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How to Pack & Move Your Garage or Shop

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For many people, their garage or backyard shop represents a personal space where just about anything goes – it can be hectic and unorganized, or as spotless as you please – whichever the case, packing it up for moving day can be fraught with complexities.

Your mechanical stuff, recreational vehicles, tools and equipment can require special considerations for packing them away safely and securely. It can also be difficult to estimate the size and weight of a garage or shop move - there's a lot of big items in there.

Some moving professionals estimate that packing and organizing a garage, shop, or shed is the single hardest, most time-consuming premises to pack up. So don’t neglect the important details!

These tips and tricks for packing up your garage or shop will help to streamline and de-bunk the entire process for you.


Moving Materials

The high priority task of packing a garage or shop should be respected. So don’t go into it unprepared. Assemble some applicable packing tools: moving blankets, shop towels and rags, sealable containers, duct tape, permanent markers, cable ties and labels.

If you’re using cardboard boxes for the bulk of your garage move, be sure to reinforce the bottom of the box a few times over with tape. Tools and garage materials tend to be heavier than many household items.

A great tip is to clean and utilize your garbage cans, and recycling bins as makeshift moving containers. Many garbage cans come with sealing lids, and can provide a great place to store patio furniture cushions, recreational equipment, etc., just remember to wash them out first!


Don’t Take Everything & Start Early

It doesn’t make much sense to pack up and travel with equipment or tools you’ve had for years and never used, does it? Especially if you’re downsizing.

Sell them on Craigslist or Kijiji, donate them, recycle them, or even gift them to a friend or family member. If you want to reduce the amount of stuff you’re transporting, all the more reason to take a good hard look at the things you’ve accumulated over the years.

Better yet – hold a garage sale a few weeks prior to moving to get rid of as much excess stuff as you can afford. You’ll make some extras cash, and de-clutter at the same time.

Start your garage/shop packing process as early as humanly possible. The amount of brick-a-brack and trinkets you’ll find in your space will probably astound you, and they’ll all need to be individually packed away, or donated. Be sure to give yourself ample time to organize your belongings.



Take all of your long-handled tools like and instruments like rakes, brooms, shovels and spades and secure them altogether using a bungee cord, rope or everyone’s favourite: duct tape. Keeping them together in a few separate groups will help keep them from falling over during the big move, and will alleviate the frustration of them potentially falling everywhere.

Remove all of the bits and attachments from your hand and/or tools like drill bits, blades etc. Pack them in boxes according to size and weight, and remember to stuff some crumpled paper in between fragile mechanics. Remember to drain all oil or fuel from your power hand tools. Use towels or shop rags to cover up and sharp ended objects like utility knives or chisels.

Remember to leave a few useful tools readily available for your move. Perhaps you’ll have to adjust something, or re-tighten a loose screw during the trip. If all of your tools are packed up, you’ll have a difficult time locating them in a pinch.


Lawn & Patio Furniture

Remove any and all furniture cushions and coverings and bag them in garbage bags for travel. If you can, dismantle similar patio chairs or tables to be more compact and segment all their applicable hardware into recycled grocery bags or zip-lock kitchen bags for safe-keeping until you re-assemble them at your new address. Better yet: attach the corresponding hardware to each piece of furniture or tool.

If chairs are stackable, make sure they’re not stacked too high in the moving truck.

Wrap up your patio umbrella by using a mover’s blanket, and be sure to empty the weighted base of water or sand before you plan to transport it.


Gas-powered tools and equipment

If you’ve got a lawn mower, weed-whacker, chainsaw or snowblower, be sure to remove all potentially harmful or flammable liquids from the machinery before packing. This includes oil and gas. For a riding lawn mower, you’ll have to secure the piece by its braking system, but also by racket strap inside the moving truck, or pick-up truck bed to make sure it does not roll out as you’re moving it.

A BBQ or gas grill should be disconnected from its propane tank or alternative fuel source. Ensure that their lids and all parts are tightly secured with either a self-locking system, rope, or tape.

Be sure to clean and remove all of the charcoal in the bottom of your BBQ, too.

If you’re not planning on driving the rag-top or motorcycle to your new house, you’ll need help to properly move these items. Similarly, a ski-doo, jet ski, or the boat that’s sitting in your garage - consult with your movers to ask them about the ways they’re familiar with moving these items. If you’re moving overseas, or out of the country, there will be certain requirements you’ll have to go through to move your convertible, or motorcycle.

Take all of your excess oil and gas containers and place them securely in a sealable plastic bin that can withstand some abuse if it’s tipped or struck by something during the move. Tap up any and all lids and make sure that all of your propane tanks and compressed gas containers are well sealed.

It’s important to note that many moving companies forbid the moving of gasoline, motor oils, pesticides, paint and paint thinners, charcoal, propane tanks, fertilizers, car batteries, chemicals, toxic cleaning supplies, etc. Be sure to inquire with your moving company about their rules and exceptions. They will be able to provide you with a list of non-allowable items. Finally, safely dispose of these chemicals at you local transfer station.


Children’s play equipment

Dismantle all swing sets, swings and climbing apparatus. Like patio and lawn furniture, be sure to keep all applicable hardware close by the piece, by either taping it to the side, or leaving it inside a small labelled container with the rest of your hardware. If it proves to be difficult to dismantle, take some detailed notes of the process so you can reassemble it at your new address with relative ease.

Bicycles, trikes, scooters etc, should be boxed up to make sure they’re not bent or damaged during the move. Your moving company can assist you in finding, or providing bike boxes that will accommodate these pieces.


Label everything

Don’t skimp out on your labeling time. Label everything “Garage,” or “FRAGILE” for tools that can’t be banged around. Include a detailed description of the boxes contents so whoever unpacks the box doesn’t throw their hand into a box of sharp chisels, or sawblades for example.

It will also prevent you from bringing a sealed box of gasoline and oil products, or hand tools into your new living room by mistake.

If you follow these tips and trick for moving and packing up your garage, you’ll streamline and simplify the time it takes you to organize arguably the most cluttered premises on your property.

The garage can be an intimidating space when it comes to moving, but allowing yourself the extra time to assess what’s really important can help make your packing efforts much easier.

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