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A grandfather clock handed down through generations, an antique roll-top desk, heirloom china—these are the types of treasures that make a house feel like a home. They are also among the hardest items to move from one house (or apartment) to another. Fortunately, there are steps you can take for a successful move, even with difficult-to-pack antiques. With the right techniques and some special materials, you’ll be packing antiques like a pro.

“Earth Relocation is really great and I'll absolutely use them again. I've moved with them twice: once for an international move and once for a local move. Samir was really great at explaining everything and helping us prepare with the move. He's responsive and easy to work with. ”

Eric J Stone

Create an inventory of your antiques

As soon as you decide to move, create an inventory of every item in your antique collection.

Start with the largest items, such as armoires and dining room tables. Photograph each piece for your records. Measure all sides of each item; you’ll need these measurements for custom crates and to make sure your large antiques will fit through the doorways of your new home.

For smaller antiques like jewelry, silver, and collectibles, photograph each item and make note of any imperfections.

Get professional appraisals

If you haven’t gotten recent appraisals of your antiques, do that next. The American Society of Appraisers is an excellent resource for information about appraisals and for referrals to certified appraisers in your area.

Consider your insurance options

Are your antiques insured for the move? Even if they are included on your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy, check to see whether the coverage extends to transport and unpacking at your new home during a move. With your appraisals in hand, contact your broker or insurance provider before the move to discuss your options.

If you’re using a professional moving company, you may think that you’re covered by the company’s liability insurance. However, many movers’ policies are based on a 60-cents-per-pound formula. If this is all the coverage you have for the move and your 100-pound antique statue worth $1,000 is broken in transit, the moving company may be liable for only $60.

For interstate moves, the federal government requires that movers offer two liability options, Released Value (the 60-cents-per-pound option, described above) and Full Value Protection. With Full Value Protection, movers are liable for the repair or replacement of items damaged or lost during a move. However, there are liability limits for items—like antiques—that exceed the value of $100 per pound. For in-state moves, coverage requirements vary; you can find out more by contacting your state’s Office of the Attorney General. When it comes to moving high-value antiques, a third-party insurer is always worth considering.

Do it like the Smithsonian

Of course, you want your antiques to arrive at your new home undamaged, and to achieve that goal, it’s all about packing properly. To find out the best methods of packing antiques, we looked to the experts. What better resource on dealing with antiques than a place that moves some of the most exquisite antiques in the world? The Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute offers detailed guidelines about moving antiques and advises packing antiques with three layers of protection:

1. Protective wrap

The first layer will keep the object clean and safe. For porous items such as artwork, antique books, and fabrics, non-acidic archival tissue makes a fine protective layer. For glass or wood, use stretch wrap or foam wrap to cover the items completely, making sure to extend the wrap around corners and edges. You can also use cloth as a protective wrap, but, as the Smithsonian points out, “In some cases, soft material like flannel can trap dirt which abrades the surface” of an antique.

2. Shock and vibration protection

The purpose of this layer is to absorb small shocks that occur during transport. Use a combination blankets, foam, and bubble wrap and attach securely.

3. Protective shell

The outermost layer protects your valuable antiques from the most abrupt effects of the move. An ideal protective shell is a wooden crate.

Packing antiques: considerations for small items

The Smithsonian approach can be used with smaller items, too. Because archival tis sueis smooth and nonacidic, it’s ideal as a protective layer for dishes, glassware, and collectibles. These smaller items should be double-boxed for extra protection, with a layer of packing peanuts or foam between the inside and outside boxes. If you are shipping them, you may want to combine multiple smaller items in a crate. If you bring small antiques in your car, be sure to secure them in your trunk–out of sight, in the spare tire compartment or tucked away behind your luggage.

The smallest of your antiques, and possibly the most valuable, are watches and jewelry. Take the same steps listed above: inventory the items, take photographs, get appraisals, and secure the proper amount of insurance. During the move, keep these small items close to you at all times: with your personal belongings such as your laptop case or handbag if you’re driving, or, if you’re flying, in your carry-on luggage.

