Antique musical instruments

Moving Antique & Fragile Items Part 1: Planning & Packing

Moving Tips

We all have items that could never be replaced, and are thus priceless to us. It could be a set of letters from an ancestor, an antique radio or clock, or simply an expensive fragile item. Unfortunately, not every company is equipped to deal specifically with valuable antiques, family heirlooms or fragile objects. Because of this, you may end up needing to transport your valuable and priceless objects yourself. In this series of articles, we’ll go over several steps that need to be taken when packing, loading, transporting, and unloading valuable and fragile items. Here in part one, we’ll begin with the planning and packing phase.

Plan Ahead Thoroughly

Keeping an item safe is more than just a matter of wrapping them in fabric or bubble wrap. You’ll need to include several details in your moving plan if you want to keep these items safe while being packed, while on the road, and while being unloaded and set up. You of course need to wrap them correctly and with proper pressure, making sure to put them in a corresponding box. Additionally, there needs to be an area of your truck, box truck or trailer with space set aside for the fragile items that cannot be bumping into other items for the entire drive. Finally, you need to have one person that directs the loading so everything fits, everything’s location can be remembered, and to avoid any item breakage.

Properly Wrap Your Items

When it comes to properly wrapping your valuables, you need to make use of bubble wrap for smaller and most delicate items. This includes fragile parts like a glass window or a particularly vulnerable item in an otherwise safe-to-move set. In addition to bubble wrap, you will need to use tissue paper or air-pads that come pre-filled to ensure that things don’t rock around in their boxes. Depending on the antique, while more items might be able to fit inside one box, anything with moving parts or fragile parts should get their own box.

For avoiding dust or anything foreign getting in during travel (for something like an instrument especially), a tarp, trash bag or wrapping of any kind can be used. Regardless of the type of wrapping you end up using, make sure your items are wrapped tightly enough to not become loose, but not so tight that they sustain damage from the wrapping.

Address Fabrics & Perishables

For clothes, flags, and anything made of cloth or similar fabric, make sure you either use garbage bags tied at the bottom with a small hole for the top of the hangers. You can also put fabric items in Tupperware, sealed boxes or plastic zippable clothing carrier hangers to avoid any damage to them. This is especially needed to protect against moths or other bugs during longer drives.

Anything containing perishable goods—like a family cookie jar or heirloom spice jars that hold food items—will generally not do well in a moving truck. This is especially true when it comes to antique food containers. The best course of action is to either get rid of the perishable contents or move them to a less valuable storage container kept in the cabin or trunk of a car.

Don’t Forget General Packing Advice

Some advice that applies to packing in general will also serve you while packing fragile items. Ensure you take pictures out of frames, drawers out of dressers, and random items out of the drawers (this is a perfect time to organize if needed). Any firearms should be locked in a rifle case and kept in the trunk of the vehicle or the back of a cabin in the back seat. Any storage items like lock boxes, vanity boxes, makeup boxes etc, need to have all non-essential items removed.

Make sure you mark all boxes on the outside with a permanent marker according to their internal contents and the room they are coming from/going to. This will make it much easier for the person who will be loading and unloading the boxes from the moving vehicle.

In the next article, we’ll be going over how to correctly move and place these items in a moving truck carefully. We’ll also discuss the importance of appointing someone to plan where to place everything and oversee the move, allowing everyone else to work efficiently and with minimal mistakes.