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How to Pack and Move Valuable Items Long Distance

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Moving is a major cause of stress, and making a long-distance move is certainly no exception. In fact, planning and preparing for a long-distance move is even more stressful. As you prepare for your move and to pack your belongings, you'll inevitably come to your most valuable possessions - the items that you couldn't bear to lose or have damaged during the move.

While it may be perfectly fine for you to throw your DVD collection and old books into a cardboard moving box and slap on some packing tape, you can't do the same with your valuables. Whether you have expensive jewelry, old family heirlooms, antique furniture or priceless paintings, there's a certain level of care required when packing and moving your most valuable possessions.

Pack and wrap everything carefully

While you most likely have a lot of things to pack and need to move swiftly to make sure you get everything done, it's worth spending extra time and care on your valuables. If you want them to arrive at your new home intact, you shouldn't haphazardly throw them in a box and load it onto the moving truck.

Take the time to get the proper packing supplies needed to protect your valuables, such as bubble wrap, packing paper, and moving pads. Make sure that the boxes are secured with packing tape and clearly labeled "FRAGILE" on all sides of the box so that movers are aware that the contents are delicate and should be handled accordingly.

Pack painting and pictures properly

Valuable paintings and framed pictures need to be given extra care when packing. Simply draping a moving blanket over the frame and placing it against the inside of the moving truck is not going protect your painting. For these valuable items, you'll need to purchase special boxes that are designed to fit large paintings or prints. When you pack your paintings in these boxes, wrap them in a layer of bubble wrap or newsprint prior to packing them to add an extra layer of protection.

Move them yourself, or trust the movers with them?

A dilemma that most people face when preparing to pack and move valuable items is whether or not they should hire movers to take care of their valuable items. The answer isn't straightforward, but depends on the type of items you're moving and what they mean to you.

Consider the benefits of both options:
  • Have movers pack and move your valuables: If you have antique furniture or large paintings that are worth a lot of money and you know you won't be able to pack them yourself, it's best for you to hire a mover. You'll reap the benefits of their professional experience and expertise in packing and wrapping valuable items. Plus, many moving companies will only provide insurance for items that they have packed and moved themselves.
  • Packing and moving your own valuables: If you who can't bring yourselves to trust your valuable possessions in the hands of strangers, you may opt to move them on your own. While the moving company won't insure any items that you pack and move yourself, there are always options available for you to insure your more valuable items through a third-party vendor.

Which valuables should you pack and move yourself?

Here is a short list of the things that people typically choose to bring with them during long-distance moves:
  • Birth certificates, passports and other forms of ID
  • Medications
  • Valuable pieces of jewelry
  • Photos
  • Sentimental items
  • Personal electronics
  • Important documents

Other helpful tips

  • Always keep your valuables hidden when traveling with them, and never leave anything out in plain sight if you have to leave them temporarily to eat, use the restroom or check into a hotel.
  • Check with your home insurance company to see if you can add coverage for some of your more valuable items to your home insurance policy.
  • Pack any valuables in their original boxes whenever possible, and always remember to label all boxes "FRAGILE".
  • Keep an inventory of all of your valuables and supplement it with photos of each item for insurance purposes in case anything gets lost or stolen.
  • Pack everything carefully and thoroughly - the more packing paper, the better!

Photo by: Boykung (

  Posted by Robert Moreschi on October 7, 2013

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