Packing Supplies – How Many Do I Need for My Move?

Moving preparations are exhausting. First class San Francisco movers will do it instead of you.

What kind of packing material and how much do I need?

Either you’re using full service or labor-only movers you’re totally released from this irritating task. They’ll do an inspection and a precise estimate of your packing necessities. 

But what if you decide to undertake this moving adventure like a lonely pirate? Are you up to it? What if you end up with a lack of packing items a day before moving? Sounds scary, but no reason for panic. Your San Francisco packers & movers will let you precisely know what you need. 

Remember, it’s always better to have more than less

What determines how many packing supplies I need for moving?

Good planning = trouble-free move out

Available budget

How “deep” your wallet is and ” how far you can go”? If you’re hiring movers you have to keep in mind their service costs money. Plus packing supplies on the top of it. You can seriously reduce your expenses by finding boxes and other packing items for free. 

Fragile and bulky items

The more sensitive and unusual-shaped objects you have, the more preserving material you’ll need. If your load consists mostly of non-breakable items, clothes or so, less packing material is required. 

Relocating distance

The further you move, the better you’ll have to protect your belongings. That means you’ll need to provide more securing material to minimize transportation risk.

The season

Time of the year is important. Extra precaution is needed during winter. Additional load safety means extra packing materials. 

Calculate everything and consider all these facts! 

List of packing supplies for moving:

  • cardboard boxes
  • packing tape
  • packing paper
  • bubble wrap
  • padding material 
  • labels
  • markers
  • moving blankets
  • furniture covers
  • straps / rubber stretch
  • cleaning supplies 
  • trash bin
  • tools
Choose the right boxes to use loading space better.

Cardboard boxes

Before we get to the number of boxes you need, let’s see what kind of boxes there are. 

1) Small box in size 8 x8 x 8 or 16 x 12 x 12 inches. Appropriate for small gadgets, chargers, extensions, power cables, DVDs, and books mostly.

2) Medium box in size 18 x 16 x 18 inches. Perfect for packing clothes, towels, kitchenware, decorative glassware, and porcelain.

3) Large box with dimensions 18 x 18 x 24 inches. Pretty good for beddings, kitchen gadgets, and small appliances.

4) Extra large boxes measure 24 x 20 x 24 inches. Convenient for comforters, big pillows, etc.

5) Wardrobe boxes, don’t forget them too. Easy to assemble and good for hanging jackets, coats, suits, and dresses.

6) It will be smart to buy a couple of doc boxes. The same one commercial movers use for relocating offices. They are practical and with side handles.

7) Dish boxes with perfectly designed partitions for plates and glasses. 

8) Art, mirror, and screen shipping boxes. Narrow, in different sizes, 3 to 13 feet long (1-4m). Especially strengthened. Double-walled with break resistance to even 88 lbs (40kg). 

Congrats! You’re officially a boxing expert now!Stay a few more minutes with us. Your first class San Francisco movers are just about to teach you how to estimate the exact number of boxes you need. 👇

How many packing boxes do I need?

Remember, the more detailed your plan the more relaxing will your moving experience be.

Many will say that the best way to calculate the number of boxes is based on square footage. I guess that tells you nothing.

Your professional San Francisco movers prepared an easier approach for you. We created a chart to help you estimate your packing material.

Packing tape

After the boxes, the second most important item is packing tape. It’s a specially designed hard-duty tape, 2 inches wide and 360 inches long

We recommend you scotch 372 packing tape for 15 to 40 lbs package weight. For over 40 lbs of weight, scotch 375 packing tape.

One roll of packing tape is enough to pack up 5 boxes of an average length of 22 inches.

Assuming that you use three stripes to secure a box. Two along the bottom gap. One straight and one diagonal, and one more stripe over the top of the box.

If you fully load every box,  the number is a bit different. If you decide to secure every heavier box additionally with a so-called H Stitch (one over the box-bottom gap and two on bottom edges) you’ll probably manage to cover only 4 boxes.

So total number of boxes times 4-5 tape pieces and you’ll determine your number.

Tape dispenser

Doesn’t go apart from the tape. Makes jobs easier, safer, and faster.  We highly recommend you to buy two of them if you use two different types of packing tape.

Packing paper

Be eco-friendly. Less plastic, more paper

There are many discussions on the subject paper vs bubble wrap. We will present you with the pros and cons for both and let you decide for yourself. Packing paper is not real breakage protection. It can save glassware and ceramic against scratches and small damages. Since it’s a very cheap option you can double it up and combine it with packing peanuts.

This is how you’re gonna get a really high level of protection even against cracking. Very practical, easy to handle, and unlike bubble wrap, doesn’t require the use of tape.

A one-bedroom apartment can be managed with one package, 2-3 bedrooms with 2 packages. 

One box contains 200 sheets of paper, each sheet 24 x 30 inches (50 x 75 cm). There are sets with 500 sheets too.

