Moving Framed Paintings or Photographs? Here’s How To Pack Safely

When one of our College Muscle Movers has to move their own artwork, it’s easy: They just roll up the posters they bought for $5 each at the campus store and put a rubber band around the tube and they’re ready to go.

If you’re at the stage of your life where you’ve invested a little more in your décor, you’re going to want to take the process more seriously. No problem, our movers know how to treat precious art with the care and respect it deserves. But if you’re planning to take care of the packing on your own, you’ve got a few challenges to consider.

Every part of a painting or photograph is a potential packing disaster: fragile glass that can shatter, ornate frames that can flake and crack, and delicate paper or canvas that can rip and tear.

Here’s how to make sure your art makes it to your new location looking picture-perfect.

What’s It Worth?

First, if you’re using any kind of moving or shipping service, you should consider whether your art warrants additional insurance. By default, most services provide a basic level of insurance per pound. That might be okay for furniture, but a valuable painting doesn’t weigh much.

If your art is likely to have a high value, consider having an appraiser  review their value and provide you with an estimate, and take pictures of all the pieces before insuring them separately from your other possessions and packing them up. The American Society of Appraisers can help you find a qualified professional.


Do whatever it takes to keep this priceless treasure safe. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Do whatever it takes to keep this priceless treasure safe.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Because artwork tends to be more valuable and delicate while taking up less space than most items, consider transporting it in your car instead of the moving truck. This will require less careful packing and will reduce the risk of damage caused by shifting truck contents.

Packing Your Framed Artwork

Here are some simple steps that will help you keep your art safe if it’s in a frame and under glass.

1. Secure the glass with painter’s tape. Damage to glass is the most likely mishap that could happen to your art, but it’s also the easiest to repair—as long as it doesn’t damage the canvas. To ensure this, use painter’s tape (because it will be easy to remove later) to create a loose square grid pattern with additional diagonal strips on the glass. This way, even if the glass cracks, it will be held in place instead of scraping against the art.

2. Cover the frame in a layer of bubble wrap. You may wish to place a sheet of cardboard or a layer of acid-free paper on the glass front of the painting first to provide stability and reduce static cling. Then, wrap the entire piece in a thick layer of bubble wrap, securing it with tape at the back—not at the sides.

3. Slide the painting into a box only slightly larger than the frame. You may have a hard time finding a box with the perfect fit, but College Muscle Movers has a good selection of specialty sizes and you can find suppliers with a full range. If your painting is valuable, financially or sentimentally, it’s worth tracking down a box that will offer a snug fit to your wrapped painting. You can even buy special Styrofoam wedges designed to fit over the corners of your frame to provide additional padding and stability. Seal it up tightly and you’re all set. If you’re loading the box into a moving truck, carefully select a stable area at an edge of the truck or between two large objects unlikely to crash into it, like upright mattresses.


That’s it! Of course, if you’re talking about exceptionally valuable paintings, you’ll want to look into having the pieces professionally crated and shipped by specialists. For almost anything else, these steps will offer the best protection with the least expense.

Any questions? We’re always happy to help. Give the College Muscle Movers a call at 1-800-818-8449 and we’ll get you the answers you need.

How to Pack and Move Your Computer

A desktop computer may be one of the most important items you move, and there are a lot of things that can go wrong—expensive components can be damaged and important data can be lost. So let us tell you how to play it as safe as possible.

At least computers are a lot more portable than they used to be. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
At least computers are a lot more portable than they used to be.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Plan Ahead

The basics are obvious—you’ll want to power down, unplug and wrap up all cords and accessories, and double check to make sure you haven’t left any discs in the computer.

But before you think about protecting your computer, you should give some thought to protecting all the important information inside it. If you don’t already have one, a backup drive is a very smart investment, even if you’re not moving. You can get a terabyte drive for around $60 if you shop around, and it should be fine at backing up your entire hard drive for years to come.

Backup drives are easy to use and will make sure that whatever happens to your computer, your irreplaceable files will stay safe. You may even wish to move and store your backup drive separately after every backup so that no disaster can strike both copies at the same time.

Packing Carefully

A computer is full of fragile parts that certainly aren’t meant to be jostled. If you still have any of the original packaging and the form-fitting Styrofoam that comes with it, that’s your best bet. But odds are you don’t, right?

Not a big problem. You’ll want to find a box just slightly larger than your CPU tower—you definitely don’t want to give it enough space to knock around in there. Then you want to pack it fairly tightly with padding. Crumpled newspaper and bubble wrap should do the trick. If you’re moving a printer, you’ll want to follow the same process, although it’s a good idea to remove any ink cartridges first and seal them in plastic bags.

