How To Pack China & Breakable Items

It’s every mover’s worst nightmare: you thought you had everything packed up securely and then you unpack a “Fragile” box only to find that a delicate piece of china didn’t make it in one piece.

Professional packing services can help ease the stress of transporting irreplaceable, breakable items, but if you plan to DIY, this guide can help.

Step 1. Get a Strong, Sturdy Box

Those worn-out boxes you’ve been saving or boxes you found for free on Craiglist are fine for clothes, linens and other unbreakable items. However, they could be disastrous for the delicate china and glassware.

Special boxes for fragile items (they go by many names: dish packs, dish barrel box, dishsavers, etc.) are your best bet. Dish boxes have partitions to separate delicate items and some also have padding on the inside. They’re also constructed with a double layer of corrugated cardboard.

Another option is to repack the item in the box it originally came in. Manufacturers don’t want to eat the cost of broken items so they invest in sturdy boxes that provide ample cushion.

Step 2. Load Up on Packing Paper

When you’re packing dishes or transporting delicate items you can never use too much packing paper:

  • Start by crumpling up several sheets of packing paper and use that to line the bottom of the box.

  • Next, each item should be individually wrapped with a sheet or two of packing paper to protect the surface and minimize the chance of a break.

  • When packing cups and mugs put crumpled packing paper inside each one.

  • Make sure to fill the void spaces with packing paper as well. It provides cushion and prevents items from shifting during transport.

  • Finish it off with a layer of crumpled packing paper on top before taping the box up.

If you have very fragile items you may want to substitute the packing paper for bubble wrap.

Step 3. Place and Stack Smart

How you place items in the box also makes a difference. Make sure to follow these pro tips:

  • The heaviest items should always be placed in the bottom of the box.

  • Laying items flat isn’t always the best option. When you’re packing plates it’s best to line them up vertically in a row after they’re each wrapped in paper. Stemware should be placed upside down with the rim on the bottom.

  • Pack the items in tightly. The less give there is the less likely things are to move around, bump up against one another and break.

  • Never put more than 10 pounds in a single box.

You may want to take the additional step of adding cardboard dividers between individual items or rows of items. This is definitely the case when you’re packing cups and bowls.

Step 4. Tape the Box Up Tightly

During your rush to get packed up, you may be tempted to simply put a single layer of tape down the opening of the top. This isn’t advisable for boxes with fragile items. You’ll need to go down the center of the opening and reinforce it by taping across the edges too.

Step 5. Clearly Label the Boxes on All Sides

Once you have everything boxed up it can be difficult to tell what’s inside. That’s where labeling comes into play. After taking the time to pack everything up securely, the last thing you want is for the box to be mishandled.

On the sides write “this side up” with an arrow so that the box doesn’t accidentally get carried upside down. Next, write “FRAGILE” in big bold letters on every side of the box and the top. Also include a brief description of what’s in the box, which helps make unpacking easier. 

Would you rather not risk breaking Mom’s fine china? Our expert packers take the utmost care to ensure every item makes it to your new home in one piece. Call today or use the online form to get an instant moving quote!

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