Tips for moving your art collection

A framed print next to a plant

Getting a new home is exciting and stressful at the same time. You’re looking forward to decorating your new home, yet worry about the safety of your items during transport. If you love art and enjoy beautifying your home, this is the article for you. Transporting art pieces and other delicate items can be very tricky when moving house. They are easily damaged if not packed and handled well. That's why it's necessary to learn the best ways of moving your art collection – from safe packing to easy transport.

Why is extra care necessary?

Well, art pieces are valuable on so many levels. Some of them were pretty expensive. Others may take you a lot of time to find, select and bring to your home. And finally, some pieces carry a lot of memories – you may have received them as a gift from someone special, bought them on a special occasion, or they bring back a lot of travel memories. Either way, you don’t want them damaged or lost during the relocation. You want to avoid losing precious memories, family heirlooms, or an item of a high value.

Trust skilled and reliable movers

If you’re hiring a moving company, make sure they are skilled and have enough experience with delicate items. Moving your art collection should be taken care of by someone competent. Therefore, don't think reading online reviews and asking around is a waste of time. Make sure you pick a team with a license and insurance, tools to transport items of both usual and unusual shapes, and that has moving art as a part of their offer. It's best to hire someone by recommendation, so start by asking friends or family who recently moved to share their experience.

Pack every piece with care by using the right packing supplies

Careful packing is the essential step in moving your art collection. Firstly, remember that it's best to pack every piece separately. Start by gathering all the necessary supplies. You'll need:

  • blankets, sheets, or plastic wrapping for protection;

  • boxes of various sizes – choose those that fit the size of the items you will be packing. Too big packages will allow tumbling inside of them, which may cause damage. Also, get enough of them, as you will deal with the leftover boxes more easily than obtaining one more box that you need when your packing draws to an end;

  • use painter’s tape instead of masking tape, as it will leave no residue at the surface of your items;

  • parchment paper – don’t mix wax paper with parchment paper. The latter is coated with silicone and will not leave any trace on your art;

  • scissors

  • heavy duty shipping tape – for closing the box securely;

  • marker for labeling;

  • packaging peanuts – for filling free space left in boxes;

  • corner protectors.

Even though this may seem like a long list, it's worth it. These items will maximize the security of your art pieces and make sure there are no scratches or other damage.

Make sure you have enough supplies for moving your art collection. alt.tag: a moving box necessary for moving your art collection.

Unframed paintings

Unlike framed paintings, these don’t have glass to protect them from dust, scratches, water, etc. That’s why it’s best to wrap the canvas with glassine first. It is particularly important is you need to keep your art in a storage uniot for a while before you can move in. Thus, if you plan on storing it properly for some time, this type of protection will not stick to the paint, which can't be said for plastic wrapping. Glassine is acid-free and the safest option for delicate paintings that have no protection. After a layer of glassine, you can wrap the canvas in plastic wrapping, tape it securely and place it in a box.

Placing arts in a storage unit

Storage units are very helpful when moving or remodeling your home. Until your new house is entirely ready for valuable arts, you can easily keep them in a storage unit. However, not all storages are suitable for arts and similar delicate things. Be sure to take a climate-controlled unit that will protect your art collection from humidity, mold, mildew, etc. Even then, don’t put the art pieces straight on the floor, but place them on a blanket or a palette.

unframed paintings
Unframed arts are even more delicate – protect the paint when moving your art collection.

Unframed arts are even more delicate – protect the paint when moving your art collection. alt.tag: unframed paintings

Framed paintings

Even though the canvas is somehow protected by glass, the glass itself is pretty delicate and prone to breaking during transport. So, start by putting two (or more) strips of tape over the glass to prevent shattering. You can use either painter's tape or masking tape, as you can easily clean the glass when you begin unpacking. After taping the glass, you can use corner protectors and then prepare the painting for the box. Make sure you wrap it securely and leave no space in the box, so the painting can't move.

Moving sculptures

Art sculptures are unpredictable in shape, size, and material, so it isn't easy to give precise tips on relocating them. However, one thing is for sure – they are delicate and require special attention. Probably the best solution is using foam padded crates, air-filled plastic wrapping, or similar padding that will provide the most protection. If possible, it’s best to dismantle the object and pack the pieces separately. Finally, once you place the item in a box, make sure you fill any free space left to minimize tumbling.

bookshelves and art pieces
Sculptures have a more irregular shape than paintings – secure them even more carefully.

Loading and transport

Make sure you load the items carefully, and never put them on top of each other. Even though they are in boxes, art pieces are exceptionally delicate, so don’t place anything heavy on top of them. And to make sure you know what’s inside each box, use a marker to label them. Write what’s inside and place a couple of ‘fragile’ warning stickers on each side. This way, your movers will take extra care of those boxes and make sure moving your art collection goes without any damage.

Use insurance for valuable items

No matter how well you protect something, accidents can happen when moving your art collection. That’s why appropriate insurance will save you from headaches and stress. Even though you’ll do everything to protect your items, unpredictable accidents can occur, so your valuables should be protected.

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