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Move Company

Moving to a new place? Feeling a tad overwhelmed by the mountain of stuff you’ve accumulated over the years? You’re not alone! Deciding whether to pack your belongings yourself or hand over the reins to a professional packing service is a pivotal choice. This guide is your trusty companion through the maze of boxes and packing tape, offering clarity and insight on the self-packing versus pro packing dilemma.


Imagine this: you’re standing in the middle of your living room, surrounded by everything you own. The task ahead? Packing it all up for your big move. You face a crucial decision: dive into the packing process yourself or call in the cavalry (a.k.a. professional packers). This article will break down the pros and cons of each option, sprinkle in some golden tips, and share stories from folks who’ve been in your shoes. Let’s get packing!

Understanding Self-Packing

Self-packing is exactly what it sounds like—you, your boxes, and a whole lot of bubble wrap, embarking on a DIY packing adventure. It’s about having total control over how your belongings are handled, sorted, and packed. But with great power comes great responsibility.

Pros of Self-Packing

  • Cost Savings: The most obvious perk. You’re saving bucks by doing the heavy lifting yourself.
  • Flexibility: Pack at 2 AM in your pajamas? Go for it. You set the schedule.
  • Personal Oversight: Every piece of china, every photo album—you know exactly where everything is and how it’s packed.

Cons of Self-Packing

  • Time-Consuming: Packing can be a marathon, not a sprint. It eats into your time like nothing else.
  • Physical Strain: Boxes are heavy, and backaches are real. Prepare to break a sweat.
  • Risk of Damage: Without professional techniques, there’s a higher risk of damage during the move.
  • Liability: Movers will not be liable for damages to articles packed by you, unless movers drop a box and there are obvious signs of external impact damage to a box.

Tips for Effective Self-Packing

  1. Start Early: Don’t underestimate how long packing can take. Begin weeks in advance.
  2. Declutter: Use this as an opportunity to get rid of stuff you no longer need. Packing and preparing for your move is the best time for decluttering. Why paying for moving items which you do not need.
  3. Label Everything: Save future-you the headache of searching for things by labeling boxes clearly. Attached labels to the side of boxes (instead of top), so that labels will be visible when boxes are stacked 3 to 4 boxes high on a 2-wheel dolly used by movers.
  4. Use the right size boxes: Lighter items (clothing, staffed toys, pillows) should go into larger boxes (5 to 6 cu-ft), heavier items (paper files, books, silverware, etc.) – into smaller boxes (2 cu-ft), fragile items (dishes, décor) – into dishpack boxes (around 5 cu-ft) which come with double-thick wall to ensure extra protection.

Understanding Pro Packing

Enter the pros: seasoned experts equipped with the right materials, techniques, and a can-do attitude. Pro packing services take the burden off your shoulders, handling everything from wrapping delicate items to boxing up your garage.

Pros of Pro Packing

  • Efficiency: These folks are fast and know exactly how to pack efficiently and securely.
  • Peace of Mind: Less stress for you, knowing that your belongings are in expert hands.
  • Cargo Protection: Many pro packing services offer cargo protection for added security during the move. Keep in mind, packers will need to unpack after the move whatever they packed in order for that coverage to apply. If you hire pro packers to pack your boxes and then you decide to unpack those by yourself to discover some items broken inside boxes, the coverage will be void.

Cons of Pro Packing

  • Cost: Quality comes at a price. Professional packing services can add a significant amount to your moving budget. As a ballpark estimate, a full household pro packing will cost you similar to what you would pay for a local move. You pretty much double your moving budget when you decide to add full pack.
  • Less Control: Some may find it hard to let others handle their personal belongings. You are missing an opportunity to declutter.

How to Choose a Pro Packing Service

  • Reputation: Look for services with glowing reviews and recommendations.
  • Insurance and Licensing: Ensure they’re insured and licensed for an extra layer of protection.
  • Personalized Estimates: Opt for services that offer in-home estimates to avoid surprise charges.
  • Van Lines Experience: Moving companies affiliated with top Van Lines will likely have strong packing crews that are fully trained and experienced to get the job done right and in the most time efficient manner.

Cost Comparison: Self-Packing vs. Pro Packing

When it comes down to dollars and cents, self-packing can be lighter on your wallet. However, consider the potential for hidden costs, like last-minute supply runs or even damage repairs. Pro packing, while pricier, comes with the assurance of professionalism, quality and efficiency.

