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Alex is the founder of 9Kilo Moving, which he started to help people easily find and choose the right moving company to make their move as stress-free and seamless as possible. He has spent over 20 years working in the moving industry, so he knows every aspect of the business and uses his knowledge to write about the industry and give moving advice. More on about us page

Plastic Wrap when Moving

When it comes time to move homes, you’ll need to crunch that budget. Moving is far from a cheap affair, and even going the DIY way still requires a fair bit of expense. Hiring full service movers to handle it all is the easiest way to go about the move, but is also the most expensive. One of the easier ways to cut down on your expenses is to do the packing yourself; either packing it all on your own or leaving the antiques and fragiles for the movers to pack with care and packing everything else on your own. And if you happen to be packing yourself, here’s a convenient trick - use plastic wrap.

Plastic wrap goes by many names, like shrink wrap, stretch wrap and saran wrap. Versatile and waterproof, there’s loads of replies to how to use plastic wrap for moving. From just why this is a good idea to various ways you can use it, here’s your guide on how to use plastic wrap for moving.


Why Should You Use Plastic Wrap For Moving

We’ll be honest, there’s no shortage of packing materials available. Cardboard boxes are a constant and have certainly stood the test of time, but are today accompanied by so much more. But plastic wrap has several benefits when used properly during a move, and should definitely be one of the packing materials you shortlist.

Versatility – Few items are as versatile as plastic wrap. It can protect jewelry from getting entangled, keep out dust and damp, bundle together different items, secure loose wires together, prevent the spilling of items, safely wrap things like perfumes and nail polish, and so much more.

Non-Adhesive – This is one of the greatest features of plastic wrap. It sticks to itself, but unlike packing tape, doesn’t have an adhesive surface. It doesn’t leave behind any gummy stains that risk spoiling your furniture, and yet can adhere to itself really well.

Thin Yet Sturdy – Being as thin as it is, plastic wrap is super easy to use. But once wrapped, it can be surprisingly sturdy and tear-proof, especially when wrapped around a few times.

Elasticity – Due to its stretchy nature, plastic wrap can withstand tension from when the objects shift around slightly. It is firm enough to hold everything together, and yet is flexible enough to be easy to wrap around even the strangest shaped objects.

Inexpensive – Go ahead and stock up, since plastic wrap is quite inexpensive and easily available. You can use the regular type, but you also have the option to use professional-grade wrap that is good for moving.


How To Use Plastic Wrap When Moving

1. Keeping Packing Material In Place

Large or small, all your items will need to be wrapped up in some packing material or the other. Larger pieces of furniture will be wrapped up in bubble wrap or moving blankets, while smaller pieces will be secured with packing paper. But you can load on as much protective material as you want, it’s no use until you secure it. There’s a list of items used to secure on packing material, like strings, cord, tape or packing tape, and straps. But the safest of these is to use plastic wrap.

Wrap around three to four rounds of the wrap around the objects, pulled tight to stretch but not tight enough to rip. Make sure the ends are pushed on tight so as to stick to the plastic wrap, and you’re good to go. You can even wrap smaller pieces of furniture and appliances completely in plastic wrap. This not only secures the packing material, but acts as a complete shield from dust and moisture.

See also: Free Packing Supplies

2. Moving In Bad Weather

One of the hassles of moving is working around the weather. If you happen to have an off season move, you'll need to consider that it may rain or snow during your move. And no matter how many times the weather forecast shows ‘clear’, there’ll always be a freak shower or snowfall to mess things up. In this event, you need to think about waterproofing, which is where the plastic wrap comes in.

With its flexibility and waterproof nature, plastic wrap is one of the best things to use to protect your precious belongings from the elements. The general recommendation is to cover everything with a thick layer of plastic wrap after all the other packing material has been fixed. But if you’re worried, you can always wrap the items up in plastic wrap first, followed by the packing material, and finally surrounded by the plastic wrap once again.

The only danger is that if moisture does happen to seep in, it can result in a fungus or mold growth. Ensure the plastic wrap is tightly secured, and take extra precautions if you’re battling the weather. Opt for climate-controlled storage if you’re worried about unloading in the rain or snow, putting it off until the weather clears.

3. Valuable Items

Packing items of value is always tricky. Fragile or not, you want to make sure they’re safe during transit, but you also can’t go piling on packing material. Plus, a rule when packing items of value is to avoid the use of tape and newspaper so as to avoid damaging the surface with adhesive or ink stains. In this situation, simply secure the item with enough packing paper, and wrap it up with plastic wrap a few times round.

Make sure you cover it entirely with plastic wrap, not leaving any open gaps or spaces. And if you’re worried about the wrap coming loose, simply fasten the ends down with strips of tape! There’s no reason you can’t use packing tape on plastic wrap, and it only helps secure the plastic wrap even more. Just ensure that you’re careful when unwrapping it, only snipping off the pieces of tape and not accidentally damaging the items.

