How to pack a van when moving

Moving house can be quite the mission, one that is of course made easier with the help of a Ford van, but one that still needs planning and attention to detail. Over the years, we all accumulate a fair bevy of belongings, all of which will need to be moved to our new property. From furniture, fridges, and books, to various bits and pieces that we just can’t do without. So beyond making sure you have adequately sized transport from your local Ford van dealer, just how are you supposed to pack it all in for a successful move? Well, we have put together a guide for this very purpose.  Hopefully it will give you those tips and tricks you need to make your moving day a little easier.

Gather equipment

First things first, we will need to gather up some much needed moving equipment.

We spoke to Kaloyan Dimitrov of Fantastic Removals, who was able to offer us some great advice, recommending that those moving themselves assemble the necessary tools.

“We encourage people who have decided to move by themselves to use as many helping tools as they can find. A very important thing to add when packing a van is a ramp. You have no idea how useful it can be and how much ease it provides. Strapping belts on the inside of the van also decreases the possibility of an accident on the way. And, of course, always use working gloves when lifting heavy items.”

Beyond these top suggestions, we believe a dolly will also come particularly in handy for moving some heavier items like furniture and big boxes. Key have a variety to offer depending on your requirements.

Items like furniture pads or just some general padding like bubble wrap will be useful, helping you to protect your belongings during transit.

Steve Sole of Nice Man Big Van – a Brighton removals company – is another that recommends the use of straps to secure your possessions, and that blankets will come in particularly handy to keep things clean and protected.

We also recommend sourcing a large sheet of plastic wrap, tarp, or even just an old carpet in order to cover the floor of your van, stopping items getting grubby.

Packing tape is an eminently useful piece of kit for any move. Obviously this will get a lot of use during the packing up of your boxes but it can also be used to hold any padding in place that you covered your furniture with.

Disassemble furniture

We spoke to Gavin Chan from AnyVan.com who was able to provide some great advice. Any Van advises that taking apart furniture is a vital element of any successful move and will turn filling up your van into an easier task.

“It can help to take apart larger items, especially furniture such as dining room tables and bookcases, so they can be loaded more easily into the van, and not take up valuable space. Otherwise you may have a tricky job not only making sure everything fits into the van, but also that all the items don't end up moving around as the van is being driven. Even heavy items can move around if not loaded in an appropriate manner, especially if travelling at speed or going over bumps in the road, or even when turning corners.”

Not only will this process make furniture lighter to carry but it will hopefully allow things to slide a little more conveniently into the van and stop delicate items from being damaged. So make sure to carry out this task before the process of filling up your van begins.

Some examples of tasks you will want to tackle include: removing drawers from desks and wardrobes, cushions from sofas, bulbs from lamps, taking apart beds (separating the mattress from the frame), and even removing table legs in some cases – providing of course they are designed to do so.

Move furniture in front of the van

Moving sofa

The next task is to move all of your furniture out in front of your van. Moving as much of these bigger, heavier and bulkier items on to the street beforehand will allow you to see just what you are working with, how much room you need, and which items are the heaviest.

These large items are tricky to move so make sure you have sufficient help, and are not overstraining yourself.

Heaviest items first

Michael Keaton of the American Moving & Storage Association told us that the first items you will want to load into your van are the very heaviest in your possession, while also stressing the importance of safety.

“Load some of your largest items first, so you know you have enough space for everything and can put smaller items around them. Most people don’t have the strength or expertise to lift heavy items like furniture though, putting themselves at risk of injury, so you may want to let your move be handled by the pros. You can find nearly 2,800 certified professional movers at Moving.org.”

This is a crucial step in the process of loading your van safely, and this was reiterated to us by Gavin from AnyVan.com, who also stressed the point of distributing these items evenly.

“Advice from AnyVan.com on how to load a van safely includes making sure that larger items - such as fridges and washing machines, which may actually be some of the last items to leave the house when moving - are loaded first, and ideally spread across the floor surface of the van, so the weight is distributed as evenly as possible.”

The heaviest items will likely be your kitchen appliances such as fridges, freezers, washing machines, and the dishwasher. Make sure to keep all of these appliances upright, distributing the heaviest along the back wall.

Next up will be your large pieces of furniture; items such as the sofa, armchairs, cabinets and things of this nature. Then we recommend moving the longer items – such as mattresses and bed frames – along the van’s side walls.

Make sure to protect your furniture, using items such as sofa cushions, rugs, sheets, and bedding, placing them in any gaps that may appear. Also remember to secure the big items in place with rope or straps.

If you have decided not to remove drawers from certain pieces of furniture, make sure the drawer side is facing the wall to prevent them from falling out.

Load boxes 

moving boxes

The next thing that should be loaded into the back of your van will be your various boxes. Make sure these are labelled of course so that you know what’s in them, and carry the lighter ones by hand, and use the dolly for any heavier boxes that contain items like books.

Fantastic Removals had some more helpful advice in this area, offering some useful reminders that ought not to be forgotten.

“When packing your belongings into a van, there are a few very important rules to follow. The big one - heaviest items go on the bottom. Its common sense, you wouldn't want to have a heavy item squish, or break a smaller one. However, this is only one part of the bigger picture.

“Another important thing to remember is to always fill every box completely. Do not leave air gaps on the inside - fill them up with newspaper and/or cloth rags.

“And, the third part - always close the boxes. You’d be surprised how often people decide it will be fine to leave the top box open, even though it’s filled with numerous tiny items that will scatter all over the van if they fall down during the ride.”

When stacking your boxes, remember to do so vertically, making sure that the heaviest boxes go on the bottom with lighter and more fragile packages placed on top to avoid damage. And as you’re packing these in, place in items that can’t be easily stacked in gaps and crevices to save space.

If you want to move more boxes at once, without causing yourself an injury, Safety Liftin Gear have various lifting equipment such as the Heavy Duty Sack Truck that will certainly help in this regard.

Remaining items

The aim of the game here is to pack the van as tightly as possible, without causing any damage of course. So bring in all of your random items, placing anything that is fragile on the very top. Some smaller possessions will be awkward in shape and won’t fit into boxes, so while making sure that these are protected, nestle them into areas that will accommodate their size.

The key here is planning and preparation, so by having a strong gauge for what you have to pack, you should be able to fit in all the pieces like a puzzle, creating a snug and secure environment to transport your possessions.

Are you confident in driving yourself?

Once all your belongings are safely secured and packed away, the next part of the job will be driving it all over to your new property. But be sure to ask yourself if you’re confident in driving such a big vehicle. If you don’t feel happy about doing so, especially with your life packed away behind you, ask a friend or someone with experience to handle this section of the process for you.