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Moving to a new home or office? We know it can be difficult to trust others with our most precious possessions. If you want to try to handle valuable and fragile items yourself, a proper packing technique is the key to moving delicate things safely and securely. As professional fine art storage and moving company, we specialize in securing valuable, fragile items and have great tips to share for all you DIY movers out there:

Use The Packing Right Materials

  • USE BOXES, NOT BAGS. Our first rule is pretty simple—always pack fragile items in boxes, never in bags. Throwing an assortment of items into a trash bag and tossing the bag into a truck provides no protection for the articles inside, letting them smash up against each other in transit. Boxes provide rigid protection for their contents and stack cleanly for transport. And, as any trip to a shipping or packing store will show you, there’s a box specifically designed to pack almost (Dish-packing boxes, with their corrugated protective inserts, are amazing for fine china!)
  • BUILD BUFFER ZONES. Once you have the perfect box, pillow fragile items with puffy, protective packing materials like bubble wrap, blankets, packing peanuts, and air cushioning. Don’t forget the top and bottom of your box as well as the empty spaces inside items—glassware and vases should be packed with crumpled paper or peanuts to provide an additional layer of protection.
  • GET A TIGHT SEAL. Have you ever picked up a box and had the contents fall through the bottom? Purchasing high quality, pressure-sensitive, 2” wide packing tape helps ensure that a box holds together, even when carrying heavyweight items. For boxes carrying heavy or fragile items, we recommend that you tape all box seams twice.

Watch Your Weight

  • PACK LIGHT When you are being charged by the box it can be tempting to try to fit as many objects as possible into one container. For fragile items in particular, however, this isn’t a good idea. Heavy boxes are harder to move and easier to drop and multiple items packed together can bump against each other and break. Make sure the cardboard box you are using is rated for the weight of the item you are packing. And always put fragile items in brand-new boxes. Used boxes can be weakened, crumpled, or crushed, and won’t hold up under pressure. Remember—the heavier or more fragile the item, the smaller and lighter the box should be.
  • SMART STACKING Put heavy boxes on the bottom of any stack and avoid stacking two heavy boxes on top of each other. (This can crush the contents of the box below.)

No Sudden Moves

  • Moving boxes of fragile items by yourself is always risky, so take good care. Packing light will help, but keep in mind as you make your plans that you won’t be able to securely handle any box larger than 2 feet square without a helping hand—or a handtruck.

Label Contents Clearly

  • Boxes carrying fragile items should be clearly labeled FRAGILE HANDLE WITH CARE on multiple sides of the box. Indicate THIS END UP, and if you know which room the box should be placed in at its new location, include that on the label as well. You want the item to go directly to its destination and be moved about as little as possible. 

In Doubt? Don’t DIY

  • If you are trying to figure out how to pack a crystal chandelier or a stone sculpture, your best bet may be to call a professional. Fine art movers have years of experience packing and transporting delicate and valuable items. We can help you choose the right protective wrapping, custom-craft crates to fit your piece, transport your piece in a climate-controlled environment, and more. How much money will you truly save if your heirlooms or fine art break during the move?

We know what your fragile and valuable items mean to you, and we know how to move them with care. Call 800-428-9800 to discuss your fine art and heirloom transport needs with one of our specialists.