Bradley Pounds recently had the privilege of interviewing Mr. Hunter Armstrong from Blue Whale Moving and Storage. Moving can be an overwhelming experience, especially if it's your first time packing up an entire house. Mr. Armstrong recommends planning ahead and packing a couple of boxes a day in order to avoid a last-minute, sleepless night of packing the day before the move. He also discusses his favorite packing materials, the craziest thing he's ever had to move, and the proper way to pack up a kitchen. (Hint: you've been packing plates the wrong way all this time.)
Austin Home Moving Tips ft. Blue Whale Moving and Storage (Question 1)
Bradley Pounds: Hunter Armstrong from Blue Whale Moving and Storage, thank you so much. This is so helpful.
Hunter Armstrong: I’m very well, thank you. And yourself?
Bradley Pounds: Good! Listen, this is Bradley Pounds from Watters International Realty, and I wanted to thank you so much for taking a little bit of time. Our buyers have a burning question. We get this all of the time, Hunter. They want to know: How do you properly pack up a kitchen?
Hunter Armstrong: Sure! Packing, whether it’s a kitchen or any other area of your home, all boils down to density and weight. You want to select your box accordingly, and determine how to pack that box. So the denser the items are, the smaller the box you should use. And you should always try to put the densest items toward the bottom of the box.
Bradley Pounds: Tell me why that is. I’m interested.
Hunter Armstrong: That’s the case for a few reasons. In terms of selecting the box, it’s important because if you put very dense items in a big box, you’re not only going to make the box too heavy to safely move, you could also compromise the integrity of the box. When you’re talking about within a box, you want the denser items on the bottom. You don’t want those heavy pieces on top crushing the lighter, typically more delicate items on the bottom.
Bradley Pounds: Okay, so heavy on the bottom, and if you’re moving super dense items, then you need to keep it small and manageable.
Hunter Armstrong: Precisely.
Bradley Pounds: Okay. What else is important about packing up a kitchen?
Hunter Armstrong: When you’re talking specifically about a kitchen, you definitely want to use specialized boxes. What we use are called ‘Dish Packs,’ or ‘Dish Barrels.’ Again, you want to go density first. So typically you want to take your dishes, your plates, and those sort of things, wrap them up—use a lot of packing paper! We definitely recommend packing paper over bubble wrap or anything like that. The other trick that a lot of people don’t know or don’t do is you actually don’t want to stack your dishes. You don’t want to lie them flat and stack them up; you want to put them on edge, and put them into the box that way. Then as you go higher in the box, you move to things like your glasses, crystal, champagne flutes, etc., up near the top.
Bradley Pounds: Okay, so tell me what’s better about packing your plates that way. I had no idea that’s the way you’re supposed to do it!
Hunter Armstrong: Really, it’s just about making it stable and keeping the weight managed. So if you pack them all up on an edge, none of the dishes have the weight of the rest of the dishes on top of them, whereas if you pack them flat, the bottom dish has the weight of every single dish above it sitting down on top of it.
Bradley Pounds: Okay. So you throw that box around a couple times, and you might crack it just because of all the extra pressure. I totally get it! That’s so smart, Hunter. That’s why you’re here. Can you think of anything else that we should keep in mind whenever we go to pack up that kitchen?
Hunter Armstrong: You know, Mr. Pounds, I asked my lead packer that question this morning, just to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. When I asked her that exact same question, she said “Use a lot of paper.” You don’t need cell packs, which are those little cardboard inserts to separate glasses, or things like that. You don’t need bubble wrap. What you need to do is just use a lot of paper. The other thing she said is to make sure you seal the boxes well. That’s something that a lot of people overlook. Make sure you have good tape, and make sure you’re taping the tops closed well. Ultimately, these boxes are going to get stacked, be on a dolly, and they need to be able to hold out against the pressure of another box on top of them.
Bradley Pounds: Okay, so I feel like I have a really good idea now about how to do it. At the same time, if I don’t want to pack my kitchen up, or if I just don’t have time, could you guys pack for me?
Hunter Armstrong: Absolutely! We do offer packing as a service. We can come in and pack as little or as much as you want, whether that be just your kitchen, or just your books, or your entire house (including the garage)! Doesn’t have to be all or nothing—we’re happy to just come and do what you don’t want to do!
Bradley Pounds: Well, that’s fantastic. Mr. Hunter Armstrong from Blue Whale Moving and Storage, I want to thank you so much for giving us this great information. I feel so much more prepared for the big move now!
Hunter: Great! Absolutely. Happy to be here, and thank you very much for having me!
Austin Home Moving Tips ft. Blue Whale Moving and Storage (Question 2)
Bradley Pounds: Mr. Hunter Armstrong, from Blue Whale Moving and storage, how are you?
Hunter Armstrong: I’m doing great, Mr. Pounds, thank you so much.
Bradley Pounds: You’re so welcome. Listen, I appreciate you taking a little time out for me. I know you’re a busy guy. You’ve got a lot of moves going on this year. I have a big question for you. Since a lot of our clients end up moving themselves, for better or for worse, I want to know what is the most common mistake that you see people make when they try to pack and move themselves?
