How to Move Safely With Special Items: Artwork, Antiques and Instruments

By: Harrison Gough Last Updated: Oct 19, 2023

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Protecting delicate items like artwork, instruments, and antiques requires extra care when packing for a safe move.

How to Move Safely With Special Items: Artwork, Antiques and Instruments

Each moment leaves unforgettable and long-lasting memories, stories, and a piece of identity. Delicate treasures hold more than monetary value – different items match different memories or stories.

These priceless possessions testify to a moment that shaped our lives. Whether it’s a family heirloom antique, musical instrument, artwork, collectibles, nostalgic items, etc., each piece should be treated carefully and cautiously.

However, moving valuable collectibles can be daunting as packing and unpacking these items demand a specific procedure. That’s where the following tips come to your rescue. Let’s delve into the art of moving delicate items. We’ll teach you how to prepare, pack, and handle sentimental items during transition.

In this article

Assess and Document the Whole Inventory

The first step in moving delicate items is to assess and document the whole inventory. It involves creating a moving checklist to record each precious object and its updated market value. The process can be a hassle, but it can be a game-changing idea to ensure safe transit.

Carefully and cautiously inspect each item while recording its current state, including any scratches, signs of wear and tear, and dents. You can hire a professional inspector specialized in delicate items to help you examine minor imperfections, determine market value, and advise you on how to handle them.

Lastly, don’t forget to take high-quality photos covering the edge. Such visual records are invaluable references, especially when filing insurance claims or seeking compensation for damage incurred during transit. They give you peace of mind as you have concrete evidence to employ a clear baseline should any uncertainties occur.

Gather Necessary Materials

The packing material used determines proper packing. You’ll need to gather any necessary supplies to aid in packing your special items for safe and secure transport on a moving day. Purchase the right packing supplies to get your treasures in the same condition to their destination. Shop for the following:

  • Sturdy Boxes: Acquire sturdy, high-quality, and different size packing boxes. Do heavy research to ensure the sturdy boxes you purchase can support weight and dimensions. Make use of crates for added protection when dealing with large items.
  • Bubble Wrap: The perfect versatile material for cushioning your lovely pieces.
  • Packing Tape: Choose a high-quality packing tape that will reinforce the bottoms and tops of boxes and keep the items inside firmly in place.
  • Packing Paper: Utilized to pack wrap items that don’t require extra cushioning.
  • Cushioning Materials: Plenty of cushioning materials, including air-filled plastics, foam sheets, or packing peanuts. They keep your items snug and safeguard from any shifting.
  • Specialized Packaging: For safe packing of delicate items, it’s best to invest in high-end packaging material unique for delicate items. They include anti-static foam, acid-free tissue papers, and padded instrument cases.

Proper Packing

For safety, when moving valuable possessions, you require meticulous planning that will process each piece at a time. Specific categories of delicate items demand a step-by-step process that focuses on the little details.

How to Pack Artwork

Artworks are one of the most valuable possessions which require professional handling. They are prone to the risk of damage, theft, or adverse weather conditions. Preserve the beauty of your valuables by taking good care of their packing. Here are some guidelines to follow:

1. Select appropriate boxes

Invest in several large, heavy-duty art boxes that can hold your whole artwork safely. If you kept the original boxes that delivered the artwork, it is better if you can re-use them if they are in good condition. Consult artwork showcase shops for advice on boxes and how to pack them. For large artworks, search for crates that can hold them, depending on their size.

2. Bubble wrap

Once you have wrapped it with glassine, add bubble wrap and firmly secure it with packaging tape. For exceptional cushioning, use bubble wrap twice on each item.

3. Use glassine to wrap your artwork

It’s a smooth wrapping paper that is resistant to air, grease, and water. Ask moving companies specializing in transporting artwork for glassine rolls. It prevents contact with bubble wrap, which can stick to the artwork’s surface.

4. Make use of archival-quality materials

These acid-free materials provide your paintings with an additional shield from potential tears while in the box.

5. Protect your frame corners

Utilize corner protectors like cardboard or styrofoam to shield the edges of your artwork frame from potential impacts.