Packing antiques into the moving van

The rule of thumb for loading fragile items—especially antiques—is “last on, first off.” The idea is to limit the chances of your antiques being knocked around during loading and unloading.

Check your treasures as you unpack

After the move, set aside some time to unpack your antiques. If you notice any damage to the crates or exterior boxes, document it with photographs or video.

Carefully inspect each item as you unpack it. Do you detect a knick or a scratch that was not there before the move? This is when the photographs you took while creating your inventory will come in handy. If there is damage and you need to file a claim, be sure to check your policy to determine the amount of time you have to file and what types of documentation (such as before-and-after photos and appraisal forms) you’ll need to initiate your claim.

By their very nature, antiques are rare and irreplaceable. Investing the time, effort, and money to protect them can help ensure that, no matter how distant the move, your most treasured possessions will arrive safely at your new home.

International move from Tel Aviv District to Florida

This company has moving experts who help clients like us who have not moved much in the past to guide them well through the nitty gritties of an International move. Our point of contact Sarah was really awesome and very patient. She was well spoken and would answer all our silly questions with utmost care and concern. We are happy to share our positive experience as this company really did all it took to make our transition stress free. They even helped us with apartment search and our native community info in our area since we have never lived in US before. They have another partner who takes care of the relocation side however Earth Relocation manages it all.

I am very delighted and shall use them again on our return. Ciao!!
Lionel P.

International move from Rhode Island to Ireland

We moved with Earth Relocation from Rhode Island to Ireland and we took a 40 FT container. My wife was the one discussing the rates and services with their representative and they were prompt on providing the quotes in a timely manner. They sent their crew from New Jersey for 2 days and packed/loaded the pod at our house in Rhode Island. We are retiring and moving back to our home in Ireland. and we told Earth Relocation guys that we will not be moving everything from our US residence since we are keeping our US home and shall be visiting every year in summer time. Their surveyor came from New Jersey prior to us booking with them and accurately evaluated the stuff going to Ireland and thereby provided the quote. The crew was courteous and fitted everything well in the container at our residence, Goods arrived in decent condition with only one box damaged due to a little movement in the container which we are not unhappy about as it had linens inside. To summarize I would recommend using this company and will give full marks to them. Moving is not easy but they made it stress free for us at this stage of our life. Would like to thank their team, keep up the good work.

James Farrington.

International move from New Jersey to Quebec

Once we contacted them, our goods were packed and moved within a week's time from our home. All paperwork was done upfront for clearance of goods in Canada and we had to go to customs terminal in Montreal as indicated in advance by our moving consultant. Everything was arranged as planned and our door to door moving was completed in 6 business days. Other companies we were contacted by were giving transit times of 2-3 weeks and one company in New York even mentioned one month in transit time. It was peak moving season and we were not getting clarity on pickup and delivery time frames from other folks and this was very critical for us as the job I started in Canada had a dedicated day and we wanted to setup our new apartment in advance. In any case, all went well and the cost of the move was not exorbitant either. So I am doing my due diligence by sharing my experience and would like to give full marks to ER.

Mitesh R

International move from Cyprus to New York

Used this company's service to move from Cyprus to New York as recommended by one of our friends who moved with them from Boston to Nicosia.

Overall performance was decent, door to door service was completed within the budget provided by them and transit time ended up being one week over what was estimated. We were not stressed with delay of one week as we were staying in extended stay in NYC. Our rep was very upfront and never provided misleading info and did not promise more than what could have been realistically delivered. Will use them again due to this smooth move and honest service.

Georghios M.

International move from New York to Dominican Republic

I had to move my household goods (4 bedroom house) from New York to Santa Domingo. Earth Relocation team were able to move my stuff quickly.

The agent I spoke to was very professional and answered all my queries. Pricing was fair and I am overall very pleased with the service.

Thanks Earth Relocation for making my international move hassle free. Highly recommended.


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