Packing lamps and lamp shades for moving looks fairly easy and straightforward… but it’s not so. In reality, lamps prove to be rather tricky to pack and move to a new home.
The moment you begin to disassemble your lamps for a move, you’ll realize that those household items are too fragile and too oddly-shaped to just throw them inside a cardboard box and be done with it. If you did just that, then you’d have to buy brand-new table lamps and floor lamps after the move. And that’s something you wouldn’t be thrilled about, would you?
Your ultimate goal is to transport, either locally or across the country, all the lamps in your home without any sort of damage along the way. And to be able to keep your light fixtures safe until you reach the new home, you’re going to need to protect and pack them really well.
The following 13 steps will teach you how to pack lamps and lamp shades for moving.
STEP 1: ASK YOURSELF THE BIG QUESTION
Packing and moving your lamps is not going to be easy – you’ll need to invest time and efforts to make sure those fragile household items reach the new place in one piece. And even if some of your lamps are made from metal, they will still contain rather delicate elements such as U-shaped harps, shades and light bulbs.
In addition to spending extra time and energy to pack up all the lamps in your home, you’ll also pay money to get the packing supplies you’ll need for the packing process and then pay even more money to transport the lamp-filled boxes to the new address.
So, the big question you should ask yourself before you rush into boxing up your lamps is whether it’ll be worth to pack and move ALL the lamps you have in the house. There must be some luminaires that you never particularly liked. And what about those lamps that work only when they choose to? Some light fixtures will not match well the interior of the new home.
Don’t pack and move any lamps that are not worth the trouble.
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STEP 2: PREPARE THE PACKING BOXES
One thing is clear – you’ll need suitable packing boxes for lamps. Now, if you happen to keep the containers the lamps came in when you first purchased them, then that’s great because original boxes still offer the best possible protection for extra fragile items.
If not, then you’ll need to find strong cardboard boxes that are taller than the bases of the lamps. If you’ve decided to look for free moving boxes, then you should measure the dimensions of your lamps so that you know what packing boxes to be looking for. Make sure that all second-hand containers you use are sturdy, clean, dry, and infestation-free.
When moving more expensive and valuable lamps and you don’t keep their original boxes, do consider buying special lamp boxes (box dimensions: 12’’ x 12’’ x 40’’, 3.33 cu/ft), available online for around $5 per box.
Regardless of the boxes you’ve chosen for your lamps, place crumpled paper on their bottoms to form a soft cushioning layer for the fragile objects.
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STEP 3: PREPARE THE OTHER PACKING SUPPLIES
The best way to pack lamps for moving is to use the proper packing materials for the job. Now that you have the right boxes for packing lamps, it’s time to also get hold of wrapping paper, bubble wrap, packing tape, and a marker.
- Packing paper. When packing lamps for moving, you’ll need a lot of soft and white (ink-free) wrapping paper that’s also acid-free. One big pack of packing paper (500 sheets) costs roughly $25 and can be ordered online.
- Bubble wrap. Bubble wrap is a must-have packing material that will prove to be crucial when you pack lamps for a move. Lamps are one of the most fragile items in a home so it’ll take plenty of the air-filled plastic material to cushion the most delicate elements of your lamps and keep them protected throughout the move. A big box of Enviro-Bubble – the type of bubble wrap that is 100% recyclable and reusable – goes for around $20 for a roll of 150 feet.
- Marker pen. Get a black marker pen in order to write down the contents and destination room on each lamp-filled box. Also, don’t forget about the FRAGILE warning in big black letters.
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STEP 4: REMOVE THE LAMP SHADE
Without a doubt, the safest way to pack lamps for moving is to disassemble them carefully and then protect each lamp component individually. In fact, that’s the only packing method that can guarantee total safety for your electric light units simply because their elements won’t come into direct contact with each other during transport.
Start the disassembly process by first removing the lamp shade. Depending on the exact model, you may have to unscrew the finial to be able to remove the lamp shade, or you just need to lift up the shade to disengage it. The usual way to unscrew the finial is to turn it counterclockwise.
Once you’ve removed the shade from the lamp, consider cleaning it so that it’s ready to be boxed up later. Remove any accumulated dust, dirt or hairs using a duster, cleaning wipes, or a portable vacuum cleaner. Choose the cleaning method that you know will work well for the specific type of lamp shade you’re dealing with – plastic, glass, fabric, etc.
STEP 5: UNSCREW AND PACK THE LIGHT BULB(S)
Once you’ve handled the lamp shade, it’s time to remove the next lamp element – the light bulbs. This is a pretty straightforward step that should not give you any hard time at all.
As you know, light bulbs are very fragile and some of them may not survive the move regardless of how well you protect them. Nevertheless, light bulbs don’t come for free so you shouldn’t just throw them away despite the low chance of making it to the new home in working order.
Unscrew the bulbs carefully, making sure they are not too hot to burn your fingers. Most of the times, you’ll find dust settled on the electric bulbs so it’s a good idea to clean them with a soft cloth before you pack them away safely.
If you keep the original packages of the lights bulbs, then you should definitely pack them in them. Wrap each electric bulb in one sheet of packing paper, then insert it into their factory boxes. In case you don’t have those original packaging, bubble wrap each light bulb individually, then transfer it into a separate well-padded box. Write on pieces of paper which lamp each bulb belongs to in order to make the re-assembly process easier after the move.
