How to Move Your Aquarium and 8 Other Strange Possessions

Moving can be stressful in the best of circumstances. If you have something unusual to move, particularly if the item is fragile or of high value, moving it can be a downright harrowing experience. Here is a look at how to move eight different unusual items. Even if your item isn’t the list, you will probably get some great ideas to help you in your move anyway.

  1. Aquarium

Moving a giant glass box halfway across town ought to be easy, right? Professional affordable moving companies run into 300-gallon glass fish tanks more often than you might think and the first thing they do is pack the tank into a mirror box. Mirror boxes are specifically designed for glass and are available in hardware stores or from your local moving company. For short moves, you can leave the gravel in place if it doesn’t add too much weight.

  1. Crystal

Whether it is a chandelier or expensive wine glasses, crystal can be difficult to move. For unusually shaped items, like chandeliers, invest in a custom container or make one yourself by cutting up and taping together cardboard boxes to support fragile pieces of the chandelier’s frame. Most important of all, however, is to wrap every single piece of crystal by itself. It is a time-consuming project, but well worth it in the end.

  1. Large Plants

If you’ve spent a decade growing an indoor rainforest, the last thing you want is to kill everything during your move. For short moves (just a few hours), you can generally just strap the plants down and go. For longer moves, like from Olympia, WA to Atlanta, GA, you are going to have to think about climate control, light, and water. This usually means putting plants in a separate vehicle that you can access easily and may even require you to rent a climate-controlled truck. Often times, binding a plant tightly, using rope or netting, is a good way to protect branches. In truth, large plants are one of the most difficult things to move.

  1. China

Your grandmother’s china has survived nearly a century, so don’t let a single move be the end of the family heirloom. Pack cups in socks and separate real plates with Styrofoam plates to help cushion them. Wrap everything securely, but not too tight, or pack it all in packing peanuts. You do NOT want things moving around during the trip.

  1. Pianos

Moving a piano is difficult, both because the item is fragile and because it is heavy (500 to 1200 pounds for the average grand piano). This is where hiring a pro is highly recommended. If you do take the DIY route, be certain to disassemble as much of the piano as possible and then pack the inside to protect against jarring. Often times, movers will build a box around the piano once the legs have been removed and then put caster on the box to make it easier to maneuver.

  1. Arcade Games

If you have vintage arcade games, your best bet for moving them is to wrap them in blankets or furniture pads. Have lots of tape on hand to secure everything. Consider putting stiff boxes or boxes packed with durable items (e.g. cloths) between the legs, if they don’t come off easily, to ensure that the item doesn’t move around and that the legs aren’t damaged.

  1. Grandfather Clocks

Whoa! Moving a clock is a big deal because throwing off the mechanism that makes the clock run, even just a little, can permanently damage it. Never, under any circumstance, should you touch components of the clock with bare hands, so get some nice gloves because you are going to have to take the clock apart. Start by removing the weights and then any shelving that exists. Remove the pendulum, any decorative additions, and any items not integral to the clock’s movement (i.e. gears). Wrap everything separately and then wrap the whole clock in a furniture blanket. Always keep the clock upright because laying it horizontally can put more pressure on the glass.

  1. A Car

Sometimes you have no choice but to ship a car. If you do need to ship a vehicle, wash it first and then prepare all liquids by checking that caps are tight, that there are no leaks, and that nothing is going to slosh out. Never ship a car with more than a quarter of a tank of gas. Check for loose or fragile parts and secure them as best you can. Take photographs of the whole car, inside and out, to document its condition.

The Bottom Line

For the most part, people don’t move the items listed above very often. If you ever do move something similar to the items above, however, there is one thing to remember above all else. Invest in good packing materials. There is no way to cut costs when shipping the items above and ensure their safe arrival at your destination. Your best bet is to hire a professional who has moved similar items before. It probably won’t cost that much more than if you try to do it yourself anyway.

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