Protecting Your Antiques While Moving
Moving into a new home should be an exciting experience. A new place to decorate, a new place to make yours. Unfortunately, moving can also be a stressful experience, filled with scheduling, address changes, and of course, packing your belongings to be moved from your old home to the new. When it is time to move your heirloom antique furniture, whether it is a delicately legged Chippendale Lowboy or a Regency-era china cabinet, special consideration for your priceless antiques must be made. But how?
If you are at a loss as to how to move your precious antiques without harm, or what to request of movers who may be assisting you, we are happy to help. Here are some of our top expert tips and advice on how to protect your antique furniture while moving.
Before you decide to either move your antique furniture yourself or hire professional movers, you should attempt the following:
- Have your antiques appraised in case anything does happen during transportation. This allows you to assign the proper value to your antique furniture for cargo protection coverage or insurance when moving.
- Take photos of your antiques from as many sides and angles as possible.
- Inspect your antiques closely for any missed weak spots. Your antique piece, as per the Smithsonian Institute’s suggestions, should be as structurally solid as possible before trying to lift or move it. Accounting for any weak spots is also good to note, as you will know not to lift by weaker areas or be able to inform the moving company of areas to avoid when moving the antique.
- Dust, but do not wax or oil your antique before moving. A slippery surface to your antique means you, or, the movers you hire will not be able to grip the furniture as well. There is also the chance that with oils or waxes on the furniture, impressions of the packing material may leave imprints on the antique.
If at all possible, grant some consideration in hiring a professional moving company that has experience in the handling and transportation of antiques. When searching for a moving company to hire, you will no doubt want a reputable company. One of the first steps in finding such is to seek companies that are members of the AMSA (American Moving and Storage Association), as these companies are certified as ProMovers through a consumer protection and certification program. Whether visiting by website or searching by other means, seek out companies that display the ProMovers logo.
Other trustworthy indicators to search for:
- Professional, customer service. Answering questions without hesitation and answers which are not vague.
- When requesting a price estimate, they agree to visit your home for an onsite inspection to give an accurate moving quote.
- They have a decent website that shows their USDOT number (for interstate movers), provides information about their registration, insurance, and contact information that includes a local address.
- The deposit fee is no more than 10-15% of the final estimated cost.
- Their moving trucks are company-owned and visibly branded with marked fleet trucks.
- Majority of good reviews from customers, with pictures included if possible. Recommendations from friends and co-workers are excellent as well.
- BBB accredited
Movers that follow the indicators above have experience packing and carefully moving fragile items large and small and can often accommodate unusually shaped or sized furniture by custom creating crates if given enough notice. They should also know the best packing procedures to protect antique furniture and have the right equipment and strength to handle particularly heavy pieces.
How to Protect Your Antique Furniture While Moving
If you need to move your antique furniture yourself, here are what the professionals say to do to offer the maximum protection.
Foam, blankets, and pads. Sturdy packing foam, blankets, as well as furniture pads will protect your antiques from bumps, dings, and the jostling that may occur when placed in a vehicle during moving. Two to three layers will often work well enough. You will want to wrap the antique to protect, but not so much it is too awkward or heavy to move. Do not use bubble wrap or any type of plastic wrap or plastic shrink wrap. Because wood is porous, covering its multiple layers of bubble wrap or plastic can be very damaging to the surface.
Create a moving plan. Not only do you want to protect your antiques, but you do not want to have to move these pieces again and again. Plan on how to move the item the easiest means possible to the moving vehicle and know which exact room and area you will have it placed in your new home. Measure doorways ahead of time, both in the new and old home, so that you know whether the piece will fit or not and keep a clear path in both new and old homes for furniture moving to avoid dangerous clutter.
Secure doors, drawers, and remove fragile parts. If you are moving an antique that has drawers or doors, secure them shut but do not use tape. A wrapped blanket or moving blanket should keep them securely closed and, padding then can be taped to the outside of the moving blanket. If possible, any small and fragile pieces that can be safely removed should be ahead of time and carefully stored.
Never drag a piece of antique furniture. Always lift from a place that is structurally sound rather than dragging. Even if it appears sturdy, dragging can place a large amount of strain on a specific part of the furniture you are pulling, not to mention dragging can damage the piece as a whole as well as what it can do to a floor.
Keep temperature and Humidity in mind. If you are moving during severe weather or drastic temperature changes or from a dry area to a humid area, keep this in mind. These can drastically affect the wood used in antique furniture and may cause cracking, splitting, or shrinkage.
And the most important tip: take your time. You may be eager to see your antiques in your new home, but to see them safely arrive, moving slowly, carefully, and consciously will safeguard against accidental dings or scrapes during moving. Lift, move, and always gently put down without rush as patience is a key, not only for your antiques but for your safety, too!
With this advice in mind, you now know how to protect your antique furniture while moving. The above hints and tips should save you time, effort, and a relatively stress-free move.
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