Audio gear first,friends and family last!
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You are not alone...when i moved long distance from CT to SC my 1st priority was to find a moving company that had experience moving high-end electronics and packing collections of any kind. I actually found one based out of NY and Western CT whose shipping manager and lead estimator/load-planner was an audiophile of sorts himself with Macintosh equipment and Martin-Logan upper-end speakers. We laughed alot at the fact that of a full truck load, over half of it at the time (I had a 7.1 HT and 2-channel hybrid system so lot's more boxes and platforms) was my system and many boxes of CDs, SACDs and DVDs...I packed the system myself, they packed the collection and we planned the load precisely centered around system componentry and the collections dimensions and weight distribution :-) The moving crew was Georgian (as in after the split-up of the Soviet Union), a group of great guys, and they worked extremely well and took care of what mattered most to me.
An by the way,...the furniture and all my clothes arrived safely too :-)
Musicians have said it once that their instruments are a part of their body. It's the same with us. I've never trusted any moving company's services for my components as well. Wood can definitely alter in different temperatures and I won't have it. I intend to keep my equipment for a very long time.
You're not the only nut!
When I've moved I packed the equipment, albums and digital discs myself to keep them organized, but other than the turntable and the computer server I let the movers do the moving. I never worried about whether the van or storage was temperature controlled because I didn't see any benefit over the time period the movers would hold my possessions (a few days).
When moving entire trucks can disappear, catch fire, get involved in highway accidents, be vandalized, etc. Bad things can happen so take plenty of pictures and buy insurance.
And no I don't love my components, but my music collection is a different story.
When musicians talking about their instruments being part of the body, I wonder which part of the body they really have in mind. Or parts.
Musicians are truer nuts than audiophiles.
Whenever moving I drive my music collection, but I don't have thousands of titles. So yeah audiophile stuff is very valuable. But for me not as valuable as my custom knives. Speaking of body parts, right?
I once thought about it, but than quit thinking and figured out that it's almost no remorse for me to sell anything I own in terms of record collection, turntables or other electronics or firearms. In case my close one gets in trouble I'll sacrifice my goods in the heart beat to get one out of trouble. Pieces of plastic, metal and other mechanisms not worth to be so attached to them.
Inna, the point is that I'm not so attached to my firearms as you to your blades. I also have a few switchblade knives that can stab concrete pole and remain sharp and solid. They're all just metal toys to me with no emotional bonds whatsoever. Same with cars and trucks. Offered right money -- SOLD with no remorse and same with almost anything I own.
I'm attached to my parrot which is part of one of my shoulder right or left (definitely of his choice) and often repeats after me, answers or greets my guests. My friends and close ones are certainly NOT for sale.
Bdp24, I have a solution for ya. You could go the route of cremation. That should leave plenty of room for all of your prized instruments. In fact, you could ask the Dude & Walter Sobchak to sprinkle your remains over your possessions while they rant about the injustices in Vietnam. Disclosure Statement: make sure its not a windy day.
I've had several corporate relocations over the last 25 years. My audio equipment was always a concern, but I've always known that most of it is replaceable / repairable so any damages would be paid by the moving company. I've got a lot of audio gear and it's been rare when something (speakers is most cases) didn't get even a slight bit of damage. I've made claims to what the damage was worth to me and have been satisified in most cases. I'm probably worried more about my music collection as while most is replaceable, some would be diffiult if not impossible to find. I've now got a list of every piece of music I own and did not always have that in previous moves. The list comes in handy when moving, but the actual reason I did it is because I started buying music that I already owned and needed this list available on my phone to prevent repeat purchases. Despite all this, I was probably worried most about my Corvette, though it was probably close.