Time Management: Self vs. Pro

Time is of the essence when you’re moving. Self-packing can stretch over days or weeks, eating into your schedule. Pro packers, on the other hand, can have your home boxed up in a fraction of the time, freeing you up for other moving-related tasks. A crew of 3 pro packers will be able to pack anywhere between 80 to 120 boxes of various sizes (depending on level of complexity) in a single 8-hour day. This is an equivalent of a 1700 sq-ft 3-bedroom home. Kitchen as well as fragile/décor items take the longest time to pack.  

Quality and Safety Considerations

Packing isn’t just about fitting everything into boxes; it’s about ensuring your items arrive intact. Professional packers have the skills to pack fragile items securely, reducing the risk of damage. If packed right, a dishpack box full of your precious China will not have any damages when dropped down one flight of stairs. In fact, Atlas Van Lines conducted such a test in the past.

Making the Decision: Factors to Consider

Your budget, timeline, and personal preferences play a huge role in deciding between self-packing and pro packing. Assess your situation, consider the pros and cons, and choose the option that best aligns with your needs.

Personal Stories of Moving

Hearing from those who’ve navigated this decision can be enlightening. Whether it’s the satisfaction of a self-packed move or the relief of entrusting everything to the pros, these stories highlight the diverse experiences of movers just like you.

DIY Packing Hacks

For the brave souls choosing to self-pack, here are a few hacks:

  • Use clothing and towels as padding for fragile items.
  • Pack books in suitcases with wheels to avoid heavy lifting.
  • Remember, the internet is your friend for finding packing tutorials and checklists.

When to Definitely Choose Pro Packing

There are situations where pro packing is almost a no-brainer:

  • If you’re short on time.
  • When moving valuable or highly fragile items.
  • If physical limitations make packing difficult.

Hybrid Packing

It is quite common to see people combine the best of both worlds. You can pack “easy” staff yourself and leave fragile and more valuable items to the pros. Pay extra to add cargo protection for your move for added peace of mind. Ensure to ask packers to come back and unpack boxes which they packed, so that you can take advantage of cargo protection in case of any damages to articles packed by pros.


There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the self-packing vs. pro packing debate. It boils down to what you value most: control and savings, or convenience and professionalism. Whatever you choose, approach the process with planning, patience, and a positive mindset. Happy moving!

About Sparta Movers

Sparta Movers is a trusted name in the moving industry, dedicated to providing top-notch services to individuals and businesses alike. Our experienced team prides itself on ensuring that each move is seamless, efficient, on time, on budget and stress-free. Whether you’re relocating within Calgary, moving across Canada, or anywhere around the world, Sparta Movers is here to assist you with every step of the way.

Sparta Movers is a full-service moving & storage company, which is certified by the Canadian Association of Movers, recommended by Bryan Baeumler, A+ rated by Better Business Bureau (BBB), and an active member of Calgary Chamber of Commerce.

Sparta Movers is a Calgary agent of Atlas Van Lines, a major player in the moving industry in Canada. Atlas Van Lines has a long-standing reputation for providing high-quality local, long-distance and International moving services since 1963.

Sparta Movers is a preferred moving & storage partner for CIR Realty as well as Royal LePage.

We understand the challenge of finding reasonably priced moving companies that operate with integrity, courtesy and honesty. We are proud to be that professional moving company! You deserve only the best. We are here to deliver uncompromising quality and excellent service at affordable rates!

To learn more about our services and how we can make your next move a success, visit our website https://spartamovers.com/ and get in touch with our dedicated team today!


  1. Is self-packing really cheaper than professional packing? Yes, generally, but consider the potential hidden costs, like packing materials and potential damage.
  2. How do I find reputable professional packers? Start with online reviews, ask for recommendations from friends, and check for licenses and insurance.
  3. Can I pack some items myself and hire pros for the rest? Absolutely! Many people choose a hybrid approach, packing non-essentials themselves and leaving delicate or heavy items to the pros.
  4. What should I do to prepare for professional packers? Declutter and decide what you’ll pack yourself. Clearly label or separate items that aren’t to be packed by the pros.
  5. How can I make self-packing easier? Start early, gather quality packing materials, declutter, and use packing hacks to streamline the process.

This comprehensive guide offers insights and tips to help you navigate the complexities of preparing for a move, whether you choose to pack yourself or hire professionals.

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