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my home bar: snorky's closet speak easy

When we moved our home bar from San Diego to Michigan I tried to do the right things. While the basics might be easy to follow we still had some tragic losses and learned important lessons. For instance, despite individually wrapping fragile items like memorabilia and glassware in bubble wrap and doing our best securing alcohol bottles with protective packaging and placing them in double-corrugated boxes, clearly marked as 'fragile' things didn't go 100% according to plan. Lets take a look at some of the other important packing tips and other lessons that we learned during our move.

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My home bar is something special to Heather and I ... it's more than just a collection of bottles and memorabilia. This, along with our wine collection are memories that we've collected from our travels and as such, they are far more precious than simply the cost to replace. Sadly, the number one lesson that we learned is that you need to be prepared to lose some of your collection. There will be breakage and lost boxes that's just part of the game.

Top 10 Home Bar Moving Tips

Here are the top 10 moving tips that you can use to ensuring that your home bar items, including alcohol bottles, arrive safely at your new home:

  1. Inventory Your Collection: Create a detailed inventory of all alcohol and bar items before packing to keep track of everything during the move.
  2. Understand Legal Restrictions: Research local laws regarding the transport of alcohol to ensure compliance with regulations at both your current location and destination.
  3. Invest in Quality Packing Materials: Use strong boxes, dividers, and ample bubble wrap or packing paper to protect bottles.
  4. Wrap Bottles Individually: Secure each bottle with bubble wrap and tape to prevent movement and breakage.
  5. Use Specialty Boxes: Pack your bottles in boxes designed for wine or liquor, which include dividers that prevent the bottles from hitting each other.
  6. Label Boxes Clearly: Mark boxes as "Fragile" and "This Side Up" to ensure they are handled carefully and kept upright during the move.
  7. Seal and Secure Boxes: Ensure that all boxes are tightly sealed with packing tape to prevent them from opening during transport.
  8. Opt for Climate-Control: If possible, use a climate-controlled vehicle for moving to protect against extreme temperatures and light.
  9. Purchase Additional Insurance: Consider extra insurance coverage for valuable collections to protect against potential losses.
  10. Hire Professional Movers: For extensive or valuable collections, hiring professionals experienced in transporting wine and spirits can be crucial for safe handling. 

This last point is where our tale went off the rails. Frankly speaking, there were two major issues that resulted in problems. The first was that our items were packed into one truck, then to a warehouse, then to another truck. This means that the very fragile boxes were not treated as delicately as I would have preferred. Second is that the company we hired was not a professional point-to-point moving company. Instead, one company loaded our boxes into a box truck and then the folks who unpacked a tractor tralor in Michigan were literally hired off of Craigslist the night before.

If you are serious about keeping items safe, be prepared to pay for a professional moving service and not a budget provider like we did.

Following these steps will help ensure your home bar items are moved safely and are ready to be set up in your new home without any issues.

Moving A Home Bar: Special Packing Considerations

When moving a home bar, there are special packing considerations that I can't ignore. From alcohol bottles and small appliances to fragile glassware and valuable items, everything requires careful attention.

Also, let's not forget about the signage and memorabilia, which often hold sentimental value.

Signage and Memorabilia

Packing your home bar's signage and memorabilia requires careful attention due to their unique requirements and fragility. This includes items such as vintage signs, neon lights, sports keepsakes, and brewery swag, which all contribute to your home bar's personal touch.

It's crucial to understand the value of these items and their role in defining your bar's identity. The packing process should involve wrapping each piece individually with bubble wrap or packing paper. Fragile items like neon lights might require double boxing for extra protection.

Utilize packing peanuts or crumpled paper for additional cushioning. This ensures your mementos from memorable brewery visits and sports victories can make the journey intact, ready to continue their storytelling in your new home bar.

Alcohol Bottles

When moving alcohol bottles, it's crucial to pack them with special attention due to their fragility and the potential for leakage. Ensuring bottle safety requires tightly screwing the bottle caps or fully lodging the corks into the openings. You can use masking tape for extra security.

To prevent damage during transport, use protective packaging like foam, paper, or bubble wrap. Double-corrugated boxes are best for moving alcohol because they can handle the weight of glass bottles and reduce the risk of collapse.