That takes care of the tower. You don’t have to worry too much about damage to keyboards or mice, and you can pack your monitor much like you would a flat screen TV. You can check out our guide for details.

Any cords and additional accessories should be easier to pack, although you may want to make sure you pack them and label them separately  from your other electronics to avoid tangles and confusion.

Making the Move

Okay, you’re prepped and packed. Now it’s time to get your precious cargo where it needs to go.

If you plan to use a moving company, you’ll want to make sure that the box your computer is in is clearly labeled, and you’ll want to check that it’s properly insured for the move. This requires estimating the retail value of your computer and specifically requesting the appropriate insurance as standard moving insurance typically will not provide sufficient coverage for such expensive items.

However, if you’re taking a car to your new home, a computer is one of the few items you may want to move yourself even if you’re using a moving company to handle most of your other possessions. This eliminates most of the risk involved, especially if you are moving during extreme cold weather. The back of a moving truck is rarely heated, and cold can cause damage to some parts of a computer, as can the resulting condensation.

If you must expose your computer to cold during a move–and that’s definitely a possibility in Minneapolis!–be sure to give it ample time to reach room temperature before attempting to turn it on.

How to Safely Pack Glass for Moving

If you thought moving flat screen TVs was tricky, you’re in for a bigger hassle when it’s time to pack up all your glassware for a move.

At least flat screens are always flat! Glassware can come in all kinds of shapes, and they’re all fragile and some of the easiest items to break on a move. So yes, it’s going to take a little extra time and care to properly pack your glass items, but it can still be done fairly easily and inexpensively. Here are some key tips to remember:

Never Let Glass Touch Glass

This is a big one. You’re going to be packing most of your glass items into the same boxes, but you need to make sure they don’t touch each other because that’s one of the easiest ways to cause breakage. Luckily, it’s not hard to do this, and it’s also very cheap: All you need is cardboard and newspaper.

The Materials You’ll Need

Your first line of defense are the usual cardboard boxes you’ve been putting all your other stuff in for the big move, but that’s just the beginning.

You can buy specially made ‘dish paper’ at packing stores, but the stacks of newspaper you already have will do just fine. For dishes, put a couple layers of paper between each plate, and for cups and vases, put crumpled-up wads of paper between each object.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

For objects you know are going to be more fragile, you can cut up any extra cardboard you have to create dividing walls inside each box. That will make sure you don’t get any glass-on-glass contact. You can usually get sturdy cardboard boxes with dividers already inside them for free if you ask politely at places like liquor stores that receive their stock in such containers and would otherwise just throw them out for recycling. Or, if you want, you can order specially made glass divider boxes.

The Flat and the Skinny

Large flat panes of glass, like the kind you might find on top of a coffee table, and narrow glass that can easily snap, like the stems of wine glasses or delicate figurines, are special items that deserve special attention.

This is the time to beef up your protection from scavenged paper and cardboard to real bubble wrap. Go ahead and buy a roll, it’s insurance worth having.

For flat glass, a couple of layers of bubble wrap is a good idea, followed by very careful placement in your moving vehicle—sandwiched between two mattresses is a nice option.

Delicate, narrow areas need the most attention. Wrap paper and bubble wrap around the entire object until it is fairly even on all sides; that means packing a lot of extra material in the narrow section. You should end up with something that looks a bit like an egg made of crumpled paper and bubble wrap. You can then pack your ‘eggs’ into a box somewhat tightly, making sure there is not enough room for them to bounce into each other—you may even want to tape the ‘eggs’ together into one unit. You can just tape the packing material, no need to get sticky tape on your glassware. The most delicate pieces may need as much as three inches of extra material around each item.


It’s a lot of extra detail compared to loading up books or Tupperware, but it’s better than opening a box full of broken glass at your new home. Take a look at our selection of glass and dish packing supplies, and if you have any questions, give us a call at 1-800-818-8449 and the College Muscle Movers of Minneapolis will do our best to help you out.

Moving Furniture from IKEA? Be Careful of These 5 Things

Who doesn’t love IKEA furniture? Even if you’d prefer solid oak antiques yourself, you’ve got to appreciate how easy IKEA is on the budget for young students (like our College Muscle Movers) and families and how simple it is to get everything you need in one shopping visit to an IKEA superstore—we’ve got one right here in Minneapolis, you know!



1. Buy Before You Move? Sure, Why Not

If you live close to an IKEA location but expect to be moving farther away, there’s no harm in loading up in the nice, flat-packed furniture you want right before you move. If you’ve got space in your moving truck, you’ll save on shipping costs and the original packaging will keep your furniture very safe.

And when you do put the furniture together, don’t drill those screws in too tightly. After all, you might need to take them apart for your next move.

