Home / Categories / Moving Tips / How to Prevent Damage during a Move

How to Prevent Damage during a Move

March 12th, 2018 - 8:57 AM

Take steps to prevent moving damage

Even the best-laid plans can have bumps in the road. From nicking a door frame while carrying out furniture to dropping a lamp, accidents can happen when you least expect them. However, with some preventive steps, you can add an extra layer of protection on moving day. There are three main areas to consider: your home, your belongings and yourself.  

Prevent damage during a move

Protect your home

Whether the goal is to sell your house or simply get your deposit back, it’s important to avoid causing damage while you’re moving out. Small dings can add up, but the good news is they’re easily preventable. Here are the common trouble areas to pay attention to:


Learn how to protect each type of flooring, and also follow these steps:

  • Cover the walkway. Any areas that will get heavy foot traffic should be covered. Non-slip plastic sheeting and carpet film are usually the best options, but you can also use flattened cardboard boxes  (secured so you don’t slip).
  • Keep cleaning products handy. Set aside cleaning items to be loaded last so you’ll have then on-hand in the event of a scuff or spill. It’s also a good idea to keep the mop and vacuum out so you can clean once more after loading is complete.


The walls in open areas are likely pretty safe (just use caution moving furniture), but hallways, stairwells and other small spaces are higher risk.

  • Cover small spaces. Protect corridors and other narrow spaces with spare cardboard, using painter’s tape to hold them in place.
  • Use care when navigating corners. Have a plan in place for turning corners with larger items. If it’s a tight fit, drape a moving blanket over the item when carrying it to prevent corners from scraping the walls.

Door jambs

Trim is susceptible to scuffs when items are carried through doorways.  

  • Cover door frames. Use cardboard, moving blankets, professional door jamb covers or even foam pool noodles (cut in half) to prevent scratches.

Bannisters and Railings

These items are often found in tight spaces, like stairways, which means some tight furniture maneuvers.

  • Protect fragile spindles. Cover thin or intricate posts with Bubble Wrap® in case they get bumped.
  • Cover railings. Drape a moving blanket over handrails to protect the finish.

Protect your belongings

With proper packing you can help keep items safe in transit — using quality moving supplies is highly recommended. Check out the U-Pack Box Store for a variety of boxes and supplies.

Professional moving boxes

It’s best to use new, high-quality boxes. Though found or re-used boxes can be less expensive, the quality can be reduced after repeated use, causing them to crush or break down more easily.  

  • Get a variety of boxes. Items are less likely to shift inside the box when they fit well. So, it’s a good idea to have a variety of boxes on hand.
  • Order specialty boxes. If you’re moving things like lamps, a large television or hanging clothes, you may want to consider boxes made just for specialty items, such as lamp boxes, wardrobe boxes and TV boxes.

Packing supplies

These items are designed to protect your belongings, so have plenty on hand when packing.

Fragile items

Here are some tips for how to protect things like dishes, picture frames and other breakables:

  • Use kitchen boxes. Divided dish pack boxes work well for cups, glasses, stemware and small knick-knacks. Wrap them well in packing paper or Bubble Wrap® and then keep them separate in the divided partitions.
  • Wrap in plenty of packing material. If items are too big to pack into a dish box, make sure to wrap them well and secure the wrapping material with packing tape. Fill boxes completely and use crumpled packing paper to keep items from shifting inside the box.


How you protect furniture depends on the finish. Wood and leather furniture should be wrapped in paper padding or furniture pads before covering in plastic wrap — otherwise condensation can collect under the stretch wrap and cause damage. Upholstered furniture doesn’t sweat like wooden and leather furniture, so stretch wrap is normally the best option to protect from dust.

  • Measure items. Before picking up heavy items, measure them to ensure they fit through doorways and other small areas.
  • Wrap them. Protect furniture using the recommended packing material, paying close attention to corners and other areas that could potentially be damaged.
  • Dismantle furniture, if possible. Remove legs from the couch, take the mirror off a dresser and remove any parts that could be damaged when loading, unloading or during transit. Protect the smaller parts by wrapping them in packing material.

The moving service

The most important step to take as you prepare for moving day may be finding the right moving company. It’s important to choose one with a great safety record and tracking capabilities — giving you the assurance that it’s being handled correctly and helping you keep track of it along the way. Also look for services that offer tie-down points inside the equipment (some call it “logistics tracking”) so that you can secure your belongings as you load.

U-Pack® fits the bill. Our transportation partner ABF Freight® is the only seven-time recipient of the ATA Excellence in Claims and Loss Prevention Award, offering the peace-of-mind that comes with knowing your belongings are traveling safely. We also offer online shipment tracking so you can see the status of your shipment along the way. Get a free moving quote to see how much your move would cost with U-Pack!

Protect yourself

Heavy items, repetitive motion and long days can spell trouble. Take breaks when you need them, and consider following these safety tips:

Take care when lifting

According to Occupational Health and Safety, back injuries can occur from lifting, pulling, pushing or carrying heavy items.

  • Lift properly. Practice proper box lifting technique — bending at the knees and not at the waist.
  • Keep boxes to a manageable weight. We recommend keeping box weight under 40 lbs. This makes them easier to lift and carry. If items are heavier, use a partner or a moving dolly.

Watch your hands and feet

  • Check for trouble spots. Make note of areas where you could slip or trip, like thresholds or steps. Consider building a temporary ramp over entryway steps or using caution tape on thresholds to alert everyone that they’re there.
  • Wear supportive footwear. While it may be tempting to go casual in flip flops, instead wear supportive, closed-toe shoes (steel-toe shoes are ideal). Stubbing your toe or dropping things on your feet could put a damper on moving day.
  • Wear gloves. Protect your hands from cuts and pinching by wearing gloves. Look for work gloves with padding on the knuckles.

Don’t wear yourself out

No matter what size home you have, moving can be tiring. Help yourself stay well during the process by following some of these tips:

  • Rest up. Don’t stay up late packing the night before moving day. Get plenty of sleep so you’re rested and ready to go.
  • Eat well and hydrate. Don’t get too busy to refuel! Check out our list of foods to eat on moving day, and don’t forget to drink plenty of water.

Get moving!

For a DIY move, it’s up to you to take steps to protect your home and belongings. Even if you’re hiring movers to pack, load or unload, it’s best to be aware of your surroundings and prepare accordingly (and go over the terms of your contract ahead of time). Have questions about things you can do to help prevent damage while you’re moving? Let us know! We’re always happy to help.