It happens to everyone. One precarious step or sharp turn in your moving truck, and next thing you know, your mirror, TV, or laptop is out of your hands and on the ground, or tipped over into the truck bed. Packing fragile items appropriately is key to making sure everything arrives in the same condition that you packed it in: unbroken. Follow these tips on how to bubble-wrap electronics and pack plates, and you'll have one less thing to worry about while moving.
Identify Your Fragile Possessions
The first step to ensuring you pack everything appropriately is to determine all the fragile things you'll need to pack! There are different types of fragile items, for example electronics, kitchenware and dishes, and decorative items like mirrors and figurines. We recommend making a fragile items list as you are going through the different rooms in your house, and if you have the space, setting these things aside in a separate area.
Get the Best Packing Materials for Fragile Items
Once you've identified all your fragile items, you'll have a better idea of how many supplies to buy. Quality supplies, like new, sturdy boxes and plenty of bubble wrap, are the top fragile packing materials you'll need. Here's the full list:
- Packing tape
- Packing paper
- Plastic, zipper-locked bags
- Pliable cardboard
- Labels or permanent markers
- Bubble wrap
- New cardboard boxes, or the original product packaging
Packing Electronic Items
The best way to pack electronic items is to use the original packaging, as it will be customized to the size and shape of the item. Even for smaller items, it's better to re-package them in the original container, and then put multiple boxes into a larger box. If you don't have the original packaging, you’ll need to be a bit more resourceful to ensure that your items are protected during the move. If you're packing a flat-screen TV or other oddly shaped item, you'll want to buy a box made specifically for that shape.
Start by checking the owner’s manual to see if there are any special packing or moving instructions. Remove the batteries from devices that have them; when batteries are stored in unused devices for extended periods of time, corrosion will occur. For the same reason, you should also remove all disks and cartridges from things like game consoles and DVD players.
Gather your materials from the list above. Use packing tape to close one side of a cardboard box and line the bottom of it with 2–3 layers of bubble wrap. Wrap the electronic item in at least two layers of bubble wrap and place it in the box. Place any wires and accessories into a plastic bag along with the owner's manual, wrap the bag once in bubble wrap, and put it in the same box. If there is space between the sides of the cardboard box and your item, line the insides of the box with additional bubble wrap to keep things from moving around. You're done!
Packing Other Fragile Items
Always make sure to set enough time aside to properly wrap and pack fragile items. Doing so will help prevent you from rushing to pack things at the last minute, which could result in damage. To help you keep these items safe, we’ve provided smart packing tips for the most popular fragile items:
"How do you pack dishes?" is one of the most common moving questions, because their different shapes and sizes can make them tricky. For plates and bowls, wrap each one in bubble wrap and secure with tape. Place them vertically in small- to medium-size boxes with crumpled packing paper or bubble wrap lining the top and bottom of the box. For extra security, place paper in between each standing plate. Be careful using newsprint for packing fine china: the ink can rub off onto the dishes.
The best way to ensure cups arrive safely is to use cardboard dividers to place each one individually into the box. You'll still want to wrap each glass in paper, and nest them inside each other to save space. What about how to pack wine glasses? Their shape can make them more delicate than other dishes. You'll need to stuff them with paper, as well as wrapping them, and make sure you use a divided box. Always ensure dishes fit snugly into the box; add paper or bubble wrap to fill space if needed.
Pictures, Frames, and Mirrors
Wrap each picture frame individually in packing packing paper, and place them in lined, medium-size boxes with crumpled paper in between each piece. If the frames are more than 8 inches, they should be packed vertically, similar to plates. Framed art and mirrors less than 3 feet in size can be packed in a similar manner as picture frames. However, if the item is larger, it should be secured with a moving blanket, wrapped in plastic, and moved separately.
Large, Oddly Shaped Items
Wrap the entire piece in bubble wrap and secure with tape. Place it on a large piece of pliable cardboard and place an identical piece on top of it. Then bend the ends of the cardboard so that they meet and secure them with tape. Wrap additional tape around the piece if necessary to create additional protection. Place the whole thing in a paper- or bubble-wrap-lined box, filling any gaps with crumpled paper. Lastly, tape the box securely and mark the box "Fragile."
Small Items and Figurines
Place small figurines that have many protruding parts in the individual sections of an egg carton. Test to make sure the lid can close properly before packing the egg carton away. For items that are too tall or big for an egg carton, fill a plastic container with shredded paper and place them inside.
For items large enough to pack individually, wrap them in packing paper and place them in a box filled with shredded paper or bubble wrap. Use additional shredded paper or bubble wrap to fill in the gaps between items or to create protection when layering items. When finished, place the egg cartons and plastic containers with smaller figurines on top of the box and secure with tape.
With these smart fragile packaging tips, you’ll never have to worry about breaking or damaging an item during a move again. For additional moving and packing tricks, check out our tips for a smooth move. Hate wasting moving materials? We've got ideas for reusing your bubble wrap, too. We wish you a speedy and successful move!