Tips for Packing and Moving Delicate Furniture
Ah, moving day. It’s exciting, stressful, exhausting, and usually holds a surprise or two. One surprise you never want to experience when you move is for a delicate piece of furniture to get damaged or broken. Sturdy items like outdoor patio furniture can typically be loaded directly onto a rented moving truck without much concern, but antiques, fine woods, art, and items with many connecting pieces need care and planning to ensure they arrive at your new home in good condition.
Make moving day less hectic by gathering your packing supplies ahead of time. Some of the necessary items, like moving blankets or a hand truck, can be rented from your truck rental or POD company. Moving boxes, tape, and packing paper are easy to find at home improvement stores, truck rental locations, and self-storage offices. The following is a basic list of supplies to have on hand when it’s time to start packing:
- Packing tape
- Packing paper (10lb or 25lb bundle)
- Markers, usually one black and one red
- Scissors and/or razor blade
- Styrofoam peanuts and/or bubble wrap
- Stretch wrap for cloth furniture (e.g. sofas)
- A variety of cardboard boxes, from small to extra large
Expensive electronics may be some of the most delicate items in your home. The best way to pack electronics is to place them back into their original containers, complete with Styrofoam packing. If the original containers aren’t available, use stretch plastic to secure any moving parts and wrap the item in bubble wrap. Place the item in a box that holds it securely, and tape it closed. Do not pack anything else with the item. For extremely valuable items we recommend crating to ensure it will be moved safely.
It’s survived the Civil War, a flood, and five generations of children, but can that antique settee survive another move? It can if you take a few extra minutes to protect it. Remove any movable pieces from your antique furniture (like decorative finials) and pack them separately. Mark them clearly so they don’t get lost. Use stretch wrap and masking tape to keep doors securely closed and protect the glass. Drape a padded moving blanket over the item and secure it with shrink wrap.
Use specialty boxes for packing stemware, china, and chandeliers. Place masking tape in a starburst pattern over mirrors or large pieces of glass. If a mishap should occur, the tape will prevent the glass from shattering and making a bad situation worse.
For your safety and the safety of your belongings, never try to move heavy objects alone. This advice is especially wise when it comes to moving your most delicate furnishings. Ask friends to help or pay for professional movers. The cost of a day’s wages won’t seem like much compared to the cost of seeing your Ming Dynasty vase shattered in the driveway.
Be sure to designate every fragile item clearly by writing the word FRAGILE with a red marker on the box or a strip of tape placed around the wrapping. You may think you’ll remember which tall rectangular item is the 100-year old armoire and which is the sturdy entertainment center, but when everything is bundled in protective layers and your helpers are moving furniture back and forth you may lose track of which items require special care.
As a general rule of thumb, delicate items should be top-loaded inside the moving truck. Larger mirrors and artwork should be placed between mattresses and box springs. Smaller items like household electronics should skip the moving truck altogether and be packed in the trunk or backseat of a car if possible.
There’s an old saying that declares “Three moves are as good as one fire,” meaning that frequent moving can take as big of a toll on your belongings as a house fire. But this adage doesn’t have to be true for you if you take the time to prepare your belongings before your move and when necessary hire movers to load and unload. No amount of care can guarantee that something won’t be dropped or scratched, but proper planning can greatly increase the chances of your furnishings arriving at their new home in good condition.