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preserve your collectibles

Art, antiques, jewelry and collectibles are often irreplaceable. So, making sure your valuables are properly protected is of the utmost importance. This MasterKit will shed light on common specialty items that need additional insurance coverage and provide expert tips to make sure they'll last for generations to come.
packing boxes
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How to Transport Fragile Items Safely

Whether you're taking your favorite piece of folk art for an appraisal or just purchased some new antiques, moving any delicate items can cause anxiety. We'll show you how to make sure you get your pieces from point A to point B safe and intact.

When you have to move any of your most breakable and valuable pieces, protecting them properly is a must. Regardless of how far you have to go - whether you're moving your entire household across the country, or simply taking a few small items to the local appraiser - the methods you use to pack your items are critical.

But before you grab a stack of old newspapers and start wrapping, read these tips. Different objects require different strategies, and using them effectively can make all the difference.

1. Document and insure everything.
First, look over all your pieces for damage and document their current state. Take photos of your art, furniture, and items before you pack them. Photograph everything from different angles so you can easily spot any new damage that might occur during transport. You should also have your items appraised, and be sure to talk to your insurance agent before you move anything. Even if you have personal property insurance, lost items and breakage that happens during a move (no matter how far) might not be covered. You may need to consider purchasing additional insurance, especially if you're using a professional moving company.

2. Hire specialty movers, even for short distances.
For large antique furniture, consider using professional movers. They utilize packing strategies like crating, palletting, and special bracing and cushioning in their trucks to provide shock and vibration protection, preventing your antique furnishings from being damaged.

This is especially important with pieces like pianos and grandfather clocks, which require special handling when being moved, no matter how short the distance. These types of pieces are heavy and extremely delicate. Specialty movers are well-versed in how to properly disassemble and secure them inside their trucks to protect them during transit, and prevent permanent damage.

3. Treat fine art with extra care.
Different types of fine art require different types of packing. Most fine arts experts recommend art of any substantial value, including paintings, sculptures, glass, and statues be transported in wooden crates. You can have crates custom built to fit exact size specifications or purchase a variety of different sizes online. Oil paintings should have extra protection, even when crated, as oil is the most delicate of mediums. Be sure the front of any oil painting is covered with an acid-free paper before crating - this will guard it from dirt and moisture.1

Pro Tip: Whenever possible, move your oil paintings when the weather is cool outside, as oil paintings can actually melt in the heat.

4. Protect and securely pack small items.
You can safely move smaller items on your own if they're packed correctly. Use archival tissue to wrap dishes, glassware and other breakable collectibles like jewelry and watches. Once wrapped, place them in a box, and then put that box inside another box. Add packing peanuts or foam between the inner and outer boxes for added cushioning.

5. Crate big-ticket items.
Smaller items like jewelry and glassware is fine when packed properly in in a cardboard box. But if you're relocating larger irreplaceable pieces like an heirloom crystal chandelier or Tiffany lamp, consider using wooden crates for those, as well. As with moving fine art pieces, you can have wooden crates for breakable pieces custom made, or purchase pre-made crates online. If you buy readymade crates that don't fit the exact specs of your item, fill the empty space with soft packing materials like peanuts, foam, or even clean sheets. This way the item inside will be less likely to shift.

6. Nest lampshades.
Lampshades - especially glass ones - are particularly delicate, but you can move more than one in a box. Carefully wrap each one well in acid-free paper, and then nest them on top of each other with more paper in between. Don't place any other items or extra packing materials in or on top of the box.

7. Box up picture frames and mirrors.
When you're transporting flat items that are breakable, such as picture frames and mirrors, put them inside boxes that are the same size or just a bit larger. That way they won't be able to shift around during transit. If you can't find boxes that are the right fit, make them using sheets of cardboard.

Pro Tip: When you purchase tape, buy packing tape or duct tape. These are extra strong and should keep boxes securely sealed.

8. Plan ahead.
While it might not seem important, you should take into account the temperature and humidity at the location where you're moving your item from and where you're moving it to. For instance, if you're taking an antique oak wardrobe out of a temperature-controlled storage unit and putting into a new environment, the sudden change could cause damage to the wood. This applies to most types of art on paper, too.1

While these preventative measures may seem like a lot of work, they're well worth it. When you protect your valuables properly you can continue to enjoy them scratch- and dent-free.

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