How to Safely Pack Dishes and Other Breakables

Whether you’re preparing to put some items into storage or packing up everything for a move, the thought of broken dishes, glassware, and other fragile items is nerve-racking. However, with a few simple tips and methods, you can wrap up your fragile items like a pro and not have to stress over the possibility of opening up your boxes to find cracks or fragments.

Take Your Time

The most important tip for packing up glass, porcelain, and other breakables is to allow yourself enough time to do it properly. This is not a task that you want to rush through, so start well in advance of the actual moving day.

Have the Right Tools

There are many useful supplies that you should consider when packing your breakables.

Dish boxes, sometimes called dish barrels or dish packs, are the best containers for packing your dishes. They are made of stronger, double-layered cardboard that better protects your dishes and glassware. They tend to be a bit more expensive than regular cardboard boxes, but are well worth the investment if you are concerned about your breakables. Keep in mind that your fragile items can be heavy, so don’t get boxes that are too large.

Packing paper is an important part of safely securing your breakables. This soft, white paper can be wrapped around plates and crumpled up between and inside items to help absorb impacts. Alternatively, it’s common to use newspaper, paper towels, hand towels, and other materials from around the home, but you need to be aware of the downsides of these methods before you try them. Newspapers can leave ink stains on your belongings, so it’s best to use newspaper between layers of packing paper for the best results. Towels are more prone to shifting around and are harder to secure with tape, so be careful if you decide to use them as a packing material.

Bubble wrap was designed specifically for packing breakable items, and it does its job well. It’s best used in combination with packing paper or newspaper to add more absorption.

High quality packing tape is a necessity, especially for packing breakable items. Not only will you need it to seal your boxes, but it is great for securing packing paper, bubble wrap, and other packing materials so that your fragile items can’t shift around.

Packing Methods

Different types of fragile items require different packing techniques. For all types of breakables, you will want to start by securely taping the bottom of the box along the line down the middle and make sure that the tape extends at least 1/3 of the way up the sides of the box. Then insulate the bottom of the box by putting in a layer of packing material such as crumpled up packing paper or newspaper, bubble wrap, or towels. Do the same with the top of the box after you fill it with stuff. Between these layers, follow the instructions below detailing how to keep safe even the trickiest items to pack.

Plates – There are two ways you can tackle wrapping your dishes: individually wrapping each one or wrapping them as a bundle. To individually pack each plate, wrap it in packing paper, making sure to fold the paper so that all sides are covered. Plates stacked on top of each other horizontally put a lot of pressure on the bottom of the pile, so when you place them in the box, make sure that you stand them on their end, vertically. When you’ve filled the box with dishes, fill in any remaining space with crumpled packing paper or newspaper so they cannot shift around. If you aren’t as concerned about your plates and want to speed up the process a bit, you can wrap them as a bundle. To do this, put a paper plate or piece of packing paper in between each dish and wrap the entire stack with packing paper. It’s best to tape up the packing paper wrap for added security. Then place the bundle in your prepared box (with the plates vertical) and fill in the spaces.

Glassware – For the best results, wrap your glassware individually. Put crumpled paper inside large pieces for protection, and fill in all other empty space in the boxes with crumpled paper and bubble wrap. Put some form of cushioning between every piece, and make sure you put the heaviest items on the bottom.

Lamps – Lamp shades and bases should be boxed individually for the best protection, and make sure the flat sides are on the bottom so they don’t bend. Wrap both with plenty of crumpled paper and bubble wrap to get rid of any empty space.

Pictures – Pictures and their frames should be placed in paper-lined boxes with crumpled paper between each piece. If they are larger than 8 inches, stand them on their ends like you do with plates. If they are larger than 3 feet, you should wrap them with moving blankets and plastic wrap, and move them separately.

Oddly Shaped Items – Every household has oddly shaped items that won’t fit in boxes with anything else. Pay close attention to the size of the piece and any handles or other protrusions when choosing an appropriate box. Wrap each piece completely in bubble wrap and secure it liberally with packing tape. You want the piece to be as secure as possible, so make absolutely sure that all space is filled with crumpled paper and bubble wrap.

Don’t Forget to Label

Whether you’re using movers or transporting the boxes yourself, it’s good to label all of your boxes, but especially make sure that you do so for the boxes that contain fragile items. This way everyone can be particularly careful about how they handle those boxes and know not to put heavy items on top of them. Labeling your boxes also helps you know where to put them when you get to your destination.

Hopefully this guide will help you get your breakable items safe and sound to your destination next time you have to move them to a new house or place them in storage. If you have any further questions about packing, feel free to ask us at Porta-Stor!

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