How to Manage Moving After Major Life Transitions

2 Questions You Should Ask Yourself As You Shop For Moving Boxes

To make your move as inexpensive as possible, you might be tempted to run to the grocery store and ask for a few free produce boxes. Unfortunately, sometimes you get what you pay for—even when it comes to something as simple as cardboard. If you choose poorly, you might end up damaging your own belongings, which might cause frustrating, unplanned expenses later. However, by asking yourself these two questions as you shop for moving boxes, you might be able to have an excellent experience:

1: "How much will that box hold?"

As you pack, you might find yourself trying to decide between filling a box to its full capacity and risking a sudden cardboard failure. After all, who likes to watch in terror as their dishes break through a box and shatter on their driveway? Although it might seem like a complete guess, the fact of the matter is that cardboard box manufacturers have created a foolproof way to tell how much each box will hold.

On every cardboard box, manufacturers include a box maker's certificate stamp, which is usually located on one of the flaps. Here are a few key pieces of information these stamps include, and how you can determine what you need:

  • Burst Strength: Have you ever wondered how much pressure it would take to burst one of the side walls of that cardboard box? The burst strength rating will tell you. Burst strength testing, also called Mullen's testing, uses pressure to determine how many pounds per square inch it takes for a side wall of any given box to rupture. For example, a burst strength rating of 32 would mean that it would take 32 pounds of force to make those dishes fall to the ground.
  • Single Wall vs. Double Wall: The manufacturer's stamp will also indicate how the box is constructed. Cardboard is created by laminating together strong sheets of facing with corrugated paper. The more layers, the stronger the cardboard. While single wall cardboard is capable of holding between 175 and 350 pounds, double-walled cardboard can hold as much as 500 pounds.

Before you shop for cardboard boxes, think about your personal moving inventory. If you have lots of little heavy objects, like books or small kitchen appliances, you might need double-walled cardboard boxes with a high burst strength rating.

2: "Are these stackable?"

Are you planning on taking advantage of the vertical space in your moving truck or storage unit by stacking boxes? Before you grab a step stool and start hefting boxes into the air, you should keep in mind that some cardboard box varieties are much more stackable than others.

Fortunately, cardboard box manufacturers have also devised a test to help you to determine which boxes should go on the top of the stack, and which ones you should use to create a strong base. The edge crush test, or ECT, measures the amount of force the edges of the boxes can take without buckling. For example, an ECT rating of 50 means that your box would be able to have as much as 50 pounds stacked on top of it without being crushed.

Although you might be tempted to buy nice cardboard boxes with a high ECT rating for the bottom level of your moving truck and cheaper versions for everything else, that tactic might make your move more complicated. You never know where someone will decide to stash a box, and if they guess wrong, your items could be damaged. To make things easier, only buy boxes that you know that you could stack without problems. 

By knowing what to look for when you shop for cardboard boxes, you might be able to keep your belonging in decent shape—no matter what your journey holds. Continue here for additional reading.