How to Move Awkward Things: Art and Aquariums

Another post in our “How to Move Awkward Things” series!


If the painting is covered in glass, start at step 1. If it’s not covered in glass, skip to step 3.

  1. Tape a large “X” across the glass so that, if it breaks, it will stay in place.

  2. Cover the glass fully with cardboard, carpet, foam or a drop-cloth.

  3. Wrap the painting in bubble wrap, and tape it in place.

  4. Place the painting in a box, and add packing materials (bubble wrap, paper, packing peanuts, etc.) until it is secure. Most moving and shipping companies will sell appropriately-sized boxes, or you create your own with some cardboard and strategically applied tape.

  5. Write “Painting — FRAGILE” on the side of the box.


First and foremost, you want to minimize the amount of time your fish will spend outside of the aquarium. Moving is extremely stressful for your fish, so your aquarium should be one of the last things you take down, and one of the first things you put up in your new home.

If you’re moving locally, bring as much water from the tank with you as possible. Fish are highly sensitive to water chemistry, and reintroducing them to the same water environment will make the move much easier on them. Clean 5-gallon buckets are useful for this. If you’re moving long distance, however, you’ll most likely need to start over and set up your aquarium as if it was brand new.

For transport, fish and plants can be kept safely in sealed bags half-filled with water for 1–2 hours at most. For longer moves, go with a sealed bucket, and for moves of a few days or weeks, ask a local pet store if they can take your fish/plants while you move. Some will even air-ship your fish to you afterward.

Finally, make sure to have plenty of towels/rags on hand to deal with the inevitable spills!

  1. Using a siphon hose, siphon off a sizeable portion of the tank water into prepared buckets.

  2. Remove all the decorations, taking care that no fish are hiding in them.

  3. Remove any live plants, placing them in bags or water-filled buckets for the trip.

  4. Soak the fish-net in water for 10–15 minutes to soften it, then use it to gently transfer your fish to bags or buckets. Depending on the length of the move, consider aerating the buckets to make sure the fish have enough oxygen.

  5. Remove pumps, filters and heaters.

  6. Siphon off the rest of the water and remove all the gravel.

  7. Move the tank.

When moving back in, simply reverse the process. Put the gravel back in, then the water, decorations plants and fish. Set up the filters/heaters, but let the water sit for 30 minutes or so before turning on the heater again.

Over the next few days, check the tank-water often to make sure it is the right temperature and pH balance.

For help moving other awkward things, check out our guides on Electronics and Expensive Clothes and China and Couches.

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How to Move Awkward Things: Electronics and Expensive Clothes

Here’s another post in our “How to Move Awkward Things” series!


  1. Back up your computers! Beyond being an expensive hassle, a damaged computer can also mean lost documents, photos, music and movies. Invest in an external hard-drive or some online cloud storage (or both).

  2. Remove batteries, CDs, DVDs, ink cartridges, etc.

  3. Before disconnecting wires, use color-coded stickers to mark which wires go where, or take photos, for easy reinstallation in your new home.

  4. Pack multi-part stereo systems and the like together, and keep wires, remotes, etc. with the things they go to.

  5. The best way to pack electronics is to use the original boxes and padded foam inserts. Make sure to wrap the electronics in plastic bags first, or wrap in clean linens or packing paper, to keep out dust. If you have the manuals, check them for any specific instructions they have regarding moving the device.

  6. You can sometimes buy replacement packaging from the manufacturer, including the foam inserts.

  7. You can also find most manuals online these days.

  8. If you don’t have the original boxes, follow the same dust-avoidance step as above, and then wrap each piece in bubble wrap, blankets or moving pads for extra protection. Don’t be afraid to go overboard here — the more protection the better!

  9. Consider packing each piece of electronics in two boxes for extra protection. Pack the device in one box, using peanuts or padding to ensure a snug and secure fit, then put that box into a bigger box, with more padding or peanuts.

