How to Pack Lamps for a Move: Let There Be Light Again
Lamps are one of the most challenging pieces of furniture to move safely. They come in odd shapes and sizes, and even metal lamps will have weak points and places that can be fragile. Not to mention all the cords, light bulbs, and everything else that needs to move with you.
Before you get started, this article will help you make sure you have the supplies you need and will walk you through the packing process to make it as simple as possible.
Let’s get started.
Do You Really Like It?
No one really knows why, but lamps seem to be one of those items that everyone has, but that rarely match the rest of your taste and style. Some of that assortment of lamps might be heirlooms or might have been gifts from friends and family members as you were decorating and furnishing your last home.
But however you acquired your lamps, moving is the perfect time to trim down a little. Here’s how.
Think About Space:
Think about your new home. Is there more space in your new home than your old one? Less? Are you bringing a lot of end tables, nightstands, and coffee tables that are good locations for a lamp?
If you’re moving to a bigger home, and plan on having lots of flat surfaces, you should plan on bringing more of your lamps with you. But a smaller space, or a space with few flat surfaces, won’t need as many lamps.
Keep that kind of thing in mind when you’re going through your lamps. You don’t want to have to replace lamps you don’t need to, that can be expensive and time-consuming. But you also don’t want to pay to move a bunch of lamps, only to throw them out at your new home.
Do You Like The Lamp:
Once you have a better idea of how many lamps your new home is likely to need, it’s time to go through your lamps and decide which ones are coming with you.
There are two things you should think about in this category. Do you like the lamp itself, and do you like how the lamp fits with the rest of your décor? You might appreciate one lamp’s unique beauty, but not have anywhere to put it because it doesn’t match the rest of your choices.
Moving is also the perfect excuse to get rid of lamps that you’ve never liked, but that has stayed with you since childhood, or that were gifted to you. It’s also a good opportunity to consolidate into a single style of lamp.
If you have a combination of metal and glass lamps, maybe choose the style you like better. Or, if you have a combination of plain and ornate lamps, it might be time to leave the plainer lamps behind.
Whatever your decision, make sure you’re only packing the lamps you really want.
What Condition Are Your Lamps In?
The last question you need to ask before you start packing your lamps is the condition the lamps are in. Think about the lamp itself, the body and cord, as well as the switch and lampshade. A dying switch might be a sign that your lamp is about to fail, or that it might need more maintenance in the future.
If you have a glass lamp that’s already chipped or cracking, it’s going to be much harder to move safely. The same for a metal lamp that’s showing some corrosion, rust, or cracking. If one of your lamps is seriously damaged, that alone might be a reason not to attempt moving it.
Lampshades are another story. Expensive glass shades are harder to move, but generally worth the effort as long as they aren’t already more fragile due to damage. But a fabric or plastic shade might not be worth moving if it’s damaged.
That’s because fabric and plastic shades take up a lot of space, aren’t hard to replace, and are likely to rip or get further damaged in a move, even if carefully packed.
The last thing you should do is check the cord. Look for hard bends, or pay attention if your lamp doesn’t turn on when it’s moved to a new location in your home. A faulty cord can be fixed, but it usually requires the attention of a specialist to re-do the electric work in the lamp.
How to Pack Your Lamps for a Move:
Now that you’ve narrowed down the lamps you want to take with you, you need to know how to pack those lamps safely. The last thing you want is to arrive at your new home and discover that you need to replace all the lamps you packed to bring with you.
No lamp, even metal lamps, are safe in a cardboard box without any other packaging. You’ll need a few things to make packing your lamps easier, and to make sure they make it to your new home.
- Packing paper
- Bubble wrap
- Packing filler
- Black marker
- Packing tape
You can replace packing paper with old newspaper and can use any permanent marker you have laying around. But, if you want to use old bubble wrap or boxes, you need to carefully inspect them first.
Boxes shouldn’t have unnecessary creases, tears, or and water damage stains. Lamps are heavy, so you need a strong box. Bubble wrap should still have most of the bubbles un-popped. The plastic shouldn’t be torn and it shouldn’t be discolored. Plastic that seems louder than normal should also be discarded since it’s likely to be more delicate and less protective.
Remove the Extras:
Before you start packing, you need to remove the extra stuff on the lamp. This includes the light bulbs, lampshades, and any removable or moving pieces.
If you still have the original boxes for the light bulbs, place the light bulb back in the packaging and go ahead and pack those to take with. If you don’t have the original packaging, it might be a better idea to toss the light bulbs and buy new ones when you arrive in your new home.
If you choose to wrap and pack the bulbs, without the original packaging, you’ll need to wrap them each individually. Several layers of paper will work, or a layer each of paper and bubble wrap. Wide cardboard tubing can also work well.
Soft lampshades can be stacked together and packed in a box. We recommend only packing the shades and light bulbs in a box together, without anything else. If you need to include other items in this box, choose soft things like sheets, curtains, towels, and other bedding.
Glass lamp shades need a little more care. Pack them in bubble wrap and packing paper before placing them in a box. Try to fit them in a tight box so there isn’t much room for the shades to roll and bump. With bubble wrap between the shades, you can stack them, but only if there isn’t a lot of room for them to move around.
Take Out the Harp:
Most lamps have a harp. It’s the u-shaped metal or plastic frame that holds up the lampshade. Typically, the harp will surround the light bulb. Look at the attachment between the harp and the lamp base, some are screw-on, while others are just attached through pressure.
Carefully remove the harp and set it aside. If you have several different styles of harps and lamps, you may want to use some masking tape and a marker to note which harp goes on which lamp.
Protect the Lamp Cord:
Next, you need to make sure the cord isn’t damaged during the move. Tape a small piece of bubble wrap around the prongs, and then carefully wrap and tape the cord itself. Avoid tight corners and harsh kinks in the cord. You may also want to tape the cord to the body of the lamp itself.
Wrap and Box the Lamp Base
It’s time to wrap the main body of the lamp. If your lamp has any strange bends or curves, you should start there. Make sure there’s a little extra bubble wrap in those areas, and fill any gaps with packing paper.
Next, wrap the main body of the lamp with bubble wrap, and then a layer of packing paper. The paper helps protect the bubble wrap from friction, which can cause the bubbles to pop, even without a lot of pressure.
Make sure the cord is wrapped in the paper layer with the lamp, even if it isn’t taped to the lamp itself.
Use some packing tape to secure everything and place it in a box. You can pack lamps together, but be careful not to overload the box with too much weight. If you pack lamps together, you should also make sure there aren’t large gaps in the box.
If you don’t have a box that fits well, try using clothing, bedding, curtains, and other fabric to fill those gaps and provide some extra cushion.
That’s it! Just mark the box as fragile with your marker, tape it closed, and you’re good to go!
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