You’re getting ready to move, and the process seems daunting. On top of de-cluttering, packing, and cleaning, you worry that your good china and fancy stemware won’t make it to your new home intact. Don’t worry. A few tips and tricks ensure a safe journey for even your most treasured — and fragile — cargo. Learn how to pack dishes and glassware the right way for a trouble-free move.

Best Packing Materials for the Job

A good moving experience starts with good packing materials. When considering the best way to pack dishes and glassware, dish barrels (also called dish packs or dish boxes) make a great option. Made with double-walled corrugated cardboard, dish barrels offer extra-sturdy protection for all your kitchen breakables. These boxes are a bit more expensive than regular moving boxes but well worth the investment.

Packing paper plays a big role in keeping your breakables safe, so stock up — and use it generously. The best way to pack dishes and glasses is to use plain white or brown packing paper instead of ordinary newspaper, which can leave ink stains on your belongings. With cushy, air-filled pockets, bubble wrap also offers good insulation for fragile items, as do Styrofoam packing peanuts. Make sure to use high-quality packing tape for a strong and sturdy closure.

Certain items around the house also make good options for packing breakables. These include:

  • Large paint buckets for packing plates
  • Styrofoam bowls and plates for in-between cushioning
  • Old towels and rags for extra padding
  • Plastic grocery bags to stuff in nooks and crannies

Preparing Your Moving Boxes

Good preparation ensures that your moving boxes are strong and sturdy. Make sure to properly construct the boxes, and tape the bottoms with strong, wide packing tape. To check that the bottom ends are secure, tape across the bottom and up the sides of each box about 1/3 of the way. A tape gun makes this process quick and easy. Now your boxes are ready to pack and seal.

How to Pack Glassware

To pack glassware, line the bottom of a dish barrel with crumpled paper, bubble wrap, or a thick towel to absorb shock during travel. Always pack your heaviest and sturdiest glassware at the bottom and the most fragile items at the top. Moving expert, Ashley Oostindie, from Two Men and a Truck moving company in Grand Rapids, Michigan, recommends packing heavy items in small boxes and light items in bigger boxes. Wrap each piece individually for the most protection against breakage, and double wrap thin glassware or crystal items.

To wrap a glass, lay it on a sheet of packing paper and insert a corner of the paper into the opening of the glass. Fold the other corner of the paper up and roll the glass, tucking the paper around it as you roll. Insert it into the dish barrel vertically, and proceed with more glasses until the box is full. Oostindie says that filling open nooks and crannies with cushioning material before sealing the box “”helps keep items from rattling and bouncing”” during a move. Paper, plastic bags, and packing peanuts make good options to prevent possible breakage.

How to Pack Bowls and Plates

As with glassware, always line the bottoms of your dishware boxes with shock-absorbing materials. Wrap each plate or bowl individually with a sheet of packing paper, and place it in the box on its side, not stacked horizontally as you would in your kitchen cupboard. This is the best way to pack dishes for a move because the vertical orientation offers the most protection.

Continue loading plates or bowls in this fashion until the bottom section of the box is full. Add cushioning materials to fill nooks and crannies, and top with a sheet of cardboard and crumpled paper. Load another section of the box. Repeat this process until the box is nearly full, and top with shock-absorbing materials to the brim and seal. Remember that the boxes need to be firmly packed. If breakables in the box are allowed to move around inside, they are more likely to crack or chip.

Labeling Your Moving Boxes

Proper labeling ensures your belongings arrive at your new home, and it makes the process of unloading easier. Paste a color-coded sticker to the outside of each glassware or dishware box to indicate where the items belong in your new home. Use a permanent marker to label the contents of the box on at least three sides, and add the words FRAGILE in large letters so that anyone handling the box knows to use care.

For more tips and tricks like these, feel free to keep exploring the Matador Furniture blog!