How To Prep Furniture for Shipment
You’ve prepped, painted, photographed, marketed, and sold a furniture piece. This is an awesome feeling, but there is still work to be done! The creative, and oftentimes magical, transformative process is complete, but the task of transporting the repurposed piece to its new home remains. This can certainly be a vexing and time-consuming process, especially since the item could be destined for across town or across the country. But whether you choose a freight company, an online shipping service marketplace (i.e. UShip), other transportation (i.e., Busfreighter.com) or opt to deliver the piece yourself, following the packing tips below will ensure your creation arrives at its new home in perfect condition.
HOT TIP! Busfreighter.com is an economical and easy option for shipping furniture. As a partner with Greyhound Package Express (GPX), Busfreighter stows shipments in the cargo spaces of Greyhound buses.
- You can choose from door-to-door, station-to-door, door-to-station, or station-to-station services
- The shipment’s dimensions must not exceed 29″ x 47″ x 82″, and its weight must not exceed 100 lb (You can, however, remove drawers, mirrors, etc. and create 2 or more shipments to meet the dimensions and weight requirements.)
- Cross-country shipments may take up to 10-14 days to arrive. Shipments traveling less than 2,000 miles typically take 3-7 days.
- You don’t have to crate or palletize the piece as required by some freight companies.
- The prices are lower (oftentimes more than 50%) compared to other choices.
YOUR MATERIALS LIST
HOT TIP! You can set up a commercial account with companies like U-Line and Victory Packaging for further discounts. You usually just need an EIN number.
- Medium Grade Moving Blankets
Moving Blankets, moving pads or furniture pads protect furniture during a move. Poly-cotton blend blankets sewn in a chevron pattern with square corners offer the best protection, adhesion, and durability. For most furniture, a medium-grade 72” x 80” moving blanket is best. These pads typically weigh about 70 lb per dozen or 5-6 lb per pad. (Don’t forget – these pads will add to the final weight of your shipment.)
- Paper Pads
Paper moving pads are 3-ply sheets that protect items from dust, dirt, and scratches. They can be either a necessary addition to blanket wrapping furniture or a replacement for blankets or Kraft-backed bubble paper in some instances. For delicate surfaces (i.e., veneer) or fine finishes (i.e., tops of buffets), use a paper pad as a first layer of protection before using moving blankets. These pads are recyclable/disposable, more affordable, and smaller, (48” x 72” or 60” x 72”) as compared to moving blankets (72”x80”). You can also cut the paper pads to fit a specific piece of furniture unlike moving blankets.
- Kraft Backed Bubble Paper
Kraft Backed Bubble Paper (125’ x 12” or 24”) is water-resistant and provides an extra layer of protection for fragile items. This paper is also ideal for larger shipments where the cost of shipping materials using blankets might be too expensive.
HOT TIP! Keep the bubble side up and not touching the piece of furniture. The bubble pattern could mar the finish.
- Shrink Wrap
Shrink wrap keeps padding in place, protects the piece from dust and dirt, and helps keep the shipment secure. Shrink wrap, unlike tape, won’t damage or leave a residue on furniture.
Shrink wrap ranges from 5-22”W x 1000 – 1500’ L, but choose a 15” width at a minimum to save time wrapping a piece. Use shrink liberally! There is no such thing as too much when it comes to this material, so make your piece look like a plastic cocoon. Clear wrap is best because it won’t stain your furniture like green or other colored wraps.
HOT TIP! Make sure to wrap the piece sticky side down
HOT TIP! Never use shrink wrap directly on wood or leather. Trapped moisture can cause mold, mildew, and warping.
- Clear Packing Tape – Acrylic Adhesive
This mover-quality tape performs better than other tapes and it’s easier to tear. You don’t need scissors! You can purchase this tape at U-haul and Ryder stores as well as the aforementioned industry sources.
Cardboard protects delicate surfaces like mirrors and glass. For these surfaces always protect the piece first with moving blankets, then with cardboard, and finally shrink wrap and label as “glass” or “fragile.”
- Ziploc Bags
Ziploc bags are always great to store hardware. Attach the bag to the disassembled piece or put it in a drawer or other place for safekeeping.
- Digital Scale
This is a must! You can’t get a shipping quote without providing the weight. And don’t forget to weigh the piece again after prepping.
HOW TO PREP
Make sure that the furniture piece is clean and dry.
Disassemble any items that are screwed onto the piece such as knobs, handles, casters, mirrors, legs, and backsplashes for safer packing.
Put the hardware in a Ziploc bag, label it with a Sharpie, and tape it to the inside of a drawer, underside of a table, etc., for safekeeping. Wrap larger objects in paper pads and Kraft-backed bubble paper and similarly affix them to a protected area of the piece.
HOT TIP! You can also reverse knobs and handles to avoid losing hardware. Wrap a piece of twine around the screw on the inside of the drawer and allow the twine to hang outside the top front of the drawer so you can easily open the drawers. Avoid using tape instead of twine because the tape could damage the finish.
- Add moving blankets.
You will typically need 1-3 moving blankets depending on the size of the piece. (I usually use 1 blanket for small pieces, 2 blankets for 3-drawer dressers and buffets, and 3 blankets for large armoires and wardrobes.) To wrap most pieces, drape 1 or 2 blankets over the top of the piece, pick up the blanket overhang and wrap it around the other side like you are wrapping a present. Then repeat on the other side and secure with tape.
For large pieces like armoires, use a “diaper wrap” for the blankets. Place the piece of furniture squarely in the middle of a moving blanket and then drape another pad similarly over the top of the piece. Again, wrap the piece like a present for a clean, neat wrap.
HOT TIP! If you need extra coverage, place the blankets in a diamond pattern. Starting from the top pull the sides down and secure with tape. Repeat the same with the bottom blanket and finally secure with tape.
Add cardboard After you have an initial layer of protection on your furniture piece you can use cardboard secured with tape to protect the corners. Another option is to use shipping corner protectors.
Finish with Shrink Wrap. This is the fun part! Wrap the plastic completely around the furniture for a final layer of protection. Your piece is ready to go!