Packing & Storing Valuables

By Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group 

Moving - Moving BoxesFor most people, sooner or later, you're going to need to pack and move or pack and store, all or part of your belongings. When that time comes, it's crucial that you've mastered the skill of packing valuables and delicate items--you do not need your wedding china coming back in pieces, or your wool sweaters with lots of moth holes. Packing for storage in El Paso, even for a short while, necessitates some attention to detail.

One of the first details that must be decided upon is where to store your things. If your storage needs correspond with a household move, when you're cruising down the highway pondering which storage facility is right for you, keep driving. You have already picked a mover for transporting your stuff to a new house, why not verify with them to see if they offer storage, too? The majority of professional moving companies offer warehouse storage--with the same seasoned crew to help you organize your stored boxes and furniture that loads the moving truck for your move.

If you are moving internationally, or your move is not long-term, you'll need a spot for any boats, jet skis, or motor homes that are too big to go with you. You can store those large items with your moving company, and again, you can usually park them on the premises or store them inside—it's your decision.

Even if you're not moving, you may still need to store items--if you have inherited some things, if you have an adult child who's boomeranging back to your houseback in the nest—any number of things can happen that requires more space for a little bit. Or, if you're thinking of moving and trying to declutter your house, you'll need to create the image of hardly-lived in space, so pictures of the family, small furniture you trip over in the dark, and the stuff you need to essentially live your life, all must go into storage until after your move in El Paso.

Moving - Moving BoxesAfter you have decided where to store your items, the next task you need to consider is how to pack them for safe storage. The trick to packing crystal, glass, and other fragile items is to wrap everything by itself. You may do that with several selections of supplies or insulation, it's really up to you which you want to use—as long as each piece is adequately secured from knocking against each other, use what works for you. Newsprint (not newspaper, newsprint is the plain off-whiteish paper that comes in large sheets at any moving supply or big box store), bubble wrap, packing peanuts, foam padding--any and all will work, but you'll realize that mixing and matching depending on the individual item works best. Use small, heavy duty boxes for breakable items. Beware that you do not wrap too tightly; things need a bit of air space inside the wrap.

Some additional things that need special consideration when moving into storage are not always things that you would realize.

Here is a short list:

  • Albums--Yes, they are making a comeback. If you're a collector you are familiar with how prized they are, and if you are a casual listener who likes listening on a record player you know how hard 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 any items that you store, but most of the time it comes out similarly to how it went in. Wool and wool blends need to be packed with a decent amount of mothballs, cedar blocks, or both so you do not unpack sweaters full of holes. Moths aren't as big of a presence in cooler climates, but throwing in a few mothballs never hurts.
  • Shoes--Leather shoes need to be in a humidity controlled place, particularly in a climate 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 pre-school paintings as the curator at the Met is of his on-loan Picassos. For the kiddo's art projects, get a sizeable flat plastic box, 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, have the paintings professionally crated and packed, and use climate and humidity controlled storage. Since the frames of a lot of heirloom pieces are as valuable as the paintings themselves, protecting them is imperative.
  • Mirrors--Like art, lots of older mirrors are in highly valuable frames. Treat them like the works of art that they are.
  • Chandeliers—Take off the crystals, and wrap them in a big zip lock bag. Place the hanging hardware and crystals in a box, and either have the lighting itself crated, or secured for transit and then hang it in storage--most units have bars across the ceiling specifically for that.

And indeed, we know that you have good intentions of picking through all those boxes of college papers and cancelled checks from 1995 and getting rid of all the junk. Fortunately, A-1 Freeman Moving Group will always have storage in El Paso for you, until you can get that done.