How to Pack Fragile Items

There are few things worse in the moving process than opening up one of your storage boxes to find what used to be a precious family heirloom, now reduced to nothing more than a fractured ceramic collage.

These tragedies can be prevented. All it takes is the right packing precautions to ensure that the most valuable things in your moving ensemble remain intact and ready to display to all the guests to your illustrious new home.

Taking the Time

One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to packing fragile items for a big move is failing to allocate enough time in advance to do so. Packing items on the day you’re due to move – or even the day before – means that you end up rushing, and therefore neglecting an area that needs protecting.

Make sure you have plenty of space to properly package your item. The best option is often the floor, since you don’t run the risk of accidentally knocking your valuables toward an irreparable fall. Just make sure it’s not an area where others in your home are likely to be walking around, such as a hallway or the kitchen.

Proper Wrapping Technique

Before you place it into a box, you need to wrap your items with the right materials and technique to certify their protection, especially if they’ll be going into a box with a number of other similar items. Typically, this tends to be the case with crockery and glassware.

Flat items like plates are relatively easy to take care of. Simply wrap them generously in bubble wrap and seal with masking tape. However, items like glasses and vases are more difficult because they’re hollow. When packing these types of items, be sure to have plenty of packing tissue at hand to fill them with. This provides a little extra support if pressure is applied to the exterior.


Consider the size of the box that you’re going to be using. If you buy a moving box that’s too large, you’ll struggle to cater for all of the excess space, and therefore run the risk of your fragile item being thrown around during transit. On the contrary, if you use a box that’s too small, your item is vulnerable to breakage where it comes into contact with the edges.

Ideally, use a box that allows for an inch or two between the edges of your item and the surface of the box at all angles – adequate room to provide cushioning – but no more than that.

One common mistake people tend to make is to “cheat the system” by using newspaper instead of typically cushioning materials such as styrofoam. The main problem with this technique is that when newspaper encounters water, the ink runs and stains whatever it is covering and the paper loses all of its cushioning ability, leaving your item vulnerable to breakage.

Finally, there are few tactics better than using tape marked “Fragile” on boxes that contain your delicate items. Not only does it seal the box securely, but it also lets the moving men know that what’s contained inside isn’t the kind of item that can be thrown around without consequence, ensuring they take proper care of it.