Whether you’re moving across the country, or to the other side of the world, the thought of safely moving your entire life across long distances becomes an overwhelming responsibility. In this guide, we hope to prepare you with the best way to pack and ship your belongings– even those valuable items that need extra care taken when handling. Whether you’re moving abroad and utilizing air freight or ocean freight, or just moving cross-country using ground shipping/ hiring a moving company with a vehicle, these tips will ensure your belongings arrive safely and securely.

Moving Internationally

If you’re preparing for an international move, you have several important decisions to make, the first being if you want to ship your valuables via air freight or ocean freight.

Air Freight

Air freight is the most timely option to ship belongings internationally, but it can be very costly. There are important weight and packing considerations to make when you decide to ship your valuables internationally via air freight. We have covered this in our previous blog article, “Preparing Your Shipment for Air Freight.”

Ocean Freight

Shipping valuables via ocean freight is cheaper than air freight, although, utilizing this option takes longer. Ocean freight is fraught with its own risks and considerations must be made to make your packages as moisture resistant/shock resistant as possible. You can lear about your options when shipping your valuables on ocean freight by reading our blow, “Preparing Your Items for Shipping on Ocean Freight”

Moving by Vehicle or Ground Shipping

If you make the decision to pack on your own, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. The best way to ensure the safe transport of your valuable items is to pack them densely in sturdy cartons– you can find these easily, they’re called ‘dish pack’ cartons. These double layered cardboard cartons provide extra protection beyond the standard containers available elsewhere. Using a significant amount of packing material when packing your belongings– this will limit the movement of the items packed, minimizing the risk of damage.

When moving or shipping pictures or mirrors, utilizing mirror cartons will suffice. When transporting oil paintings, you must use a packing material called ‘glassine.’ Glassine is an acid and bleach free paper that doesn’t affect the integrity of the artwork. Your furniture should be properly packaged for transit as well– upholstered furniture should be shrink-wrapped and pad-wrapped, wooden or leather furniture only needs pad-wrapping, as shrink-wrapping can actually damage these items.

When moving valuables, it’s best to hire a moving company. If you choose to hire a company, there are a few things you need to know to be prepared for what’s to come:

Transporting items like paintings, marble statues, and other unwieldy pieces of art likely mean your moving company will build custom wooden crates to protect your investment. It may add to the cost of moving, but taking the extra time to put these items into appropriate crating protects these valuables from being damaged during transport. During the planning phases with your mover, they will generally take notice of these valuable items, measure them for crating purposes, and provide you with a quote for transit costs.

Packing Breakables Should Be Left to Professionals. Experienced movers will use high-quality containers– things like ‘dish packs’ or ‘dish barrels’ for breakable items like fine china. Movers will take the time to wrap breakables in plain paper and placed into a box that has been properly padded to provide extra support during transport.

Be mindful of climate-sensitive items. Things like wine, antiques, or art require extra care during long-distance transport. It’s important to take extra care when moving these items to prevent damage to your belongings– arranging temperature controlled transport is not difficult, but is usually costly. Often, this is the best option for more delicate items.

Consider leaving packing to the professionals. A lot of people will try to take on the responsibility of packing themselves to cut down on moving costs, but this can actually end up doing more harm than good. Yes, leaving the packing of your valuables to a professional moving company will result in extra expenses. But packing yourself can present it’s own set of problems that prove to be every bit as costly in the long run. Packing your own goods can become a liability– even if you’ve purchased Full Valuation Protection. Take this example into consideration– you are shipping some fine crystal that you packed yourself. The box arrives in good condition, but your crystal inside is broken. The mover does not know if the items inside were properly packed– and, depending on the circumstance, the transport/moving company may or may not have liability. Allowing your moving company to handle packing allows you to have further insurance that your valuables arrive safely, and places the liability entirely on the company preparing your belongings for transport.

Explore your insurance options. When preparing for a long move, there’s no question that using a moving company is the best (and safest) option for your valuable items and belongings. But don’t skimp out on insurance! Start the process by getting a written appraisal of items with value before you even move them. This establishes actual value in the event of facing loss or damage of these items. The majority of moving companies provide paperwork called ‘High-Value Inventory Forms,’ giving you the opportunity to take note of items of extraordinary value before your move. This establishes value in the event of an incident that results in damage to your valuable or delicate items.

Generally speaking, ‘high value’ is applied to an item that is worth more than $100 per pound of the item’s weight– and also applies to interstate transport. Moving companies will provide insurance coverage on the items being moved during a process called ‘valuation,’ and they’re required to by federal laws. These laws require moving companies to provide $0.60 per pound of coverage to every shipper. This isn’t much coverage at all, and if you are putting high-value items into transit during your move, it’s highly recommended that you add Full Value Protection– increasing costs but giving your items greater protection.

Once you purchase Full Value Protection, the moving company will place an estimated value on your entire shipment– generally speaking, a normal household shipment is estimated to be about $6 per pound, but high-value items need special consideration. Make sure that you have a conversation with your mover to make certain that you have enough coverage for these belongings to be factored in.

While weighing all your options, the safety and security of your valuable items must be at the forefront of your mind during your move. If you don’t take the time to specifically protect your treasured belongings, you may incur damages to valuables or other important belongings that are either very hard to replace or irreplaceable.