Tips for Moving Antiques and Fragile Items

Moving antiques and fragile items

At some point in life, everyone will probably face residential moving. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about one in nine people moved between 2013 and 2014. Renters have higher rates of moving than people living in owner-occupied housing, and getting a new job or transfer at work is the most common reason for moving because of work.

When it’s time to move, no one wants their personal belongings to be damaged or destroyed, but secure packing and handling is especially important for antiques and collectibles. These items are usually unique and financially valuable pieces that are not easily replaced, and may have significant sentimental or historical value as well.

It is a huge disappointment when something of unique value arrives damaged, even when it is insured. Most collectors value the actual antiques and collectibles more than the money that represents only a fraction of their true value. White glove moving takes on a new significance with these types of items.

Packing Antiques and Collectibles for a Move

Things to consider when preparing antiques and collectibles (and even computer equipment moving) include what type of packing material to use, what type of container to use, and what else to put inside the box with each antique or valuable you are packing. Here are some suggestions for how to pack common valuable items for moving:

  • Paper valuables such as vintage postcards, collectible magazines, photographs, or historical newspaper:
    • Use waterproof packaging like a sealed plastic bag to encase the items.
    • Sandwich the waterproof packaging between cardboard to avoid folding and creasing.
    • Pack the prepared item in an envelope that is taped closed and marked as fragile, do not bend, and do not fold.
    • Consider placing this packaging into a sturdy container such as a hard plastic box or bin.
  • Glassware, Pottery, and Porcelain:
    • Wrap breakables like glass in at least two layers of protective material such as bubble wrap.
    • Use a box slightly bigger than the item lined with bubble wrap, packing peanuts, or crumpled newspaper and nestle the wrapped item inside.
    • Put the smaller box inside a larger box lined with more protective packaging material. Make sure there is a thick cushion between the sides of the outer box and the inner box.
  • Tips from the Smithsonian for packing antique furniture:
    • Use three layers of protection, including a protective wrap, protection from shock and vibration, and a protective outer shell. Think bubble wrap or soft cloth, a layer of packing peanuts or foam, and a wooden shipping crate.
    • Handle with care while packing and wrapping valuables, moving slowly and supporting the item well without dragging or pushing with delicate parts such as thin spindles or decorative parts.

These represent just a few types of antiques and collectibles and some of the most common ways to package and handle them when preparing to move..

Using Recycled Packing Materials

Recycled packing materials are acceptable for antiques and fragile items, within reason. Make sure they are clean and dry.

You may find corrugated boxes, bubble wrap, and other packing materials free for the taking from friends or business associates who either have recently moved or who frequently receive and send packages. Make sure to inspect any used packing materials for moisture, rips and tears, or wet materials that weaken the structure of boxes and damage items being wrapped.

Newspaper is a common packing material that is fine for outer layers of packing protection. But take care not to use newspaper to wrap valuable items directly to avoid ink transfer. The same is true for shredded newspaper versus raffia or other cleaner packing materials.

Let Moving Professionals Handle Your Fragile Items

When you have to move with antiques and fragile items, Liberty Moving & Storage white glove moving services can give you peace of mind. We offer climate controlled storage and specialized handling for items like paintings and fine art, wine collections, and sculptures and statues to care for your special belongings during your move. Liberty helps make your New York move with antiques and fragile items stress-free.


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