Date added: June 12
If you're reading this article, you're presumably no good at Tetris. If you are good at Tetris, stop reading now, and go and apply those skills to the truck and your furniture. For the rest of you, if we ever meet I look forward to thrashing you at Tetris. But first, let's plan a truck packing strategy, because, as boring as that sounds, it's unbelievably useful if you're moving house without the help of professional movers.
Start by doing inventory. You'll be amazed at how much stuff you've got to pack that you didn't know you had, so it's good to make a list a few days or weeks before the move to save time – also note the order in which things are to go on the truck:
Big things first. Fridges, stoves, pianos, time machines and WWII era computer terminals all count as big things. Stack them at the far end of the truck, closest to the cab. Make sure the truck is balanced, by not putting all the above big things on one side. Use furniture padding to protect wooden surfaces and corners from unnecessary denting – these can be hired from the moving company you got the truck from and count as a good idea.
Long or tall items should be stacked upright against the side walls to save space and keep them secure. Beds, desks and other things that can be disassembled should be disassembled, and the component parts taped together in a bundle. If you're moving carpet too, these taped bundles can be wrapped up inside the carpet when you roll it up.
Next up, lug on the heaviest boxes, stacking them on top of the appliances, under tables and in any other nooks and cavities you can find to put them in. Smaller boxes can now be brought on and put on top of the heavier ones. This is so that that bastard gravity doesn't crush your personable items. None of the boxes, particularly the heavy ones, should contain fragile items. Even with the best packing efforts, gravity is still liable to be a bastard.
Now you can bring your fragile items on. Put them in cubbyholes and cavities created by chair legs and the like. Anywhere they're not going to move around during the move.
Bags and boxes full of soft, stuff-able items like clothes and linen can go on last, and depending on whether you consider it prudent or not, can even be used to secure fragile items.
So having read this, and doubtless tons of other, near-identical articles on how to pack a truck, you're going to convince yourself you’ll do all of this when the time comes. The day of the move will arrive and you'll end up throwing everything on as quickly as possible, vases in the fridge, cat in the stove and squeezing the dishwasher in at the end on top of all the clothes because “Goddamn it Tim I am not unpacking this and starting again”. Ah well, can't say I wouldn't do the same – happens to the best of us. On our heads be it.