How to safely pack and move antiques

Getting ready to move can be stressful enough on its own, but relocating with irreplaceable antiques could be a completely nerve-wracking experience if not done properly. A few bumps along the way in the back of the moving truck often can be all that it takes to damage or destroy an old and valuable item. So it is crucial to safely pack and move antiques when relocating from one home to another. If you are feeling concerned about transporting your antiques, you’re in the right place. There are a few things that you should know, and which will help you to safely get your valuables to the desired destination.

Things that you’ll need

  • Microfiber Cloths
  • Packing paper
  • Some kind of wrapping material
  • Glassine – It is a material similar to packing paper, but with resistance to water, air and grease.
  • Duct tape
  • Corner protectors for mirrors and paintings
  • Blankets

Make an inventory

Every small move specialist will tell you that before you start wrapping your antiques with appropriate materials, you should make sure to create an inventory of all your stuff.

Start with larger items, such as dining tables and cabinets and work your way down to small antiques like jewelry and silver collectibles. Photograph each and every piece and write down the condition in which things are. Be sure to note any imperfections that objects might have to avoid conflicts in later stages.

Making an inventory can be especially helpful if you are planning on transporting many antiques as opposed to just a few.

camera on old paper
Photograph all of your antiques so you can compare possible damage with photos.

Get an appraisal from a professional

If you didn’t get an appraisal of your antiques recently, be sure to do that next. You don’t have to worry about this if you’ve decided on moving on your own. However, our advice is to find moving experts for fine arts and antique items, which will know how to handle them properly. If you are working with a moving company, you’ll want to know the value of your antiques if you have to make any claims later.

Ensure your antiques

Be sure that your antiques are insured for the move. Even if they are included on your homeowner insurance policy, check if that coverage extends to relocation and unpacking at a new location. Contact your insurance company before the move and discuss your options with them.

If you are using professional movers, talk with them about their insurance policy. All good moving companies have insurance of course, but many of them have policies that are based on a 60–cents-per-pound formula. This means that if your 100-pound antique statue gets damaged, they are only liable for $60, no matter how much the statue is worth.

Always try to get the Full Value Protection when using a professional moving company. This option means that movers are required to repair or replace any item that is damaged or lost during the move.

Packing antiques

You’ll have to safely pack and move antiques if you want them to arrive on the desired destination in one piece. Packing like a pro isn’t easy, but all of the following pieces of advice come from the experts, and they say that all antiques should be packed in three layers of protection.

1. Protective wrap

After you have cleaned your antique, you want to wrap it in protective wrap. This layer will keep it clean and safe, and also it is the most important layer. Now, not every type of antique needs the same wrap. For glass or wood, stretch wrap or foam wrap will work the best. Use it to completely cover your item, making sure that wrap goes around corners and edges. For paintings, books, and fabrics, non-acidic archival tissue will make the best protection. Cloths can also be used as a protective wrap, but in some cases, soft materials can trap dirt which will abrade the surface of the item. So that is something that you want to be careful with.

2. Shock and vibration protection

This layer has only one purpose, and that is to absorb small shocks and bumps that occur during the transport. People use many things for this layer, but your best bet would be a combination of blankets, wrapping material, and foam. Also, be sure to attach items securely.

3. Protective shell

The outermost layer is there to protect your antiques from the bigger shocks and bumps, and of course, rolling around the back of the moving truck. Cardboard boxes make a good protective shell, but if you want to completely safely pack and move antiques, we suggest using a wooden crate.

Be sure to safely pack and move antiques to avoid damage.

Safely pack and move antiques: Small items edition

You can apply the same principals for smaller items too. Non-acidic archival tissue is ideal to be used as a protective layer for glassware, dishes, and collectibles. For improved safety, you need to double-box all the smaller items, with a layer of packing peanuts between the larger and smaller boxes. It is also a good idea to combine a few of the smaller items in a single wooden crate.

The smallest of the antiques are very often the most valuable ones. Here we mean things like watches and jewelry. You want to take all the same steps listed above. Take pictures, make an inventory, get appraisals, and get them insured. Also, you want to keep them close to you when moving, in the suitcase or a handbag if you’re driving on in your personal luggage or if you are flying to your new location.

Be sure to keep your small antiques close to you at all times.

Check everything when unpacking

Be sure to check every single item when the time for unpacking comes. Do your best to unpack like a pro as well. This means to take your time and don’t rush with this. If you notice any damage to the wooden crates or cardboard boxes, photograph it or make a video showing the wear.

Carefully inspect every item when unpacking. If you see any scratches or dings that you think weren’t there when you packed your antiques, compare them to the pictures that you made. If there is damage, check your policy to determine how much time you have to file a claim, and what kind of documentation will you need to do such a thing.

Don’t be afraid to invest time and money to safely pack and move antiques, as they are by nature very valuable and irreplaceable. If you do everything by the book you won’t have any problems. Your antiques will arrive as they should at your new home.

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