How To Pack Dishes And Other Fragile Items

Fragile items are some of the more difficult things to pack. This isn’t just because of their delicate nature but because of the amount of time, care, and patience that is needed to adequately wrap and secure the items to prevent any chipping, cracking, or breaking of the item. If you are not hiring professional movers to pack your home prior to moving, then you will need to be sure to follow these professional moving tips when it comes to packing fragile items like dishes, vases, porcelain, crystal, or other valuable items.

  • Start early and take your time. Fragile and delicate items should not be left until the day of to start packing them away. Rushed packing jobs lead to inadequate packing for a move. Start well in advance with all breakable items – beginning with décor or infrequently used items like China or crystal. As you pack those away, then move towards the items you may used more frequently like your dishware. Pick up paper plates and plastic cups to use for the last few days before your move so that all dishware is securely packed and ready for the move.
  • Get the right moving supplies for packing fragile items. Leave the second-hand boxes for your books, clothing, or pots and pans. Fragile items should be placed in quality, heavy-duty boxes. Purchase these boxes in varying size and styles – for example, there are packing boxes meant just for your dishware or TV. Also pick up packing paper, bubble wrap, and quality tape. When in a pinch, old towels and blankets can suffice as alternatives to moving blankets and bubble wrap.
  • Pack for your move – the right way. There are actually specialized ways for packing up certain items. Follow these recommendations for some of the common fragile household items:


Plates should be wrapped individually with bubble wrap that is secured in place with tape and then packed into a small or medium box – vertically. Surprised? Most people are. Add a lawyer of bubble wrap to the bottom of the box and fill the space between the standing plates with packing paper. Do not overstuff the box – even if you are pretty sure you could fit just one more plate.

Drinking Glasses should have packing paper stuffed into its center and then wrapped individually with bubble wrap. Like with plates, fill the gaps between glasses with packing paper. Use only small or medium boxes and avoid stacking glasses on top of each other – if you have to, put the heavier pieces on the bottom.


Picture Frames and Mirrors should first be securely wrapped in packing paper (or bubble wrap) and placed standing in a small or medium box. Like sizes should be grouped together to minimized space between frames. Fill gaps with crumpled packing paper. For large frames and mirrors, wrap in a moving blanket, rather than packing paper or bubble wrap. Use moving-strength plastic wrap to secure the blanket in place and move the large, fragile item separately (best in your own vehicle than the moving truck when possible).

Lamps should be prepared for moving by separating the shade from the base. Lamp shades should be placed in a box with other light items – flat side down, not on its side or “tetris”-ed in with the remaining space in a miscellaneous box. If the base is made from glass or other easily breakable material, wrap in bubble wrap; if it is wood or metal, you can still wrap it to avoid scuffing it. Depending on the size, you can place it (standing) in a box with other like-sized items.

Other Décor

There are numerous other items that can be fragile and require special attention. Take into consideration the size, weight, and shape of the item. Wrap with bubble wrap and secure with tape (or a moving blanket, secured with plastic wrapping). If it can fit in a box, just be sure to fill the gaps with more packing paper. If it is too big for a traditional box, create one! Use pliable carboard or unmake a cardboard box and wrap the cardboard around the item, securing it in place with plenty of tape.