Moving your stuff to Hawaii isn’t quite like moving it to another neighborhood—or even to another state. When you move to Hawaii, your belongings will travel about 2,500 miles by boat across the Pacific Ocean. Wind, waves, and the natural movement of the boat means that your container—and everything inside!—will be subject to a lot of different forces.
That’s why it’s so important to pack your items right. After three decades of moving people to Hawaii, we know exactly how to pack a house. To help you do your DIY move right, we’ll give you our top packing tips so your stuff arrives safely in paradise.
Tip #1: Start with the Right Materials
If you take just one piece of our advice, make it this one. The right packing materials make all the difference when it comes to your Hawaii move. Make sure you:
Invest in New Boxes
It’s tempting to go to a liquor store and grab their leftovers—or reuse boxes you’ve been keeping around. (Especially if you’re on a budget!) However, every time you use a box, its structural integrity weakens. As a result, reused boxes are more likely to cave in, and that’s no good for everything inside. Protect your goods for their journey and secure new boxes from your moving company, a hardware store, or a mail and shipping store.
Rely on Packing Paper
This is one of our pros’ big secrets. Packing paper is essentially unprinted newsprint. In other words, it’s like using newspapers, but there’s no ink to rub off on your stuff. It’s also cheap and versatile for protecting all kinds of items.
You’ll find packing paper at hardware stores or office supply stores. You also might be able to purchase a supply wherever you get your boxes.
#2: What to Know About Packing Books
You’ll find a lot of different opinions when it comes to packing books. One thing is for sure: Because your items will be in transit for a couple of weeks, don’t pack your books carelessly because you could damage them permanently.
To give you some more guidance, we’ve got three don’ts for you:
DON'T: Pack books at an angle
Don’t leave them in a bent position, either. Your books will sit in their box for a few weeks exactly how you pack them, so they may never return to their original shape if you leave them in an awkward position.
DON’T: Pack books with the spines up and the pages down toward the bottom of the box
This is especially true with paperbacks. Your books may end up bent this way. Instead, pack them spine down in a single row or stand them up as though they’re sitting on a bookshelf.
DON'T: Leave any empty spaces
Your books will slide around. Instead, crumple up some packing paper to fill those gaps and keep everything in place.
#3: The Secret Formula for Well-Packed Kitchen Boxes
Your kitchen can be a tough room to pack. There are a lot of fragile items that require a lot of care.
Our most important tip for your kitchen? You can never use too much packing paper! Be liberal with it, and it will cushion your items for transit.
Plus, we’ll even share our secret formula for a perfectly packed kitchen box:
Pack Your Kitchen Boxes in 6 Easy Steps
Start with a cushion of crumpled packing paper at the bottom of the box.
Wrap each item in more packing paper.
Stuff any gaps between items with more crumpled paper so everything is nice and secure.
Fill the box as much as you can without forcing anything. This will reinforce the box and keep it from crushing.
Create a cushion at the top with another layer of crumpled packing paper.
Secure, tape and label!
#4: An Important Note About Your Foam Mattress
We know mattresses are expensive, so a lot of people want to take them to Hawaii. However, there’s one big mistake we’ve seen people make that can easily ruin your foam mattress.
Don’t store a foam mattress on its side in your container. Instead, lay it flat, ideally on the top of everything else so it doesn’t get squished by your other belongings. If you store it on its side, it can lose its shape, and it may never get it back.
#5: Balance Is Key
When it comes to your mattress and the other furniture you might be moving to Hawaii, consider their position in your container carefully. It can be tempting to pack everything in order with everything from each room together. However, that can create an unbalanced container with a bunch of heavy stuff on one end and a bunch of light stuff on the other. Ultimately, that means your belongings might shift in transit and end up damaged.
Instead, as you’re packing your bigger and heavier items, think in terms of creating a balanced load. Distribute weight evenly throughout the container, and you’ll reduce the possibility of your belongings shifting during transit.
#6: Two Tips for Moving Appliances
We’ve seen customers bring all kinds of things to Hawaii—even appliances, especially newly purchased ones. If this is what you’re doing, two things to know:
Make Sure They Fit
Will your appliances fit through the front door—or up that narrow flight of stairs? We’ve seen customers move oversized appliances to Hawaii, only to discover they can’t get them in the house. Before you pay to move your appliances, make sure they’ll fit in your new home.
Dry Them Out Completely
Because your container will be closed for a few weeks in transit, it’s important to eliminate as much moisture as possible. After all, moisture can breed mold. Unplug your appliances a few days before your move and dry them out thoroughly before loading them in your container.
#7: Don’t Forget the Ramp!
When your container arrives at your house, it will be sitting on a wheeled chassis. This chassis sits four feet off the ground, which means that you’ll have to lift all of your items four feet off the ground—unless you rent a ramp.
We highly, highly recommend you snag this piece of equipment. If you’re on a budget, this might be an area where you think you can cut corners. However, lifting an entire containers’ worth of stuff four feet in the air gets exhausting quickly!
You can rent a ramp from a local moving and storage company, or check out:
Finally, in our experience, the biggest problems in any move are rarely around property damage. Instead, they usually involve strains and sprains for the people executing the move—that’s you (and all the people you’ve recruited to help you)!
To prevent any injuries, make sure to:
Warm up and stretch before you start the heavy lifting, just like the pros do. Get your body moving and ready to go before deadlifting that couch.
Don’t be a hero. When it comes to heavy pieces, ask for help. Get a team lift going, and you’ll be much less likely to hurt yourself.
DIY Hawaii Moves, Done Right
If moving to paradise is your dream, these tips will help a simple move to Hawaii become your reality. With these eight tips, you’ll be well-prepared to pack your stuff like a pro so it all arrives in Hawaii in perfect condition.
When you’re ready to book your container, reach out to us for a free quote. We’ve got the best rates on DIY moves to Hawaii. Plus, with three decades of experience under our belts, we’ll make sure your move is done right.