  10. Pack speakers and screens standing right-side up.

  11. Large flat-screen TVs may require special wooden crating. Be careful and don’t injure yourself while moving!

  12. Write FRAGILE, and THIS WAY UP on at least two opposite sides of each box.

  13. Electronics are extremely heat-sensitive, and should be kept in climate-controlled areas when moving. As the back of a moving truck is not climate-controlled, this means keeping electronics with you in your car whenever possible.

  14. Finally, consider purchasing extra insurance coverage for all your electronics. As explained in our guide to moving insurance, most moving companies’ basic insurance coverage will not fully cover the cost of valuable items like electronics.

Expensive Clothes

  • First time movers may not know that there is such a thing as a wardrobe box! These helpful boxes come with a built in metal rod for you to hang clothes from. This is your best bet when you are moving expensive, designer clothes.

  • If you haven’t already, now is the time to ditch the wire-hangers and invest in some quality, wooden or padded hangers.

  • Fill shoes with balled up socks to help them keep their shape, and wrap them in tissue paper and bubble wrap or paper to avoid scratches.

  • If you know your clothes will be in long-term storage, you might want to use mothballs or natural alternatives such as sachets of lavender, cloves or cedar chips. Also, avoid plastic containers as clothes cannot breathe in them well and could end up damaged.

For help moving other awkward things, check out our guides on Art and Aquariums and China and Couches.

Thanks for reading! If you liked this post, please recommend or share it with others. 🙂

Want to talk? Connect with Moved on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

How to Move Awkward Things: Couches and China

It’s moving day, and everyone is busy packing except you. You are standing in the living room, hands on your hips, looking back and forth between the couch and the door. How am I supposed to get this thing out of here?!

Have no fear! We are here to help, with this first post in our “How to Move Awkward Things” series. Let’s get started!


Your weapon of choice in this battle is the measuring tape. Measure the width, height (with and without legs, if they are removable), and length of your couch. Then measure the width and height of whatever area you need to move your couch through, whether it’s a stairwell, elevator or door frame.

Do a general measuring of the space on the other side of what you want to squeeze the couch through as well. There’s no point in successfully moving the couch through a door only to get stuck in the stairwell!

You have three options for fitting a couch through a doorway:

  1. If the doorway is wider than the couch, you are good to go! Simply walk it on through.

  2. If the doorway is wider than the couch is tall, then you can turn it on its side (with the legs pointing horizontally), and walk it through that way.

  3. If the doorway is taller than the couch is long, then you can stand it upright and angle through the door.

If none of the above situations is going to work case, try removing the couch legs or taking the door off its hinges for a few extra inches of wiggle room, or simply look for other ways to get in/out of the room, such as a back door or a large side-window.

If all else fails, you can always call a professional to take the couch apart, move it and put it back to together in your new home — an effective, but expensive option.


These items are obviously very fragile, and need as much protection as they can get. Here’s what to do:

  1. Layer the bottom of the box with packing peanuts, packing foam or wadded newspaper. This is an important step, so don’t skip it or skimp on the padding!

  2. Wrap each piece in bubble-wrap or newspaper (or both).

  3. Place large serving platters on the bottom.

  4. Stack cups, bowls, dishes, etc. in sets of three or four, upside down.

  5. Plates are strongest standing up on their edges, and should be packed accordingly.

  6. For serving dishes with lids, wrap the dish and lid individually, then together.

  7. Continue packing the box this way until it’s full, then fill any remaining space with extra packing materials, until everything is snug and secure. You want there to be no wiggle-room.

  8. Top the box with extra packing materials, close it and tape it up, and write FRAGILE — CHINA/CRYSTAL in big letters on the box!

For help moving other awkward things, check out our guides on Electronics and Expensive Clothes and Art and Aquariums.

Thanks for reading! If you liked this post, please recommend or share it with others. 🙂

Want to talk? Connect with Moved on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!