The books can be tossed pell-mell into small boxes, the clothes hung in a wardrobe box, but what do you do with Grandma’s china and that big painting over the couch so that they get to your new digs unscathed?
If you don’t have the cash to pay movers to box everything for you, or your moving crew consists of your cousin and a rental truck, a few key steps while packing, and even before you start rounding up boxes, can save a lot of headache on the unpacking end – and, hopefully, save your crystal.
Here are some key tips from the pros:
1. Create an Inventory
Documenting every book you have may not be worth your time, but making notes and taking photographs of your more meaningful possessions can help, should anything go wrong. It’s easier to make a claim against your homeowner’s insurance, or the moving company’s, if you have documentation of the original state. This should fit in easily with your pre-move organizing.
2. Get Insurance
For anything that goes on a truck, make sure it’s covered by insurance. Your homeowner’s insurance may cover a move. Some moving companies might offer extra insurance. The federal government has a surprisingly good overview of your rights when it comes to damaged goods and your movers.
3. Big Stuff Needs Help
Heavy items need special dollies and wooden crates, he said. Many movers will contract out that work to specialists. These are not items to trifle with or move by yourself, he said. And take the time to choose a moving company carefully.
4. Small Stuff Goes With You
The movers don’t want your jewelry or important paperwork damaged any more than you do. Keep their valuables with them in their vehicles during moves. It’s safer. And that way we’re not as liable. You packed it.
5. Invest in the Right Boxes
Special flat-screen TV boxes have padding to keep the screen safe. The $20 or so might seem expensive for a box, but that’s cheaper than buying a new $1,000 television. The same goes for stemware, which is particularly hard to pack. There are specialty boxes for all sorts of items.
6. Dishes Side-by-Side
Pack dishes in several layers of paper, and fit them in the box on the edge – not flat-side down. They’re less likely to shatter if something bumps the edge.
7. Tape Paintings
Put a big X with masking or painter’s tape on anything under glass – like you see in photographs of shop windows during hurricane preparations. The tape helps keep glass from shattering.
8. Box It Up Right
With any box, but especially one containing fragile things, gently shake it as you pack to make sure the contents don’t move. If they do, add more padding. Also, don’t just fold over the box tops – tape them. And make sure to fill the box so the top can’t cave in. See more tips for packing properly.