If you're getting ready to move and are starting to pack up your belongings, you're likely very aware of how expensive packing supplies can get. While the individual costs for each item might be low, those costs certainly add up, especially for the filler and protective packaging materials that you have to get. Using the correct filler and protective wrapping is essential and also more cost-effective. Here's a look at when you should and shouldn't use some of the more common filling and packing materials.
Newspaper and Butcher Paper
Newspaper is certainly easy to come by, and if you buy a couple of copies of the Sunday paper, you can get a lot of filler material for a very low price. In addition to that, the crumpled pages provide nice, cushiony fill for corners and small spaces. However, the newsprint or ink can stain items in the boxes as well as staining your hands, and you can end up transferring the ink to other items.
Butcher paper, which is similar to newspaper but without the ink issue, works well for filling and is available in large rolls. It's more expensive than newspaper, however. Both newspaper and butcher paper tear easily, making them not so good for protecting individual items. Use them to fill spaces only.
Protection and stress relief all in one! This is your go-to protective wrapping, especially for very fragile items. Once you've unpacked, of course, you can pop the bubbles to relieve the stress of moving.
The drawback to bubble wrap is that it can be costly if you need a lot, and it is not appropriate as filler. This is actually something that confuses a lot of people, and they attempt to crumple up sheets of bubble wrap to fit in spaces in boxes. That gets too expensive to sustain. Use bubble wrap for wrapping individual items only.
If you prefer the cushioning power of bubble wrap but want a cheaper alternative for the filling in the box, air pillows will work. These are relatively large plastic pillows filled with air that you often get when you order something from an online store. If you have the room, save those pockets when you get the package, though do be aware that they can take up quite a bit of space if you save many of them. These are excellent for mass filling of boxes.
However, they don't work for wrapping individual items for protection -- they're simply too thick and round. While the pillows come in attached sheets that you could technically wrap around items, the mass of wrapped pillows would simply take up too much room in the box.
These foam bits are classic box filling. They're impossible to wrap around individual items, but you often see items submerged in a sea of peanuts in some boxes. The peanuts are cheap, and you can buy them in huge bags. They certainly do fill space well, but they are a mess to deal with when unpacking.
One other problem with peanuts involves the biodegradable kind. These can attract bugs if you're not careful, and they can decompose quickly if the peanuts and boxes get wet.
Of course, you can look for professional packing services like http://www.bekins.com that can help you pack appropriately. The packers who show up to help you will know exactly which filler and protective materials to use in which boxes. Your belongings will stay intact and safe.