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You have signed the lease or the mortgage papers, and you have the keys to your new home in hand. Now all that is left is packing up your precious belongings and moving them across town or across country.

While part of the moving process can actually be fun — maybe you could channel your inner Tom Haverford and power-trip on your friends who are helping in exchange for pizza and beer — it can also be a stressful experience. You’re probably pretty good by now at packing dishes, clothes and DVDs, but you might be unsure how to transport your school of guppies from point A to B. With this in mind, the following list offers tips on how to pack three of the most challenging items.

Aquariums

Fish tanks and their finned residents are among the trickier items to move. A lot of times fish don’t survive a move, for two reasons: They get jostled around in the tank and because it’s difficult to regulate the water temperature on a moving van. To make sure the tank and fish make it safe and sound, move your fish into some sort of holding container and then drain most of the water from the aquarium . If the tank contains live plants, put them and a bit of the aquarium water into a Ziploc bag. Take the fish and plants with you in your vehicle and, if you have the room, the mostly drained tank. In addition, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® cannot move living things so it is best to transport them in your own vehicle causing less stress on your pet.

Musical instruments

Any brass or woodwind instruments should be completely taken apart and placed in a hard case. If you don’t have one handy, then wrap each individual piece in a few layers of bubble wrap and place them in a box filled with plenty of towels and packing peanuts.

Stringed instruments like violins, cellos and guitars also need lots of TLC during packing; start by loosening the strings and, if the instrument has tuning keys, making sure the keys are parallel with the headstock. Place the instrument in its hard case and add some crumpled clean paper to the inside to prevent it from moving around. If you don’t have a hard case, carefully wrap your stringed instrument in plastic — a large clean garbage bag will do the trick. Then put the wrapped instrument into a box that is large enough to hold several inches of packing peanuts on all sides. Mark which side should be up on the outside of the box and advise the movers as to what’s inside.

Potted plants

Even the sturdiest looking philodendron can have a hard time during a move. A few weeks before your friends and/or the moving crew show up to help you pack, replant anything in ceramic pots to plastic planters — this will help make them easier to lift. You also want to prevent your houseplants from getting too hot or too cold, which means they might not be a good candidate for a ride in the back of a moving van. Take what you have room for in the back of your car and place the planters in larger boxes to keep them steady and prevent them from tipping. Once again, as TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® does not move living things, it is important to make the space necessary in your own vehicle.

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Alison Stanton has been a freelance writer for the past 14 years. Based in the Phoenix, Arizona area, Alison enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics, but especially loves meeting interesting people and telling their stories.

2 thoughts on “From fish tanks to guitars: How to move 3 difficult items

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