You have probably spent some time online trying to find the best methods for packing your breakables and valuables. You have learned how to pack everything from your grandma’s china to your oversized water feature. However, if you are like most, learning how to pack lampshades for moving was nowhere on your list. Suddenly, it’s two days before your move and you have no idea what to do with your lamps, especially the shades. These décor pieces are a lot more fragile most people think.
Start With the Box
You are going to need a box large enough for the base and then a separate box for the lampshade. You never want to pack these two items still joined together, even if you are only going to be transporting them a short distance. The box for the shade does not need to be too heavy duty unless you have a glass or metal shade. In most cases, lampshades are made of fabric so they are incredibly light. Make sure that the boxes you choose are not damaged, so they will provide optimal protection.
Remove Lampshades from their Base
How to pack lampshades for moving? As mentioned, you are not going to pack the shade on the base so it will need to be removed. If you look at the very top of it, you will see a screw or tab-like object that can be turned. Twist it in a counterclockwise direction until it comes completely off. Set that tab somewhere safe for now. You will be packing it in a minute. If you are struggling to turn it counterclockwise try turning the lampshade instead. Sometimes, you can get it loose this way.
Clean Fabric Shades First
Before you start packing lampshades, you are going to need to clean them first. There is no reason to move dust, germs, pet hair, etc. into your new place. Depending on how often you clean them (or how old they are); you may simply need to “dust” them. This can be done a few different ways.
- Vacuum – Use an attachment on the wand of your vacuum to clean away surface dirt. If you have a crevice attachment this is ideal for shade with pleats.
- Hair Dryer – Not much to clean away? Turn on the hairdryer and gently blow dust away. This is not the best solution since you will be blowing everything into the air.
- Lint Rollers – Grab the handy lint roller that you usually use to clean pet hair off your dark clothes on your way to work and use this on the shades.
- Tape – Since you are packing, you likely have a roll of tape handy. Use the sticky side to lift dust off the shade. You can create a mitten with the tape and just rub your hand over your clothes.
- Paint Brush – If your shade has pleats, then dust and hair can make a nice home in the crack of each fold.. Use an art paintbrush to get into those hard-to-reach crevices.
Washing a Stitched Fabric Lampshade
The easiest way to wash lampshades before packing is in the tub. If the lampshade is quite small you could do it in the sink or a bucket, too. Just add enough cool water to cover the shade. Squeeze in some mild dishwashing detergent and agitate the water. You can use laundry soap designed for delicate garments, but any other variety may be too harsh. Rinse until the water runs clear with no evidence of soap. Shake gently and allow the shade to dry completely before packing. A hair dryer will come in handy here, if you are in a hurry.
If your lampshade is glued, rather than stitched, you will not be able to soak it. In this case use a soot and dirt removal sponge. For stains, spot clean with a damp cloth, being careful not to get the seams wet. Water will break the glue bond and your lampshade will start to fall apart.
Cleaning Other Types of Lampshades
- Plastic – These shades are easily washed using soapy water. Furniture polish can help with streaks.
- Glass – Most glass lampshades can be cleaned with soapy water and put in front of a fan to dry. If the lampshade has beveled glass or it is made of jadestone make sure you use an ammonia-free product. Glass cleaners and furniture polish with a lemon-oil base are ideal. Glass shades should not be submerged in water, especially if they have delicate wire or metal.
- Parchment – A dirt removal sponge can be used on these, or you can rub a piece of white bread on it. It will magically clean the dirt away.
Remove the Harp and Bulb
The harp is the metal arm piece that surrounds the bulb. It is very delicate and can easily be snapped of left on. It will get wrapped and packed with either the lampshade or the base.
The light bulbs will also get removed and wrapped. This is especially important with CFLs. These bulbs contain trace amounts of mercury. If one breaks, you need to open a window and leave the room for 10 minutes. Make sure you remove pets, as well. Then, clean broken glass and powder with a damp paper towel and place debris in a glass container outside until it can be disposed of properly.
How to Pack Lampshades
Begin by cushioning the bottom of the box. This can be done with crumpled paper, towels, or even a couple pair of sweatpants or hoodies. Place the shades in the center of the box. If you are packing multiple shades of different sizes, nest what you can so you can use fewer boxes. Add crumpled paper all around the lampshade to keep it in place in the middle of the box. If you are nesting shades, you may want to wrap each one in paper. Never use newspaper no matter what material the shade is made of, as the print can transfer. If there is room, you can pack the harp in here. Remember that “handle” you unscrewed when you removed the lampshade? Put that in a label plastic bag and pack it with the harp.
Label the outside of your box as being fragile and top-load only. You don’t want heavy boxes ending up on top of this one that can be easily crushed.
If you have plastic or glass lampshades that are easily cracked or broken, a layer of bubble wrap certainly will not hurt.
Packing the Lamp Base
In most cases, you are going to want to wrap the base in bubble wrap. The box should be just a bit taller than the base. You are going to create cushioning in the bottom of this box, too, so you want to leave enough room to make sure you can close the box all the way. After all, although you only wanted to know how to pack lampshades for moving, the base of these décor pieces deserves as much attention as the shades.
Place the base far enough away from the edge that you can put cushioning in there. Pillows, blankets, sweaters, etc. are great fillers. Always mark this box as having lamps, so it can easily be found when the sun starts to go down while you are unpacking.