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What Items are Most Likely to Get Damaged During a Move — and How to Prevent it

It’s not too difficult to guess which of the items that are most likely to get damaged during a move. At the top of that list you’d probably include fragile things like dishes, antiques, and so on — but you might be surprised at some of the things that are actually most prone to damage. Whether you’re moving long distance or within your city, here’s the somewhat surprising list, and our tips on how to prevent damage to your belongings.

 

Electronics

Sometimes we underestimate how fragile all those little whirring parts really are. Though our electronics may not get visibly banged up on the outside because we’ve wrapped them well, they’re rather susceptible to damage if they are being bumped around a lot. It’s safe to say that you’re better off going overboard when cushioning your electronics. Pad them with spare towels, blankets,  or even a layer of bubble wrap to protect them from too much jarring when the moving truck hits bumps in the road and be sure to label your boxes well if there is a “this side up” sort of gadget. For more advice on relocating to a new home with your electronics, have a look at this blog post!

 

Kitchenware

DIY’ers, sorry — but you’re really better off using boxes that are designed for transporting your dishes and glasses. Unfortunately, wrapping everything in paper towels or newspaper will generally result in at least a few chips, if not some more significant breakage, just from things shifting along the way. Do yourself a favor and protect those heirloom crystal goblets by packing them in partition boxes with dividers that will keep everything in its place. Similarly, avoid the temptation to transport your dishes in one single stack and take the time to put some cushion in between each plate.

 

Lamps

Lampshades, in particular, are often very delicate items that can be torn or stained quite easily. Take the extra few minutes to carefully disassemble your lamp, including removing the lightbulb, and wrap and box everything appropriately. If your lampshade is made of a delicate material, consider packing it solo in its own box, well padded with materials that won’t stain the fabric (hint: not newspaper!). Wrap the base similarly, and pack it in a tall box upright. Label the box properly to avoid having the lamp accidentally turned upside down!

 

Picture Frames

Chances are you’ve accidentally smashed a picture frame before, right? The glass used in most frames is quite fragile, especially if they are large. Pack them with a lot of padding in a small or medium box, ideally standing upright in a box labeled “this side up”. Wrap them in packing paper to prevent the glass from being scratched and don’t try to put too many in one box. Top them with more packing paper to ensure they don’t move too much while you are en route, and pay particular attention to the corners.

 

Antiques and Collectibles

You’re likely already aware that these items need to be packed with extra caution. If you aren’t able to have your professional movers pack them using specialty crates or materials, here’s one option: wrap each piece completely in bubble wrap, taping down the edges and paying attention to any corners. Place the item on one piece of appropriately sized corrugated cardboard, and then cover the top with another piece of cardboard. Many moving stores have specialty cardboard with a bit of extra cushion. Then use packing tape to “wrap” the cardboard around the item, creating a little bit of extra space around the piece as a buffer. Again, use your packing labels or markers to label each side FRAGILE so your movers are well informed!

Another good practice is to let your movers know they’ll get a good tip if they take extra care of valuable items. Find out more in our How much you should tip your movers guide.

 

Furniture Edges

Table legs, corners, and sofa arms are all prone to getting bumped along the way. Whenever possible, disassemble your furniture before you start the moving process. Remove table and desk legs, sofa feet, and anything else that might break or be damaged if pressure is applied in the wrong direction! Wrap them separately and tape them together, then pack them near your furniture items. If you are moving a table or desk with legs that need to go in certain places, label each one as you remove it to make reassembling everything easier. Many moving companies will offer specialty services to take care of this for you, so consider this option if you have a lot of delicate furniture. It’s one less thing for you to worry about on moving day!


Of course, the most important step in preventing your items from being damaged is to hire experienced movers who will be professional and careful with your possessions. Best of luck with your move!