Protect Your Furniture Before You Move

When you think about the act of moving (not your new home), your first thoughts probably drift to all those small pieces and glasses that need to be packed. And, it’s true, you will need to spend plenty of time getting through all of that. (And, it may just be the reason you hire packers along with your movers.)

But, you shouldn’t forget about your furniture. After all, these are likely to be more expensive pieces that you really don’t want damaged. And, it’s never as simple to move these items as you think it would be given their size.

What’s the right way to handle these larger items?

Sideboards, Cupboards, Bookshelves, Desks, and Dressers

Plan to disassemble any furniture that can be disassembled (this includes bed frames and tables too). And remember to stay organised while you do so. That means plastic bags to store screws (and perhaps some notes to yourself regarding assembly). Flat packing is the easiest way to handle any movement of your furniture – and it eases potential damage to your walls during the move.

But, disabling your furniture is hardly the first or last step of the process.

If you have any furniture with removable drawers, you’ll want to decide whether you plan to remove these drawers (if the piece is heavy) or if you want to simply hold them in place during the move. If you can remove drawers and use them for packing items, do so. But remember, this sets your drawers up for potential damage, so you shouldn’t do this for valuable, expensive, or sentimental pieces.

Using drawers as packing boxes does require you to remove them first. You can’t pack items into your furniture as this will make items too heavy (and likely to be dropped or damaged).

Drawers that will remain in units, as well as doors, will need to be secured. After cleaning these items (do it now as dust and debris can scratch hard surfaces during your move), secure doors and drawers with string.

Then, pay attention to the feet or any embellishments that protrude from your piece (that includes movable handles that flop down on drawers). These should be wrapped in plastic wrap individually. You will need tape to hold that bubble wrap in place. Then, wrap the entire piece in bubble wrap.

Just a note on antique or decorative pieces – you may want to cut large pieces of cardboard to lay flat along decorative sides before wrapping with bubble wrap.

Upholstered Chairs, Couches, and Mattresses

You wouldn’t think you need to do anything more than strip mattresses of their linens and line them up for packing on the day, but that’s not ideal. Realistically, you’ll want to protect these items as much as you can.

For most upholstered items, you can get away with adding blankets as padding and then wrapping each one in plastic wrap. But, don’t forget that legs and embellishments will need bubble wrap secured in place.

Remember to ensure you keep all the pieces you need to reconstruct your furniture together. Plastic bags secured to each piece should do it, but you want to make sure these don’t protrude. If they do, a small box with individual bags (properly labeled, of course), will do the trick.

Now, isn’t it time to start unloading all of those drawers so your move is as smooth (and damage free) as it can be.

Moving? Don’t Forget About Your Appliances

At the very beginning of any move, you’re staring at a long to-do list. And, unless you hire packing services through your removal company, you’re not going to see items flying off that list unless you tackle them yourself.

That means packing the kitchen, cleaning all those bedrooms, and weeding out all the stuff you know you shouldn’t move with you. In the midst of this, it’s easy to forget about some of those bigger items – like your appliances. Unfortunately, these are usually the things you can’t live without.

How will you settle into your new home if you need to buy a new fridge before you can cook a meal? And what will you do without that washing machine after the long, hot days of unpacking and cleaning?

Sure, insurance may cover any damages that occur during the move, but do you really want to add anything to that already too frightening to do list? Of course not. That alone is a reason to cast your thoughts to your appliances before you move.

The Big Appliances

These pieces are investments into your lifestyle. Although they do need replacing more often than you’d like, you don’t want these items damaged in your move. Prepare them correctly and you won’t need to worry about that.

  • Refrigerators and Freezers – Even if you have frost-free fridges and freezers, you should still unplug these appliances at least 24-hours prior to your move. Empty these appliances, unplug them, and open the doors. Bringing these appliances to room temperature will protect them from cracking on the inside during lifting and moving. After appliances defrost, ensure you wipe them dry on the inside. Remove shelves and baskets and wrap to transport separately; or, secure them in place. Don’t forget to disconnect water lines from ice makers and protect the exposed areas. Once everything is dry, ensure you secure doors so they remain closed.
  • The Dishwasher – In addition to disconnecting your unit, both from the electricity and the plumbing, you will want to remove the inner racks or secure them in place. Wrap newspaper around the plug, along with a plastic bag, ensuring it stays dry during your move, then tape the cord and bag to the back of the unit. Check all hoses and pipes to ensure there’s no water trapped inside. Allow these people to dry, and then pack together and store (secured) inside the dishwasher. The front of the unit should be securely closed with packing tape.
  • Washer and Dryer Units – If you still have your owner’s manual for these appliances, you’ll want to consult them now. Similar to the other machines, you will need to disconnect, wrap plugs, tape cords, and remove any hoses and pipes. These extra pieces should be packed separately, or inside of your dryer unit. But, there’s a word of caution here; the drum of your washing machine should be secured prior to moving. If you don’t have the owner’s manual to guide you through the process, you can take a look for manuals online to see how this should be done. Once again, don’t forget to secure doors that don’t latch and lock.
  • The Stove and Oven – Although it’s not common in South Africa to move oven units, you might have specified that you’re taking yours with when moving house. Ovens do require special care when moving, whether they are connected to gas or electricity. Either way, it’s best to shut off the appropriate mains before disconnecting. Removing oven racks is the best option, but you can also secure them tightly inside (at the bottom; don’t leave them in the middle of the oven). In addition to wrapping and taping cords, make sure you tape and cover the knobs and elements to prevent loss or damage during the move.


You’ll want to save these items for last as you’ll want to use them until you move, but you should keep in mind that preparing your appliances for a move takes time and effort. If you don’t leave yourself enough time to deal with it, you could just find yourself shopping for new appliances as soon as you move. And no one wants that. After all, the unpacking checklist is almost as long and tedious as the pre-move version.

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