2. Disassembly is a Smart Idea

Breaking down that IKEA furniture is easy, it will make the furniture take up less space as you move, and most important it will reduce the chance of the furniture being damaged by the pressures of a bumpy road. Just remember to pack the pieces with blankets to avoid scratches, and be sure to…

3. Label Those Pieces

Put labels on the items as you break them down, especially for furniture with many similar pieces, like bookshelves. A simple sticker marked with “bottom shelf” or something similar should do the job.

Most importantly, be sure to also keep the various screws and fasteners for each item in a separate labeled bag.

But what are you going to do when you’ve got all these labeled pieces in your new home? Odds are good you didn’t bother to save assembly instructions, right?

4. You Can Get Free Assembly Instructions Online

No problem! You can get those instructions online directly from IKEA. If you didn’t save the handy little tools either, that’s okay: common screwdrivers and Allen wrenches should cover almost everything you need to do.

5. Beware the Particle Board—and the Particle Board Waiver

Yes, it’s true, part of what makes some IKEA furniture cheap is that it’s made of particle board which is inexpensive but also somewhat fragile. Properly packed into its original packaging, there’s almost no risk of damage, but if you’re disassembling one of your old pieces or moving a fully assembled item, there’s a reasonable chance that accidents will happen.

Make sure you’re prepared for that possibility, and more importantly, take a look at what your professional movers are expecting to accomplish. You’re paying them for their experience and care, so you should expect a better rate of success than moving on your own—but not every mover feels that way, especially for cross-country moves where the risk of breakage is increased.

Take a look at everything you sign in regards to liability for your move. It’s not unheard of for some moving companies to include waivers that absolve them of responsibility for especially fragile items, especially items they’re used to dealing with on a regular basis, like IKEA furniture. If you think you’re getting a good deal on the move, it may be fair to take the responsibility yourself, but make sure you know what you’re agreeing to when you sign these waivers—and be suspicious of any company that simply slips the waiver in with the rest of the paperwork without informing you.

How to Safely Pack and Move Your LCD TV

One of the most challenging items on your packing list is going to be that big flat screen TV. At College Muscle Movers, we take extra care with these delicate and expensive items. If you’re planning on doing your own packing, we can help you out by giving you a little advice and looking at the truth behind one of the biggest questions in moving LCD TV screens.

Even our best advice can’t guarantee you’ll have a safe move, especially if you hit a lot of bumps in the road, but this little guide will should improve the chances of getting that TV where it needs to be safe and sound.

Let’s start with the big question:

Can I Move My TV Flat, Or Do I Have To Keep It Upright?

You’ve probably heard that you can’t lay modern TVs flat without damaging them. That’s actually only partly true. There’s nothing wrong with laying a screen flat, and it won’t break just from being horizontal instead of vertical.

The real problem is that a screen laying on its face or on its back is much more easily damaged by all kinds of other factors. Those screens are engineered to be shipped and be used standing up; a horizontal TV will have more pressure on that delicate screen, and any additional pressure—like from a bouncing moving truck—can cause real damage.

So, if your TV is perfectly packed, there’s not really anything wrong with laying it down, but on the other hand there’s no reason to take the risk.

How Should I Pack My LCD TV?

Okay, let’s get to the real issue: how to pack your TV.

First, your best option is always going to be repacking the TV in the box it came in. Of course most people don’t bother to save those boxes, but if you’re one of the people who do, you’ve got a solution all ready to go. If you’re really serious about the best possible security for your big flat screen, you can buy special boxes designed to offer similar protection from retailers like EcoBox.

But that’s probably overkill. If you’re looking for something simpler, your best option may be wrapping a soft blanket around the entire TV and sealing the blanket with tape. This protects the entire TV, and in particular it keeps the screen protected from scratches.

So delicate. So precious. Image Credit: Flick
So delicate. So precious.
Image Credit: Flickr

If you have bubble wrap on hand, it’s a good idea to add a layer  or two over the blanket—and if you don’t have bubble wrap on hand, it’s probably worth picking some up! It’s a lot cheaper than a new TV, and you’ll have plenty of other fragile items to wrap too.

Finally, when it’s time to load the TV into your moving truck, make sure you have a partner to help you carry it—this is one item you definitely don’t want to drop.

Make sure you put your TV in a secure location in the truck. It definitely shouldn’t be under anything that’s likely to fall on top of it, and if it’s on top of other items, make sure it’s not going to slide off and hit the floor. If you have two mattresses, you’re in luck: putting the upright TV between the two mattresses is a great way to keep it safe and secure.

And as always, if you’re in the Minneapolis area and need a hand, College Muscle Movers is here to help.