Art in Shipping Crates

Guide to packing art & antiques like a pro

Art and antiques are an amazing investment and a beautiful part of your home. However, when it comes to relocating them to another home or gallery, people are faced with the problem of packing. Most people make the mistake of packing these items in the same way as the other things in their homes. This way, they increase the risk of damaging valuable items and therefore losing their favorite objects. So, to make sure your valuable belongings are safe during transport, learn to pack them properly. Here’s a simple guide to packing art and antiques like a pro – the easy way.

Give yourself enough time

The biggest mistake you can make when packing art and antiques is to do it in a rush. We may indeed be faced with deadlines we have to meet and they require speed and efficiency, but these fragile and valuable items require patience. Therefore, try to give yourself enough time to pack everything properly. A few extra steps and secure packing techniques will ensure that your items are safe during transport and you don’t damage them while packing.

Make an inventory list

Another pro tip is to know exactly what you’re moving – especially when packing antiques and other valuables. This might seem like an extra step that you don’t need, but it has proved to be very useful for many. Therefore, if you’re packing more than one item, or moving the entire house or a gallery, make sure you write down all the items you’re packing. To make things easier – you can use an app to make your inventory list.

Know the value of your items

 When moving art and antiques, it’s necessary to know the worth of the art pieces you have. Make sure you get an appraisal from a professional and be ready if anything happens to the items during transport.

Before packing art and antiques, inform on the number and worth of your items – and obtain the necessary insurance.

Prepare all the tools and supplies

To pack fragile items, make sure you’re ready to start the process – especially if there are a lot of them. It’s necessary to get all the supplies you’ll need to pack everything safely, so once you start packing, you don’t need to take a break and go to the store, but can finish everything in one take. To start packing art and antiques like a pro, you’ll need:

  • moving boxes – if you’re not buying new boxes but getting used ones, make sure you check if they are in good condition.
  • packing paper – get a lot of it, to protect the items properly.
  • tape – use heavy-duty tape, to ensure none of the boxes open during transport.
  • corner protectors – these are very useful when packing paintings, fragile frames, and mirrors.
  • a microfiber cloth – use this to clean the items before you wrap them, and make sure the wrapping will stay tight on the item.
  • foam/stretch wrap, blankets, bubble wrap – use it to wrap the items and keep them clean and safe from vibrations and tumbling.
  • furniture pads – depending on the sort of items you’re moving, obtain furniture pads of appropriate sizes.
  • markers – make sure you label every box properly. Write the contents of it, but also mark the box with the word ‘fragile’.
Close-up image of post worker applying adhesive tape on cardboard boxes

Figure 2 Fragile items take time to pack – remember that when packing art and antiques for a move.

alt.tag: artsy plates

In case you can’t get all the supplies, or don’t know how to use them properly, contacting a pro is the safest thing you can do. Don’t make this mistake if you need to relocate your collection that is valuable and irreplaceable. The right supplies combined with an expert packing technique is the key to a safe relocation of valuable art pieces and antiques.

Obtain art insurance

To ensure your items are properly covered in case of damage or loss, getting appropriate insurance is a necessary step. Whether you’re a professional or moving a private art collection, fine art insurance from a reliable broker will give you peace of mind.

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Packing fragile art and antiques – all the steps

When the time comes for packing art and antiques, you shouldn’t be tricked by the age of certain items. Even though something is very old and has survived for many years, it doesn’t mean it’s strong as before.  Antique items are very fragile, and investing time and effort in protecting them during transport will surely pay off. These are the steps that will protect most of your fragile items:

  1. clean the items – use a cloth to carefully wipe the item so the layers of protection can adhere properly.
  2. wrap the item with a protective wrap – even though this step can’t protect the item from breaking, it can surely keep it clean, and free from scratches.
  3. wrap the item with a blanket, a sheet of plastic bubbles, or foam – these will minimize the vibrations during the transport.
  4. put the item in a protective shell – if you don’t have the original packaging, use a sturdy moving box, or ideally a wooden crate. This final step will give the strongest protection from tumbling and other sudden movements.
  5. minimize the risk of damage by loading the fragile items last, and getting them out of the vehicle first.

Should you disassemble antique furniture?

When it comes to moving furniture, it’s often much better to move it in separate pieces. However, with antiques, that’s not the case. As we mentioned, old items have survived for a long time, but they are very fragile and every sudden movement or strong pressure is extremely risky. Therefore, invest in additional packing material, or simply hire a moving professional to help you out. Make sure to choose the safest option, since antique pieces are irreplaceable and should be well-protected during transport.