How to Pack Antiques

Packing your cherished heirlooms demands a delicate touch. Pay attention to the following tips:

1. Individual wrapping

Use bubble wrap to secure each piece separately. It will protect your antiques from scratches and serve as a shock absorber.

2. Secure with tape

Secure the bubble wrap with packing tape. Don’t overlook the sharp corners, edges, or any other vulnerable areas.

3. Choose appropriate-sized sturdy boxes

It’s better to go the extra mile in searching or investing a little more in boxes that snugly fit the items, which will minimize the risk of items moving during transit.

4. Cushioning

Invest in packing foam or peanuts to fill the void within the boxes. Such a generous amount of cushion supplies will offer extra padding.

5. Labeling

Movers will likely be involved, therefore, labeling each box clearly as ‘’FRAGILE – HANDLE WITH EXTRA CARE’’ commands for utmost care and auction when handling.

How to Pack Instruments

Instruments are as important as artwork and antiques. Do you still want to be able to enjoy them when you embark on the next chapter of life? If so, follow the instrument moving tips to reduce the risk of damage and preserve your treasures.

1. Disassemble when possible

Some instruments tend to be bulky, and removing detachable parts like mouthpieces or necks reduces their form and ensures easy packaging. Whenever possible, detach and disassemble your instruments.

2. Utilize padded cases

Place them in their appropriate padded cases specifically for their type. It allows easy cushioning and protection.

3. Pack instruments in custom-fitted boxes

These boxes come in handy when the original cases are nowhere to be found. They fit instruments and reduce movement.

4. Loosen any strings

Loosen strings in guitars and violins to relieve the tension. It prevents damage to the strings and overall instrument during transportation.

Climate Control

Some items are preserved in a climate-controlled environment. If you hold such possession, inquire about storage and warehouse services with controlled-climate storage to shield against temperatures and humidity fluctuations. Some of the best moving companies also offer such services, so research intensively for such companies if you possess such items.

Consider opting for a season with moderate temperatures and low humidity as your perfect time for art relocation. Scorching heat or cold can cause deformation and cracking of instruments.

Hire Professional Movers

Relocating artwork, antiques, and instruments over long distances takes time and effort. Why not entrust the job to experienced long-distance movers?

Movers bring with them a wealth of expertise that allows you to sit and enjoy a sunny day without having to worry about anything. They utilize the necessary equipment to ensure your valuable possessions’ safe packing, moving, and unpacking.

But here is the catch: You’ll need time and effort to get a reputable mover. Get multiple quotes from different companies and choose the one that caters to your needs.

With so many moving expenses, saving is your top priority. When you land your preferred mover, ask for the moving cost calculator. You can estimate the moving cost based on distance, item volume, and additional services and choose a mover that aligns with your needs and budget constraints.

Insurance Coverage

Insurance coverage is your shield against unexpected moving storms. Review your mover’s insurance policy and check if it covers your possessions during the relocation of the special items.

In addition, you should choose long distance movers, who offer full-value protection and released value protection. You can also add separate liability coverage to protect your items against potential loss or damage associated with transit.


Packing and moving artwork, antiques, and musical instruments require careful planning and consideration. Depending on your items and needs, you can opt for a DIY move or enlist professional services.

If you need more control over your valuable items and are insecure when in movers’ hands, a DIY move can be an option. Unlike professional services, a DIY move requires careful planning, effort, and time. Hiring a professional mover seems expensive, but it’s an exceptional option over a DIY move when delicate items are involved. So, be sure to choose wisely.


Upon arrival, exercise cautious unpacking of your sentimental belongings. While inspecting each piece thoroughly, carefully unwrap and assess any damage.

Document any loss or damage to your unique pieces. You can enlist the services of a professional inspector for a thorough inspection. Documenting while unpacking is essential to file insurance claims for damage incurred during your move.

Finally, Exceptional Moving Tips Protect Your Fine Valuables

The expertise of moving unique items preserves their aesthetic appeal and maintains the memory and story behind them. If you follow the tips above, you will ensure meticulous planning and effective execution at every step of your move.

From inventory inspection and professional packing to understanding insurance options. In addition to giving you every strategy you need for a successful move, these tips will fill you with confidence.