The process of moving from one home to another offers various challenges to whoever’s about to move out. And if those difficult tasks are to be classified and ranked according to their levels of difficulty, then, non-surprisingly, the physical relocation of furniture pieces will be one of the toughest things to do when moving home.
The majority of furniture pieces are rather bulky – big, heavy, and often delicate despite their sturdy look and feel. To make things even more complicated, some furniture pieces are very valuable because they have sentimental value for their owners, while other pieces can be simply priceless – for example, antique furniture.
Read on to learn how to protect furniture when moving: preparing your furniture for moving (inventory, measure, assess, clean, disassemble), gathering the necessary packing materials for moving furniture, and ending with the best way to protect furniture for moving – that is, packing furniture for moving.
How to prepare furniture for moving
Before you can protect your furniture for moving by wrapping your pieces in protective materials, first you’re going to have to go through several preparation stages. Don’t skip the preparation state because it is vital to the success of your furniture moving operation. You’re not supposed to simply start wrapping a furniture piece with moving blankets unless you’ve made sure it is 100% ready to be moved out, loaded into a moving vehicle and transported to the new address.
The furniture preparation stage consists of 5 major steps you’re recommended to take in succession.
Step 1. Inventory your furniture pieces
Create a detailed list of all the furniture pieces you have in your home: beds, sofas, couches, chairs, tables, nightstands, desks, dressers, wardrobes, cupboards, bookshelves, and so on. Don’t skip a single piece because you will need that inventory checklist to decide what furniture you will be moving to the new home, and then to use as a packing list later on. After the move is over, you will be able to check the delivered furniture pieces against that inventory and make sure all of them have been delivered successfully.
Use a notepad and a pen to complete this inventory, or complete it even faster using your computer, tablet, or smartphone. While inventorying your furniture, mark down their 1) type, 2) number, and 3) current condition. Also, write down any special notes to help you make the right decisions later.
Step 2. Measure your furniture
After investing considerable time into packing your furniture for moving and then investing loads of money into transporting it to the new home, it would be really unfortunate if some of the pieces wouldn’t fit through the doors and hallways of the new home, or they wouldn’t match the interior design of their corresponding destination rooms.
Have a floor plan of the new home to make sure that the above-mentioned misfortunate event never takes place. Measure the width, depth, height and diagonal dimensions of each of your large furniture pieces and take into account those measurements when deciding the fate of your furniture prior to the move.
Step 3. Assess your furniture
This is the most important step when preparing your furniture for moving. The furniture assessment task will serve three equally important purposes:
- Take a closer look at your individual furniture pieces to determine if any of them have pre-existing damage. If that is the case, write down that information in the furniture inventory list and take close-up photos of the damaged areas.
- Judge whether any of the pieces will require professional packing – usually the case when protecting, packing and moving antique furniture.
- Decide which furniture pieces you will actually take with you, and which ones you will leave behind. This is vital – keep in mind that because furniture is usually rather heavy, it will cost you plenty of cash to relocate any of the furniture pieces. Is it worth it? Do not move pieces that are too old, too worn out, too damaged, and too outdated. Also, think twice before paying for having a furniture piece moved only to place it in storage in the new home and never use it again.
Step 4. Clean your furniture
No, you don’t need to clean up thoroughly your pieces, at least not at least the home move is over. This preparation step is all about removing the dust or any accumulated abrasive particles that might scratch the delicate surface of your furniture pieces during the haul.
Take a soft piece of cloth or a duster and remove the dust from your pieces. Do not invest too much time for this step – the idea is to make sure there are no coarse particles, dirt or dust before you start to wrap your furniture for shipping.
Step 5. Disassemble your furniture
One of the best ways to protect furniture when moving is to disassemble partially some of the bulkier pieces and then wrap the dismantled bits separately for better protection during the move. Also, the main furniture structure will become lighter and safer to carry around and load into the moving truck.
Protruding parts. Remove any protruding elements such as legs, arms, attachments, or decorations of sofas, couches, tables, etc. Sometimes such protruding elements add greatly to the dimension of a piece, thus complicating the task of navigating it around tight corners or narrow corridors.
- Glass elements. Whenever possible, remove any glass doors, glass shelves or other glass parts from your furniture pieces. Pack those breakables separately, preferably in packing paper, bubble wrap, and blankets. See below for more information.
- Delicate elements. Fragile elements such as ornaments should also be detached, if possible. If you’re not sure how to do it safely, then it’s best to protect those delicate parts without removing them – see below.
