What items not to pack myself when moving?

What items are better left to professional packers?
More about Ethan Greenfield

When it comes to moving house, there are two things that matter above all else:

  1. Ensuring the safety of your items so that they arrive at your new home intact and unscathed;
  2. Keeping the moving costs as low as possible.

Achieving both objectives at once, however, is somewhat difficult, as their requirements clash with each other:

  • Performing a DIY move will help you save some money but will greatly increase the risks involved in the relocation process;
  • Using professional moving services will increase the chance of a safe and successful relocation but will also increase the moving costs;
  • Packing your items yourself will allow you to cut down the final cost of your move but your amateurish packing is unlikely to provide good protection to your cherished possessions;
  • Having your belongings professionally packed will help preserve them in excellent condition but will cost you extra; and so on.

To keep more money in your wallet and ensure your peace of mind, you need to find a middle way – take advantage of some efficient methods to reduce the moving costs, but use professional assistance to guarantee the successful outcome of your relocation endeavor.

In regard to packing – the most laborious, time-consuming and nerve-wracking task you need to complete prior to your move – this means that you can pre-pack most of your belongings (the ones that have no specific packing requirements) and let professional packers handle your most delicate and valuable possessions (as well as any difficult to pack items, such as oddly-shaped objects, breakables, or furniture pieces that require disassembly).

So, what items you shouldn’t pack yourself?

Artwork

Art pieces top the list of the most delicate items in a home – exquisitely crafted, oddly-shaped and extremely fragile, they are highly unlikely to survive the relocation unscathed unless professionally packed. Even a slight superficial damage can ruin the aesthetic appeal of an art piece and greatly decrease its value. And since you have, without a doubt, invested a lot of money and passion in the objects of art you call your own, you will be more than willing to take every possible measure to prevent such a misfortune and keep your treasured artwork in mint condition. Hiring professional packers to take care of the art pieces in your home is your best bet – the experts will have the quality packing materials and rich experience required to provide the best possible protection for your fine artwork.

Good to remember: It is a good idea to have your most valuable artwork crated – this custom service will cost you a bit more but receiving your delicate pieces safe and sound is worth the extra money.

RELATED: How to pack pictures for a move

Antiques

Whether it’s priceless family heirlooms handed down from one generation to the next for over hundreds of years or some valuable vintage items you have recently acquired, antiques are very old and, therefore, very susceptible to damage. The only way to preserve them intact during the risky relocation process is to have them packed by experienced specialists who have the adept skills and professional know-how required to safely handle such expensive and irreplaceable items.

Good to remember: Antiques should be appraised and properly insured before the move.

RELATED: How to move antique furniture

Electronics

Some electronics are very easy to pack and move to your new home – laptops, tablets, and many other small electronic devices are meant to be taken along when traveling, so most of them come with their own protective casings and require no packing efforts on your part.

Others, however, present a great packing challenge – large TVs, plasma screens, desktop computers, stereos, and other cutting-edge electronics are not only quite heavy and highly fragile, but also very sensitive to drastic changes in the ambient temperature, increased humidity levels, extreme heat or extreme cold, static electricity, etc. They need to be wrapped in several protective layers (packing paper, bubble wrap, soft fabric materials) and put in well-cushioned, sturdy boxes of appropriate sizes. Any empty space in the boxes must be filled with anti-static peanuts, foam sheets, crumpled paper or other appropriate padding to prevent shifting inside the moving containers and absorb vibrations and shocks during the transportation. This risky, time-consuming, and strenuous job is better left to the experts.

SEE ALSO: What is the best way to move a TV; How to pack electronics when moving

Crystal

Crystal items are not only extremely fragile, but also very expensive and quite often – invested with great sentimental value (they are either souvenirs, or special gifts, or precious family heirlooms, etc.). In fact, crystal glasses, vases, bowls and statuettes are so delicate and beautiful that they can be considered works of art. Therefore, they should be packed as such – with utmost care and expert skills. Professional touch is what you need in this occasion.

Good to know: Crystal glasses (as well as any other glasses) are best packed in cell boxes – cardboard cartons with dividers to keep the glasses separated during transit.

