How to Prepare Your Paintings for a Move?

When you’re relocating, many of the things you do will simply require common sense and some logic. But on the other hand, depending on what possessions you’re relocating – you may come across some specific moving challenges that require more thought and expertise. For example, art lovers out there may be asking themselves – how do you prepare your paintings for a move? It’s not an easy thing to do – but don’t worry, Dorothy & Martha Moving NYC is here to help you with that very issue! So take a look at the useful tips and tricks we’ve prepared for you and learn how to prepare your paintings for a move. 

Think about the value of the art

Let’s get one thing out of the way first – when you’re moving anything, you need to know how much it’s worth. To put it simply – this will greatly affect the amount of care and attention you need to show for any particular item. And paintings are no different – so before you prepare your paintings for a move, make sure you’ve got a rough idea of what you’re dealing with.

An abstract painting with blue and yellow hues and square shapes.
Be careful when you prepare your paintings for a move – especially if you’re attached to them!

Of course, putting a price tag on art isn’t easy at all. First of all, it’s not all about the money either. Depending on your relationship with the art piece, you may have a greater emotional attachment to it than it’s objectively worth. Trust us – we see this happening a lot, especially with paintings that have been in the same family or household for a long time. That’s why you might want to hire local Brooklyn movers to perform this relocation for you professionally – there’s no reason for anything you love to get damaged. We could be talking about something that doesn’t have much market value – but to you, it may be the Mona Lisa itself.

Material value is a big issue when you prepare your paintings for a move

Sure, all of us have a certain degree of an emotional attachment to our paintings, and art pieces in general. But let’s not kid ourselves – material worth is also a big factor when you’re about to prepare your paintings for a move. This is why you definitely need to know how much each of your paintings is worth, objectively. Not to you, but to an open market of buyers who’d be willing to pay money to own it. So, how do you find that out?

A painting of a skyline reflection in a pond, symbolizing the time when you prepare your paintings for a move.
Make sure you get them appraised, before you prepare your paintings for a move!

Well, if you’re truly into art you may be able to make an appraisal on your own; but that’s just the roughest of estimates. In this case, you definitely want to have someone from the outside look into this; someone who’s not tied up with emotional baggage. So, hire a professional art appraiser – not a part-time fan, but someone who truly does this for a living. There are more than a few organizations of art appraisers out there. So, you’re bound to find someone you trust to give you the correct info.

And once you know how much value you’re moving when you relocate your paintings; you’ll know how careful you need to be. For example, if you’re dealing with a particularly valuable piece; you may wish to pay special attention, as you’re packing fragile items like canvases.

The supplies you’ll need

When you’re preparing for relocation, it’s really important to use the right moving supplies. And of course, if you want to prepare your paintings for a move, then you need to be even more careful. Because in other cases, you may use subpar moving supplies if you’re looking to save money. But in the case of moving art, you want to use the right:

Specialized moving boxes

When you start to prepare your paintings for a move, you’ll see that the usual cardboard boxes just won’t do. Regular moving boxes are not designed for moving artwork and especially not large paintings so this is certainly an out-of-the-question packing supply. What you’ll want to do in this case is to find the right special-made moving boxes, with just the right dimensions. They’re designed for this purpose specifically so they’ll be the best choice for moving your paintings safely. Don’t worry though- finding these online isn’t hard at all. You can buy them at a moving supply store or a truck rental agency.

Packing paper

While you’re protecting your pictures from damage you may want to use old newspapers to cover the surface from scratches. But this decision would be downright wrong as you can’t use any old piece of paper. And using old newspapers is especially bad – the ink from the magazines may damage or alter the art and that’s certainly not what you want. Spending money and valuing something only to have it destroyed for the lack of proper material is not something you should have during your house move. So what you will actually need is completely acid-free paper that’s designed for these purposes. Don’t worry about finding some because you’ll be able to find glassine paper pretty easily as any craft store has it. This paper makes the perfect choice for protecting your paintings while moving because its non-stick material protects the painting from moisture and dirt.

Cardboard panels

Depending on what moving techniques you’re using; you may need to procure a couple of cardboard panels, with which you’ll be covering your paintings in transit. In case you’re preparing a painting that’s not framed or canvassed, you don’t have to use glassine paper but you can use two pieces of cardboard and sandwich the painting between them.

Masking tape You’ll need masking tape in case some of your paintings have glass coverings. You’ll use it to create an X across the glass surface because this will keep the glass from completely shattering in case it breaks. In case you’re preparing an unframed painting for a move, you can skip this step.

Packing tape

You’ll want to reinforce cardboard boxes before packing paintings inside and the best way to do so is to use packing tape. You’ll also use it to seal the box before shipping, making sure it will not open in transit. Avoid using painter’s tape or other types of tape for this purpose as they may not be strong enough to protect the box or keep it closed.

Heavy Duty Tape and Cardboard Boxes
The best tape for moving boxes is heavy-duty shipping tape

Sharpie marker

You’ll need a colorful sharpie to label the boxes as this is an easy way to make things organized. Each box should be labeled as “fragile” so your helpers can be aware and take extra care when handling it. You should add an arrow pointing upwards so that boxes would be kept in the right direction and make sure nothing is placed on top of them that could potentially crush them. While you’re at it, it’s also a good idea to add an inventory list inside with a short description.

Labeling may be a bit time-consuming but it’s extremely beneficial so make sure you do label each box before moving, especially when preparing your paintings for a move.

Consider hiring professionals to do this for you

Covering these simple basic techniques and using proper packing materials should help you protect your paintings up to a certain level. However, not entirely so. The reason why is that the average person is not experienced in moving valuables like professional movers are. While you may read up on art moving all you want, at the end of the day, you probably don’t want to do this on your own. After all, there are reasons why many people hire professional art handlers in NYC. And you may want to be one of them, instead of trying to prepare your paintings for a move all on your own.

Sure, you can look up tutorials online, and you may even be able to complete the job successfully − but bear in mind, you’re risking quite a lot because no amount of reading can actually prepare you for the practical difficulties that may arise. This is why we actually recommend at least consulting with some true professionals. If you do that, you’ll at least get some advice from professionals, instead of just going with your gut. This may be the difference between a perfect relocation and damaged paintings; so do this before trying to perform the move on your own. 

A still life painting of a white jug and some fruit.
At the end of the day, your best option may be to hire professionals to relocate your art!

If you’d like to chat with professional movers about the best way to move your paintings, feel free to reach out to us. We provide professional fine art transport services. At Dorothy and Martha, we provide a free assessment of your belongings to give you an accurate moving quote, and the best part − a quote is completely free of charge!

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