Packing Tips

How To Safely Pack & Move Your Antiques

Protect your valuable heirlooms from damage and breakage
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Safely packing and moving antiques can be a risky exercise that requires attention to detail and a soft touch. An antique is invaluable for one reason or the other either it is a rare find that may have cost you a fortune. Perhaps it’s something that has been passed on through the generations in your family.

Whatever the case may be there are steps you’ll want to take to ensure these important items are not damaged during your move

Know Your Inventory

Starting by taking an inventory of your antiques and categorize them. Categorizing what will be moved allows you to determine the type and amount of special packaging materials you’ll need.  Be as thorough as possible to ensure you collect the right number and size boxes you’ll need. You don’t want to come up short on packing materials either. Without it, even the slightest bump on the road is all it takes to damage these delicate possessions.

Gather Your Supplies

Common supplies used to protect antiques are microfiber cloth, heavy wrapping paper, masking tape, packing peanuts, and air-filled bubble wrap.

Glassine Paper

Another very crucial piece of packaging supply is glassine paper — a smooth glossy paper that looks similar to wax paper but air, water, and grease resistant. If you’re packing and moving valuable artwork such as paintings, glassine paper is preferred. It is used by museums around the world for moving antiques and artworks. It’s also environmentally friendly, 100% recyclable, and biodegradable.

Corner Protectors

Another specialty packing material for artwork and mirrors are corner protectors. Corner protectors can be fitted on top of wrapping paper and provide an extra dimension of protection for corners of the frame. Corner protectors also work well on mirrors.

The careful application of corner protectors is essential to avoid costly damage to artwork (Credit: U-Haul)

Moving Blankets & Pads

While they’re not necessarily a specialty item for safely moving your antiques, they are an essential supply for any move. Moving blankets and pads are versatile and can be secured to your antique furniture using moving tape.

Archival Tissue

Archival tissue paper is used by museums and antique movers to help preserve and protect historical items. It comes in buffered and unbuffered types. The buffered type contains an alkaline substance to counteract acids that may form in the antique’s material. This stops acids from moving from one item to another.

Fillers

Bubble-wraps, air-filled plastic wraps, packing papers, and packing peanuts are all types of “fillers” that take up the space between items packed in boxes.

Where to Shop

Some of the packing supplies for moving antiques described here may not be available at your local retail store. Below is a list of stores that typically stock supplies and materials to help safely pack and move your antiques.

Belkin’s – They are an Indianapolis based movers and can supply packaging and supplies required.

Classic Moves – is another company based in Houston, Texas to contact for supplies and packaging material specifically designed to safeguard your antiquities and artwork.

U-Haul is another renowned name in moving and packing antiques. They are based in Phoenix, Arizona and you can use them for the full service or packing and moving your precious inventory or just order the packaging and supplies to do it yourself.

How to Pack Your Antiques

Now that you have all the required material, it’s time to get into packing antiques. It is always best to ask for help from family and friends to avoid stress and this will also allow you to be extra-vigilant with every piece of antiquity you wrap.

Packing Fragile Items

For items that are of fragile nature such as any porcelain, glass items, and mirrors.

It’s recommended to use a microfiber cloth to clean each item before wrapping and packing it into a box. Approach the cleaning process with extra care as antiques are prone to damage caused by the cleaning process. Be careful and avoid causing damage from paint loss, scratches from dirt, and moisture.

Once your items are packed and ready for boxing, always ensure to be generous when using packing papers and packing peanuts to fill the box, and then place your fragile antique items carefully. This will provide extra cushion for your items to endure the bumpy ride ahead.

Packing Wooden Items

Don’t be deceived by the size and material of your antique furniture because they can be easily damaged too.

Use bubble wrap whenever possible and apply a multi-layered wrapping technique for extra protection when packing your antiques. The first layer will keep the object clean and secure from dust particles. The second layer will provide extra protection and air-cushion against small shocks or bumps during the move.

You can additionally use combinations of blankets and foams for further safety. Use archival tissues for fine protection when it comes to artwork, antique books, and fabrics.   

Secure any and all edges and corners with corner protection elbows and pads to avoid chipping and dents. These are crucial if you want to ensure that your antique piece stays as good as new. It does not matter if you use a professional mover or do it yourself; but, your priced good can hit a corner of a wall or something might lean on it during the ride.

Hiring Professionals

If you are still not 100% about if you have done it right or the whole drill sounds too hectic, then hire professional help. There are companies with expertise in moving antiques that know exactly how to pack and protect your items.

Museums work with antique moving companies all the time, not only do the professionals working their efficiently now how to pack the antiques but also handle them with care as they move the items.

Additionally, all antique packing and moving companies provide insurance, in case of any damage. So if you are thinking about hiring a service, then it is advisable you get an appraisal on your items to know exactly how much they are worth.

Brandi Marcene has over a decade of experience and a passion for the moving and transportation niche.

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