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Moving Antique Furniture – Tips from the Smithsonian

Regardless of what extra measures you take in terms of protecting and caring for antique furniture, the most important guiding principle has to be this: take extra care. That means consciously slowing down the process and allowing extra time for that too. By far the most damage occurs to antique furniture by simple neglect and carelessness. Scrapes, scratches, bumps, trying to fit a piece into an awkward space on the truck – all these things can be avoided just by taking extra time and consciously making an effort to be more careful.

Planning the Move
That extra care begins before you move. Take an inventory of the antiques and other furniture items that will require special handling and take note of any existing damage – especially where it affects the piece structurally. Will anything need extra support during the move? 

If you have access to the new location then you can plan every move in advance. It’s probably best to leave the antique furniture to be placed last to avoid contact with other furniture and items as they come into the home. That means leaving enough space to navigate and place it safely amongst the other items in a room.

Looking after the details is what will make the difference. Here are a few more tips from the antique experts at the Smithsonian.

Check the temperature and humidity levels at the new place and try to make sure they are the same as where you left to avoid damage to veneers and other finishes.
If you’re moving up or down a flight of stairs, have someone keep an eye out for potential crashes and scrapes while it is being carried.
Try to move items once only. This is where that pre-planning comes in handy.
Never drag furniture across the floor – always lift it by placing at least one hand underneath the item. Make sure the weight is balanced between those carrying. Dragging can cause damage to fragile legs and joints.
Avoid handling metal with your bare hands as it can cause corrosion.
Always face forward as you move items.
Above all: Slow down.

Packing with Layers of Protection
The Smithsonian experts advise using three layers of protection when you’re moving.

Layer #1 – this layer protects the surface finish of your piece. While your first instinct might be to use something soft like flannel, consider that flannel and other soft fabrics also easily trap dirt and dust which can then actually be pressed into your furniture. Thin materials like paper, plastic sheets and very smooth cloths work best.

Layer #2 – this layer helps to protect against those bumps that will occur despite your best efforts as well as the inevitable vibrations of the moving vehicle. That means the material should have a cushioning effect and while blankets can work in a pinch the best materials to use are rubber or even memory foam.

Layer #3 – under ideal circumstances this outer layer would consist of a hard shell packing case made of plywood and providing waterproof protection. Where this isn’t possible you can add a thick blanket as a third layer. Make sure each piece is secured in the moving vehicle using strapping over the blankets.

Pieces whose beauty has endured for decades or even centuries should get that extra TLC to make sure they get to their new destination with that beauty intact.

The Movers Choice
You pick up. You move. It’s that simple. The Movers Choice makes moving easy. Whether you’re moving across the hall or across town – our plastic moving box rentals are reliable and eco-friendly and help you get the job done with ease. We also offer a range of moving supplies and services for both business and residential customers.

Call 905.670.2778 or contact us online for the best in plastic moving box rentals in The Greater Toronto Area, Mississauga and beyond...