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STEP 6: TAKE OUT AND PACK THE HARP
Now that you’ve removed the electric bulbs safely, it’s time to turn your attention to the harp. And no, you won’t need to learn how to play the harp before you move out.
Some of your table lamps and floor lamps will have harps – U-shaped metal or plastic frames that support the shades and usually surround the light bulbs. Slowly and carefully, take out the harp from the lamp base, usually by simply lifting it up or unscrewing it lightly.
Set aside the lamp harp for now – you’ll be ready to pack it up and box it up in a minute. If it happens to be dusty too, you can wipe it clean using a damp cloth so that you don’t introduce that same dust into the new home.
Use a few sheets of packing paper to wrap the harp, then use tape to secure the bundle. Finally, be ready to pack it up in the same box with the lamp base.
STEP 7: SECURE THE LAMP CABLE
It’s important that you make your task of packing lamps for a move as safe as possible. One possible problem that may compromise the overall safety of your packing job is not securing the cables of your lamps – something that could lead to tripping accidents or damage to the light units themselves.
First of all, tape a piece of bubble wrap over the metal prongs of the lamp cord to make sure the metal parts cannot scratch the base of the lamp. Secondly, use a cable tie to bundle the cord safely and keep it secure at all times but don’t wrap it around the lamp base just yet because you’ll want to make sure the surface of the base has been protected before you do it.
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STEP 8: PACK THE LAMP BASE
The next step when packing lamps for moving is to protect their bases for the relocation trip ahead.
To do that, position the lamp base over a couple of large sheets of packing paper, then wrap the soft paper around the delicate surface until you cover the entire base. Use more sheets of wrapping paper, if necessary – the idea is not to leave any lamp areas unprotected. Form a paper bundle, then use tape to secure it in place.
Don’t leave the electric cord inside the paper bundle to avoid any possible damage whatsoever – you’ll secure the cable over the paper package. So, do it now and use small pieces of tape to fix it to the wrapped-up paper.
The next packing step is to play it safe and wrap the already protected base of the lamp with a large sheet of bubble wrap, then use tape again to fix it. The lamp cable should remain fixed safely between the two protective layers.
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STEP 9: BOX THE LAMP BASE
Our tips for packing lamps when moving continue with the important step of boxing the lamp base in the safest way possible. The lamp will already be well protected with two padding layers of wrapping paper and bubble wrap. Now it’s time to transfer it to a suitable moving box.
When using special lamp boxes (box dimensions: 12’’ x 12’’ x 40’’), then you should place the lamp upright in the box with its base down. Remember that the bottom of the lamp box should be pre-padded for extra safety. As a rule of thumb, a lamp box can only fit one tall lamp inside and therefore the cardboard container should be used for more expensive and valuable light fixtures.
When using standard moving boxes that are deep enough to fit the lamps, you can arrange several lamp bases in the same box, placing them tightly one next to the other. The thick layers of paper and bubble wrap should keep the main lamp elements safe and protected even when two lamp bases come into contact with one another during transport. If the boxes you’re using are not deep enough, then you can still arrange the lamp bases lying on their sides as long as the bottom of the container is well-padded.
Once you’ve filled a box with one or more lamp bases, fill in any empty spaces between the lamp components with pieces of paper – using newspaper, in this case, is fine. The goal here is to make sure nothing moves inside the carton – if it does, add more padding materials until it stops.
Finally, use the black marker to label the lamp box properly. Don’t forget to add the FRAGILE and THIS SIDE UP handling instructions.
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STEP 10: PACK THE LAMP SHADE
You should pack the lamp shades separately from the lamp base in order to keep them safe. Why? Lamp shades are extremely fragile and will need to go into another pre-padded box to avoid any harmful contact with the rest of the lamp elements.
Clean the lamp shade of any dust or dirt as described above. Use several sheets of packing paper to cover the delicate lamps hade as the first line of protection, the fix the paper bundle with bits of tape. Add a second protective layer of bubble wrap, then secure it with tape as well.
When packing several lamp shades with similar shape and size, feel free to use the nesting packing technique to save valuable space.
Keep in mind that when packing lamps and lamp shades for moving, there’s no such thing as over-padding or over-packing. If one of your lamp shades gets damaged during the move due to improper packing, then you’ll need to find a replacement lamp shade for that particular lamp model. And even if you could somehow find one, then you’d still be losing money after the move is over.
Transfer the padded lamp shade or shades into a strong medium-sized box and then use plenty of packing paper to immobilize them. Remember to label properly the moving box after you’ve filled it up with all the lamp shades you can fit safely inside.
Finally, use the black marker to label the lamp shade box properly. Remember to add the FRAGILE and THIS SIDE UP warning signs.
When you’re packing all the fragile items in your home, there’s always a risk of damage due to improper packing techniques. Sometimes the lack of enough time to do things the right way can hurt your chances of a damage-free move.
Hire professional packers with years of experience – that’s the only way to make sure your lamps, together with all other breakable items under your roof, will remain perfectly protected until they reach the new home.
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