Moving antiques, artworks and valuables: a complete guide
Whatever you’re looking to take with you when moving house, from artworks to costly clocks and fancy furniture, here are our top tips for transporting your treasures.
As with all aspects of moving, when transporting precious or high value items it’s important to plan ahead, allow yourself plenty of time, and make sure you have access to the right help and resources.
Make an inventory
It’s a good idea to begin by making a list of all of your antiques and valuables. Taking some photos will provide evidence of their existence, as well as confirming their condition, should you need to make an insurance claim in the future. Give a copy of your list to your removal company, ready for moving day.
Update your insurance
Talking of insurance, you should check that your valuable items are covered by your current home insurance policy, complete with up-to-date monetary values. Be aware of any exclusions which may apply to your cover, and check the situation in respect of moving day.
Stock up on packaging
Depending on exactly what you are transporting, you will need plenty of supplies of good quality packing and protective materials, such as cardboard, packing paper and bubble wrap. You may also need other materials and aids, such as specialist containers and cases, polystyrene, furniture blankets, and for those larger or bulkier items, wooden crates, trolleys and furniture dollies.
Your removals company should be able to supply a range of packing materials to suit your needs.
When it comes to packing precious and valuable items, particular care needs to be taken. Where possible, you should use the original boxes and packaging.
Glass and china
For glassware and china it’s advisable to line your boxes or containers with packing paper and use extra tape on the bottom of the box. Wrap each item in two further layers of packing paper followed by a protective layer, such as bubble wrap. Pack them into the box with additional cardboard in between, to act as a buffer. Use packing paper or bubble wrap to fill any remaining gaps. Larger or more unstable items can be wrapped in paper and bubble wrap and then secured in place inside the box using tape.
Glass panes and mirrors should be wrapped using a layer of bubble wrap and placed in a cardboard sleeve. It’s worth placing tape on the glass to form an X in case the glass breaks. Also adding some additional padding to the corners and edges will help to protect them against impact or pressure. Use a combination of polystyrene, foam, or cardboard and additional tape as appropriate.
Valuable books should be wrapped individually in packing paper and placed in boxes – remember not to pack too many books into each box! Any gaps can be filled with packing paper or alternative light padding.
Paintings and other artworks
When packing paintings, wrap each piece individually in paper or linen and then tape across the entire frame, lengthways and widthways. Place additional cardboard over the front of the picture. Choose a box that is only slightly larger than the item – you may want to use specialist boxes and corner protectors, which are specially designed for the purpose.
Antique furniture is often all the more fragile, so extra care is needed. Use plenty of protective padding and line crates and trolleys with carpet or blankets. Wrap furniture legs individually, before wrapping the rest of the item. When moving grandfather clocks, remove the weights and pendulum and wrap them separately.
Putting items into storage
If you’re putting your prized possessions into storage, it’s best to avoid using plastic sheeting, particularly for furniture, as this can encourage moisture to accumulate, resulting in problems with damp and mould.
Specialist collections such as textiles, paintings or fine wines may require special consideration, including the use of acid-free packaging or a temperature-controlled environment. Consult your removals company for further advice.
Finally, don’t forget to use clear labelling to show that your items are fragile or valuable, and provide explicit instructions as to their new location and how they should be handled.
You might consider taking small, expensive items, such as the family jewellery, with you in the car on moving day. However, if you have other, larger precious and valuable items, you should take extra care when handling and transporting them.
Watch your back
When it comes to loading your items, it’s essential that you do this carefully. Not only are you at risk of easily damaging your expensive piece of furniture or precious antique clock, by knocking, scratching or dropping it – but you could also do yourself a nasty injury!
To help ensure the safety of both you and your precious possessions, make sure you consider the following guidelines when moving and transporting your goods:
- Think ahead – map out beforehand where each item is going, taking into account its size and weight
- Be hazard aware – identify any obstructions or other hazards, such as low doorways or loose carpets
- Take your time – take it steady and don’t rush
- Remember health and safety – be careful when bending and lifting. Use trolleys where needed, and lift any furniture carefully, with at least one hand placed underneath and taking care not to pick up items by their handles, arms or drawers
- Seek help – ask family or friends to help with larger and bulkier items.
If you’re loading your possessions onto a van, make sure that you secure each item individually, using straps over padding, and then covering them with blankets.
Choosing an experienced removals company
At the end of the day, if you have precious and valuable items to transport, it’s often best to call in the experts. You should choose a removals firm with specific experience of dealing with antiques and valuables.
A reputable removals company, such as a Master Remover, will have the necessary tools and experience to safely and efficiently pack and load up your valuables, ready for transporting them to your new home.
Before you book, talk to the remover about their experience of and approach to moving valuables and antiques, and make sure they are confident and happy to tackle any challenges.
As experienced Master Removers, we understand that your valuables are often invaluable. We have many years’ experience of packing, storing and moving antiques and precious items, from fragile vases to fine art pieces, and our friendly and professional teams will help to ensure a smooth transit for you and your valuables.