Have you ever looked at an antique and wondered what life-changing events and turbulent emotions it has witnessed throughout its long life? What kind of people have used it and what secrets it keeps?
Antique furniture pieces have always been more than regular furnishing items – not only are they extremely beautiful and valuable, but also full of memories and feelings. Quite often, antique furniture is passed down from one generation to the next as a treasured family heirloom, a precious keepsake of happy times and sad moments. It has withstood the test of time and survived altering fashion trends and social norms, changing styles and tastes.
Therefore, when faced with yet another radical change in your life – a residential move, you will most certainly want to ensure the safety of your priceless antique furniture and have it relocated to your new home without so much as a scratch. But how to move an antique in a safe and efficient manner? How to protect it during the chaotic relocation process?
Moving antiques across the country is quite a challenge indeed. To meet it successfully, you are going to need some expert help. Take a closer look at the useful tips for moving antique furniture below to get a better idea of what you are in for.
How to prepare antique furniture for moving?
The process of moving house is known to be quite a risky endeavor. Too many things can go wrong and too many circumstances beyond your control can ruin even the most carefully planned relocation scenarios. Nonetheless, it will be the integrity of your shipment that will be your primary concern throughout the entire transitional period – especially when it comes to extremely delicate and vulnerable items, such as antiques. No amount of money can replace the great value of your treasured furniture pieces, so you need to make every effort to keep them safe and intact during the relocation. Proper preparation is crucial for their survival.
Inventory your antique furniture
To be able to see the larger picture and keep better track of your precious possessions, you are recommended to create a detailed inventory list of your antique furniture pieces.
Go from one room to the next and inventory the vintage pieces in your home – make sure you note down not only the name and location of every individual item, but any other relevant information as well (year and place of manufacturing, craftsman, material, original purpose, first owner, approximate value, etc.) Most important of all, make a clear description of the antique’s current condition – specify any existing damage and make several high-resolution photos of the piece (photograph it from all sides and angles, so that you have a solid evidence of its actual condition). This will come very handy if you need to make a claim against the moving company after your move.
Get your antique furniture appraised
You will have to obtain an antique furniture appraisal as verification of the value of your precious pieces. Make sure you find a trustworthy and properly authorized antique furniture appraiser to assess the actual worth of your treasured belongings.
Purchase adequate insurance
It’s of paramount importance to have your valuable antiques fully insured when in transit. Discuss your options with your insurance agent and your moving company and choose the kind of liability coverage that is most appropriate in your particular case.
The better prepared you are, the smaller the chance of unexpected troubles during the actual relocation of your antiques:
- find a safe route out of your old home and into your new one – measure the dimensions of your furniture and the dimensions of the doorways to make sure that your antiques will fit through without a problem (if your delicate pieces cannot be safely maneuvered in or out, you’ll have to arrange for specialized moving services or give up the idea of relocating them – you can always sell your old furniture if it is not worth the expenses, time, and efforts to relocate it to your new home);
- create a floor plan of your new home, so that you have your antiques taken directly to their rightful locations and avoid shuffling them around several times;
- check the ambient conditions (temperature and humidity) in your new place and make the necessary adjustments (use a dehumidifier, an air-conditioner, etc.) to render them safe for your delicate antique furniture.
Get your furniture ready for moving
Empty your furniture pieces, so that they become lighter and easier to carry (and therefore – much less susceptible to damage) and clean them well several days before the move. Inspect the furniture closely to identify any potentially problematic parts (weakened elements, loose interior parts, non-secured pieces, etc.) and what special handling or moving requirements will be necessary. Share all the relevant information with your movers well in advance.
How to pack antique furniture for shipping?
Packing antique furniture is no child’s play – the great size, weight, and fragility of your antique pieces make them very difficult to pack and move across the country. To avoid unnecessary risks and potential troubles, you are strongly recommended to hire professional packing services – the experienced packers will use the most appropriate packing materials and the most efficient packing techniques to prepare your valuable antiques for shipment in the quickest and safest manner possible. You will not only save yourself plenty of time and efforts but will also ensure your peace of mind and will have your treasured furniture delivered to your new home in excellent condition.
In case you need to pack your antique pieces on your own, you are advised to:
- Disassemble the furniture as much as safely possible – remove any detachable elements such as drawers, doors, shelves, legs, glass panels, etc. and pack them separately with utmost care. Put any small hardware parts (screws, nuts, handles, etc.) in sealable plastic bags and attach them to the main furniture body or pack them in the same box as the other furniture components;
- Secure your furniture well – fix any loose parts, lock doors (if possible), use plastic wrap to hold all the furniture parts securely in place, etc.;
- Ensure proper protection – it is generally recommended to provide 3 layers of protection when transporting antique furniture:
– surface protection – wrap your antique pieces with soft packing paper and use thin plastic wrap to hold the coverings tightly in place. This will protect the furniture’s delicate surface from moisture, dust, dirt, scratches, and other superficial damage;
– shock protection – you need to provide adequate cushioning that will absorb any undesirable shocks and vibrations during transit. Your best option is to use foam sheets or soft moving blankets – makes sure your furniture pieces are completely covered and secure the protective materials well with the help of packing tape or rope;
– outer protection – a final hard shell (preferably waterproof), such as a custom crate designed to perfectly fit your antique pieces will ensure the best possible protection during shipment.
Good to remember: When packing your antique furniture, make sure you don’t use packing tape directly on the delicate surfaces – the tape can leave sticky marks on the finish and ruin it.
How to move antique furniture?
So, the time has come to take your safely packed antique furniture to your new home. The actual transportation of your belongings is, of course, the riskiest stage of the moving process, so you need to be extra careful when moving day comes.
1) Enlist reliable help – hopefully, the thought of moving your antique pieces by yourself will never cross your mind. To minimize the risk of damaging your valuable furniture items during the relocation, you need reliable help. You can ask several trustworthy friends to help you take the antique pieces out of your old home and load them onto the moving truck, of course, but you will be putting your valuables in jeopardy. Your safest and most convenient moving option is to trust a specialized antique furniture moving company. The experts will have the excellent skills and the professional know-how required to relocate your antique furniture in a safe and efficient manner. Just shop around for reliable antique furniture movers who have considerable experience in relocating antiques, collectibles and fine art, compare their offers, discuss the details of your move, and choose the best furniture movers for your particular needs (make sure they are licensed, qualified and properly insured);
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2) Prepare well – inspect the entire area and remove any obstacles, debris, water, ice or anything else that can present a hazard on moving day. Keep your children and/or pets away to prevent accidents and injuries;
3) In the event of a self-move, make sure you use proper antique furniture moving equipment and safe lifting and carrying techniques to move your cherished pieces around. Plan each and every action you’re about to take in advance, obtain the best possible grip, move slowly, and be extra careful. Never drag antiques directly along the floor and avoid lifting the piece with the help of any attached elements such as arms, rails, or wings. Take every precaution to avoid slip-offs, impacts, or other accidents when taking your antique pieces out of your home and loading them on the moving vehicle. Make sure they don’t come into contact with other household items in the truck and secure them well with ropes or straps so that they don’t move during transportation. Needless to say, you have to be equally careful when unloading your antiques and taking them into your new residence.
SEE ALSO: How to move heavy furniture by myself
What to do with your antique furniture after the move?
Once you reach your final destination, you have the responsibility to:
- Inspect your antique furniture for damage and take corresponding measures if necessary (contact your insurance company, file a damage claim, etc.);
- Have your antique pieces taken to their designated locations and properly reassembled;
- Clean your valuable pieces thoroughly and make every effort to keep them in excellent condition for many more years to come!