How To Pack And Load A Moving Truck For Your Home Move

How To Pack And Load A Moving Truck For Your Home Move

Packed moving truck

If you’ve got the back, the strength, and the friends to help, you might be asking yourself if you can do a DIY move and load your moving truck without movers! The purpose of this post is to let you in on our industry secrets on how to pack a moving truck for a home move. Before we get into it, let’s go over what materials you’ll need.

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Materials You’ll Need To Load A Moving Truck

  • Moving Boxes
  • Tie Downs
  • Blankets & Furniture Pads
  • Garbage Bags (Just for the extra stuff)

Moving Boxes

The boxes will just be for packing up your stuff. I highly recommend breaking the bank and purchasing real moving boxes rather than random boxes around the house. Moving boxes are expensive, but it will save you in the long run. Moving boxes you a whole lot of time when you’re loading up the truck. Remember, packing a moving truck is like Tetris, and Tetris is way easier when you keep getting the same shape!

Tie Downs

Ratchet straps are the best. Hands down. Although not every move requires ratchet straps, having them on hand is extremely helpful. You’re going to want to purchase four at a minimum, but having 8-12 will have your movers feeling safe.

Blankets & Furniture Pads

When you’re packing a truck, make sure everything made of wood, or that is fragile, is padded. A good rule of thumb is to get a dozen pads for every 5′ of truck space you’ll have. I know it sounds like a lot, but I promise you, it’s better to have more than to run out. Furniture pads and blankets could save you thousands of dollars just by avoiding damage.

Garbage Bags

I don’t think I’ve been on a single move where customers didn’t throw some last miscellaneous things, or some pillows and blankets they didn’t want to get dirty, into a trash bag. Just have some on hand just in case!

How to Load A Moving Truck

Now that you’ve got all your materials together, you’ll want to pack up all of your stuff. I won’t cover that in this post, but here is a good resource for packing moving boxes. When it comes to your typical home move, there are a lot of right ways to pack a moving truck and even more wrong ways. The one thing that is always true, however, is to keep things tight and make sure everything is held back. By that I mean do not leave room for things to bang around! Here I’ll walk you through my foolproof way of loading a moving truck so that way you can do a DIY move, without worrying about your items getting damaged in transit. I’ll go through all the parts of the truck, what to put where, and why. Read on!

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What the heck goes in the Mom’s Attic?

When you’re packing a moving truck, you always start with the mom’s attic. The mom’s attic is where you will want to put your heavy, fragile boxes that wouldn’t survive well in the body of the truck, on top of that first stack of boxes, you’ll want to put your fragile non-stackables and boxes that you filled too high that they won’t close. Side Note: I don’t even know why it’s called the mom’s attic, and a quick Google search (yes, I literally just looked it up) says, supposedly, it remains a mystery! Let me know in the comments section where you think it came from! Moving on… (pun intended)

Do not use the mom’s attic if you don’t have enough items to fill the truck to the top and hold everything back. Here’s a visual:

Incomplete, packed moving truck with moms attic packed and the first tier of boxes started

When you fill-up the mom’s attic, you need to have enough stuff to hold everything back. If you’ve got a 26-foot truck, but only a one-bedroom apartment to fill it, you’re probably not going to want to use the mom’s attic. This brings me to the next tier of packing a moving truck: Boxes & Walls!

What should I do with the main body of the moving truck?

One thing I probably should have mentioned before, but didn’t, (and no, I’m not going to go back and add it) is that we pack moving trucks using walls/tiers. This is how everyone who knows how to pack a truck packs a truck… Onward!

Your first walls should all start with a solid base. I’m talking about dressers, tables, nightstands, etc. These are sturdy, boxy pieces of furniture. Keep in mind, I said boxy, not a box. Why? Because when you stack boxes from the bottom of the truck all the way up, you are putting a lot of weight on those boxes at the bottom. I have seen firsthand (a lot) of crushed boxes at the bottom of a stack. It happens a lot. The solution? I just told you! Weren’t you reading!? Start with a base.

After you’ve put down your bases, stack boxes all the way to the ceiling. But don’t just do it all willy-nilly, stack those boxes bottom to top, heavy to light with fragile items at the top. It doesn’t always have to be fragile items at the top, I like to throw the light unstackables up there like kids’ toys, or if there are a lot of chairs, I’ll pad that up nicely and put it upside down at the top. Here are two examples for you…

Moving truck packed with chairs, boxes, dressers and night stands
Using boxes all the way up
Moving truck with first two tiers of packing completed
Stacking chairs on top

If you’re wondering what’s next, you better have run out of boxes and/or bases. If you haven’t, get back to it!

Using Tie-Downs and Dealing With Fragile Items In The Moving Truck

At this point, you should have loaded the moving truck with a few walls of bases and boxes. Now it’s time to hold all of that back. In walks the box spring! Put that baby in such a way that it’s holding everything back. See my example below:

Moving truck packed with a matress, moving boxes, dressers and tables

If you’ve got some pictures, headboards, a tv that you were too cheap to get a box for (You totally ignored my comment about making sure to buy boxes, didn’t you!?), or anything else fragile, it’s a good idea to put those between the box springs and mattresses.

You can also put fragile things like grandfather clocks here as well. Be sure to fill in the whole area horizontally to make an even wall. When packing a truck, having a flush wall is the only way to guarantee your items will be held back safely. This is a given, but make sure you still put pads on those fragile items.

Once you’ve got all of your mattresses and fragile items in there, you’ll want to strap down the mattress/box spring to make sure that everything is held back and tight. If you can pack all the way to the back of the truck, you don’t need to ratchet down the mattress/boxspring, but hey if you’ve got ’em, why not use them? Here’s how it’ll look:

Partially packed moving truck with items held down with ratchet straps

Loading Up The Moving Truck With The Last Things

You’ve loaded your moving truck up with all your boxes, tables, dressers, mattresses, and fragile items, and now all that’s left is all the miscellaneous crap! A lot of people are usually left with garage stuff, like mowers, lawn equipment, etc. Others still have couches, washers driers, and whatever else. It really depends! Here’s an example of what it might look like:

Packed moving truck
Finished product!

Of course, there are a lot of variations, but if I’m being honest, the end is probably the least critical. All you’ve got to do is make sure you pack all the way back to the door of the truck. On the contrary, if you can’t get back to the end of the truck, use some ratchet straps to hold things back.

Congrats, You Packed a Moving Truck Like a Pro!

That’s it! You’ve done it, and might I say, it looks gorgeous! I hope you’ve found this post helped you learn how to load a moving truck, if you did leave us a comment and tell us where you’re moving to! If you haven’t moved yet and found yourself overwhelmed by all the steps in loading a truck, you can still save money on your move! Labor-only movers offer moving services at affordable rates and when used in conjunction with a rented moving truck, can save you on average 40-60% on your move!

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Collin Flynn comes born and raised in Racine, Wisconsin off the coast of Lake Michigan. He graduated from Coe College in 2019 with a degree in physics. He is the founder of College Movers, a company that enables young entrepreneurial-minded people to open their own business utilizing the gig-economy and its technological backing. Collin has 4+ years of experience in the moving industry and writes about moving, fitness, and business. When he's not managing his business you can find him running, biking, or swimming — after all he does have triathlons to train for.

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