7 Pro Tips for Packing Fragile Items for Your Move

Packing your home for a big move can be both exciting and overwhelming. Properly packing fragile and breakable items in particular can be a source of stress and angst, especially if the items have sentimental or monetary value. 

We spoke to several moving experts to get their pro tips about how to ensure even the most breakable items make it from point A to point B unscathed. Here are seven tips to help you pack fragile items for your move.

Use the Right Materials

It might seem obvious but it’s still worth stating: using the right packing materials is of the utmost importance when packing breakable and fragile items. This means stocking up on packing paper, bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and more.

You can also use materials that you have already lying around to help you pack your fragile pieces, such as linens (think towels, sheets, and pillowcases) and old newspaper in place of packing paper. Each breakable item will need to be liberally wrapped in some kind of protective material, so make sure that you have lots on hand. 

It’s also important to know that certain items, such as artwork, need specialty packing materials to preserve the integrity of the piece. Pad wrap should be used for paintings to protect the finish of the paint since materials like bubble wrap can stick to acrylic and oil paints and cause damage when removed, says Bein Steinsholt, owner of Steinsholt Delivery.

Pack All the Nooks and Crannies

Packing materials aren’t just for wrapping your delicate items, they should also be used to line the top, bottom, and sides of each moving box and fill leftover space after items have been packed.

Wendy Trunz, Partner and Lead Organizer of Jane’s Addiction Organization, says that this will help protect breakable items during transit and allow boxes to be stacked without getting crushed.

“Nothing in the box should be able to shift or move if the box is put on its side,” Trunz says.  

Fill Hollow Items

Hollow items like vases, glassware, figurines, and even delicate bowls should be filled with packing material, such as crumpled packing paper, says Alex Ravich, owner and moving expert at Cross Country Moving Company. This will help to prevent cracking and shattering during transit. 

Stack Delicate Items Vertically, Not Horizontally

Across the board, nearly all of the experts we spoke to agreed that packing delicate items vertically rather than horizontally is critical. This applies to a variety of different items, but movers run into this most often with plates and other china.

Rather than stacking plates, bowls, and platters horizontally like you would in your cupboards, they should be packed standing up like books on a bookshelf, says Trunz. Be sure to wrap each piece and layer lots of packing paper between, above, and below each piece of china to ensure nothing breaks during transit.

Consider Reusable Containers Over Cardboard

Cardboard boxes are standard when it comes to moving because they are affordable and easy to work with, but if you have reusable containers available the switch is worth considering. This could mean using large plastic storage tubs that you already have or renting reusable moving bins from your local moving company. 

“[Reusable containers] offer more protection against buckling and puncture with far less packing material,” says Matt Graber, co-owner of Cool Hand Movers. “Bin rentals often come with dish and glass dividers to keep kitchen delicates from bumping and scratching.”

Label Clearly 

Whether you are using cardboard or reusable containers, it’s important to clearly label the boxes containing delicate items so that everyone knows they need to be handled with extra care.

“Always label boxes containing fragile items with a clear FRAGILE notice, and consider using arrows to indicate the correct upright position,” Ravich says. 

Transport the Most Valuable Items Yourself

At the end of the day, there may be a few fragile and invaluable pieces that are best transported in your vehicle rather than a moving truck. This could include nostalgic items, family heirlooms, fragile figurines or artwork, and more. As long as you can fit them in your vehicle, professional movers and organizers agree that transporting them yourself is probably best. 

“Placing them on a moving truck opens the door to lots of movement, or the box not being handled with care,” Steinsholt says. “In the car with you will provide the safest way to get the item to its new home.”

Be sure to pack these items with just as much care as you would if they were going on the moving truck. You never know what an unexpected pothole or bump in the road could do to your precious belongings if they aren’t packed properly.

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