Here are some practical tips from our experts, which you can use to make sure it all goes more or less according to plan. You can never guarantee anything, but by taking these brief measures, you can rest knowing you’ve done all you can. In this blog, we’ll tell you how to take care of fragile items and furniture. We’ll follow up with more on photos, books and documents, clothing, metals, electrical equipment and battery-operated items.
Have you ever broken something really valuable? By accident, I mean. Was it yours, or somebody else’s? Which do you think is worse, the guilt or the longing? We’re sure you told yourself that next time, you’re going to take some simple measures to make sure it doesn’t happen again. The worst thing you could do is to transport your cherished items internationally, even, only to break them when putting it into local storage – especially if you’re putting it there to protect it!
One solution is to wrap your fragile items like ceramics and glass objects separately, one by one, using soft materials: packing paper, tissue, clean clothing, cotton, linen or bubble wrap. That way, if they do happen to move in transit, it’ll be soft items rubbing slowly, rather than your ‘naked’ items smashing into each other.
You can use a generous quantity of the above soft materials to line the bottom of your packing box, so that your treasured fragile items have the softest time of it. As you build up vertically, layer each new level of your items with these cushioning objects, alternating layers with more fragile items, like a lasagne. You’ll get the feel for using enough cushioning material: they won’t produce their usual material contact sounds (ceramic glass, etc), for one.
You can continue putting your soft materials in any more empty spaces you find, including down the sides of the box, to keep your contents stable. If it’s not too heavy, you could try moving the box a little (don’t shake it!) to check whether there’s any movement among your items. There shouldn’t be any. Now you can feel reassured about the journey to the storage unit.
It’s a good idea to have your box stencilled ‘Fragile’, to let everyone know which boxes to treat with the highest level of care. You could check with your storage provider to see if they provide stencilling, or if they use stickers.
What you really want to avoid is your deep furniture materials (cushions, the insides of mattresses) being spoiled by rotting in storage. While those big pieces of furniture – your cabinets, bookshelves and so on – used to contain all manner of objects, you’ll want to make sure that nothing has slid or fallen down the cracks at the back of a drawer, say, or a sofa cushion. Especially if it’s anything that can rot. It may be a lizard or snake, or ravenous insects. It’s worth getting the vacuum in to all those places down the back of the sofa where crumbs seem to accumulate.
Somehow, your bookcase doesn’t match your table any more, not like it did before you stored it – this can be avoided by wiping your items clean and putting a protective layer on any exposed wood. Ideally, they should dry in the open air to keep their colour tones. Make sure to do it in good time for the transition! As your storage date approaches, you may be in a cold sweat cramming it all in to your storage space. One remedy is to unscrew the legs off the sofa, say, and take boards out of bookcases and wardrobes. Then they’ll take up less space. You can store more things inside them too, when you’ve got them in storage. Taking the legs off will also make it easier to move them.
If chair legs can’t be unscrewed, you won’t want them scratching or poking into your other furniture during the move. Use bubble wrap – not other plastic materials though – to wrap those legs, as well as any fragile furniture. Keep dust off your furniture by wrapping it in covers or sheets.