Should You Empty Drawers Before Moving?

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    Should you empty your dresser, desk, or filing cabinet drawers before your move? If you’re not sure what the best strategy is, take a look at everything you need to consider before you can answer this question.Modern Gray Couch — Lorton, VA — Fairfax Transfer and Storage Inc.

    Is There One Universal Answer?

    Simply stated—no. There isn’t one standard or catch-all answer to the empty or not to empty question. Sometimes you may want to empty all the drawers before your move. But there are other times when this extra step is completely unnecessary. Before you can choose one strategy over the other, you need to dig deeper and understand the what’s and how’s of your dresser, desk, filing cabinet, or another drawer move.

    Do the Drawers Contain Delicate or Breakable Items?

    The fragile glass-wear and crystal knick-knacks you store in the dining room hutch’s drawers aren’t likely to safely make it through a move as-is. If the items in the drawers are breakable, you need to remove them before you transport the dresser or other furniture piece. Failure to do so could result in a spill or cause the items to bump together in the moving truck.

    Remove the items from the drawers and wrap each one individually with a protective layer (bubble wrap, packing paper, or a soft towel). Carefully place the items into a cardboard box with dividers or a plastic bin. Add extra filling (more bubble wrap, packing paper, or towels) to secure everything safely. After the move you can unwrap the fragile items and place them back into the drawers.

    Is the Dresser or Other Piece Fragile?

    The items inside the drawers aren’t the only pieces to this puzzle. If the dresser (or another furniture item) is flimsy, fragile, or an antique, you may need to remove everything first. Items left inside could put unnecessary stress or added weight onto the delicate piece of furniture. This could cause serious mid-move damage.

    How Heavy Are the Items in the Drawers?

    You have a sturdy dresser and are ready to move it with everything intact. But are the items inside the drawers too heavy for a safe move?

    Clothes, linens, and other similar light-weight items can stay inside a sturdy set of drawers. Heavy items, such as books or your rock collection, should not. You’ll need to remove anything heavy or clunky before the move. Pack these items in sturdy plastic bins. Cardboard boxes could break under excessive weight. Spread the heavy items out over a few different containers to make lifting and carrying easier on the movers.

    How Will You Move the Drawers?

    Will you need to turn a dresser on its side or move a desk diagonally to get it through a door? If the drawers can remain upright for the entire move, leave them where they are. But if there is a danger that they’ll fall out, you need to remove anything inside. This reduces damage risks during the carrying and transportation processes.

    Can You Secure the Drawers?

    Even light-weight items, such as linens or t-shirts, can fall out of unsecured drawers. To keep everything in place, you’ll need to find a way to hold the drawers completely closed throughout the move. A filling cabinet with lockable drawers provides an easy way to keep papers safe. But if your drawers don’t lock, you may need to tape them shut.

    Before you break out the duct tape or packing tape, make sure the adhesive won’t damage the drawers’ exterior surfaces. Try a test on an inconspicuous area or patch. If the item is painted, stained, delicate, an antique, expensive, or you have any concern about tape marks, remove everything from the drawers (and the individual drawers) before the move. This eliminates the need to use sticky tape products.

    Do you need help with your next move? Contact Fairfax Transfer & Storage for more information.

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