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Tips and Tricks For Packing Fragile Items

You are at the first, and most important, step in making sure your delicate items stay protected throughout your move. Taking the time to learn how to properly pack your fragile items can ensure your breakables arrive in one piece.

The most beneficial thing you can do during the packing process is take your time. It is easy to mess up or forget to wrap something when you’re in a hurry, so plan ahead and set aside a reasonable amount of time to focus on packing your breakables before your moving date. By setting aside the appropriate time to pack and protect your delicate valuables you can help ensure they will arrive safely – just as you packed them.

We suggest starting a month in advance of your move. Take the time to go through your home and set aside all of your valuable crystal, china, mirrors and any other breakables you may have. Plan a separate time to concentrate on properly packing these items and have them ready long before your movers arrive.

Visit our cost to ship fragile or special care items page for an inside look into the fragile shipping process with uShip. Being familiar and comfortable with the fragile shipping process will be a big help when it comes time to choose the moving company best fit for your own needs.



Remember: staying organized throughout this process will be key to properly and efficiently getting all of your valuables packed. Any of the above listed packing materials can be found at Wal-Mart, ULINE, UHAUL, or your local office supply store. It’s also a good idea to check with your moving company, as they will most likely be able to provide any moving equipment you might need.

When it comes to using bubble wrap, remember if you’re moving heavier, oddly shaped, or pointed items it is likely that the bubble wrap will pop during the move. In the case of a long distance move, your item could end up wrapped in plastic paper- with no bubbles left to protect it. Shy away from bubble wrap, if this is the case.

From bubble wrap to the proper boxes, having the right packing materials can be the difference in your breakable items arriving in one, or many pieces.


Wrap each plate in bubble wrap, secure with a piece of scotch tape, and store them vertically. By storing your plates vertically inside the box, you reduce surface area and thus risk of breakage during transport. For finer china we recommend going an extra step and placing a piece of pliable cardboard or cushion foam between each plate and on the top and bottom of your box, again stacking them vertically. Fill empty space in the box with crumpled newspaper and/or an old t-shirt to reduce any room for them to move around. DO NOT over pack any boxes! That is a sure way to damage your breakables.



When wrapping glasses, first wrap each in newspaper- tucking the paper inside the glass as well. Then secure with tape. Since glassware tends to be smaller, but heavier when stacked, your best bet is to use a small or medium double wall box for packing. It’s okay to layer the box, just make sure the heaviest glasses are on the bottom and the lighter glasses are on the top while using a piece of pliable cardboard in between each layer. Be sure to label which side is the top of the box.




When shipping mirrors or sheet glass (picture frames or windows, etc.) start by placing painter’s tape in the middle of the glass, in the form of a star, expanding to the edges. This will prevent the glass from shifting and help absorb any vibrations that may crack the glass. Protect the corners of the mirror or sheet glass with foam frame protectors and wrap the whole thing in bubble wrap.

For smaller mirrors or glass items, we recommend using a mirror corrugated box. This type of box is specially designed to protect your mirror during transportation. A mirror corrugated box can be found at or check with your chosen moving company to see what they can offer.

If you are storing multiple pieces together be sure to group them by sizes. Larger mirrors should be stored together and away from any smaller, more fragile pieces. Protect each piece from the other by using an extra layer of crumpled up newspaper, bubble wrap, or foam sheets in-between the pieces. However, if you are packaging a highly valuable piece of art (such as a priceless family heirloom) or a mirror, we highly recommend crating the piece for added protection.


The cost for crating will not be included in your moving quote. However, should you choose to crate your item it is likely the moving company will be able to do so for you. We recommend asking about crating options from the beginning. The average price starts around $70 to crate a single piece. Because each crate is built specially for the item in question, cost will vary.



When it comes to vases you will again want to use smaller boxes. Remember, less is more when working with fragile items.

Wrap the vase in newspaper and stuff the middle with crumpled up paper to reduce any friction during the move. Next, wrap the whole thing in bubble wrap and secure with tape. Pad the box with old t-shirts or towels before inserting the vase.

Smaller pieces may be packaged together, storing them with their heavy ends down and using pliable cardboard or cushion foam between each piece. If you are working with a larger vase we recommend packing it alone in a double wall box, surrounded by crumpled up newspaper and towels to fill any extra space.



For other abnormally shaped pieces, wrap them in newspaper, tape securely and then re-wrap in bubble wrap. Make sure all edges and angles are protected. Use foam coverings for any points or delicate edges and never over-pack your boxes. If you are stacking pieces, use pliable cardboard in between layers and opt for double wall boxes. Fill any extra room with crumpled paper and/or bubble wrap when necessary.

Remember, when packing fragile items, do not over pack but do not leave empty space in the box for your items to move around. The solution to this problem will be to use your crumpled newspaper and/or bubble wrap as filling. You want your items to be snug and secure throughout transport, so don’t be shy with the bubble wrap or tape. Use all you need to feel confident. Better safe than sorry.iStock_000006923442Small

Follow these packing steps and you can be confident that your items will show up to their new home in one piece.

No matter what you are packing, always make sure to label it as ‘fragile’ and designate the top of the box when needed. We also recommend noting the room that the box should go into at your new home.

For more in depth information on packing and moving fragile items, check out our full guide: How to Pack Your Fragile and Valuable Items.