The books can be tossed pell-mell into small boxes, the clothes hung in a wardrobe box, but how do you ensure items like Grandma’s fine bone china or that big painting over the couch get to your new digs unscathed? Packing is tough enough, but packing valuables can make things even trickier.
If you don’t have the cash to pay movers to box everything for you, or your moving crew consists of your cousin and a rental truck, a few key steps while packing, and even before you start rounding up boxes, can save a lot of headaches on the unpacking end – and, hopefully, save your crystal.
Here are some key tips from the pros:
1. Create an Inventory when Packing Valuables
While documenting every individual item you own may not be worth your time, making notes and taking photographs of your more meaningful possessions can help, should anything go wrong. It’s easier to make a claim against your homeowner’s or the moving company’s insurance if you have documentation. This should fit in easily with your pre-move organizing.
2. Get Insurance
Before anything goes on a truck, you want to make sure it’s covered by insurance. Check to see if your homeowner’s insurance may cover a move or see if your moving company offers extra insurance or coverage. However, for anything highly valuable, getting specific moving insurance might be beneficial. To learn more about your options when it comes to damaged goods and your movers, the federal government offers a fairly extensive overview your rights.
3. Big Stuff Needs Help
Some things are just BIG: pianos, chandeliers and 500-pound gun safes. They require special dollies, wooden crates, and a team who knows how to handle them properly. Which is why there are specialists who offer specific services for moving things that are too cumbersome for the average mover. Many moving companies will contract out large speciality items. So, if you have large items, make sure to check with your moving company to see what kind of additional services they offer. Or, if you know large items will be an issue, it’s just an opportunity to choose a moving company carefully.
4. Small Stuff Goes With You
Packing valuables isn’t just about the big stuff, the small stuff matters too. The movers don’t want your jewelry or important paperwork damaged any more than you do. Which is why there’s usually a list of things movers would either prefer you take with you in your car, or require you hire a specialist to transport.
5. Invest in the Right Boxes
Packing valuables, like anything, is a job that requires the right tools. And in this case, the right tools are often boxes. Special flat-screen TV boxes have padding to keep the screen safe. The $20 or so might seem expensive for a box, but that’s cheaper than buying a new $1,000 television. The same goes for stemware, which is particularly hard to pack. There are specialty boxes for all sorts of items. Check out this list.
6. Dishes Side-by-Side
Dishes are another of those pesky items that can be difficult to pack, especially if you’ve never moved before and aren’t sure how. Aside from having the right size box, it’s important to make sure you’ve got plenty of padding to keep your plates safe. Pack dishes in several layers of paper and fit them in the box on the edge – not flat-side down. They’re less likely to shatter if something bumps the edge.
7. Tape is Your Friend
No one likes to deal with broken glass, and having to pick through it during a move is downright dangerous. If you want to help keep your paintings or mirrors intact during a move, try tape. Put a big X with masking or painter’s tape on anything under glass – like you see in photographs of shop windows during hurricane preparations. It may sound random, but the tape helps keep glass from shattering.
8. Box It Up Right
With any box, but especially one containing fragile things, gently shake it as you pack to make sure the contents don’t move. If they do, add more padding. Also, don’t just fold over the box tops – tape them. And make sure to fill the box so the top can’t cave in. See more tips for packing properly.