Your chances for a damage-free move are much greater when you let movers do the packing. They're experienced and they use only the best moving boxes and packing supplies. However, you can save a lot of money if you do the bulk of the packing, though you should limit yourself only to highly replaceable and non-fragile items such as books, linens, clothing, etc. Keep in mind that the movers are not liable for the items they didn't pack, however, these items will be cheaper to replace in case of damage as opposed to hiring workers and purchasing their supplies. Let the movers pack your furniture, mattresses, and heavy appliances.
Purchase the proper moving boxes. Wardrobe boxes save you valuable ironing time later on. Although you can pack t-shirts and jeans in suitcases and regular boxes, you don't want to pack your fine clothing such as suits or dresses in the same place. Mattress cartons protect your mattresses from filth, grease, and rips and tears during the transit. Padded dish boxes with dividers help protect your fine china. For your replaceable and non-fragile items, you can save money by obtaining free boxes from the supermarket and wrapping the items in old newspaper.
Take the time to pack your items carefully, especially if you are packing your fragile items on your own. It is recommended that you purchase the professional packing supplies for these items. However if you use regular boxes, it is important that you buffer and separate the fragile items with plenty of old newspaper, bubble wrap, sheets, blankets, pillows, or towels. Fill in empty spaces to minimize movement during transit. Wrap each item separately. Pack plates and glass objects vertically, rather than flat and stacked. Fully secure the bottoms to prevent fallout.
The heavier the items, the smaller the boxit should occupy. Don't toss everything into one huge box. It will make the hauling much more difficult. Keep the weight of each box under 50 pounds. Remember to lift with your knees, not your back.
You should never let the movers pack your jewelry, family heirlooms, hobby collections, or other priceless items. Should they be lost or damaged, the insurable value will not come anywhere close to the value you would place on them. Pack very personal items yourself and take them with you, either in the car or as carry-on luggage if the size allows.
Do not pack hazardous materials. These items include: paint, thinners, solvents, oils, varnishes, firearms and ammunition, bottled gas, propane, lamp oil, anything flammable, explosive, or corrosive, motor fuels and oils, nail polish remover, bleach and aerosol cans. Also note that spilled sesame oil leaves a terrible stench.