Moving to a new home can be an exciting prospect, but everyone who’s ever had to move probably has at least one horror story about something expensive or irreplaceable that got broken during the move. Boxes get dropped, liquids spill, trucks take sharp turns, and the next thing you know, you’re looking at costly repairs or replacements, or worse, you’ve got a priceless family heirloom headed for the recycle bin. If you’ve got a moving day coming up on the calendar, there are steps you can take to make sure your treasures make it to your new home in one piece. All you have to do is think and plan ahead and take a little extra time to make sure you’ve done everything you can do to safeguard the things that are most valuable to you.
- Get creative with the cushioning materials. You don’t have to buy rolls and rolls of bubble wrap to protect your breakable things—you’ve already got all the padding you need. Clothes, linens, blankets, and towels can all be used to wrap up fragile items that are going into boxes, so there’s no need to be stingy when it comes to ensuring a soft landing for your breakables. Bubble wrap secured with tape is best for really fragile items, but for things that just need a little extra padding, you can improvise. You can even put small items inside socks so they don’t get loose.
- Plastic wrap is your new best friend. Bringing bottles of liquid to your new abode? When you’re packing up toiletries or cleaning supplies for transport, some plastic wrap under the caps can make sure there’s no leakage or spills if they tip or fall over. You can also seal drawers or bins with plastic wrap to make sure nothing falls out, and heavy-duty stretch wrap can be a great way to wrap up furniture to protect it from getting scratched.
- Let the pros handle it. Professional movers have thousands of hours more experience moving heavy, fragile, and unwieldy items than you and your friends who owe you a favor do, so definitely consider hiring a moving company to get the job done. Most companies will provide you with a free moving quote so you can make sure it’s within your budget, but remember that between vehicle rentals, gas, supplies, and pizza for your helpers, you’ll incur plenty of added expenses if you try to do all the moving yourself. Best of all, a good moving company will have cargo insurance to cover any accidental damage they’re responsible for.
- For heavy things, use smaller boxes. Smaller boxes will be easier to handle, making it far less likely that anyone will drop them, and they’ll be less prone to tipping over and spilling once they’re loaded in a truck.
- Take pictures, make copies. Photographs of valuable possessions can be extremely useful if you have to make an insurance claim, but for some things, their value isn’t in what they are, but in the information they hold. Pictures and copies of your important personal documents and paperwork can be a lifesaver if they get lost or damaged.
- Use the original packaging. If you’re the type of person who saves the boxes your fancy electronic gadgets came in, this is your time to shine. The original packaging is probably the safest thing you can transport these items in. If you’re buying a new TV or computer when you know you have a move coming up, definitely hang on to the boxes and foam packing molds.
- Plates go on their sides. It may not be intuitive, but plates are safest when you pack them vertically, with padding between them, rather than stacked on top of each other.
- Ziploc bags to the rescue. Electronics, appliances, decorative objects, or anything else that has small separate or detachable parts calls for plastic bags you can seal up securely. Put the little loose parts in the bag and tape it to the thing it goes with and you won’t be scrambling to find missing parts and pieces when it’s time to unpack.
- Special handling procedures. For anything that’s really one of a kind, won’t fit well into a box, or especially susceptible to breakage and damage, take some extra time to armor it up with as much bubble wrap, tape, cardboard, and extra padding as you can, and consider transporting it separately. It may add some extra time and labor to your moving plans, but you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing you didn’t take any shortcuts when it came to moving that irreplaceable antique or work of art.