How to stack boxes for stability

Written by cody sorensen
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How to stack boxes for stability
Stacking boxes properly is a good safety standard to enforce. (woman packing/unpacking boxes during a relocation. image by T.Tulic from Fotolia.com)

Stacking boxes is a good way to save space in tight places. Boxes are often stacked in storage sheds, food pantries, garages and commercial warehouses. If boxes aren't stacked properly they can topple. Falling boxes could cause injury and potentially damage the contents of the box. Boxes are stacked and shipped on pallets all over the world and these boxes have to remain stable during transit. The best way to stabilise stacked boxes are the walls around them, but when boxes must be stacked free-standing, then shrink wrap is the best option.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Roll of shrink wrap
  • Ladder

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Set the first box on one of the four corners of the pallet so the outsides of the boxes are perfectly flush with the corner of the pallet. Put the next box next to this one. Add as many boxes as it takes to get to the next corner to complete the first row. Go to the other side of the pallet and start the second row beneath the first box you placed until the second row is complete. Do this until the entire pallet is filled with one level of boxes.

    How to stack boxes for stability
    Boxes on pallets should be wrapped with shrink wrap to improve stability. (warehouse image by Niki from Fotolia.com)
  2. 2

    Begin the second level of boxes where the first box in the first level was placed. If the boxes are perfectly square then each box will be set directly above each of the boxes in the first level. If the boxes are rectangular, you will alternate the direction of the second-level boxes so they overlap the first-level boxes in the opposite direction. Complete the second level. Continue stacking straight up or overlapping boxes until the desired height of levels is reached. Keep the boxes tight together throughout the stacking process.

  3. 3

    Select one of the four corners of the pallet. Unroll 3 feet of shrink wrap and stuff the end beneath the first-level corner box by about 3 inches. Walk around the pallet, allowing the roll of shrink wrap to unroll. Keep the lower edge of the shrink wrap at floor level so it wraps the base of the pallets, as well as the first level of boxes. Continue walking around the boxes, overlapping half of the wrap on the first pass and the other half on the next unwrapped boxes. Work your way all the way to the top of the pallet until all of the boxes have been wrapped tightly. Break the shrink wrap from the roll when finished and the shrink wrap will cling to itself.

  1. 1

    Set the first box in the back left corner of the room or container so it is snug. Set the next box to the right of it so its left side is snug against the previously placed box and its backside is against the wall. Continue this first row of boxes all the way to the right corner of the room or container. Go back to the left corner and set the next box directly above the first box on the first level. Repeat this process until the first row of boxes is as many levels high as desired.

    How to stack boxes for stability
    Stacking boxes against a wall increases stability. (gift boxes image by Charlene Bayerle from Fotolia.com)
  2. 2

    Place a box directly in front of the very first box placed in the left corner of the first level and first row. Place subsequent boxes to the right of this box until the first level of the second row is complete. Begin a second level atop the second row on the left wall of the room or container. Complete the second level with subsequent boxes. Continue this process until the boxes are stacked to the desired level in the second row.

  3. 3

    Repeat this process until the entire room or container is filled with boxes. Keep the boxes snug by ensuring that each time a new box is placed the left and back sides of the box are touching the boxes to the left and behind the box. Fill the room or container to the door and fill any empty spaces with inflatable bags to keep boxes from moving if they were stacked in a shipping container.

Tips and warnings

  • Use a ladder to stack boxes at levels above arm's reach.

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