- Fastening elements. Keep any small fastening elements (bolts, nuts, screws, washers, dowels, etc.) in a safe place during the move. It’s best to store them in Ziploc bags, and then attach each plastic bag to the corresponding furniture piece.
Note 1: Consider taking detailed photos of some of your furniture before you disassemble it for packing. Those photos will help you later with the reassembly task.
Note 2: Consult the construction manuals of your furniture pieces before deciding to disassemble them. If you don’t keep a manual, try to find the dismantling instructions online or contact a local furniture store for assistance.
Note 3: Don’t risk damaging furniture pieces that are too expensive or valuable. If the dismantling task is too much for you, contact experienced furniture movers for help.
Packing materials for moving furniture
In order to protect furniture when moving, you’re going to need the right type and quantity of furniture protection materials.
- Furniture blankets. You may be familiar with the specialized thick moving blankets of blue color that professional movers use all the time to protect furniture and other household items during a move. If possible, purchase such furniture blankets from a local moving company or directly from the movers you’re about to use. If you opt for the extra service of professional packing, then the price of such furniture protective materials will be included in the price. You can also use soft ordinary household blankets but be mindful that those blankets may get ruined during the move.
Bubble wrap. The usage of bubble wrap in generous quantity is an excellent way to protect furniture when moving, especially when delicate and fragile furniture parts are to be kept safe during the move. Get a few rolls of bubble wrap from an office supply shop or directly from your moving company.
- Shrink wrap. Plastic wrap for furniture is a great way to keep furniture doors, panels and drawers from moving and opening during the move. Also, furniture wrap is good for protecting furniture pieces from dust, dirt, and moisture during the transportation.
- Packing paper. Soft packing paper is usually the first layer of protection for your valuable furniture pieces.
- Cardboard sheets. Sheets of corrugated cardboard will provide a great way to protect the glass surfaces of your furniture pieces. Practically, cardboard protection won’t cost you extra because you’re going to have many cardboard boxes lying around anyway.
- Packing tape. Purchase only high-quality packing tape when you wish to protect furniture during a move.
How to protect furniture for moving
As soon as you’ve prepared your furniture for moving and you’ve gathered the proper furniture wrapping materials, you can start thinking about how to protect wood furniture for moving.
Here, we will offer you a number of tips for protecting furniture during a home move:
- Glass elements. Be extra careful in the process as those glass components will break easily if dropped on the floor, and they can easily cut you if you’re not cautious enough. Make sure you remove all glass elements from your furniture pieces – doors, shelves, panels, etc. Once removed, wrap them first in packing paper, then in bubble wrap, and finally in a moving blanket (the triple protection). If removing those glass parts of your furniture is not an option, then place cardboard cut-outs over them and fix them with tape.
- Fragile ornaments. For delicate areas of your furniture – especially antique furniture, use the same protection technique you used when protecting glass elements simply because thick cardboard will absorb shocks and direct hits along the way.
- Moveable parts. The last thing you’d want is to have a furniture drawer or a door open during the haul. Make sure you wrap plastic wrap for furniture around any moveable parts to immobilize them. If you’ve chosen to leave a drawer in its original place, then you can fill it in with light non-breakable items, and then use stretch wrap to keep the drawer securely shut when it’s being transported between the two homes. While you should NEVER apply packing tape directly over the delicate finish of your furniture, furniture wrap is pretty safe in this regard, so make it count.
Furniture corners. Furniture corners are very susceptible to damage because they are the ones that get hit the most when moving furniture pieces around. So, how to protect furniture corners when moving? Purchasing special corner protectors is always a good idea, but they will cost you. If you’re not willing to shell out any extra money, then use pieces of thick cardboard again to cover any endangered corners, then use furniture wrap to keep them in place. Use moving blankets as an outer protection layer.
- Furniture legs. Similar to corners, the legs of your furniture pieces are also rather prone to damage because they tend to protrude from the main structure of the piece. The best way to protect the legs of furniture is to remove them and pack them separately. If that’s not possible, then wrap them well in bubble wrap first, and then in furniture blankets for maximum protection. Use caution when navigating leg furniture around tight corners, small doorways, and narrow corridors. When moving heavy furniture, place sliders under each leg and slide the pieces across the room with minimum efforts and zero damage to the floor.
- Large furniture areas. Of course, the usage of the right protective wrapping for furniture is the best way to protect your furniture while moving. Cover your furniture pieces with moving blankets in such a way as that no area should remain unprotected, and thus exposed to possible damage. Use packing tape to fix the thick blankets in place.