Packing & Storing Valuables
By Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group
Early on, a detail that must be thought about is where to store your items. If your storage needs correspond with a move, when you are coasting down the highway contemplating which storage facility is best for you, don’t stop. You have already picked 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 staff to assist you in organizing your stored boxes and furniture that packs the moving truck 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 big things with your moving company, and again, you can simply park them on the premises or park them in the warehouse—it's your decision.
Even if you are not moving, you may still 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 a while. Or, if you're contemplating moving and decluttering your house, you'll want to create the appearance of hardly-lived in space, so everything on the counters, small furniture you fall over in the dark, and the items you need to essentially live your life, all need to go into storage until after your move in Houston.
Once you have picked where to store your stuff, the next task you need to ponder is how to pack everything for safe storage. The secret to packing crystal, dishes, and other delicate stuff is to wrap every item individually. You can do that with several kinds of packing supplies or insulation, it is really up to you which you want to use—as long as everything is appropriately 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 bit of air space inside the wrap.
Some further items that require special consideration when going to storage aren't always things that you would think about.
Here is a short list:
- Albums--Yes, they are making a comeback. If you are a collector you know how prized they are, and if you're a casual listener who likes listening on a turntable you recognize how tough 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 for the most part 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 tossing in a few mothballs never hurts.
- Shoes--Leather shoes need to be in a humidity controlled location, 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 big 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 lots of antique pieces are as valuable as the paintings themselves, protecting them is crucial.
- Mirrors--Like art, lots of vintage mirrors are in very 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 fixture 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 credit card offers from 1997 and shredding all the junk. Fortunately, A-1 Freeman Moving Group will always have storage in Houston for you, until you can get that done.