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How Do I Pack Fragile Items?

Are you wondering how to pack fragile items? Packing moving boxes with books and clothing is something many people are comfortable with. But when it comes to ceramics, fine china, and stemware, many people leave that to the professionals. We asked our professional packers here at Diggins & ROSE to pass along some simple packing tips that can take the fear out of handling grandma’s china and allow people to safely pack many breakables themselves.

Moving Boxes Should Not Rattle!
Rattling is bad! Each fragile item, such as a teacup or wine glass, needs to be individually wrapped to keep it from bumping its neighbor. Big-box stores and self-storage facilities often sell kits with bubble wrap sleeves and divider systems for cartons. While the dividers keep items separate and add internal strength to the carton, they are designed for the small 1.5 cube book carton. Every move has multiples of these standard cartons. But, unless clearly marked as “Fragile” and “Top Load Only” these small cartons could end up in the middle of a pile of heavy books.

The Best Moving Materials To Use For Dishes
Dish Packs (which are sometimes still called dish barrels though barrels are no longer in use) are constructed of strong double-wall corrugated cardboard. This moving box is designed for heavy, fragile items like china plates and bowls, glass or ceramic vases, or stemware. Movers readily recognize these unmistakable dish packs and treat them with extra care!

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Packing Paper (which is simply unprinted newsprint) is an excellent material to use for cushioning. Begin by crumpling several sheets to cushion the bottom of the carton. Then wrap each item in one or more sheets. Plates are very strong when placed on edge. They should be loaded vertically into the carton in the same way you load your dishwasher. Smaller bowls and saucers can be placed in the center of the carton. Separate layers by cutting corrugated flats and making an internal “shelf” for the next level.
Some complete china sets have little zip dust bags in which china is stored when not in use. These offer no cushioning — they are only to keep dust out and should be flattened and kept with the china in the same carton.

How To Pack Glassware
Glasses are wrapped up like a “sub sandwich” and placed upright in the carton. Wine glasses require an added step. Roll paper to make a “collar” to wrap around the stem. This fills the space under the goblet part so that you can then wrap it up like a “sub sandwich” and, like the glasses, place it upright in the carton.

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Close Moving Boxes Properly
Do not miss this next important step in protecting fragile items! When closing the carton it should be full; the flaps should lie flat. If there is an inch of empty space at the top of the carton it needs to be filled with more crumpled paper. Over packing is equally bad. Flaps should not be forced down like closing an overstuffed suitcase. Remember: This is glass, not clothing, so take something out.

“Green PACKING”
As the world becomes more concerned about living “green,” the advantage of easily recycled paper makes good sense. If you happen to have access to free bubble wrap then, by all means, use it, but don’t waste money on expensive kits when plain old paper will do.