How to Pack a Moving Truck

Whether you’re packing your own truck or having professional movers do the heavy lifting for you, it’s important to know how to pack a moving truck property.

Take it from the experts — if you follow these steps, you’ll be in good shape:

How to Pack a Moving Truck

Not every pack is going to be exactly the same. A dorm room with a handful of boxes and a mini-fridge won’t go into the truck the same way a six-bedroom house full of antique furniture would. But if you follow these basic general steps for loading a truck, you can maximize your available space while ensuring the safety of all the items on the truck.

Building the “Wall”

Start with the dressers. This is the most important thing to know about how to pack a moving truck. If the dressers are inaccessible because of boxes or other items, run those items down to the truck and load them. In most cases, you don’t want to have to lift anything twice. Once the dressers are ready to go, securely wrap them in blankets and tape the blankets to the dressers.

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Trucks may change, but the best way to pack them remains the same. (Photo by Jnewengland (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons)

These dressers are your “base.” We call them that because they comprise the “base” of your walls. These are generally the sturdiest furniture items most people own. Position them along the back wall of the truck and make sure the drawers won’t move in and out when driving. (A note on drawers — some people may want to remove them from to make a dresser lighter. While a drawer-less dresser certainly weighs less, you should put them back in the dresser once it’s in the truck. Loose, empty drawers can create difficulties when packing. And, naturally, the dresser they were made for is the safest place for them to travel.)

On top of your dressers and other base, you’ll put the boxes, heaviest first. At this point, your wall, from bottom to top, should have dressers, then heavy boxes, then medium boxes, then light and/or fragile boxes.


Some movers like to wait until the end of the move to deal with chairs because they have an awkward shape. We always recommend that, if possible, you should put them in the wall. You can save yourself a headache later on.

Boston Movers - How to Pack a truck - Chair

Chairs are some of the more difficult household items to pack in a moving truck. (Photo by Stuart Mudie (Flickr: The throne room) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons)

About three quarters of the way to the top of the truck, grab two dining chairs, drape them with pads, and place them inside each other on top of the boxes. Repeat this with as many chairs as you can, and then use the leftover space for small bags, pillows, oddly shaped items, and other “random stuff.”

Checking your Progress

Make sure you’re using stable base that can support the weight of the boxes. There should be no exposed wood. If you see it, drape a pad over it. Be sure to put “random stuff” like pillows or bags or oddly shaped items in the top of your walls. This will make your life easier once you’re dealing with the back of the truck.

Overall, the more walls you can build, the better. Items like chairs end up being a real pain to deal with at the end of the job. You’ll save yourself some aggravation by ensuring that they make it into your walls.

The “Flat” Wall

After your walls are built, it will be time to move beds, disassembled tables, pictures, and mirrors. Start with your largest set of box springs, and place them up against the last wall you built. Then, place large flat items such as headboards or disassembled table tops against it. Make sure to drape everything at a minimum, and it’s much better you can securely wrap all items in blankets.

Keeping the wall as flat as possible, load wrapped picture frames, headboards and foot-boards against the box spring. Close off the flats with a mattress. Tighten the mattress against the flats with a ratchet strap. You’ve now ratcheted off the walls. Good job!

Couching the Couches

This is the trickiest part of how to pack a moving truck. After you’ve finished with the flats, you’ll want couches and upholstered chairs. Start with the biggest of these items, which is most likely your couch. You’ll want to have it facing the mattress, snugly fit up against it. This creates a bay into which you can put other awkwardly-shaped items that didn’t make it into the wall. As long as you’ve protected your couch and mattress, you can use this space for things like air conditioners, stools, kids’ toys, and whatever else might fit.

Flat screen televisions should be pad-wrapped and placed against the side wall of the truck. Place extra pads or cushions should be placed between the TV and wall to fill in any negative space. Then ratchet the TV tight to the wall. Be careful to put enough pads in between the screen and the truck wall; you don’t want the TV to be at an angle and stress the stand.

Finishing Touches

Almost there! At this point you can put miscellaneous yard furniture or other outside items in any open spaces at the end of the truck. But be careful not put anything up against upholstery or wood.

Lamps can sometimes sit nicely in a pad inside one of the couches. Other times it may make more sense to use bungee cords to secure them to the wall. Either way, make sure nothing in the truck wants to move or has space to do so while the truck is in motion.

Once you’ve secure and protected all your items, you can close the back of the truck and drive to your new home!

Not interested in learning how to pack a moving truck? Hire Boston’s Best Movers today!

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