Bubble wrap

Use biodegradable bubble wrap.

There are more fans of bubble wrap out there, but is it really a better option than paper? Well, it’s certainly better for minimizing the breakage risk, but the eco-friendly community will not agree with you on this. The biodegradable kind of wrapping doesn’t break down in nature as fast as recycling packing paper. The main lack: it just takes too much box space. On the other hand, it can be reused.

If you live alone 53 square feet (5 square m) is more than enough. For 2-3 bedroom apartments 75-160 square feet (7-15 square m) rolls. For passionate china or crystalware collectors, you’ll probably need even more. 

Bubble bags are the best option for artworks and mirrors. It’s possible to fit more than one painting in each bag.

Padding material

The most commonly used are packing peanuts. Easy to apply. You just need to throw them in the box. The main purpose is to fill up an empty space in a box. To buffer shock and prevent items in the box from shifting when transported. 

The great advantage is that you can find totally biodegradable ones. Made of potato and corn starch, anti-static, dissolves in water. So organic, even edible. You can literally eat them. Not too tasty. 

The most commonly used bags are the ones with 1,5 cubic feet of peanuts in them, but you can find bigger packages.

Use the table below for better planning: 

Creating this table we presumed that you leave a minimum of free space when placing objects in a box. 

Don’t forget that you’ll NOT have to use peanuts for every box, but just the ones with sensitive items in it. These are mostly medium, some small, and, in rare cases, large boxes.

The number of packing peanuts bags will depend on the number of decorative and fragile items you possess.

Try always to fill the box with more than one item, if possible. Less shifting and you can save some peanuts.

Other padding items

If you made a wrong judgment on the exact amount of peanuts, no worries. You can always use soft clothes, socks, or even pillows as a substitute.  

Packing labels

Label properly to avoid chaos

There is a huge variety of labels. 

Sticky labels with already written names of household rooms. One kit is enough for a 1-2 bedroom apartment/house, and 3 kits for a 3 bedroom home or more. They are cheap, 1 x 3 inches (2,5 x 7cm) in size and don’t require the use of markers. But not our favorite.

Your professional San Francisco packers and movers recommend blank labels much bigger in size (around A4 paper format). Easy readability and you can write down all important information. Name of the item, destination, room, and even who packed it. Write down the serial number of the box. It’s good to know how many boxes in total there are. 

The cheaper option is just using blank copy paper for labeling.


There is no good organization without our colorful friends.

One set of markers will be sufficient for labeling any household no matter how big it is.

Moving blankets/furniture pads

The amount of blankets you need depends on the number of items you want to protect and their size. 

They are used for the wardrobe, cupboard, dining and work tables, bookcases. For each object one blanket. 

The frequently used one is 68 X 85 inches, which is more than a queen-size mattress

To prevent the blanket from slipping, wrap it around with plastic wrap after you cover your stuff.  

Protect your expensive items from scratching

If you don’t want to spend money buying pads you can rent them from an affordable mover near you. Moving truck companies offer a lease of furniture pads.

Furniture covers

Furniture covers are basically plastic wraps designed for specific furniture. Good for coating mattresses and protecting them from dirt during transport. 

As mentioned above also for securing moving blankets and tightening the cardboard boxes.

Studio and one-bedroom property 1 roll, 2-3 bedrooms around two rolls.

Moving straps

They have the same purpose as a plastic wrap to moving blankets. You can also use them to attach bulky items for the moving truck. This is how you prevent them from moving inside of the trailer and damaging other stuff around. Around two pieces of rubber straps per object (wardrobe, cupboard, table, sofa…).

Cleaning supplies and trash bins

Stay neat while packing and leave your old home clean and tidy

When moving and packing you reveal and leave a lot of dirt around. It’s good to have cleaning supplies close to you so you can remove any dirt on the spot. 

For 2-3 bedroom houses/apartments we suggest you prepare two big garbage bins. One inside and one outside of a home for decluttering. 

You can rent a big container at the closest garbage removal service.


No moving without tools. Always have a small set with a screwdriver, pliers, scalpel, scissors. Of course, don’t forget your best friends, MOVING DOLLIES.

Save your back and health. Use a dolly

Moving dollies must be operated with a lot of precautions regarding your own safety.

  • One moving dolly is enough unless you have an “army” of motivated helpers. 
  • There are very cheap versions of the special, expensive ones. Depends on your needs.
  • If you don’t want to buy it you can always rent it from packers and movers near you. 
  • Not everybody feels confident about using dollies for bulky items. If you don’t know how to handle your furniture but you don’t want full-service movers, that’s fine. 
  • You can always hire our motivated San Francisco furniture movers. They will easily disassemble or reassemble any furniture for you.

If you have any unanswered questions regarding this topic or we missed something, let us know. 

You’ve recently moved and you think that some part of our estimate hasn’t matched your experience. We can’t wait to hear your suggestions.