How do you ship large furniture thousands of miles?
January 28, 2005 10:40 AM   Subscribe

My Mom is selling her house, moving to a new place and given me an ultimatum. She says I have one year to get my crap from her or it is no longer mine. As a result, I need to ship a large, antique, wooden cabinet 2,000+ miles. It probably weighs about 100 lbs. How can this be accomplished for a reasonable cost? What is a reasonable cost for this type of job? How do you protect the piece of furniture during shipping? Are there any companies you have worked with and recommend?
posted by onhazier to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
How can this be accomplished for a reasonable cost?

Contact one of several companies that mostly do freight. You basically rent however many linear feet of a truck you need, you load your stuff onto it at one end, Mr. Truck Driver Man Or Woman drives it to the destination (doing other freight stuff on the way with the rest of the truck), and you unload it.

I've done this with my folks' old Danish wall-unit, and with all my other stuff when I moved to Tex-Ass.

What is a reasonable cost for this type of job?

$250-600 bucks. There's a high floor -- you won't be able to move across town for less than $250-300 -- but it doesn't go up too steeply after that.

How do you protect the piece of furniture during shipping?

Pad the bejesus out of it. Old blankets and comforters and quilts.

You may want to move some other stuff with it just to help secure it in place.

Are there any companies you have worked with and recommend?

I *think* I've used ABF U-Pack and it was fine, but can't be certain.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:56 AM on January 28, 2005

I used this company a year ago to move my belongings from San Francisco to Ann Arbor. They take your possession(s), pack it up securely in cardboard and bubble wrap, place it on a palette, and ship it freight. I found them to be reliable and quite reasonable when compared to larger moving companies, who are generally loathe to take on small jobs and thus charge exorbitantly. My stuff arrived intact and in good condition. Caveat: they contract with local shippers on both ends to deliver your stuff, which in my case meant a delay because the local Ann Arbor folks dragged their feet; it also means that you have to pay extra if you want inside delivery (e.g., more than just dropping it off on the sidewalk in front of your place). Bonus: If you pack it yourself or drop it off/pick it up at their distribution center, it reduces the cost.
posted by googly at 10:58 AM on January 28, 2005

YMMV, but my family used Sterling to move some antique furniture quite successfully.

Mind you, they don't really have much of a schedule -- since they predominately handle small loads, you can't be quite sure when your stuff will arrive (as their trucks are stopping eight million different places to pick up odds & ends).

Nevertheless, we were pleased.
posted by aramaic at 12:08 PM on January 28, 2005

I used these guys to ship a bedroom suite (king bed frame, box spring, large dresser, nightstand, and bureau with a big heavy mirror hutch) from Florida to Maine. It was not cheap (about $500, and that was just to leave it on the porch, not bring it inside), and it was not fast (about a month from pickup to delivery because they had to wait until they had a truckfull going my way), but everything was beautifully packed and arrived without a scratch, so I was very happy. They were also good at keeping me informed about the status of my shipment.
posted by JanetLand at 12:12 PM on January 28, 2005

My mother, sister and I used Mom's Moving! to ship several large pieces of furniture and about a dozen boxes of items various (each) left to us by my grandmother. We labeled and stored all of the boxes and pieces of furniture in California, arranged access to the storgage unit with them and then went back to our respective homes. About a month later they delivered our stuff in perfect condition; dropping off my mom's stuff in North Carolina, my stuff in NYC and finally my sister's stuff in New Hampshire. They charge by the cubit foot and generally wait until they have enough stuff to fill a truck going in the right direction.
posted by idest at 12:36 PM on January 28, 2005

I've not got a link, but have been told that Amtrak or other train lines can be used to ship items, provided you and your mom live near a train line. It is supposedly affordable and might be worth looking into.
posted by shoepal at 1:19 PM on January 28, 2005

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