Packing & Storing Valuables
By Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group
One important detail that needs to be decided upon is where to store your things. If your storage needs correspond with a move, when you are drifting down the road wondering which storage facility is best for you, don’t stop. You've already picked a mover for hauling your life to a new home, why not check with them to see if they offer storage, too? Most professional moving companies provide warehouse storage--with the same seasoned crew to help you organize your stored boxes and furniture that packs and loads the moving van for your move.
If you're moving internationally, or your move is not long-term, you'll want a plan for any boats, jet skis, or motor homes that are too large to go 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 are not moving, you might benefit from putting items in storage--if you have inherited some things, if you've got a fledgling who is moving back home—lots of things can happen that necessitates more space for a while. Or, if you are thinking of moving and organize your residence, you'll need to create the illusion of hardly-lived in space, so pictures of the family, small furniture you fall over in the dark, and the stuff you need to basically live your life, all must go to storage until after your move in Oklahoma City.
Once you have picked where to store your belongings, the next task you should consider is how to pack them for safe storage. The trick to packing crystal, dishes, and other easily breakable items is to wrap every item by itself. You may do that with a couple different types of supplies or insulation, it's really for you to decide which you prefer—as long as plates and glasses are appropriately secured from knocking against each other, use what works for you. Newsprint (as opposed to newspaper, newsprint is the plain brownish paper that is in large sheets at any moving supply or big box store), bubble wrap, Styrofoam peanuts, foam padding--any and all will work, but you'll find that mixing and matching determined by the individual item works best. Choose small, heavy duty boxes for breakable items. Be careful that you do not wrap too tightly; things require some air space inside the wrap.
Some additional things that must have special care when going to storage aren't always things that you'd consider.
Here is a short list:
- Albums--Yes, they are making a comeback. If you are a collector you are aware how prized they are, and if you are a casual listener who likes listening on a record player you know how difficult it is to find replacements. Albums that are going to storage for more than a few weeks 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 will need to wash and iron the items that you store, but with a few exceptions it comes out in the same condition 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 a presence in colder climates, but throwing in a few mothballs is still a good idea.
- Shoes--Leather shoes need to be in a humidity controlled location, particularly in a locale where humidity is high. They will mildew when it is damp or humid, and when it's dry and cold the leather cracks.
- Art--Art is in the eye of the beholder, so you're going to be as careful of your children's 1st grade paintings as the curator at the Met is of his on-loan Picassos. For the kiddo's art projects, get 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'll 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 older pieces are as valuable as the paintings themselves, protecting them is crucial.
- Mirrors--Like art, many 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 fixture itself crated, or wrapped for transit and then hang it in storage--most units have bars across the ceiling to hang light fixtures and other things from.
And indeed, we recognize that you have good intentions of sorting through all those boxes of college papers and junk mail from 1995 and shredding all the junk. Just in case, A-1 Freeman Moving Group will always have storage in Oklahoma City for you, until you can get that done.