How to pack your outdoor items
Some of your favorite belongings are in the backyard. You’ve hosted numerous swimming parties in that turquoise-watered pool. The kids have enjoyed many laughs on the trampoline and slide. And some of the tastiest burgers were cooked on that grill. But now it’s time to move and enjoy them in a new backyard. What’s the best way to pack these outside items so that they stay in good shape for years to come? Use the packing steps below to help ensure your outdoor equipment is safe during a long-distance move.
Helpful tips before you start
Before packing, here are some useful tips to think about:
- Consider if it’s worth moving. Some outdoor items may not be worth moving. For example, transporting a large shed or pergola could be costly. Or, you may not want to take worn-out patio furniture that you won’t use at your new home. Whatever the case, make sure it’s worth moving and that there’s space for it at your new location.
- Inspect for pests. It’s never a good thing to have small critters or pests crawling on items that will be loaded with other household goods. But, if you’re moving to or through certain areas with a gypsy moth quarantine, complying with federal regulations regarding gypsy moths and their eggs is mandatory. Depending on where you’re moving from and to, you may be required to fill out an inspection form. Learn more about gypsy moths and how to check for them.
- Take pictures. A good rule of thumb is to take pictures of anything before disassembly. This way, you’ll know which pieces connect when putting it back together.
- Consult the user manual. Swing sets, pools, grills, trampolines, etc., aren’t everyday items that most people are familiar with putting together and taking apart. Consulting the user manual can be very helpful.
- Bag small parts together. Be sure to keep all screws, nuts, bolts and other small pieces together in a zip top bag, then pack them together in a box, labeling each bag, so you know which parts go where.
- Ask for help. Most yard equipment is large and heavy. Ask friends or family for assistance with loading these items.
Grab these supplies
Moving large, heavy and awkwardly-shaped equipment can require special packaging. Here are the basic necessities:
- Moving boxes (use original boxes when possible)
- Packing paper
- Plastic wrap
- Furniture paper padding
- Bubble Wrap®
- Moving blankets
- Packing tape
- Rope and ratchet straps
Ready to start packing your outdoor equipment? Carefully follow these steps:
Swing sets, trampolines and basketball goals
Packing swings, trampolines, portable basketball goals and other similar items is pretty simple. Just carefully disassemble each piece, and then wrap it appropriately to prevent damage. Here are some specifics to remember:
- Swing sets — Disconnect any swings, slides, ladders, monkey bars, rock climbing walls and other parts from the main structure. Put the swings in a separate box to prevent the chains from tangling. Then, wrap each part in plastic wrap to prevent scratches and other damage.
- Trampolines — Remove safety nets and all padding, and pack in a box. Unhook the springs, strings, bolts, nuts and other parts. Once the springs are detached, remove the legs and cover in plastic wrap. Box all parts, and fill empty spaces with packing paper to prevent shifting.
- Portable basketball goals — Start by detaching the backboard and rim from the pole and wrap them in Bubble Wrap. Then, remove the pole from the base, and empty the base of its water or sand. Cover all pieces in plastic wrap, and place the backboard and rim in a box.
Swimming pools and hot tubs
Because of their weight and shape, above-ground pools and patio spas may be items you choose not to move. But if you decide to take them, the first thing to do is check the building codes in your new location, and make sure they’re allowed. Then, follow these steps:
Moving a hot tub
- Unplug the whirlpool, and then drain it, drying off excess water.
- Wrap parts like the heater, blower, electrical units, pump and other removable parts in packing paper, and place in a box.
- Wrap the entire tub in plastic wrap to prevent scratches and other damage.
- Have at least 3-6 people ready to help move it, and use at least two dollies. Depending on the path you’re navigating, you may have to turn the hot tub on its side to fit it down stairs or through a narrow gateway.
Moving an above-ground pool
Taking down and moving a swimming pool is possible, but there are quite a few steps involved. We recommend reading this post on safely transporting an above-ground pool to get started.
Packing patio furniture is a lot like packing indoor furniture. Follow these steps:
- Make sure the furniture is clean and free of bugs and dirt. If anything gets washed off, make sure it’s completely dry before packing it.
- Remove all cushions and pillows and box them.
- Disassemble tables and chairs, removing the legs and arms and wrapping them separately. If the legs and arms aren’t detachable, wrap them carefully in paper padding, and then cover the entire piece with a moving blanket, securing the blanket with packing tape. Keep fasteners in a zip top bag (and label the bag so you can put things back together). If tabletops are made of glass, be sure to wrap it in paper padding, and then Bubble Wrap for additional protection. Again, secure the packing material with tape so it doesn’t fall off. Then, slide the table top into a box, filling empty space with crumpled paper.
- If you have a patio umbrella, make sure it’s closed, and then cover it in plastic wrap to keep it from opening and getting ripped.
Grills are pretty simple to pack — be sure it’s completely cooled off before handling it. Start by:
- Cleaning off any grease, food crumbs, etc.
- Then, remove the propane tank or charcoal briquettes. Commercial movers (including U-Pack®) cannot transport any flammable or combustible substances, and it’s also unsafe to have them in your own vehicle for long periods.
- Separately wrap any utensils, shelves, side burners and racks in packing paper, and place them in a box.
- Fasten the grill lid with a zip tie, and wrap the entire grill in paper padding or a moving blanket. Use tape to secure the packing material, but be careful not to tape directly to the item.
Lawnmowers and yard tools
Lawnmowers, weed trimmers, chainsaws and other yard tools are usually costly investments. They also present moving dangers if not correctly packed. To safely transport lawnmowers, weed trimmers and similar items, follow these steps:
- If the equipment is fuel-powered, make sure all fluids are drained into the appropriate containers.
- Wash off grass clippings and mud.
- Remove the blades, and cautiously wrap them in Bubble Wrap before placing into a box.
- Disconnect spark plugs.
- Roll or push the mower into the moving equipment, and brace the wheels into place with wooden or cement blocks. Secure the mower with ratchet straps or rope.
- For extra protection, you may also want to cover the equipment with a moving blanket.
How to move garden tools like rakes, shovels, brooms, etc.:
- Remove all dirt.
- Bundle the tools together with a rope or zip tie.
- Wrap the bundle in paper padding or a moving blanket.
- Secure with tape.
- Wrap smaller garden tools with packing paper, and then place together in a box.
If you have any questions about packing your outdoor items, leave a comment below. We’re happy to help!
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