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Moving Art, Antiques & Fragile Items? How to Deal With Difficult Items During a Move

Havana Dauncey
· October 2, 2023
Moving Art, Antiques & Fragile Items? How to Deal With Difficult Items During a Move

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Moving houses is no easy task. Especially when you have some difficult items standing in your way. It may be your grandmother’s vintage china set, an antique grand piano, a one-of-a-kind piece of artwork or any other item that’s valuable or fragile.

Unfortunately, you can’t just chuck them in a moving box or throw them into the back of the truck with all your other belongings. If you want these items to get through the move without a scratch, chip, crack or tear, then you’ll need to give them some extra care and attention.

Here are our top 9 tips for dealing with difficult items during a move and ensuring they arrive at your new home in tip-top shape!

1. Take Inventory and Photos

Identify and put aside any and all difficult items that may need some special care. This could be anything that is very valuable or at high risk of getting damaged, for example:

  • Antiques

  • Artwork

  • Mirrors

  • Pianos

  • Porcelain and glassware

Make a list and take clear and good-quality photos of every item, making sure to get every angle. Keeping these pictures allows you to have photographic evidence of the condition of your items pre-move so that it’s easier to see if anything is damaged post-move.

2. Get an Appraisal

Hire a professional appraiser to assess your special items and accurately determine each item’s value. This documentation is important for when you get insurance. It also ensures you’re completely covered in case any items do get damaged during the move so that even if you can’t get a replacement, you at least get your full money back.

3. Secure Premium Insurance

Buying insurance may seem like an unnecessary extra expense when you’re already spending so much money on the move, but quality insurance is one of those things you only realise you need when something goes horribly wrong.

And when you’re dealing with anything valuable, insurance is a must!

Most moving companies offer comprehensive insurance. But just make sure to review and compare insurance policies to guarantee all your special items are entirely covered and you’re getting the best bang for your buck.

4. Prepare Items for Packing

Before you can start packing and hauling your items to their new home, there are a few extra measures you can take to guarantee that your valuable and fragile items avoid any harm during the move.

This includes:

  • Remove anything that’s stored inside the item to prevent things from moving and banging around.

  • Thoroughly cleaning each item to remove any dust, stains, sand or dirt that may cause scratches.

  • Disassemble any items that can be dismantled into smaller pieces that are easier to manage and transport.

5. Buy High-Quality Packing Materials

High-quality Packing Materials

If you want the best protection, then it’s a good idea to invest in the best packing materials. Depending on the item, you can buy:

  • Bubble wrap

  • Anti-acid packing paper

  • Packing peanuts

  • Packing tape

  • Blankets

  • Furniture covers

  • Clear plastic bags

  • Plastic, waterproof moving crates

And don’t be afraid to buy extra and double up for some more protection.

6. Pack Like a Pro

The key to protecting your difficult items during a move is packing them like a pro (or hiring professional packers if you don’t want to do it yourself).

Each difficult item requires its own packing strategy, so here are some helpful tips on how to pack the typical difficult items:

Antique Furniture

  • Carefully disassemble antique furniture where possible.

  • Generously wrap up each individual part with two layers of bubble wrap, soft cloth or furniture covers.

  • Place antiques into a hard cardboard box or crate.

  • Fill any extra space in the crate with padding to absorb any vibrations.


  • Wrap artwork in brown paper.

  • Put on heavy-duty corner protectors.

  • Further wrap the artwork in two layers of bubble wrap.

  • Place the artwork into an appropriate-size picture box.

Packing Artwork

Mirrors and Frames

  • Place masking tape in a crisscross pattern over the glass of the painting.

  • Cover the mirror or frame in brown paper and two layers of bubble wrap.

  • Wrap a thick blanket around it for an extra layer of padding.

  • Put it inside a picture box.

Porcelain and Glassware

  • Wrap all breakables in 2 layers of bubble wrap

  • Fill any hollow items with bubble wrap, packing paper or crumpled newspaper.

  • Line the bottom of the box with some padding.

  • Place the larger and heavier items at the bottom, putting lighter and smaller items on top.

  • Secure any empty space by filling it with packing supplies.

Packing Porcelain Antiques

Persian Rugs

  • Clean the rug in advance before moving.

  • Place the rug upside down on a flat, clean surface.

  • Fold the rug 4 times on a flat, clean surface.

  • Place the rug in a plastic sleeve and into any box or crate.

Paper Valuables

  • Put any important paper documents, such as vital documents, photographs, postcards, magazines or newspapers, inside waterproof packaging.

  • Place the package between two hard pieces of cardboard to ensure they don’t crease.

7. Label Everything

It’s vital that you add the appropriate labels to each special item to ensure it receives the care it deserves.

Whether it’s with a permanent marker or an official sticker, here are some labels to consider:

  • Fragile

  • This side up

  • No stacking

  • Unload first

  • Top load only

8. Keep Your Items to the Side

Once your items are packed, prepped and ready to be moved, remember to put them aside and keep them separate from the rest of your belongings — the last thing you want is to accidentally start throwing around your special items like an ordinary box. It’s also easier to keep a specific eye on all your precious belongings and prevent them from disappearing into the chaos.

You can even take the smaller, but more valuable items with you in your own vehicle for some extra security.

9. Hire a Trusted and Experienced Moving Company

Want to ensure your special items are handled with the utmost care during every step of your move? All you have to do is hire a moving company you can trust on Wise Move!

Wise Move is a moving company platform that helps you connect with top-rated, trusted local movers from around South Africa. Just send out your moving request, and you’ll be able to compare the top moving services based on their prices and the 1000+ reviews.

Get your moving quote and start dealing with your difficult items during a move today!

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