4. Fastening Loose Items Together

An unexpected enemy to your belongings are all the small pieces that come loose during transit, knocking against everything and dealing damage to surfaces. An easy way to avoid this and to generally keep similarly-shaped items fastened together is to use plastic wrap. Here’s a rundown on how to do this –

Hangers: Due to their odd shape, hangers can be quite the pain to pack. Have someone hold about 5 similarly-shaped hangers in place and wrap plastic wrap around them to keep them secure. You can also poke a hole through the plastic to let the hooks through, or keep them wrapped in.

Parts: Whether it’s furniture or appliances, you want all the parts to remain intact and in their right places during transit. Before you load on the bubble wrap, cover it up with a layer or two of plastic wrap.

Small awkwardly-shaped items: Trust us, you’ll find loads of these oddities when moving. Door knobs, curtain hooks, bed rails and tools can all be bundled up together.

Hanging clothes: Hanging clothes need to be packed a little differently, which is why we’ve made sure to cover it in our blog. Instead of custom covers or garbage bags, you can also use plastic wrap around the clothes to keep them safe from dirt.

Wires: Instead of trying up the wires with cord or thread, simply wrap a few sheets of plastic wrap around them. This protects the wires from dust and moisture, preserving their functionality.

5. Packing Jewelry

There’s a million ways to effectively pack jewelry up when prepping for a move. The most convenient way to transport them is to purchase a jewelry box, but you can just as easily DIY it instead. Using plastic wrap to pack jewelry works best for necklaces and long, dangle earrings.

Lay out a sheet of plastic wrap and place the necklaces on it lengthwise, arranging them so that they’re stretched out. Make sure to leave about an inch of space between them. Place another sheet of plastic wrap that’s around the same size over the first sheet. Using your fingers, press the sheets together around each necklace, using the inch of space you left. This ensures that your necklaces remain in one place without moving around and getting entangled.

You can now fold up the sheet to slide it into a box or a bag without having to worry about any entanglement or damaged jewelry. Follow the same process for long earrings.

6. Spill-Proof Bottles

Nail polish, acetone, face toners, makeup remover, aftershave, you name it, there’s loads of leaks just waiting to happen during transit. Sometimes these containers can simply break under pressure, or can leak open if the caps come loose in the chaos. Whatever it is, simply protecting your furniture from leaks isn’t enough; you ought to prevent the leaks as well. If the containers have screw-on lids, simply remove the lid and place a small piece of plastic wrap over the mouth. Screw on the lid and use a rubber band around the plastic for a secure wrap. If you’re still worried, wrap the entire bottle in a layer of plastic wrap and tape it together.

7. Fastening Doors And Drawers Shut

Your furniture will likely be tilting and twisting in every direction when being loaded and unloaded, and trust us, like Chandler and Rachel, you’ll witness a lot of pivoting (minus the chaos and destruction of course!). This can prove problematic for furniture pieces like drawers and closets, since the motion can cause the doors and drawers to swing and slide open. This can cause damage not only to the furniture and the things inside of them but also to the unfortunate mover hoisting it up. A few rounds of plastic wrap can quickly take care of that problem, since the wrap is firm enough to not rip apart.

You can also keep your drawers full, and use a few layers of plastic wrap to make sure nothing gets jostled out of the drawer. Keep in mind that this has its own risks, including dealing some damage to the inside of the drawer from all the movement of the loose objects. Ensure the items inside aren’t very heavy, and aren’t valuable. Also, empty the drawer of any objects with sharp edges since these can cause the most damage. This is also advisable for only short-distance moves. But done right, this can save you some time away from all the packing.


How To Prep Items For Plastic Wrap

As great as plastic wrap is, there’s certain things that knock down its effectiveness a great deal. Here’s how to properly prep your items so that the plastic wrap does its job well.

  1. Empty out the piece, and clean the surface of your furniture well. This ensures that the packing material stays on, and prevents trapped dirt and moisture from dealing their damage.
  2. Disassemble the piece if required and remove the detachable pieces. These will be packed up separately. Leaving them on means running the risk of them coming loose, causing damage and possibly breaking.
  3. Add the necessary packing material, whether it’s bubble wrap, packing paper or moving blankets. Some big items will require all three.
  4. Make sure you cover up all corners and protruding edges well with bubble wrap and tape. You can always stretch a sheet of plastic wrap across and tape it on.
  5. Proceed to wrap things up in plastic wrap for the ultimate protection during a move.

Tips When Using Plastic Wrap For Moving

  • If you find your need for plastic wrap increasing, don’t just stick to the regular kitchen-size. You can get a range of sizes, some big enough to easily wrap around big pieces of furniture. Make sure you pre-order for the large sizes if you need it for large pieces or will be using a lot of it.
  • Plastic wrap is clingy, but it loses its clinginess when there’s too much dust, moisture or oil on the surface. This makes it come loose easily. Make sure you clean every surface down well.
  • Don’t use plastic wrap directly on wood or leather. If moisture happens to get trapped under the plastic wrap, its secure covering will encourage mold and fungus to form, and possibly also warp the wood.
  • You’ll definitely need more than one pair of hands when you’re working with plastic wrap. It can be a bit challenging due to how much it sticks to itself. Make sure you’ve got one person rolling out the wrap, ideally another one cutting it, and a third moving the furniture around so every corner gets adequately covered.
  • You can wrap certain items both horizontally and vertically for some extra security.
  • When unpacking, go about it in an orderly fashion instead of simply running a blade through the plastic wrap. This way you can unfold the sheets of plastic and recycle them. Either give them to another person who is preparing for a move or take them to a nearby recycling center. Soiled and wet plastic wrap can’t be recycled, so try to keep them clean and orderly.


