What’s Old is New: Packing Tips for Antique Furniture

Antique writing desk with desk set

Have you ever looked at an antique table or lounge chair and wondered what it has seen and experienced in the time that it has existed? What secrets it has seen, the lives it has seen changed, what life shattering events happened on it? These events need not be of global significance, but they mattered to the original owner, or even the most recent owner. Antique furniture has survived for decades, and it would be devastating if some reckless packing ruined an otherwise unique piece that really brought a room together. To prevent that, here are a few things to remember when packing up your antique furniture.

Remove the Removable

If you want to be sure that nothing should befall the piece, be sure to make it as small as possible. If legs or drawers can be safely removed from that desk, be sure to do so. The more pieces it is in when you pack it, the more completely you can protect each piece, the more likely each part makes it to your destination intact.

Secure Everything

It might be tempting to protect the furniture with just furniture pads, after all some of the pieces might well have survived mortar fire, but why risk it when you dropped a pretty penny to get it? Carefully wrap everything, bubble wrap and furniture pads, and when it is loaded in the truck make sure that it is securely fastened with truck ties to limit movement during transit. Don’t know where to get some of those things? Check out a self-storage place near you. It is generally advised to have at least three layers of protection for antiques. Surface protection to prevent scratches; shock protection to help absorb some of the shock; and outer protection to keep any climate problems in check.

Plan Ahead

Remember, you have precious cargo in the back of the truck. Even the most secure items in a truck can slip and slide on a harsh turn or a bumpy road. Find the safest route possible for transporting your belongings from one place to another. This might mean taking a slightly longer route to find the roads that are in the best conditions or the turns aren’t too sharp. Every little bit of planning you do early on will pay off. The fewer bumps or turns along the way the safer your items will be. More than simply planning a route, plan the day of arrival: will it be sunny or raining; does everyone know where the furniture will go; are there stairs that you will need to climb to get the furniture to its new home; is there any debris that you need to move before the furniture gets there? The more you know early, the less painful the move will be

Insure if You’re Unsure

If you aren’t confident in the work that you’ve done, all the planning and securing, it might be smart to get some moving insurance on your more precious items. That way if something should go wrong, or your preparations just weren’t enough, you can at least get some financial support to replace what has been damaged. It isn’t quite the same as making it with all the pieces intact, but it is better than arriving with a broken desk.

Get Some Help

Sure, you could call some of your college buddies and offer some beer and pizza for the average move, but these things require a bit gentler hand. Find some reputable movers, preferably those who specialize in antique or heavy furniture, to help with this move. If securing movers is impossible, be sure to have the proper lifting tools to keep everything – including yourself—safe. Don’t let your antiques drag along the ground, as this will most certainly damage your floors. Remember to lift with your legs and not your back.

Inspect Furniture Before and After

Take some pictures of the furniture before you start packing up everything, and when you arrive the destination carefully inspect each piece for damage. Some scratching might be unavoidable but try to limit the damage as much as possible, especially if you want the piece to last another couple of decades or plan on passing it on to kids.

Remember, many antiques made it through wars and conflicts, but only with proper love and care. They need the same attention and care to make it through your move, but they will make it, and be a wonderful addition to your new home.

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