-Getting up early to beat the 6 a.m. box crusher at the grocery store might seem like an economical way to save money on moving expenses, until you pick up a box full of freshly packed items and the box tears, spilling the contents on your foot. “Using the right box and other packing materials is going to save a lot of stress, aggravation, and broken items,” said Rick Runnells, owner of River Road Mini Storage in Paso Robles.

Runnels explains the role of packing materials and why each type is important.. “We want to be sure that items we are packing and storing are not damaged,” said Runnells. “Packing materials from the box to tape are more important than many realize.”

One of the first things we do when we know we are moving is call for lots and lots of boxes. Next we start stockpiling newspapers, magazines and bubble wrap. How often, do we think about what we actually need and why?

The right boxes for the purpose

The first thing about packing boxes is that they must be sturdy enough to hold their contents without collapsing or tearing. The second thing is using the right-sized box, or even a specialty box such as those designed for wardrobes, glassware, dishes and archival boxes for valuable antiques.

When choosing sizes of packing boxes keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Boxes must be easy for one person, who is not a weight lifter, to pick up and carry when they’re full. A jumbo box that holds a ton of stuff is not the best choice if you need help wrestling it into the truck.
  • Pack light. This means choosing smaller boxes for heavier items and packing fewer items per box. Books are a good example. Pack the number of books per box that you can easily pick up and carry.
  • A box must be sturdy enough to support the weight of its contents. It’s annoying to pick up a box that rips open because the contents are too heavy.

“Remember to stack boxes with the heaviest contents at the bottom” said the Paso Robles self storage facility manager.

Paper, bubble wrap and more

Protective packing materials such as bubble wrap, paper or peanuts serve two purposes:

  • Protect fragile items
  • Fill in empty spaces around the packed contents to prevent shifting

Even items like pots and pans need to be stabilized inside the box. Why? If the empty spaces are not filled, the contents can shift. Picking up a box with shifting contents can actually throw someone off balance or cause the box to tear and spill the contents.

When filling a box with protective materials, pack in layers so that there are protective layers on the bottom, top and sides. Make sure all cavities are filled. When the box is closed the protective material compresses and creates a solidly packed box that is less like to collapse from the weight of another box or tear due to shifting contents.


It’s a common practice to fold in the flaps of boxes instead of using packing tape. Not a good idea because it’s too easy for the bottom of the box to open spill contents. Packing tape adds a level of strength that makes picking up and moving boxes safer.

Tape the bottom of the box first and use enough tape to strengthen and seal all the edges. When the box is full tape the top in the same manner..

Sealing edges helps prevent dust from getting into the contents and also helps prevent bug invasions. Dust and bugs can get into just about anything and no one wants to find a spider crawling up their arm.

Markers and labels

Have plenty of permanent black ink markers on hand to identify the contents of the boxes. Consider buying special “Fragile,” and “Electronics,” labels. These labels are very obvious and promote safe handling.

River Road Mini Storage, the Paso Robles self storage facility, has been serving the storage needs of the community since 1984. Conveniently located, the facility offers storage units for all needs plus highly-secure perimeter fencing, security lighting, monitored cameras and personal gate code access.

When in need of storage, turn to the experts at River Road Mini Storage where the staff is dedicated to making the needs of their customers a top priority.

River Road Mini Storage
1631 North River Road
Paso Robles, CA 93446
(805) 239-4333