Ensure you secure your boxes with at least two layers of packing tape. And remember, clearly label these boxes as 'fragile' so they're handled with care during the move.

Small Appliances

When packing and moving your small bar appliances, proper cleaning and secure packaging are essential. Start by thoroughly cleaning all appliances to prevent any sticky residues.

For items such as beverage chillers and wine coolers, it's important to defrost them a few days prior to your move.

Be extra careful with your coffee machine, especially those with glass parts, by wrapping these separately and reassembling them later.

Cocktail equipment can be packed more easily, just ensure they're clean and securely packed.

Glassware and Other Breakables

When dealing with glassware and other breakables during a move, extra care and strategic planning is necessary. Bubble wrap is essential for glassware protection, not only for wrapping each item individually but also for providing a protective layer at the bottom and top of each box.

Furthermore, each box should be clearly labeled with its contents and the room it's destined for. Boxes containing glassware and breakables should have fragile stickers so those assisting with the move are aware to handle them with extra care.

These steps aren't just about moving your cherished home bar, but safeguarding it.

Items That Are Super Valuable

Super valuable items in your home bar such as heirloom collections, valuable antiques, and priceless artworks require special packing considerations during a move. To ensure their safety, start by photographing everything as this will provide proof of their condition.

Each valuable artwork should be wrapped separately, preferably using acid-free tissue paper and bubble wrap. When it comes to valuable antiques and heirloom collections, it might be worth considering professional packing services due to their experience.

Rare books should be packed flat in small boxes, while expensive electronics should be placed in their original boxes, if they're available. The key is to focus on safeguarding what's precious to you.

The Bar Counter and Chairs

To transport your bar counter and chairs smoothly, you need to follow a few key steps. Start by cleaning and drying your bar counter thoroughly before packing to maintain its shine as it's likely the centerpiece of your home bar.

When it comes to chair selection, opt for the ones that are most comfortable and aesthetically pleasing. If possible, disassemble your chairs for easier space optimization and to protect them from damage.

Lastly, wrap your counter in bubble wrap for ultimate protection. This way, we're not just moving furniture, but ensuring the essence of your bar arrives intact at your new location.

home bar

I may be a bit sore about the losses - especially our box filled with rare whiskeys was a complete fatality ... we didn't even realize that it was full of broken glass since it must have been broken early in the trip and the alcohol simply soaked into the boxes and evaporated. 

Benefits Of Moving Things Yourself

Moving things yourself offers various benefits, such as the satisfaction of handling your own items, potential cost savings, enhanced security, personal care, and flexibility. I'm extremely thankful that we did that for our wine collection and a handful of precious spirits that I wanted to protect. These items, along with some special bar items arived to our Michigan home completely safe. It was a heck of a journey driving them across country and leaving my AC blasting to keep things cool during the 100+ degree summer days in the South West but the result was worth it!

When you pack and move your home bar, you gain a sense of self-reliance. Being in control of every detail means each glass, bottle, and bar tool receives the personal care it deserves. The enhanced security you get from handling your own valuable items is priceless.

Cost efficiency is another crucial benefit. While hiring movers can be expensive, packing and moving yourself can save you money. This is especially true for local moves.

Benefits Of Picking A Mover To Do It Yourself

Opting for a professional mover over a DIY approach for your home bar relocation has numerous benefits. Despite the initial appeal of doing it yourself, hiring a professional mover provides tremendous value for your money. You aren't simply paying for the transport but also for their professional expertise. Experienced movers know how to pack and move delicate items, minimizing the risk of any damage. This is how we moved from Chicago to San Diego; the service from a professional company was excellent.

Another significant advantage is the insurance coverage that comes with their service. In case of any breakage or damage, it's their responsibility, not yours. Unfortunately, many items would be difficult to value when it comes to moving a home bar. For instance, how much is that half-full bottle of Pappy's that arrived broken?

Finally, the biggest advantage for us was that professional movers are better equipped to move heavy and bulky items such as your bartop, arcade games, pool tables, chairs etc. While you might be able to throw some boxes in the back of your SUV, moving a heavy bar counter is far more difficult.

While it may feel like doing it yourself would be quicker, a professional team's efficiency can actually complete the task in a fraction of the time.

Moreover, hiring movers,reduces stress. You can relax, knowing that your home bar is in competent hands. It creates a sense of community, as you become part of a well-executed process.

