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  • George Hampson

How to Pack Fragile Items: The Complete Guide

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

Moving house can be a crazy and hectic experience, especially when it comes to packing those beloved fragile items. Whether you're moving across town or across the country, making sure that all your delicate items and glassware arrive in one piece is essential.

Not only are breakages costly and timely to repair and clean up, but you could end up breaking items with sentimental value, too.

In our straight-talking guide, we’ll help you alleviate the anxiety that comes with packing fragile items and teach you how to pack them like a pro! From top tips to a step-by-step breakdown — we've covered everything you need to know about how to pack a fragile item.

How to pack fragile items for moving — General advice

Start early and create a plan

The key to packing fragile items for moving is to start early and have a plan. Make a list of all the delicate items you need to pack and decide how you'll pack them. You may need to purchase additional packing materials, such as bubble wrap or packing paper as well as high-quality packing boxes.

Use the right packing materials

When it comes to packing fragile items and glassware, using the right packing materials is essential. Bubble wrap, packing paper, foam padding styrofoam balls are ideal for protecting those delicate items. Make sure you have enough materials to wrap each item individually in several layers of paper.

Hire a professional removal company

We’re sure you knew this one was coming! But what can we say it’s a surefire way to alleviate the stress and risk that comes with packing and moving fragile items yourself. If you feel at all unsure about packing delicate items, consider hiring professional movers, such as ourselves.

At Saint Removals, we have a combined 25 years of industry experience. From the finest of tea sets to tumblers and wine glasses we’ve packed it all. Plus, we use industry-standard packing materials so you can sleep easy in the knowledge that your delicate items are in safe hands.

How to pack fragile items for moving — Step by step

Still want to go it alone or are only hiring a partial removal service? Then let us share some of our packing wisdom with you. When it comes to packing fragile items for moving house, here’s how you do it:

The best packing materials for fragile items:

  • Sturdy boxes: Choose boxes that are designed specially for moving house. Make sure they’re clean, supportive and free from damage

  • Packing paper: Use plain newsprint or packing paper to wrap your fragile items. Avoid using newspaper directly around the item, as the ink can transfer to your items and cause stains

  • Bubble wrap: Bubble wrap provides an extra layer of protection for fragile items

  • Foam padding: Foam padding or styrofoam balls are perfect for protecting delicate items, such as electronics or glassware

  • Packing tape: Use packing tape to seal boxes and secure the packing materials around fragile items

  • Marker pen: Use a permanent marker to label boxes containing fragile items accordingly. You should also mark which side of the box is up to prevent the box from being packed the wrong way

You might have some of these items lying around the house already, or perhaps some of your friends and family have some left over from a recent move. We always recommend trying to recycle these items where you can as it’s kinder on our planet. But if you really can’t source them second-hand, then you’ll be able to find them at your nearest hardware store or online.

Armed with these top essential items, you can now pack your fragile items with confidence!

Step 1: Round up all your materials

Before you begin packing, gather up all the materials we talked about in the previous section and set up a ‘packing station’. Make sure it’s on a flat service with plenty of space.

Step 2: Wrap each item individually

Wrap each piece of glassware or fragile item individually with packing paper or bubble wrap. You can do this by placing the fragile item in the centre of the protective material and wrapping it around the item until it's covered. Be sure to cover the entire item and use enough packing material to provide ample cushioning. Once you're done, you can secure the materials in place with tape.

Top tip: Don’t forget to fill the insides with protective material too. If you’re packing fragile items that have big gaps, such as large tumblers or vases, then make sure you fill them with bubble wrap or foam padding. This will prevent your items from getting cracked during transit.

Repeat this step until you have wrapped all of your delicate items and glassware.

Step 3: Pack items tightly

Now put the wrapped items into your sturdy boxes and make sure they fit together snugly.

Again, fill any gaps with extra packing material, such as crumpled paper or bubble wrap as this will stop them from moving around during transport and reduce the risk of breakages. Small cushions, throws and bed linen also work a charm here.

Don't forget to put those heavier pieces in first as you don’t want them crushing the smaller pieces. The aim here is to make sure all the items fit together neatly into the box — think of it a bit like a game of Tetris!

Step 4: Label, label, label!

Our ultimate packing for moving guide talks about the importance of labelling, and the same rules apply here. And we even have a guide entirely dedicated to labelling, so we'll keep it brief.

Labelling your boxes is always important but it's particularly vital when packing fragile items. Clearly mark boxes containing delicate items as "Fragile" or "Handle with Care". This will ensure they're treated with the extra love they need during the move and will also help you identify which boxes to unpack first.

Step 5: That's a (bubble) wrap

Once you've completed steps 14, you can either sit back, relax and let your removal company load your boxes into their removal fleet, or if you're moving the items yourself, then it's time to load up your car. Just remember not to place heavier boxes on top of those holding delicate items. As even with sturdy boxes, the heavier ones could crush them.

Top tips for packing fragile items

Seeing as we're so kind, here's a quick recap for you alongside some bonus tips!

  • Use bubble wrap or packing paper to wrap fragile items individually, making sure to cover them completely and secure the wrapping with tape

  • Place the wrapped items in strong boxes that are specifically designed for moving fragile items. You can also use dish packing boxes with dividers to keep items separated and prevent them from shifting during transportation

  • Fill any empty spaces in the box with styrofoam balls, crumpled packing paper, or other cushioning materials to prevent the items from moving around during transit

  • Label the boxes as "Fragile" so that movers know to handle them with care. You can also mark the boxes with arrows pointing up to indicate which end should be facing up during transportation

  • Use dish cloths or other soft linens to wrap fragile items like glasses and stemware. Place them upright in the box and separate them with cardboard dividers

  • For larger items like mirrors or framed artwork, use cardboard corner protectors to prevent damage to the edges

  • Pack electronics in their original packaging if possible. If not, use foam padding and bubble wrap to protect them

  • Consider carrying particularly valuable or sentimental items — such as jewellery — on you

Let Saint Removals take care of your packing needs!

Packing fragile items for moving sounds pretty simple, right? Well, it can actually be quite tricky. You’d be amazed at just how many mishaps we see from people packing their own delicate items. Whether it’s due to not using enough protective material or forgetting to label the box correctly — we see breakages all the time.

So why not leave it to the experts? We do this day in, day out using industry-standard protective materials. This means you can feel confident your glassware will remain in one piece during the whole part of our moving process. From packing to transportation, and even whilst in storage if that’s what you need. And if it doesn’t? Then we’re insured for that, of course!

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