anything else on top of them. This is why it’s illegal to remove a mattress tag.

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Packing Your Aquarium

If you’re a fan of the TV show Tanked, you might have an aquarium or two to move. Follow expert packing tips for moving your precious fish and plants to their new home, and then drain the tank of water and dry it well. Choose a strong box that’s a little larger than the tank, and line the base with bubble wrap.

Place the tank on top and add packing such as newspaper, cloth or more bubble wrap so the tank will not move–remember it will be pretty heavy even without water! Put layers of cardboard on top of the tank and add more packing so the box is totally full. Then seal the box, mark it as “fragile” and ensure it’s packed safely on the van the correct way up.

Even if you don’t have an aquarium, you can still enjoy fish. Take a look at how to build a low-maintenance pond in your backyard.

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Packing Your Floor Lamps

By their very nature, floor lamps can be tricky to pack up for moving. If you can disassemble the lamp, then wrap each part separately in soft cloth or bubble wrap and pack the lamp into a suitably sized box. Don’t forget to remove and wrap the fragile bulb as well! If the lamp can’t be dismantled, remove the bulb and then wrap the lamp in a blanket or sheet, tying it in place with string. Place in a tall cardboard box (you can buy specific boxes for packing lamps) and secure it well. Mark which way is up and place carefully in the van. And, if your new home doesn’t have floor sockets for your lamp, it’s easy to install one.

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Packing a Glass-TopTable

Moving a large pane of glass, even if it’s tempered, is a delicate task. Start by dismantling the table (keeping the hardware together) and then lay out a large blanket or duvet on the floor. Carefully lay the glass table top onto the blanket and wrap it very securely so the padding won’t slip. Then add cardboard to each side as added protection, and secure it well. When moving the glass top, never lay it down flat, but always stand it on a long edge because this is the strongest part of the table. If you want to build your own table, check out this selection of 10 DIY tables for inspiration.

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LawnmowerFrancesco Bencivenga/Shutterstock

Packing Your Lawnmower

Start by following the manufacturer’s instructions and draining oil and gas from your mower to avoid leaks and spillages en route. Clean the mower thoroughly, especially the cutting blades. This is especially important if you’re moving to a new state, as there are regulations to prevent the spread of the gypsy moth.

After the move, your mower will probably benefit from a tune-up, so check out our guide to show you how to do it.

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ItemsSomeyote Tiraphon/Shutterstock

Packing Other Odd-Shaped Items

Most of us have a couple of other odd-shaped items that defy specific description, such as a garden ornament you absolutely love (but others might hate!). For these items, start by wrapping them thoroughly in bubble wrap or paper and secure it well. Then wrap the entire item in a large sheet or moving blanket. Be sure the item makes it on the moving van because those who don’t appreciate it might try to leave it behind! Here are 12 tacky lawn ornaments you need to see.

Elizabeth Manneh
Elizabeth is an experienced freelance writer, specializing mainly in digital health & transformation, health & wellness, and education & learning. She's been published on,, The Family Handyman, Huffington Post, Thrive Global, and The Good Men Project. She was also a regular contributor to Love Live Health and Daily Home Remedy. Elizabeth is a retired primary school principal and education consultant, with a continuing passion for education and learning.