Whichever Option You Select - Pack And Transport Any Special Items Yourself If Possible

If possible, it's always recommended to pack and transport any special items yourself, regardless of whether you choose to use professional movers or a DIY approach. This advice particularly applies to the unique pieces from your home bar. These may include fragile collections of vintage glasses, artwork embellishing the area, or antique furniture that necessitates special care. Such items aren't merely about their monetary value; they also carry sentimental significance.

Using specialty equipment for handling artwork and caring for antiques is advisable. Even if professionals are involved, you should ideally pack and transport these special items to avoid any risk of damage during the move. This way, you can be assured of their safety, giving you peace of mind.

Questions You Need To Ask Before Transporting Liquor

Before transporting your liquor collection, it's crucial to address questions about transporting liquor. While most home bar items are pretty close to just being normal furniture and bulk boxes, alcohol is a special consideration.

For instance, you may be moving to or from a state where it is illegal to bring alcohol across state lines. For instance, Ohio requires "For-Hire Motor Carrier" to get an H Permit to transport alcohol in the state. Other states may have similar laws and this is why you need to have that conversation with your moving company. Similarly, you should be aware that spirits can be flammable and may be considered Hazardous Materials and so at very least, you should disclose that to the company that you are using so that they can prepare accordingly.

Here’s a chart of questions you should consider asking your moving company when transporting wine and liquor, along with why each answer is important. This will help ensure the safe handling and compliance with regulations of your valuable items.

QuestionWhy This Answer is Important
1. Are you licensed to transport alcohol? Ensures the mover is legally permitted to transport alcoholic beverages, which is important for compliance with state and federal laws.
2. Do you have experience with moving wine and liquor collections? Experienced movers will be more likely to handle your items properly, reducing the risk of damage.
3. What insurance coverage do you offer for high-value items like wine and liquor? Protects the value of your collection in case of damage, loss, or theft during the move.
4. Can you provide references from past clients who had similar moving needs? Verifies their capability and reliability in handling sensitive items like wine and liquor through past customer experiences.
5. How will you pack and secure the bottles for transport? Proper packing is crucial to prevent breakage and maintain the integrity of the bottles and their contents.
6. What measures do you take to control temperature and humidity during transport? Maintaining the right conditions is essential for preserving the quality and taste of wine.
7. How do you handle state-specific regulations regarding the transportation of alcohol? Ensures compliance with varying state laws, which is critical to avoid legal issues.
8. What are your policies for resolving disputes or claims for damages? Understanding the process for handling any potential issues or damages can provide peace of mind.
9. Are there any restrictions on the types or amounts of alcohol you can move? Some movers may have limitations based on their licenses or operational policies.
10. What is your estimated timeline for delivery? Helps in planning and ensures that the wine and liquor are not subjected to prolonged transport times, which could affect their quality.

Asking these questions will provide a comprehensive understanding of the mover's capabilities and their fit for your specific needs, ensuring your wine and liquor arrive in excellent condition.

Moving Your Home Bar Is Not An Easy Task!

In wrapping up, packing your home bar for a move requires thoughtful consideration. Whether you opt for DIY or hire a moving company, guarantee the safety of your special items. It's worthwhile to transport these personally.

Before moving liquor, ask the necessary questions about regulations. By adopting these strategies, you can ensure your home bar arrives intact at your new location.

Remember, meticulous packing and careful planning is key to preventing any breakages during the move. Happy moving!


Written by:
#MenWhoBlog MemberBlogging GuruThought Leader

James' passion for exploration and sense of duty to his community extends beyond himself. This means he is dedicated to providing a positive role model for other men and especially younger guys that need support so that they can thrive and be future positive contributors to society. This includes sharing wisdom, ideas, tips, and advice on subjects that all men should be familiar with, including: family travel, men's health, relationships, DIY advice for home and yard, car care, food, drinks, and technology. Additionally, he's a travel advisor and a leading men's travel influencer who has been featured in media ranging from New York Times to the Chicago Tribune, and LA Times. He's also been cited by LA Weekly "Top Travel Bloggers To Watch 2023" and featured by Muck Rack: "Top 10 Outdoor Journalists for 2022".

He and his wife Heather live in St Joseph, Michigan - across the lake from Chicago.