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Protecting Precious Pieces: Tips To Pack Your Antiques And Heirlooms

Oct 30, 2018 | Moving Information

Do you keep your life on schedule with help from the antique grandfather clock in your living room? If you’re preparing for a move, you’ll definitely want to make sure that integral part of your household goods makes it in one piece. The prospect of doing so, however, is definitely groan-worthy. Those intricate inner workings that help your clock keep perfect time also make it a lot more complex to pack and move. That’s not all, either. Antiques and heirlooms are notorious for being difficult to move because of their size, shape, and delicate features. When it’s time to pack up those valuable and irreplaceable items, there often isn’t a simple pad-and-box option. Keep these tips in mind when packing your antiques and heirlooms.


Make A List, Check It Twice

Like Santa, you’ll want to get organized by way of a neatly ordered list. Your packing and moving crew will make up some sort of list to keep track of everything that goes into the truck, but when it comes to those irreplaceable items, you’ll want an even more specific accounting of everything. Make a list that includes each item’s dimensions and a few photographs. The dimensions and photos will help you figure out how to build your own boxes or commission custom crates, at least for the larger pieces. As you pack up each item, label or color-code the container and denote the markings you used on your list. This will help you remember which boxes contain your antiques (for the things that fit into more traditional boxes); you wouldn’t want to have those stacked under your set of free weights, would you?


A Keen Eye For Value

Before you pack everything away, the first step toward proper protection is a less tangible option. Are your valuables insured? Art, antiques, and other valuables can be insured. You may need an appraisal for some items, particularly if they’re heirlooms or you no longer have the original proof of purchase — though, some items will require an appraisal even if you do have the original receipt, simply because of the cost. Valuables-specific insurance is important because it provides better protection and replacement than your typical homeowner’s insurance policy or moving insurance coverage. Of course, that insurance policy may require additional protections when moving, so be sure to ask about that before you start packing everything up yourself. They may require that professional packers and movers handle everything in order to provide coverage.


Enough Materials For A Stationery Store

Many antiques and works of art are more sensitive to temperatures and materials, so being packed with the wrong types of materials can cause damage. Your heirloom china set will be okay packed in newspaper and bubble wrap, but that same newspaper could irrevocably ruin a painting. Art should first be wrapped in a non-acidic material like archival tissue or butcher paper. In a pinch, wax paper will work, but you don’t want to trust to that on days with warm temperatures as the wax can melt enough to transfer over to the painting. For antique books and fabrics, follow the same guidelines.


When it comes to things made from wood or glass, use foam wraps to provide a snugly protective first layer that extends around corners; you may need to bolster the corners so they don’t tear and lose that protective covering. Soft (non-antique) fabrics can also work as padding, but be wary because the fibers of most fabrics will trap small bits of dirt and debris, which can abrade the surface of the item it’s supposed to be protecting.

Padding: Like Too Many Layers In A Blizzard

Most of you have probably seen the classic holiday movie “A Christmas Story.” Do you recall the scene in which Ralphie’s younger brother is so swaddled in sweaters and snow gear that he can’t put his arms down? Yeah, we’re suggesting you pack your antiques like that. One of the biggest causes of damage comes from being jostled around while in transit, so make sure there are padded layers between each delicate china plate and tea cup. The padding should be enough to prevent items from clacking together, but also to keep them as stationary as possible in their boxes. Even after you’ve given each item it’s own individual layer of protective padding, you’ll want to fill in spaces around the outsides with a layer of packing peanuts or other protective filler. This provides a secondary level of protection and helps minimize movement within the box.

It may be a few more steps, but it is possible to move your antiques and heirlooms without damage. For more moving tips, packing services, and other assistance, trust your local packing and moving team. If you’re in Denver or elsewhere in Northern Colorado, call Skyline Moving Company today for an in-home moving quote to get started!