4 Tips For Moving Your Art Collection

When you’re planning a move, especially a long distance move, figuring out how best to pack and transport valuable items can be challenging. Collections of paintings and sculptures can pose special problems of their own. Many works of art are delicate and easy to damage. Here are a few tips for getting your art collection safely packed and loaded onto the moving truck, so that it arrives at your new home in the same great shape that it was in at your old home.

Arrange an Appraisal

When you’re moving a valuable art collection, you should always insure it in case of damage. You never know what might happen while you’re in transit, even if you’re very careful. You can purchase a rider on your homeowner’s insurance policy that will protect your artwork while you’re moving it, but first you need to know the exact value of your collection. You can find this out by hiring an appraiser.

Even if you’ve had your art appraised in the past, if it’s been a while, it’s a good idea to have it done again. You should be certain that you’re collection is insured for its full value, which can change over time. You can find an appraiser in the local area through a local art gallery or art dealer.

Consider Climate Control

Whether you’re hiring movers or renting a truck from a company such as Elite Truck Rental to do the moving yourself, you should consider requesting a moving truck with climate control in the back, especially for a long distance move. The back of a moving truck can heat up to a pretty high temperature without air conditioning. Heat can be damaging to art work.

Oil paintings in particular are very sensitive to heat. Once the temperature reaches more than 75 degrees, the paint can begin to crack and flake. Humid conditions can create moisture that can allow mold to grow or cause the paint to appear hazy. It doesn’t take a long time in extreme conditions to cause serious damage to your paintings. Sitting in the back of a rental truck for several hours in sweltering heat might be enough. A truck with a climate control for the back will help you avoid that problem.

Pick Perfect Packing Material

Before you put your precious paintings in any kind of box, you need to encase them in packing material to prevent damage. Bubble wrap is a common choice when it comes to packing material, and it’s definitely very protective. But if you’re going to use bubble wrap, make sure that you turn the wrap so that the bubbles face out, instead of facing in where they’ll touch the paint. Packing a painting with the bubbles facing inward can cause the wrap to stick to your painting and damage it.

Unprinted newspaper is also a good packing material for paintings or sculptures. Don’t ever use old printed newspaper to wrap your art pieces, as the print could rub off on the artwork. Styrofoam packing peanuts are a good choice for boxes containing sculptures or fragile antiques.

Cover Your Collection With Cardboard

Cardboard is the material of choice to pack your artwork in while you’re moving it. It’s strong enough to protect the artwork while being simultaneously soft enough to provide it with some extra cushioning. For paintings, you can buy special picture boxes that are flat and adjustable to whatever size you need. These are specially designed for moving artwork and will make the process easier. However, if you don’t have art boxes available, you can break down a cardboard box or two and fold the flattened cardboard around the painting, securing it into place with tape. The important thing is to get the pice surrounded with cardboard.

For sculptures and other art objects, the only rule is to choose a box that’s tall and wide enough to cover the entire piece. Anything that is sticking out of the box is at risk of being broken or scratched, so avoid that risk by choosing boxes large enough for your artwork. You can always add more packing material to keep the piece from moving around inside the box.

Remember to use caution when loading and unloading your artwork, and to make sure that it fits securely in the truck and won’t slide around. With a few precautions, you’ll find that your artwork is in perfect condition when you unpack it at your new home.  

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