What Do You Use To Shrink Wrap When Moving?

There’s several objects that can benefit from being packed with shrink wrap, particularly small objects that are oddly shaped and thanks to which they become difficult to pack. In addition to this, shrink wrap can be used to keep things in place (jewelry, doors, drawers) and protect jewelry from entanglement and dust.

What Is Stretch Wrap For Moving?

The stretch wrap used for moving is none other than the regular saran wrap used in our kitchens and homes. However, you also get special wrap that can be used for moving - these are of various sizes and better quality.

What Do You Wrap Furniture In When Moving?

Moving blankets are the best things to wrap around your furniture when moving. Moving blankets are most effective when they’re over more protective material like bubble wrap. Finally, you can secure it all by wrapping the furniture in plastic wrap.

Can you wrap furniture with cling wrap?

Yes, you can use cling wrap to protect your furniture during the move. Make sure that you first add padding using moving blankets and then unwrap the cling roll as you move around your furniture to secure it.

What is shrink wrap used for in moving?

You can pack several items for your move with the help of shrink wrap as it helps to add an extra layer of protection. It can be used to stack moving boxes together, pack disassembled parts of your furniture, jewelry and other awkward items like curtain rods, couches, chairs, etc.

How do you wrap furniture for moving?

The first thing you need to do is measure all your furniture to see if it can be moved through the door. Make sure you have all the essential packing materials like moving blankets, bubble wrap, shrink wrap and packing tape to secure your furniture. You first need to add a protective covering to your furniture using moving blankets, followed by bubble wrap. Lastly, secure your furniture by wrapping it in shrink wrap and using packing tape.

Can you use plastic wrap for moving?

Plastic wrap is a clingy material and can be very tricky to use. Despite its clingy nature, it is tear resistant and so comes in handy to wrap large items like your furniture, doors, drawers, dressers, desks, couches, chairs, artwork, etc.

Will Shrink Wrap damage furniture?

Shrink wrap can damage your furniture if you keep your furniture into storage for a long period of time. There are chances of the shrink wrap trapping moisture and melting in the heat and it might stick to the surface of your furniture thereby ruining it.

How do you wrap furniture in plastic wrap?

The first thing you need to do is clean your furniture and make sure that it’s dry. Try to disassemble any kind of removable parts of your furniture. Make sure that you have all packing materials like moving blankets, bubble wrap, plastic wrap and packing tape. Add a protective layer to your furniture with the help of moving blankets and cover the corners with cardboard pieces. Cover your entire piece of furniture with a plastic wrap by unfolding it slowly and secure it with a packing tape.

How much stretch wrap do I need for a move?

For small or medium sized homes, you will need a single stretch wrap roll of 15" x 1500' or 20" x 1000'. If yours is a large home with more than two bedrooms, you will need two rolls of 20" x 1500' or 22" x 1500' approximately.

What can you do with plastic wrap packaging?

Once you’re done using it, you can go to any retail store near you which has a plastic recycling bin and recycle your plastic bags, wraps or films.

Is plastic wrap a good insulator?

Although plastic wrap can help in heat retention, it's not really a good insulator as compared to aluminium foil. But you can use plastic wrap as an insulator by using two layers of wrap with air in between.

Should you wrap furniture in plastic for storage?

Try to avoid wrapping your furniture in plastic for storage as the plastic wrap can trap moisture and cause condensation. This will either ruin the surface of your furniture or make it swell.

Should I shrink wrap my furniture?

Yes you can shrink wrap your furniture but only if you’ve added a protective layer with moving blankets initially. Make sure you don’t use shrink wrap to cover your furniture initially as it traps moisture and can ruin your furniture.

Can you shrink wrap a couch?

Yes, you can use shrink wrap to wrap your couch. But make sure you first add a protective layer using moving blankets and then an extra layer of paper padding so that there is no room for moisture getting trapped and damaging your couch. Only after adding these two layers of protection on your couch can you use shrink wrap to cover it entirely for your move.

What is the best way to wrap furniture for storage?

First and foremost, you need to clean your furniture and then disassemble all the removable parts which can be packed separately. You can use moving blankets, bedsheets or large pieces of cloth to add a protective layer to your furniture. Make sure you secure the corners using cardboard pieces to avoid any kind of damage. After the soft padding with moving blankets, use a bubble wrap or plastic wrap over it to give an extra layer of protection. Lastly, use packing tape to secure your furniture, but make sure you don’t directly use it on the surface of your furniture.

Also See: Where to Find Free Bubble Wrap