Frequent moves, unpredictable housing styles and OCONUS assignment limitations are all unavoidable facets of military life. For military members with heirloom furniture, there is the additional challenge of preserving and protecting heirloom furniture along the way.
AHRN.com knows that there are many stresses to be dealt with when moving to your next assignment. If you have made the investment in or inherited heirloom quality furniture then protecting that investment can be a major worry on top of the normal pressures of military life.
Heirloom Furniture & Daily Life
In the course of your military journey, you may live in 10 or more homes of all different styles and sizes. This requires furniture to occasionally pull double duty – hutches may serve as buffets or desks, desks as entry way tables and more. It is important to try, when possible, to keep each item’s use as close as possible to the original intention to avoid stressing it in ways it wasn’t built for. Additionally, if your hard wood heirloom furniture is in a location that makes it a convenient resting place for food and drink, consider covering the surfaces to protect from heat and condensation. Paying for a custom fit glass or plexiglass piece will be substantially more affordable than furniture restoration!
There is no getting around the fact of moving in the military. Even if you choose to DITY each move, each PCS presents a new danger to your valuables. Heirloom furniture needs to be carefully prepared and handled throughout the move. Many antique pieces do not disassemble. It is essential that they are packed, especially in trucks and containers, in such a way that they are not bearing the load of your other household goods. Removing and securing any loose elements (screws, drawers, pulls, etc) can prevent their loss. If small enough, removable pieces can be placed in a freezer bag affixed with moving tape to the larger part of the piece — especially convenient for hardware!
During the moving process itself, it is important to supervise the DoD contracted movers who are packing and loading your Household Goods. You have the right to (politely) ask that furniture be repacked or more thoroughly padded if you feel it is necessary. During your pre-move walk through, be sure to point out which heirloom pieces may need special packing materials or attention.
Before moving in your heirlooms, measures doorways and entryways to ensure they will fit. The less handling the movers need to do, the more likely that your pieces will survive intact!
There will be times that storing heirlooms will be an attractive option. Are you headed to an OCONUS assignment and don’t want to risk them on the sea transport? Maybe you will be spending a few years in the high cost of living area like DC and want to downsize to minimize expenses. Whatever the situation, there are a few key components to ensure that your valuable furniture is safe.
- Temperature: Make sure that your storage space is temperature controlled. Extreme fluctuations can cause warping, breakage and damage.
- High humidity: Very high humidity can cause rotting wood and mold that will require professional restoration or permanent damage.
- Low humidity: Extreme low humidity can result in excessive dryness and cracking.
Throughout our many moves and the turbulence of the constant unknown it can be the little things around us that make a house feel like home and be the constant touchstone in our lives as we move from one place to another. A little care in the moving and maintenance of these belongings can do a long way to preserving your heirlooms for future generations to enjoy!
We want to know
Do you have any heirlooms that require special care when moving or storing?