A Step by Step Guide for Moving a Home Collection

Moving is stressful enough by itself. If you need to move a valuable or sentimental home collection, you may feel even more stressed. Thankfully, it's easy to minimize the worries you may have about moving your precious collection. With some preparation and packing savvy, you can ensure the safety of your collection during your move and learn more about its overall worth too.

Getting ready to move your home collection involves assessing it, communicating with your mover about it and packing it up. Remember, though, that preparing a special collection for a move can take quite a bit of time. It's a good idea to start your preparations at least a month in advance.

Assess the Value of Your Collection
The first step in moving a home collection of any kind is to take a complete inventory of your items and determine their value. To make an inventory, you'll physically record the name, description and value of each item in your collection. Depending on what you collect, you'll also need to record identifying information such as ISBN numbers, serial numbers or model numbers.

You can create or download a home inventory form to make a record of all your possessions. It's a good idea to make copies of your inventory forms and store them in a binder in a safe location. You can also use a home inventory application to store details about your collection on your computer or smartphone.

It's essential to take photos of each item in your collection. You'll need them eventually for your homeowner's or renter's insurance policy, and you can also send them to experts if you need more help valuing your collection. Print out each photo and attach it to the inventory sheet where you've listed the item to which it corresponds. If you're using an inventory app, import the photos and attach them to each listing so that you have both visual and written descriptions of your items.

Once you've listed all your items on an inventory sheet, you'll need to determine the approximate value of each item. You can find this information in collector's manuals at your local library or by searching auction and sales websites. Specialty sites, such as those for record collections, can also be extremely useful in finding values for both individual items and your entire collection. Depending on the size of your collection, determining its total value can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

Finally, you may want to double-check with your homeowner's or renter's insurance agent to make sure that your items are properly covered. In many cases, your policy will cover items during your move. You'll also be able to eliminate post-move stress by taking care of this simple step before you get into a new home or apartment.

Once you've completed your inventory, make several copies. One copy should be given to your insurance agent. Another copy should be stored in a secure location away from your home. This might be with a family member, with your attorney or in a safety deposit box. If your home is destroyed during a natural disaster or other unfortunate event, you'll need this inventory list to start the insurance claim process.

Communicate with Your Movers
Ask your movers if they are experienced in handling special collections and can help you get your treasured belongings to your new home. Letting them know that you have a certain type of collection will help them best plan for the move. You should let your mover know that you have a special collection no fewer than two weeks before your scheduled moving day.

Disclosing the type of collection you have is also important to ensure that your movers can legally handle the collection for you. This is particularly true if you'll be moving firearms, knives or other items that you need a license to possess. Ask your movers if they have any tips for how you should pack specialty items. Your moving company can help you decide upon the best packing materials and strategies for unusual or delicate items.

Remember that you'll need to tell your mover approximately how many boxes your collection will take up so that the right vehicle or vehicles can be sent to your home on moving day. If your items are extremely temperature sensitive, you may wish to set them aside and transport them in your own vehicle.

When moving day rolls around, be sure to point out special items to your movers so that they can best plan how to load them. You may want to use different labels or tags to differentiate these items from the rest of your household goods. Your movers will use these labels to determine where and when your items should be loaded.

Pack Up Your Collection for Moving Day
packing-boxesBefore you start packing your collection, gather all the materials that you'll need to complete the job. This includes:

• Boxes or packing crates
• Tape
• Labels
• Padding or padded sleeves
• Scissors or a box cutter

Packing your collection for a successful move means taking into account whether the items are very fragile or temperature sensitive. Evaluate these concerns before you buy packing supplies so that you'll know exactly what you need. If your items are temperature sensitive, you can use insulated containers or coolant wrap to keep them safe during your move.

Always securely tape the bottoms of your boxes before you begin packing your items. If you're using plastic packing crates, make sure that there are no cracks on the bottom. It's also essential to place a layer of packing material at the bottom of your boxes before you start loading items. This helps to provide extra cushion for your items and prevents bends or wear caused by friction between boxes and your items. Once you've created a base layer of padding, you can start placing items in your boxes. Your items should be snug but shouldn't be packed so tightly that they are hard to remove.

Remember that padding is essential whatever type of collection you're moving. Depending on your specific items, you may be able to find moving kits with specially sized sleeves and wraps. If you can't find collection-specific packing supplies, use bubble wrap, foam sheets or foam peanuts to protect your items. If your items are sensitive to acid, look for acid-free tissue paper to wrap items. Remember that you can wrap your collectibles in tissue paper first and then surround them in bubble wrap or other padding.

It's a good idea to keep a detailed inventory of your items as you place them in boxes. Number each box, and then write down the name of the items that you've placed in it on a master list. You can tape a copy of this list to the outside of each box if you'd like. It's also important to keep a copy in a separate binder with other moving-related documents. That way, you can easily find items as you need them and will be able to communicate clearly with your mover if you have any concerns about missing items at the end of your move.

packing-materialsOnce your boxes are full, top them off with extra padding. Foam peanuts or bubble wrap work well for this. Then, tape your boxes so that they're securely closed. You should affix a label to both the top and one side of each box. On the label, indicate what items are in the box using generic words; you don't want to write on the box exactly which valuable items are inside and tempt a passerby to steal them. For example, instead of writing "vintage Tiffany glass lamp," you might just write "lamp." You should also indicate how many boxes are in the collection and then number each box. For example, you can number boxes "1 of 4," "2 of 4" and so on.

When your movers arrive at your new home, let them know where you want the boxes that comprise your collection placed. In general, it's best to have your collection placed inside your home and not in a shed or garage. This will ensure that your precious items aren't damaged by weather conditions or severe temperatures. As you unpack each box, check off the items on your inventory list. If you think anything might be missing, contact your moving company right away.

Remember that organization is key to moving a home collection. Knowing what you have and what supplies you need to pack your items will allow you to plan ahead and cut down on stress as moving day approaches. Start early, and be sure to talk openly with your mover if you have any concerns about transporting your home collection.