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Packing Tips: an Interview with David Brittain of Eagle Movers

By David Brittain

Please describe a little bit about your company and its foundation.

Eagle Movers was actually started in the 30's . We have heard stories about prohibition era work where Eagle Movers was contracted to run liquor from Canada. In fact it was quite normal for many businesses to work in the underground liquor business so I don't think this was out of the ordinary. It probably helped keep the moving business afloat. My father, Jim Brittain , bought the business in 1958 from Ervin Ross for $2600. Both he and my mom ran the business out of their home while raising 7 kids. I can honestly say that I never ever thought of going into this line of work even after undergrad and graduate school until I completed my education. My older brother Tom, who had been in the business for several years, asked me to help out as my Dad was retiring from the business. A year later, my younger brother Jim, who also graduated from college at UW Madison , also joined up. It was the late 80's and there were no decent jobs. So we all just fell into the business and we have had a great time running it.

When do you suggest to start packing for a move?

Plan your packing in stages. Moving is a great time to purge so I suggest packing everything that you want to donate or throw away first. Then move onto the items you wont need until after the move then pack the items you need up to the last minute. The timing will be dictated by how much time you have to move and how much stuff you have. Above all, don't get intimidated by how much you have . Be organized, get all of your materials together at the start, and break your packing up by how it fits your schedule. Above all , in order to have an efficient move day you should be all packed before the movers arrive.

Must everything be packed before the movers show up?

It will help save you time and money if you have everything packed up. If you have certain big and awkward things that you just don't know what to do with, a good moving company will help pack or pad wrap it if you can do it. Rakes tools and unbreakable misc. items can usually be taped up and don't need packing .

Is there an order in which people should pack?

Everyone has their way of organizing but so there are no hard and fast rules. I would pack the items you wont need until after the move and later pack the items you think you'll need before the move last.

How should bigger furniture be prepared for moving (couches/beds)?

If you want to save a bit of time (and thus money) you can disassemble beds and frames and remove the head and footboard. The movers have done so many of these that it only takes a few minutes for them to do so don't stress out if you can't do it. More complicated things like cribs and exercise machines , can take a lot of time so if you can disassembles items like that in advance it will hold speed the move.

How should fragile items be packed to ensure their safety?

In the moving industry the rule is that if you pack it and it breaks its not the movers liability. I tell my customer (with local moves) that if you pack fragile items you should mark them as fragile and put them off to the side to load last so that the movers don't stack furniture on them and that they know they are handling a fragile item.

What boxes/packing material do you recommend using?

Use a DISHPACK BOX for packing very fragile items.. They are made of very thick cardboard and don't crush. They are three times the cost but are great for protecting anything that is fragile including lampshades and glassware. The big rule of thumb for packing is that the larger the box the LESS dense you pack it and vise versa. So pack pillows sheets and towels in bigger boxes and books and stereo equipment in smaller boxes as an example. Some people love to cram heavy items in big huger boxes. This makes it very difficult for the movers and its less efficient.

What is the best way for people to get in contact with you?

My email address is david.brittain@moves.net

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