How to Pack Breakable Items


Most people think that packing breakable items counts among the hardest challenges ad would rather leave this task to moving professionals. Who wouldn’t -- especially if we’re talking about thousand dollar vases that would leave you pulling your hair out in regret when broken. But in actual fact packing your fragile glass- or ceramic-ware isn’t all that hard. Here are a few tips that can help:

  1. First, wrap each item individually with paper, tissue or bubble wrap. Don’t try to wrap two or more items together as they will surely break. It is okay to use newsprint, but best to use this with glassware, and to wash the item before use. Don’t use newsprint with light colored or white ceramics as the ink may leave smudges that may be hard to erase. Bubble wrap is the best (if most costly option), but remember to secure it with adhesive tape so it doesn’t slip off.
  2. If you’re packing plates or bowls in a stack, once you’ve wrapped them individually (or placed paper in between each item), secure the stack with adhesive tape, and, if you wish, additionally wrap the whole stack in paper or bubble wrap. This will prevent each plate or bowl from slipping out of the stack and breaking during handling.
  3. The box used for breakable items should have additional linings (use cardboard or paper or bubble wrap) on the bottom and sides.
  4. When packing breakable items in a box, it is best to pack items that are similar in size together. That way it will be easier to organize the contents and prevent empty spaces that cause the contents to shake or move around during handling.
  5. IF packing differently-sized sets of items in one box, use additional cardboard as dividers to separate the items into sections.
  6. Pack heavy items first (at the bottom) and lighter, more fragile items on top. For example, you should place plates first, and then place the glasses on top of them. Layer the items until the box is full.
  7. Items wrapped in paper or tissue will need additional cushioning as you layer them. For this there are several options. You can use additional paper or tissue, just crumple them and place an adequate amount around each item. You can also use cloth, or kitchen towels or an old shirt to do the job.
  8. Once you’ve place enough items in the box make sure that you leave no empty spaces. Fill empty spaces with crumpled newspaper, or kitchen towels or old shirts. The objective is to make sure that the contents will not have space to shake around during handling.
  9. Before closing the box, place a layer of cardboard, newspaper or kitchen towels on top.
  10. After securing the box with adhesive tape, don’t forget to place a sign that says “Fragile, handle with care” on the sides and top of the box, as well as arrows that indicate top and bottom.
  11. Make sure boxes labeled “Fragile” are stowed safely and securely on top of non-fragile items in the long distance moving truck.
  12. For extremely fragile items, it is best to pack them on their own, one per box. You should also make sure that the item is completely surrounded in a thick cushion of crumpled paper or bubble wrap. Don’t place these in the moving truck. Instead, transport these separately (and if possible, personally) in your own vehicle.