SEE ALSO: How to pack glasses for moving

China cabinet

Packing a china cabinet for moving is an arduous, two-phase process:

Phase 1 – Packing the china

Fine china plates, cups, bowls, figurines – or whatever other expensive and sentimental chinaware you may have in your china cabinet – should be safely wrapped in packing paper and bubble wrap and arranged in well-cushioned, reinforced moving boxes (preferably, specialized dish boxes). Any empty spaces in the boxes should be filled with padding materials and the moving containers should be tightly sealed and appropriately labeled (“HANDLE WITH CARE”, “FRAGILE”, etc.). You can complete this laborious task yourself, of course, but the professionals are certain to do a better job – much more efficiently, safely, and quickly.

Phase 2 – Packing the cabinet

China cabinets are elegant, but heavy and oddly-shaped pieces of furniture with multiple glass elements. Packing a china cabinet for moving requires a lot of work and meticulous attention to the details:

  • The glass doors, glass shelves, and any other glass elements have to be carefully removed and properly packed for shipment;
  • The fine wood finishes need to be well protected against dust, dirt, moisture, scratches, dents and other superficial damages. Bubble wrap, packing tape and plastic wrap, however, cannot be used directly over the delicate finish as they may easily ruin it;
  • The protruding parts (furniture legs, decorative elements, etc.) and the edges of the china cabinet have to be wrapped up in soft fabrics for added protection;
  • The entire furniture should be wrapped in moving blankets, secured in place with plastic wrap, packing tape, or strong ropes.

It’s too much of a challenge, so you’d better turn to the professionals.

MUST READ: How to move a china cabinet: step-by-step guide

Glass furniture or furniture with glass elements

Mirrored vanities, glass-topped tables and other furniture that have glass elements present a rather unique packing challenge – not only is it necessary to disassemble the furniture and remove the glass pieces (a very risky and extremely difficult task), but you also need to find a way to protect the fine surfaces and prevent the glass from cracking, shattering or scratching during transit. The furniture itself is usually very heavy and awkwardly shaped (therefore, quite difficult to pack and move) and the glass is so easy to break that even several layers of packing paper, bubble wrap and moving blankets cannot guarantee that you’ll find it in one piece when unpacking after the move.

The delicate job of packing furniture with glass elements can be safely done only by experienced professionals.

Grandfather clock

Packing a grandfather clock requires more than providing adequate protection to the oddly-shaped furniture piece – you need to dismantle and protect the clock mechanism as well. The process is so difficult and complicated that only specialty movers with rich background experience can take proper care of a grandfather clock (especially if it’s an antique or a designer piece). So, make sure you call the experts if you want your valuable timepiece to work effectively after the move.

SEE ALSO: How to safely move a grandfather clock

Piano

Still another extremely delicate, heavy, and cumbersome item, a piano cannot be just wrapped in moving blankets and loaded onto the moving track – efficient precautionary measures must be taken to ensure the safety of the finely-tuned felt hammers, strings, pedals, keys and other complex mechanisms of the exquisite musical instrument. Besides, you need to find a way to protect the fine wood finish and take the weighty, awkwardly-shaped piece out of your home, into the moving truck, and then into your new home, without so much as a scratch. Achieving success is almost impossible without professional assistance.

RELATED: How to move a piano by myself

Pool table

When it comes to moving a pool table, the actual trick is not how to pack it, but how to disassemble it for packing. Once you’ve removed the legs, ball pockets, side rails, felt covering, and slates, packing the individual elements won’t be very difficult – you’ll only need to be generous with the bubble wrap, moving blankets, and packing tape. Dismantling the piece, however, requires experience and expertise that non-professionals simply don’t have. Improper disassembly may completely ruin your expensive pool table, so you’d better not risk it – hire professional packers and/or specialty movers to do the job for you.

SEE ALSO: How to move a pool table

Aquarium

Packing an aquarium with fish beats all other packing challenges – ensuring the safety of your fish, the water plants, the decorative elements, the aquarium accessories and the glass tank itself takes nothing short of a miracle. It will be up to you to relocate your fish, but professional movers will be more than ready to give you a helping hand with the packing and transportation of the fish tank.

RELATED: How to move with fish

The bottom line: Trust the experts when it comes to packing fragile or valuable items for moving – the professionals know how to pack your treasured belongings in the safest possible manner and can ensure the happy end of your relocation adventure.

 

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