DIY Moving Tips: Packing Peanuts or Bubble Wrap?

Before moving day, you’ll need to pack up all your belongings for the big trip (before your local movers arrive, please). And in order to secure your possessions for the move, you’ll need to invest in more than just boxes. Packing materials like bubble wrap or packing peanuts can help ensure that your favorite belongings and delicate electronics don’t get broken en route to your new home or apartment. But most people have no idea which packing material is best, or if there’s even a difference between them.

They cost almost exactly the same. A giant spool of bubble wrap should cost about $30, and a humongous bag of packing peanuts goes for about the same price. So what’s better for moving, packing peanuts or bubble wrap? We break down the pros and cons:

Pros and Cons of Bubble Wrap

Let’s be real, the best part of bubble wrap is its miraculous ability to turn even the most stressed out grownup into a little kid for a few minutes (or longer, depending on stress levels). Movers use bubble wrap all the time, and popping bubble wrap never gets less satisfying. So because of the pure fun factor, we’re counting that as a Pro.

Pro: Bubble wrap is a thin, flexible, and lightweight material. You can easily wrap it around objects of virtually any size or shape to secure it inside boxes or crates. Using packing tape to keep it in place, you can quickly get your possessions ready to go.

Con: If you have limited space and need to fit as much as you can into those moving boxes, then bubble wrap will make your stuff bigger and bulkier. Depending on how many items you need to wrap, you might need to pick up a few extra boxes before packing.

Pro: Unless you go overboard popping bubbles for fun, bubble wrap is usually good for multiple uses.

Con: Although bubble wrap is great for cushioning delicate items on all sides, it won’t necessarily stop those items from jostling or banging around on the moving truck. So if you’re trying to decide between bubble wrap and packing peanuts, then ask yourself what you want out of packing materials. Do you want items to be cushioned securely in their packaging, or do you want to keep them from moving around inside the boxes?

If you need to prevent items from moving about once they’re packed away, then put away the bubble wrap and grab…

Packing Peanuts Pros and Cons

Pro: If you’re looking for a cheap packing material to fill empty spaces in boxes, then you’ll definitely want to pick up packing peanuts for moving day. Because packing peanuts are small and soft, they easily fill up all those nooks and crannies inside your moving boxes, keeping your fine antiques and electronics from damage. To fill up boxes and provide extra cushioning, packing peanuts are your best bet. That’s why local moving companies rely on them.

Con: If you’ve ever used packing peanuts before, and especially if you have kids in the house, then you probably know where we’re going with this. They get everywhere. Turn your back for a few minutes, and these little white shells will be all over the house.

Con: Packing peanuts are useful for keeping items from moving around during transport, but there will still be some room for movement. Packing peanuts won’t keep your items 100 percent motionless on moving day. And did we mention that they get everywhere?

Can Packaging Materials Be Recycled After I Use Them? What About Starch Packing Peanuts?

There are a lot of green Americans living in the Evergreen State, and our Kent local movers have helped a lot of eco-conscious families move into their new homes. Unfortunately, the Seattle city government says that packing peanuts can’t be recycled. Instead of sticking them in the recycling bin, the city recommends placing them all in a tightly tied bag and throwing them in the garbage.

Bubble wrap is made from polyethylene film, and like small plastic bags, you shouldn’t stick them in the recycling bin either. Bubble wrap can jam machinery in recycling plants; however, there are national recycling programs that will take it off your hands (search online for a drop-off site here). And as we noted, bubble wrap is usually good for multiple uses, so keep it on hand for the next time you need to move or ship something.

Plus, if you have extra packaging materials like bubble wrap or packing peanuts, you can always ask your local Seattle movers if they’re willing to take them off your hands.

And for extra eco-conscious Puget Sound residents worried about filling up landfills with thousands of tiny foam packing peanuts, you can pick up starch-based packing peanuts for an environmentally friendly move. Starch packing peanuts dissolve in water, which makes them a great biodegradable alternative to traditional packaging materials.

Benefits of Packing Peanut Over Bubble Wrap:

Cats love them, too!

Counterpoint – Benefits of Bubble Wrap Over Packing Peanuts:

As any local moving company can attest, kids really do love bubble wrap.

Of course, if you have any questions about what packaging material is best for moving day, packaging peanuts or bubble wrap, then ask our moving company for some pro tips before the big day.

Final Verdict: Most Seattle movers use some combination of the two, and that’s what we recommend, too. But if you really want to save that extra $30, then we would go with bubble wrap over packing peanuts. Just make sure you don’t leave too much empty space in your boxes.