How To Successfully Pack Boxes: DIY vs Moving Help

How To Successfully Pack Boxes: DIY vs Moving Help

Moving company packing a box

When planning to move, one of the most important questions to consider is whether you should pack your boxes yourself or hire help. Moving companies do more than just move, they offer an array of other services. You might be asking the question of whether or not movers can pack your stuff. The short answer is yes… sometimes. Keep reading to learn about the exceptions and whether or not hiring movers to do your packing is really worth it for you

Will Movers Pack Your Boxes For You?

Moving companies offer services beyond simply transporting items from one place to the next. Do you need help with packing, moving, shipping, unpacking, or installation? If you do, take your time and select a moving company strategically based on your specific needs and price range. Some companies add expenses for each service you employ, but some offer a flat hourly rate. Some offer full-service and some offer limited services. It’s important to choose the right company for you.

Visit a company’s website if you are unsure if they will pack for you. Plenty of moving companies offer flexible service plans to assist you in your move.

Full-Service Moving Companies

Full-service movers provide the services and materials to assist with your entire moving experience, including packing. Movers will cover the packing services you need and you won’t have to buy boxes or supplies beforehand.

Anticipate that companies offering full services will also require higher rates. However, just because a company offers full-service treatment, you can often customize your moving experience based on your needs. Options may differ based on the company, but companies like Mayflower or United Van Lines offer flexible full-service moving options.

Labor-Only Moving Companies

Labor-only companies offer a slightly different service than full-service companies. These companies don’t ship or transport your items, but they help load and unload, pack and unpack, carry items up or down stairs, and install appliances. With labor-only services, you can also expect to pay for your own boxes and other moving materials.

Office moving service packing boxes

At UniMovers, we offer a range of labor-only moving services at the same flat hourly rate. That means if you need help packing or moving or both, you’re guaranteed a fair price. On average, customers save 30-50% on their moving service fees when they choose UniMovers instead of full-service moving companies.

Should You Hire a Moving Company?

Moving to a new home can be an overwhelming task, especially when it comes to packing and unpacking your belongings. Hiring a moving company to handle these tasks for you can be a tempting solution, but is it the right choice? Let’s explore the pros and cons.


  • Convenience: Hiring a moving company to pack and unpack for you can save you a significant amount of time and effort. Professional movers are experienced in packing efficiently and can complete the job much faster than you might be able to on your own.
  • Reduced Stress: Moving can be a stressful experience, but hiring a moving company can help alleviate some of that stress. Knowing that your belongings are being packed and unpacked by professionals can give you peace of mind during the moving process.
  • Professional Packing: Professional movers have the skills and experience to pack your belongings safely and securely. They use high-quality packing materials to ensure that your items are protected during transit.
  • Insurance Coverage: Most moving companies offer insurance coverage for your belongings while they are in transit. This can provide added peace of mind knowing that your items are protected in case of damage or loss.
  • Customizable Services: Many moving companies offer customizable services, allowing you to choose which tasks you want them to handle. Whether you just need help with packing, unpacking, or both, you can tailor the services to fit your needs.


  • Cost: Hiring a moving company to pack and unpack for you can be an added expense. The cost will depend on the size of your home and the amount of belongings you have, but it can add up quickly.
  • Lack of Control: When you hire a moving company to pack and unpack for you, you are relinquishing some control over how your belongings are packed. While professional movers are trained to pack efficiently and safely, you may prefer to pack certain items yourself.
  • Risk of Damage: While professional movers are skilled at packing, there is still a risk of damage to your belongings during transit. Accidents can happen, so it’s important to choose a reputable moving company with a good track record.
  • Scheduling: Depending on the availability of the moving company, you may need to work around their schedule for packing and unpacking. This can be challenging if you have a tight timeline for your move.
  • Additional Fees: Some moving companies may charge additional fees for packing and unpacking services, such as for packing materials or for packing specialty items. It’s important to clarify the cost upfront to avoid any surprises. If you’re looking for a moving company without the additional fees, check out UniMovers.

Looking to move soon?

Check out UniMovers and save 30-50% on your move as compared with traditional moving!

Tips for Packing Your Boxes

Packing for a move does not have to be difficult. The most efficient way to pack is to plan ahead. Evaluate the items and furniture you need to move and buy boxes, regardless of whether you are packing by yourself or hiring a labor-only service. 

Before packing, plan to communicate with your movers if certain boxes contain fragile items or need to remain right side up. For extra precaution, write those notes on the box in marker. Remember to wrap your fragile items in newspapers, old t-shirts, or towels for protection.

Selecting Box Sizes

First, you’ll need to obtain boxes to store your items. Standard cardboard boxes can be bought at supply stores like Home Depot, Office Depot, or Lowe’s. Boxes and other moving materials may also be purchased at designated moving services like U-Haul, or even your local post office and the UPS Store. 

Cardboard packing boxes come in a variety of sizes, but often measure around the following dimensions: 

  • Small (16” x 12” x 12”) – great for storing books, DVDs, candles, or toiletries.
  • Medium (18” x 16” x 18”) – can hold small decorations or gadgets and apparel accessories like belts, hats, socks, ties, etc.
  • Large (18” x 18” x 24”) – ideal for carrying shoes, clothing, towels, small pillows, and bedding.
  • Extra-large (24” x 20” x 24”) – holds comforters, pillows, blankets, large coats, or kitchen appliances.
  • Specialty boxes – perfect for fragile or oddly shaped items like musical instruments, sports equipment, tall lamps, dish packs, or picture frames.
Woman with packed boxes

How Many Packing Boxes Do You Need?

To prepare for labor-only movers who will pack for you, purchase the appropriate number of boxes. The following chart provides an estimate of the number and size of boxes required to move. If you know you have more to pack than the average mover, consider moving up one column to be safe.

Box Size1-2 Rooms2-3 Rooms4-5 Rooms
Extra Large234

Whether you are packing by yourself or hiring a packing service, make sure you plan the packing just as thoroughly as you would plan the move itself. The most reliable way to pack successfully is to hire trained moving and storage professionals to pack your boxes for you. Remember that at the end of it all you need to unpack your things too. If this seems like one final headache, know that moving companies offer unpacking services as well.


When planning a move, deciding whether to pack your boxes yourself or hire help is a crucial consideration. Moving companies offer a range of services beyond just transportation, including packing and unpacking. If you’re wondering whether movers can pack your stuff, the answer is yes, sometimes.

Full-service moving companies provide comprehensive services, including packing, and typically supply all necessary materials. While these services come at a cost, they can be tailored to your needs. Labor-only moving companies, like UniMovers, offer packing services at a flat hourly rate, saving you money compared to full-service movers.

The decision to hire a moving company for packing and unpacking depends on various factors. Consider the convenience, reduced stress, professional packing, insurance coverage, and customizable services that movers offer. However, weigh these benefits against the costs, potential lack of control over packing, risk of damage, scheduling constraints, and additional fees.

Ultimately, whether you pack yourself or hire a moving company, planning is key. Select box sizes based on your needs, and estimate the number of boxes required using the provided chart. Whether you choose to pack yourself or opt for a packing service, ensure thorough planning to make your move as smooth as possible.

Shane Hoyle Profile Photo

I am from Sacramento, California and earned my BA in Literature from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California. I am currently enrolled in the English MA program at University of Oregon, researching forest management policy and environmental studies. In my free time I enjoy watching basketball, cooking, reading, gardening, and trying new hot sauces.