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Over time, specific packing symbols for boxes have become standardised. These symbols provide information about boxes and their contents at a glance, to help ensure that the boxes are properly handled.
Below we provide an overview of the most widely used packing symbols and their meanings.
You can also download our printable moving labels below. This is handy for labelling boxes before a move or prior to putting them in storage.
Common packing symbols and their meanings
Symbols of all types are designed to convey a message across all languages at a glance. This is why they are usually minimalistic and seldom include words.
We all know this one from breakable deliveries. This simple but effective symbol indicates that the contents of a box are fragile or breakable.
This way up
This common symbol lets movers and delivery people know that a box must be kept upright, and indicates which way is up.
Handle with care
The handle with care symbol indicates that the contents of a box or container mustn’t be jostled, squashed, thrown about or bent.
What better way to communicate “keep dry” than with an umbrella. This symbol is commonly found on cardboard boxes (regardless of their contents) because cardboard is sensitive to moisture.
Do not open with knife
This symbol warns people against cutting a box open with a knife. This symbol is common on boxes of books, where cutting the tape with a knife could also cut the books packed at the top.
The temperature sensitive symbol let movers know that the items in a box are sensitive to extreme temperature. Often, the symbol is accompanied by text that specifies the safe temperature range.
Keep out of direct sunlight
This symbol warns against letting a box sit in direct sunlight, usually because the contents are sensitive to heat.
The flammable symbol is used for any substance that must be kept away from sources of ignition or high temperatures. It warns against a possible risk of either fire or explosion.
Do not stack
This symbol lets movers know that they can’t stack anything on top of a box. This may be because the box is not strong enough or the contents are sensitive.
This symbol warns that a box is heavy; movers should use caution to avoid injury.
This symbol cautions that the box it either very heavy and/or very large and should only be lifted by two people.
A symbol to tell movers they must use a trolley to move the box either because it is too heavy to lift without the risk of injury or it is too big and cumbersome.
The universal recycle symbol is used to let people know that the box is recyclable and to encourage people to recycle it.
Printable moving labels
Print out your own packing labels at home for your next move. We’ve set up these moving labels to be printed on A4 label paper and then cut into four individual stickers.
- This side up
- Handle with care
- Keep dry
- Do not open with knife
- Temperature sensitive
- Keep out of direct sunlight
- Do not stack
- Lift hazard
- Two-person lift
- Use trolley
- Recycle symbol
Online moving supplies from Ecobox
If you have a move coming up, we hope our printable packing symbols for boxes come in handy. At Ecobox, we can also help with all the moving supplies you need.
We supply cardboard boxes in a wide range of sizes, as well as padding and packing materials. We also offer moving kits (with sturdy, plastic moving boxes) and moving trolleys for rent.
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