John Egan is editor in chief at SpareFoot, an Austin, TX-based company that operates the country’s largest online marketplace for self-storage units.
Millions of people in the U.S. move each year, and that results in thousands of horror stories involving damaged grandfather clocks, shattered Waterford china or broken Tiffany lamps.
What can you do to make sure your prized possessions aren’t ruined during a move? Check out these eight tips from the experts.
Declare Your High-Value Items
If you’re hiring a professional mover, make sure you fill out a high-value inventory form, said David Corrigan, president of Corrigan Moving Systems. The company recommends that its customers complete this form for items, such as coin collections and china, whose value exceeds $100 a pound.
“This ensures your carrier knows these items require special handling and protection,” Corrigan said. “Failure to complete the inventory of these items in writing could result in limited carrier liability coverage should your items be damaged during transport.”
Take an Inventory
Before packing any valuables, take a photo of each one and jot down a description, said Teri-An Consaul, owner of SMW Relocation Services. Or if you want to accomplish that task in a more tech-friendly way, turn to an app like Sortly. Sortly lets you snap photos of belongings and categorize them.
Hang onto Certain Items
Consaul urges people who are moving to keep things like expensive jewelry, medication and financial documents with them rather than packing them.
Be sure to avoid moving boxes with thin walls, Corrigan said. Corrugated cardboard boxes are the sturdiest; they’ll help prevent valuables from being damaged or destroyed. When you’re boxing up stemware, place each piece in a separate corrugated cylinder, said David Howell, CEO of Ace Moving & Storage.
Have adequate insurance in place to protect your valuables. Experts recommend buying full replacement value coverage from your moving company. According to the American Moving & Storage Association, buying this extra protection means any lost or damaged items will be repaired or replaced, or cash will be paid to cover the items’ current market value.
Wrap ‘Em Up
Wrap valuable or fragile items in plain packaging paper or bubble wrap, Corrigan said. Use newspaper only for filling in gaps between items in boxes; newspaper ink can rub off on china and other items.
For a move that’s longer than across town, use wooden crates to pack delicate larger pieces, such as crystal chandeliers, pool-table slates and antique furniture, Howell said. Antiques with glass panels or mirrors should be covered with padding or stretch wrap to prevent breakage.
When placing items in boxes, put heavier ones in first and lighter items toward the top, Corrigan said. Pack smaller, fragile items in smaller boxes. “You can then place a smaller box within a large box to ensure it does not get lost,” he said.
Label Every Box
Marking each box with “Fragile” or “This End Up” will remind you or your moving company to be extra careful in the packing and moving process, Corrigan said.
Have any other suggestions? Share them with the readers below!