MOVING: Which items often get broken during a move?
If you're moving to a new house or apartment, be advised: Some things are made to be broken.
When it comes to moving, you've got to be careful.
That's because some things - no matter how sturdy they appear on the surface - are made to be broken.
"People don't realize how big of a job it can be," says John Bisney, a spokesman for the American Moving and Storage Association. "They think, 'No big deal, load up a U-Haul and we're good to go.' "
But breaking items during the moving process can be a big deal. Whether you go with the do-it-yourself (DIY) route or hire a moving company, the hassle of replacing or repairing busted items can cost time, money, and, in some cases, broken hearts.
Which items are among the most likely to get smashed and dashed at moving time? Keep reading to find out...
#1 - Electronics
Computers, TVs, and home entertainment systems are among the most likely victims of breakage when it comes time to move. If you drop electronics, the sensitive and delicate components can suffer major damage.
A possible solution?
Save the boxes and packing materials that originally came with the items, says Abbey Claire Keusch, a professional organizer based in Los Angeles. When the time comes to transport the gear to your next home, re-pack your gadgets in the boxes and materials the way you purchased them.
#2 - Your Back
Back pain, pulled muscles, and broken bones are among the physical injuries you can suffer by trying to move that refrigerator or piano without the right equipment or people power.
"Moving is hard physically and emotionally," says Steve Weitekamp, president of the California Moving and Storage Association.
From the physical standpoint, moving is a strenuous activity that adds a measure of danger when you have to move items up flights of stairs or repetitively lift heavy objects. On top of that, you're asking for trouble if you try moving things by walking backwards.
The Smithsonian's Museum Conservation Institute, a resource center for technical information, writes on its website that you should always face forward when moving furniture to lessen your chances of falling. Otherwise, use a cart for larger pieces and go over the moving route in advance.
#3 - Tables
Wrestling with tables or other odd-shaped items during a move can be a recipe for disaster if you're in DIY mode. These items can be clunky, bulky, or a logistical nightmare at best,
according to Bisney.
Tables with marble tops - or anything made of marble, for that matter - can be particularly hazardous to transport, says Rob Ursino, marketing and communications manager of Movers Specialty Service
"Marble, despite being heavy, is fairly fragile," Ursino notes. "But when it lands on something, it does with a lot of force."
#4 - Mirrors
Seven years of bad luck might be in your future if you try to move mirrors yourself.
Here's why: "Obviously, [mirrors are] a fragile item, but if you wrap it yourself, you might not know how securely it's wrapped," Keusch reasons. "I don't think people realize how much padding is needed."
Mirrors also can be prone to breakage because the frames holding them can't withstand the force of being dropped or jostled, Ursino says.
Bisney has a secret weapon that can be used to help pack items such as mirrors. He says don't sleep on your pillows when you're moving - use them as cushions for mirrors and other fragile times!
"Pillows make great packing and they work real well for a lot of problems," Bisney says. Plus, "You've got to pack them anyway."
#5 - The House
Whether it's the place you're leaving or the place you're moving into, property damage caused by hauling items could wind up costing you unwanted expenditures.
Door jambs, walls, and floors are prone to getting hit and scraped when moving larger items. According to Ursino, this is particularly true of things that should be assembled inside the house, like a home gym.
"People get tired," Weitekamp says. "They stop caring about what they are doing and just want to get finished. Once in this frame of mind, it's easy to accidentally pull the leg of a chair through a hallway window or a bedroom door."
If you're worried about leaving any scratches on your old or new abode, one smart option might be to hire some experienced movers.
#6 - Glassware/China
Glassware, China, and dishes are among the most easily broken items during a move, according to Keusch. These pieces are extremely fragile and can shatter when they're packed together like sardines.
"People don't put enough padding in between it or around it," Keusch says, referring to glassware. "Use paper and bubble wrap and leave space between them and the box."
Fragile glass items can also be easily damaged when other items come in contact with them during transport.
"Don't put books and something breakable in the same box," Keusch warns.
#7 - Framed Artwork
Paintings and artwork are subject to various kinds of damage during moves if you drop them or pack them next to objects with sharp edges.
Pierced canvases, broken frames, and smudged paint are among potential disasters that can mar your favorite portrait or landscape before they hang on the wall of your new home.
"Very many times, frames are very ornate, expensive, and easy to crack," Ursino says. "What happens is that people try to pack things tight in a truck and they put boxes on top of paintings. If you do that, it's easy to put holes in them."
#8 - Booze
Your favorite bottle of vintage Merlot or handle of tequila might not endure its move to a new location without care and consideration.
Drop it, and you'll definitely be crying over spilled booze. But certain types of alcohol, like vino, can be "broken" in other ways during the course of moving. Hot weather is one such culprit.
"Wine in itself is subject to temperature, and temperature change can ruin an entire case," Ursino says. "A lot of times, people are taking them in cars and not really packing them properly."
#9 - Washer/Dryer
If having fresh, clean clothes is important to you...now's the time to pay attention.
Washers and dryers, among other heavy appliances, have a good chance of being broken during a move, according to Ursino, who notes that front-loading washers are among the most damage-prone.
"They're a new phenomenon in the last 10 or 15 years," Ursino says. "They have a spinning drum and that drum has to be suspended properly in the move."
A washer that's broken during a move can cause significant water damage. The bad part is that you might not realize it until it's too late.
Ursino recommends using a manufacturer's shipping kit - which locks the washer's drum in place - to minimize transit damage.