Safe, Effective Options For Protecting Your Antique Chest While Moving

Moving can be a stressful event. From packing and organizing to transporting heavy items, it is easy to see the challenges. Unfortunately, moving cherished pieces of antique furniture can be even more overwhelming due to the possibility of damage. Considering some pieces of antique furniture have sold for multi-millions of dollars in auctions, protecting your own antique piece while moving is imperative. Using these tips, you can protect the look, construction, and value of your antique furniture while moving.


Before moving, you will most likely want to clean and organize your home. This is helpful for reducing the amount of belongings you will need to bring to your new residence. During the cleaning process, spend some time cleaning out your antique piece of furniture before moving.

Remove china, dinnerware, silver, and collectibles from antique chests and curio cabinets. Pack these items safely in a box or tote and label them accordingly. Remove clothing and accessories from antique dressers, as well.  

Use a microfiber cloth to wipe down the wood surface of your furniture. Make sure to also dust out drawers and shelves. Shake off the dust and debris trapped on the cloth periodically while cleaning. Since many of the wood polishes and cleaners contain harsh chemicals, avoid using them on your antique furniture. A light dusting with a microfiber cloth or electrostatic duster will be sufficient.


After cleaning out your furniture piece and dusting the wood surfaces, begin protecting your antique for the move. Hiring professional movers is smart, since many will provide protective wrap. However, if you are moving on your own or need to pack and protect your items before the movers arrive, use the following tips:

  • Remove Drawers and Shelves – If possible, remove the drawers and shelving from the piece of furniture before wrapping and moving. Use bubble wrap or Styrofoam to protect the drawers and shelves before packing in a large box or carrying to storage.
  • Avoid Taping the Furniture – If you are unable to remove drawers or shelves, you may consider using tape to secure them closed. Unfortunately, this can be extremely damaging to your wood furniture pieces. Avoid taping drawers or doors shut, since the tape will damage the wood finish.
  • Wrap Right – Bubble wrap and moving blankets are ideal for protecting your antique furniture pieces, but you must use these protective layers correctly. Start wrapping the top of your furniture piece, working your way down the front, back, and sides. Use mover's tape to secure the bubble wrap or blanket in place, but make sure the tape makes contact with the protective wrap only.
  • Protect the Legs – If you are moving a piece of furniture with legs, be sure to add protection around each leg. Place your preferred type of wrap on the top of one leg and continue wrapping towards its bottom. Repeat with each leg for the most effective protection.
  • Protect Glass – Many antique chests and cabinets have glass doors or mirrored sections, so use extra protection on these fragile areas. Before wrapping the entire piece of furniture, cover the glass in a layer of cardboard for extra protection. Place bubble wrap or furniture blankets over the cardboard tightly to hold this extra layer of protection in place.

Transport and Store

Moving heavier pieces of wood furniture out of your home and into a truck can be challenging. If you want to reduce the risk of accidental damage that can ruin the furniture, hire professional movers or ask friends and family members for help.

Multiple people should help lift and move the antique piece into the truck, furniture storage facility, or your new residence. Be sure each person lifts and lowers the furniture piece together to prevent accidents.

If you need to store your antique chest, cabinet, or dresser for long periods of time, make sure to use a climate-controlled facility. Controlling the temperature of your storage unit will reduce the amount of humidity in the unit. An excessive amount of humidity can damage the wood of your antique furniture. Humidity levels should remain around 35 percent, preventing damage to your wood furniture.

Most people will need to move at one point in time, so understanding the best techniques to relocate antique furniture pieces is smart. Using these tips, you can move your antique chest, cabinet, or dresser in a safe, effective manner.