Relocating Antiques: Preserving the Past Using Specialty Moving Techniques

Blog / Relocating Antiques: Preserving the Past Using Specialty Moving Techniques

Many of us have felt the stress and frustration of moving our precious belongings from one place to another. It is hard to imagine how the scenario could be any more anxiety-inducing, and then we introduce antiques into the equation. Having survived the passage of time intact, the last thing we want to do is be the agents of their downfall. The often delicate nature of old objects does not help lower stress levels as they require extra care and attention by professional moving experts if we want them to arrive in one piece. In this article, we will look at some intelligent tactics and strategies used in handling fragile antiques and other precious items.  

Assess your objects

Before it is possible to start planning and strategising your move, it is essential to have a full list of items that will require special dispensation. Although their value is important, it carries no real weight in how they are handled and relocated. The name of the game is to transport all items from one place to the other without any damage or undue stress, and their inherent value should not affect this intention. However, you should note the following:

  • Specific weak points or fragilities.
  • Internal components that may shift or become loose in transit.
  • Substances to keep apart — For example, Gibson guitars are finished with a nitro-cellulose layer that never fully cures. If this comes into contact with certain types of foam, they react badly, causing the finish to soften and discolour. 
  • Unexpectedly heavy/light objects. 

Without first addressing and mitigating any issues, a reputable team of professionals like Adlam Transport Services will never allow the moving process to begin. However, they can only take precautions with special items if aware of their existence and the dangers involved in moving them. Never assume your moving company will open and check the contents of each box before handling it, as this would be invasive and unnecessary. Keep all the antique, fragile items to one side and seek the advice of your moving team if you are unsure of how best to protect them. They will have a wealth of experience in moving all kinds of objects and antiques and should be able to suggest the best actions. 

Don’t try to reinvent the wheel

  • Inspect and gently clean each item — This is an excellent way to refresh your memory and assess the fragility of your objects.
  • Make a detailed inventory with notes on each item — Take note of any issues you find; don’t be afraid to leave specific instructions for anybody who comes into contact with them. Include mention of any existing damage. 
  • Photograph the object from as many angles as necessary — Nothing is more valuable should disaster strike than a set of clear, well-lit digital photographs, unequivocally proving the condition of the object in question on a given date. 
  • Consider having the most valuable items appraised — Your chosen moving company and insurers will want to know the approximate value of anything they move beforehand, and an official appraisal can prove invaluable.

Research insurance options

Now is a good time to enquire about insuring specific objects against loss or damage. It may be that your existing home insurance provides cover for items during the moving process, but don’t rely on assumptions, make it your goal to find out. Your detailed record of each object will prove invaluable if the insurance company becomes involved at any stage, so double-check your notes and leave nothing to chance. 

Any decent removal company should offer you the chance to take out full-value replacement coverage. As the name suggests, it protects against accidental losses and will compensate you with the full value of the object should the worst happen. This is where an official appraisal/valuation is extremely helpful.

Start packing

After seeking the advice of your moving partners and agreeing on the best way to protect your antiques and fragile items, it’s time to pack them carefully. Start to gather packing materials well in advance of the move and give yourself lots of options. A variety of materials is best, many of which you may already have. Consider things like:

  • Tape — This comes in all shapes and sizes, so collect a variety and be careful about sticking it onto any delicate surfaces. 
  • Plain newsprint — Ink-free newspaper is a superb, non-reactive material that can safely be placed next to almost any surface.
  • Brown paper — Another safe bet when choosing packing materials that will not damage sensitive surfaces. 
  • A variety of boxes — It is better to have too many boxes than not enough. You will probably have several with just a single item inside, so it makes sense to have a range of shapes and sizes available. 
  • Bubble wrap — The ubiquitous bubble wrap is endlessly versatile and useful when packing boxes with your belongings. It is not safe for this plastic to rest against all surfaces. Ensure a layer of safe material is placed in-between, and the object in question if you are unsure. 
  • Soft materials — Old towels, cloths, blankets, and cushions are helpful when filling awkward voids inside boxes. They are generally safe to put next to most surfaces but check carefully to make sure there are no unwanted contaminants.
  • Plastic shrink-wrap — There are a plethora of uses for this thin plastic, and it can be incredibly strong and supportive when wrapped many times around an object. It is especially good at protecting furniture and glassware, but it is not suitable for use against all surfaces.


Copies of your detailed notes about each item should be secured to the outside of the box, and a separate copy kept with you and your other documents during the move. If no separate notes are required, it is still essential to label your boxes clearly. Things to mention include:

  • The contents
  • Which room the items come from
  • Any specific instructions about handling (weight, this way up, etc.…)
  • Other relevant information


While it is perfectly feasible to relocate from one location to another with the help of a few friends and lots of materials, the truth is that hiring professional movers is almost always a better option. They take guesswork and uncertainty out of the equation and have the necessary skills and experience to do the job safely and efficiently. The adage is that moving house is second only to divorce in the stress it creates and we have no arguments. Nobody needs that in their life if they can avoid it, so think seriously about engaging the services of Adlam Transport if you are in Australia. The sense of relief you will feel knowing you are in the best hands possible is worth the fee itself. 

  • Do not wait until the last minute if you decide to hire professional movers. Give them as much notice as possible and work together closely to ensure every item is accounted for and they are fully aware of any antiques and other fragile items. For the move to be executed seamlessly, the more time and information you can give them, the better.

Contact us

If you would like to discuss an upcoming move with our experts, please do not hesitate to drop us a line here at Adlam Transport Removals & Storage today. We will be only too happy to advise on any aspect of your upcoming move and start the process of a bespoke obligation-free quotation.