Hunter Armstrong: I would actually have two answers to this question. We see or hear about these two things with almost the frequency. One is a problem that people have when they hire movers as well, but especially when they try to it themselves, and that is waiting until the last minute. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people talk about their previous moves, and they try to pack on Friday and do the whole move on Saturday with the U-Haul. They were just completely and totally underwater on that. So that’s one, and the second is cutting corners on materials. I’m talking about not using packing paper, not having the appropriate boxes for what you’re trying to move, not using tape but just folding the lid on the box over—that really is a seductive way to think that you’re going to save yourself time, money, and energy. But it’s really going to cost you all of those things in the end, because of the additional difficulties that it will cause.
Bradley Pound: I’ve certainly moved myself before. Never again. I tell you, you will certainly be getting a call from me the next time. But I remember going to the truck rental place, and they’ve got a huge selection of expensive materials that are supposed to help you make sure your stuff is okay. One of those things that’s really expensive is bubble wrap, but I’ve heard that you’re not a fan of bubble wrap. You really like paper. Why is that?
Hunter Armstrong: We find that packing paper is not only more cost-effective, but also more versatile. Bubble wrap is good. It serves its purpose, certainly, but it is expensive and hard to fit into some shapes that you need it in. If you’re going to pack, say, a coffee mug, what you want to do is wrap the whole thing in some sort of cushioning, and then also get some cushioning inside. Doing that with bubble wrap is very challenging. You can get paper into whatever shape you need! Packing safely is all about filling voids. You want there to be no empty space whatsoever left in that box. Bubble wrap has a tendency to leave voids. Packing paper you can fill any crevice and corner that you need very easily.
Bradley Pound: Well, like I said, I would never attempt to move myself again, but for those folks who are dead-set on doing it, I think you’ve given us some really helpful tips. I’m sure they feel much more prepared to do that themselves. Mr. Hunter Armstrong from Blue Whale Moving and Storage, I can’t thank you enough for joining me.
Hunter Armstrong: Thank you so much for having me!
Austin Home Moving Tips ft. Blue Whale Moving and Storage (Question 3)
Bradley Pounds: Mr. Hunter Armstrong from Blue Whale Moving and Storage, thank you so much for joining me.
Hunter Armstrong: Mr. Pounds, thank you for having me.
Bradley Pounds: Listen, I’ve got a fun one for you this time. I want to know what’s the biggest, wackiest thing you’ve ever had to move?
Hunter Armstrong: So Blue Whale was founded in 1988. At that time, I was one year old, so I was not around for the biggest, craziest thing that we’ve ever moved. To my knowledge, the biggest, craziest thing we’ve ever moved was Anne Richard’s marble desk. The entire desk was made of marble, as I’m told. I don’t even know that I want to speculate how much that weighed, but we were the ones who got to move that, and that’s a mark of pride to us. If I’m going to talk about the biggest, craziest thing we’ve moved under my tenure—we had a client who purchased a table that’s probably 22 or 23 feet long, four feet wide, and was cut from the center of a tree trunk. I don’t know for sure, but if I had to guess, I’d say this table probably weighs 1,500 to 1,800 pounds. We had to take eight guys out there to even get it onto the truck. In terms of what I’ve seen moved myself, that’s the biggest and the craziest under my tenure.
Bradley Pounds: That’s a pretty great story. Mr. Hunter Armstrong, that was a fun one. Thank you so much!
Hunter Armstrong: Absolutely. Thank you.
Austin Home Moving Tips ft. Blue Whale Moving and Storage (Question 4)
Bradley Pounds: Mr. Hunter Armstrong from Blue Whale Moving and Storage, thanks so much for joining me.
Hunter Armstrong: Mr. Pounds, thank you very much for having me.
Bradley Pounds: Hey I’ve got a question for you. As we’re speaking, it’s the height of the sales season. We have so many buyers who are getting into new homes, and so many sellers that are moving onto that next chapter, I get sort of the sense that when it comes to moving and packing, some of them really don’t know where to start. Let’s say you’re moving out of a two-bedroom apartment to a larger property. If we just took the contract today, you’ve got 30 days to close as a seller or buyer. When do you start? What do you do first? If it were you, what would you do?
Hunter Armstrong: When do you start? What do you do first? You start yesterday, and the first thing you do is figure out your plan and start packing! There are a lot of reasons why moving is stressful. It is a huge disruption in your life and so on, but with regards to the actual move itself, I think that the majority of people who are moving are sleep deprived and have more on their plates than they’re prepared to handle. That’s because they’ve let the plan get away from them, and thought they could pack their whole home themselves in one day. It’s certainly doable, but it’s certainly not fun. My recommendation would be to go out tonight, get yourself some boxes, and start packing today. Pack about five boxes every night leading up to your move day. We all know that there’s stuff in your home that you don’t need to use for the next 30 days. Start with that. Get a few boxes packed every day. That way, by the time the move comes around, you’ll have extra time, and it won’t be such a big headache.
Bradley Pounds: So a little bit at a time. Keep it super manageable, and then you won’t have that big, staying up all night long, waiting on the moving truck the next morning, right?
Hunter Armstrong: Exactly.
Bradley Pounds: Okay. Mr. Hunter Armstrong from Blue Whale Moving and Storage, thank you so much. That’s super helpful.
Hunter Armstrong: Absolutely, sir. Thank you so much for having me.