So many movers post generic tables outlining the number of boxes you should have on a given move. Yes it is nice to have some kind of idea when heading out to purchase/find your moving boxes but the education shouldn't necessarily be in quantities but in the different uses for the boxes required for a safe and proper pack. I want to add that if you are hiring any kind of professional mover, they should carry the necessities. Talk to your mover before going out to the store because many will offer delivery and can provide you with great advice on what to get and how to use them.
Lets do a review of the basic cartons/boxes required for a move and what they are used for. I will do my best to give you some insight as well into how many of these boxes you will need.
Plastic Boxes these are fantastic but you need to know how to use them. We recommend that you rent these from Frogbox.com. We do not recommend packing fragile items in these boxes. When packing fragile items, you should line the bottom, sides and tops with newsprint or some other kind of material that is absorbant. These boxes aren't always big enough to make good use of that material. We recommend China Boxes (also known as Dish Barrels, DishPacks or China Cartons). China boxes are double lined cardboard cartons that every professional mover will use when packing your fragile items. Frogbox sells their plastic moving boxes in bundles and I would recommend going with more rather than less of what they recommend. There is no greater cost to moving than loading and unloading unpacked goods. Having enough of these boxes will help you deal with the loose stuff you have around your home.
Small, 2 cubic feet or 3 cubic feet boxes are used for generally the same items. Usually heavier more dense items that are smaller in size. I don't really need to elaborate on this. Just use the small and heavy descriptors as your guide here. If your 2 or 3 cubic foot box gets really heavy, label the box as heavy. Your friends or local movers will be very appreciative!
4 and 5 cubic foot boxes are for the opposite of your 2 and 3's. They are for light and larger items like kids toys, linens, towels, clothing, etc. Do your best to make sure you tape your boxes well. You'll find in any professional moving companies documentation that they do not provide coverage for any OPC or owner packed cartons.
Wardrobes are great for your hanging clothing. Just remember that you can fit two feet of closet space in each large wardrobe. There are also laydown wardrobes and other variations that are great for long distance moving.
Mirror Cartons and TV boxes are essential for your televisions, artwork, mirrors and glass. Beware of your mover wanting to wrap everything in moving blankets. Cutting corners like this will only result in the greater potential for damage. When you are moving locally, some of these items are find to be packed in mirror cartons. When moving long distance, you may be required to get your items crated for safe transportation.
Don't be afraid to ask your moving company for help! That is what they are there for. Your moving coordinators or moving consultants should be able to provide you with sound advice and the proper material to properly pack your home for your movers. The number one reason why a move will go long is a homeowner not being ready for the move. Pack well and take the time to organize your home before moving day. I promise it will reduce the cost of your move!