How to Protect Fragile Items While in Storage


There are a number of reasons why you might have to place items in storage.  Perhaps you are selling your home and you need to stage it, removing personal items so that you can make your home more appealing to potential buyers.  Maybe you're just in the process of moving and the transition is taking longer than anticipated.

You might decide to travel for an extended period of time.  Or it could be that you're moving in with a partner and trying to figure out how to blend your households and dispose of items that you have in duplicate.  Maybe your home is being renovated or you're undergoing restoration following a natural disaster of some sort.

The point is that there are all kinds of occurrences that could leave you with the need to put items in storage for a while.  Regardless of the reason, though, you want to make sure that your possessions come back to you in the same shape you left them.

This means taking steps to protect fragile items during the time they're in storage.  There are several things you should do to ensure the safety of beloved heirlooms and trinkets.

Use Proper Packing Materials

The place to begin when it comes to preparing to put delicate items in storage is with proper packing materials.  The products you choose will depend on what you plan to store.

Suppose you want to put wine glasses and other barware into storage.  The best way to store them is probably to wrap them individually with packing paper or bubble wrap and then place them in boxes complete with cardboard inserts meant to separate individual glasses.  This is much better than stacking them without any separation and hoping they don't knock together and break.

If you're packing framed artwork, on the other hand, you'll need a cardboard box or crate that allows for space all around the piece so that you can wrap it with bubble wrap and then add foam padding to ensure the artwork doesn't shift inside the box.  You not only need to protect the glass and the frame, but also the artwork inside, so don't forget that your first layer should always be acid-free paper wrap.

The point is that different items call for different packing materials if you want to protect them properly.  If you're not sure how to pack certain items for optimal security, call in professionals to advise you or pack for you.

Wrap Items Separately

Whether you're packing plates and other dishware, framed art, or collectible tchotchkes, just for example, your best bet to keep fragile items intact is to wrap them all separately before placing them in boxes with other items.  If possible, repack them in their original packaging.

If you didn't save original packaging or you never had it, consider placing delicate items in small boxes with appropriate padding before putting them into larger boxes for ease of transportation.

Fill Empty Spaces

Even if you individually wrap each delicate item before putting it into a box, your items could still shift in transit, causing damage.  For this reason, you need to make sure that your boxes are full enough that items won't move about.

This means using proper cushioning materials.  You should start by putting Styrofoam peanuts, bubble wrap, foam padding, or scrunched packing paper in the bottom of the box, placing items inside, and adding more cushioning to fill in the gaps before sealing the box.

Just to be sure, shake it a bit so you can hear if anything is shifting inside.  If so, reopen the box and pack it a bit more tightly.

Stack Appropriately

There is an art to stacking boxes.  It goes a little something like this: heavier, bulkier items go on the bottom.  Lightweight and delicate items go on top.  Okay, so it's less an art than a fairly straightforward system.

However, you'll need to not only stack items appropriately in boxes, but also stack boxes appropriately one atop the other in your storage facility.  Knowing what's in your boxes is therefore an essential element of proper protection and stacking.

Mark Boxes Accordingly

In order to protect your fragile items during moving and storage, you need to label them accordingly.  Start with standard labels that read "fragile" and "this end up".

Don't forget to label boxes with the room they go to and what's inside.  This can not only help you when you move them to a new home or alternately, sell them, but it can ensure that you stack them appropriately to avoid potential damage while they're in storage.


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