Packing & Storing Valuables

By Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group 

Moving - Moving BoxesFor almost everyone, sooner or later, you're going to have to pack and move or pack and store, all or part of your household. When it’s time, it is crucial that you have acquired the aptitude for packing valuables and fragile belongings--you don't need your wedding china arriving back smashed, or your winter coats with more moth holes than fabric. Packing for storage in Austin, even in the short term, requires some concern for the details.

One of the first details that must be thought about is where to store your items. If your storage needs correspond with a move, when you are drifting down the highway pondering which storage facility is best for you, don’t stop. You have already selected a mover for trucking your life to a new home, why don’t you confirm with them to see if they provide storage, too? Most professional moving companies offer warehouse storage--with the same experienced employees to assist you in organizing your stored boxes and furniture that packs the moving van for your move.

If you are moving internationally, or your move is not long-term, you will need a place for any boats, jet skis, or motor homes that are too large to go with you. You can store those large items with your moving company, and again, you can simply park them on the premises or park them in the warehouse—it's your call.

Even if you are not moving, you could need to store items--if you have inherited some things, if you have a son or daughter who's moving back home—numerous things can happen that requires more space for some time. Or, if you're contemplating moving and decluttering your house, you'll want to create the image of hardly-lived in space, so everything on the counters, small furniture you fall over in the dark, and the things you need to essentially live your life, all need to go into storage until after your move in Austin.

Moving - Moving BoxesOnce you have picked where to store your belongings, the next chore you need to think about is how to pack everything for safe storage. The trick to packing crystal, glass, and other fragile things is to wrap every item individually. You can do that with a couple different types of padding or insulation, it is really for you to decide which you want to use—as long as plates and glasses are sufficiently protected against banging against each other, use what works for you. Newsprint (different from newspaper, newsprint is the plain brownish paper that is in large sheets at any moving supply or big box store), bubble wrap, Styrofoam peanuts, foam padding--any and all will work, but you'll find that mixing and matching determined by the individual item works best. Use small, heavy duty boxes for breakable items. Beware that you don't wrap too tightly; items need a little air space inside the wrap.

Some more items that must have special care when going to storage aren't always things that you would realize.

Here is a short list:

  • Albums--Yes, they are making a comeback. If you are a collector you know how treasured they are, and if you're a casual listener who likes listening on a turntable you recognize how difficult it is to find replacements. Albums that are going to storage for any length of time in the spring or fall should be in a climate and humidity controlled facility.
  • Clothing--Cotton clothing and most synthetic blends are hard to damage. You will need to wash and iron any items that you store, but with a few exceptions it comes out similarly to how it went in. Wool and wool blends need to be packed with an overabundance of mothballs, cedar blocks, or both so you do not unpack hole-filled sweaters and coats. Moths are not as big of a problem in cooler climates, but putting in a few mothballs never hurts.
  • Shoes--Leather shoes must be in a humidity controlled place, especially in an area where humidity is high. They'll mildew when it gets damp or humid, and when it is dry and cold the leather cracks.
  • Art--Art is in the eye of the beholder, so you will be as careful of your children's 1st grade drawings as the curator at the Met is of his on-loan Picassos. For the kiddo's art projects, buy a large flat plastic crate, and layer the pages between acid-free paper. (You can get it at a craft store.) For framed prints, you can either stand them up against the wall and cover them with sheets, beach towels, or moving blankets, and they will be okay. When your art is real, get the paintings professionally crated and packed, and use climate and humidity controlled storage. Because the frames of many older pieces are as valuable as the paintings themselves, protecting them is crucial.
  • Mirrors--Like art, lots of vintage mirrors are in extraordinarily valuable frames. Treat them like the works of art that they are.
  • Chandeliers—Remove the crystals, and wrap them in a big zip lock bag. Place the hanging hardware and crystals in a box, and either have the light itself crated, or secured for transit and then hang it in storage--most units have bars across the ceiling for that purpose.

And by all means, we know that you have good intentions of going through all those boxes of college papers and junk mail from 1997 and shredding all the junk. Fortunately, A-1 Freeman Moving Group will always have storage in Austin for you, until you can get that done.