Packing & Storing Valuables

By Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group 

Moving - Moving BoxesFor most people, sooner or later, you are going to need to pack and move or pack and store, all or a portion of your belongings. When that time comes, it's crucial that you have grasped the art of packing valuables and fragile belongings--you don't want your favorite mug turning up in pieces, or your winter coats destroyed by moths. Packing for storage in Houston, even for not very long, demands some concern for the details.

Early on, a detail that must be decided upon is a place to store your things. If your storage needs go along with with a household move, when you're drifting down the street wondering which storage facility is best for you, continue driving. You have already picked a mover for trucking your life to a new home, why not check with them to see if they offer storage, too? The majority of professional moving companies provide warehouse storage--with the same seasoned crew to help you organize 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 require a place for any boats, jet skis, or motor homes that are too big to move with you. You can store those big things with your moving company, and again, you can usually park them on the premises or garage them inside—it's up to you.

Even if you're not moving, you may still benefit from putting items in storage--if you've inherited some things, if you have a son or daughter who's boomeranging back to your houseback in the nest—numerous things can happen that requires more space for some time. Or, if you are pondering moving and trying to declutter your home, you will need to create the image of hardly-lived in space, so everything on the counters, small furniture you trip over in the dark, and the things you need to basically live your life, all must go to storage until after your move in Houston.

Moving - Moving BoxesOnce you have picked where to store your belongings, the next task you need to consider is how to pack everything for safe storage. The trick to packing crystal, dishes, and other fragile items is to wrap everything individually. You could do that with several types of supplies or insulation, it's really for you to decide which you pick—as long as everything is appropriately secured from bumping against each other, use what you like best. Newsprint (not newspaper, newsprint is the plain tan paper that is in large sheets at any moving supply or big box store), bubble wrap, packing peanuts, foam padding--any and all will work, but you will discover that mixing and matching determined by the individual item works best. Choose small, heavy duty boxes for fragile items. Take care that you don't wrap too tightly; items need some air space inside the wrap.

Some additional things that must have special attention when going to storage aren't always things that you'd think about.

Here is a short list:

  • Albums--Yes, they are making a rebound. 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 know how difficult it is to secure 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'll need to wash and iron whatever 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 some mothballs, cedar blocks, or both so you don't unpack sweaters full of holes. Moths are not as huge of an issue in cooler climates, but tossing in a few mothballs is still a good idea.
  • Shoes--Leather shoes must be in a humidity controlled environment, particularly in a locale 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 are going to be as deliberate of your children's kindergarten paintings 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 the real thing, get the paintings professionally crated and packed, and use climate and humidity controlled storage. Because the frames of lots of heirloom pieces are as valuable as the paintings themselves, protecting them is vital.
  • Mirrors--Like art, many older mirrors are in highly 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. Keep the hanging hardware and crystals in a box, and either have the light itself crated, or wrapped for transit and then hang it in storage--most units have bars across the ceiling specifically for that.

And indeed, we recognize that you have the best intentions of picking through all those stacks of college papers and credit card offers from 1997 and throwing out all the junk. Fortunately, A-1 Freeman Moving Group will always have storage in Houston for you, until you can get that done.