When it comes to moving, packing can sometimes take longer than expected and in the case of needing to pack dishes and glassware, it’s important to take the extra time and steps needed to avoid the risk of breaking or damaging fragile dishes or glasses during the move. While it does take more time to carefully pack glasses, dishes, plates, bowls, wine glasses, fine china and fragile other items, the following steps can speed up the process and ensure everything is safely intact upon unpacking.
Supplies Needed for Packing Dishes and Glasses
Before you start packing away your dishware, be sure you have the right supplies and materials on hand to get the job done.
Moving boxes or storage containers
- Dish barrels or dish boxes: Expensive cardboard boxing designed for maximum protection of dishes and glasses is the highest tiered container you’ll probably find to pack and move your dishes safely. However, this isn’t necessary unless the items are particularly sentimental or fragile and you want to pay the higher price for this protection.
- Cardboard boxes: Due to the weight and sensitivity of dishware, avoid the cheapest level of cardboard moving boxes and look for thicker built types. You don’t necessarily need to go out and buy moving boxes brand new, in fact, using free moving boxes that you find at grocery stores or boxes with built-in, sturdy handle holes are perfect for supporting the added weight. Make sure to double tape the bottom of the box.
- Plastic storage containers: Storage containers can be ideal as well because they’re sturdier than cardboard boxes and will prevent any potential exposure to leaks or pests from getting into your packed items inside. Storage containers also come in a variety of types for added convenience whether you opt for clear containers to easily see what’s stored inside or with wheels to make transporting and moving heavy boxed dishes easier. In addition, most storage containers stack easily and are less likely to crush containers at the bottom, making them more reliable than cardboard boxes for long-term storage scenarios.
Packing cushion and wrapping paper
- Packing paper: Ideal cushioning and wrapping material, but you’ll have to purchase it.
- Bubble wrap: Most expensive option. Few items will need this highest level of protection.
- Foam sheet rolls: Polyethylene foam can be purchased in large rolls or individual sheets. Good hybrid between packing paper and bubble wrap.
- Towels or blankets: These provide a high-level of protection when packing up items. You’re likely to run out of blankets and towels quickly and they often take up a large amount space in moving boxes.
- Shipping tape: This is the best type of packing tape to use for most dishware packing scenarios because it contains premium adhesives for reliable long-term storage that’ll withstand long trips or exposure to weather elements.
- Packing tape dispenser: Invest in a packing tape dispenser to box up and seal your moving boxes quickly with ease.
- Masking tape: This type of tape is optional to have on hand, but it is excellent for taping packing paper after wrapping individual dishes, bowls, or glasses. It’s also fairly cheap and easy to rip by hand during the unpacking process.
- Don’t use duct tape: This type of tape is made for utility, but it doesn’t actually adhere well to cardboard compared to shipping tape. It can also leave a sticky residue and can unstick in hot conditions.
RELATED: We’ll help make packing all your kitchen items a breeze. Use our complete guide to packing and unpacking a kitchen for a move.
How to Pack Dishes
Packing ceramic dishware? Follow the steps and guide below to learn how to pack dishes and glasses.
Step 1: Add cushion
Before beginning to pack a box, first cushion the bottom of the box with crumpled up paper or other cushioning material to create a bottom layer (see above). After loading each level of dishes, add crumpled up padding to the corners or any empty gaps to prevent movement. Then add a thin layer of cushioning before starting a new level.
Step 2: Wrap your dishes carefully
Start with the heaviest items. Laying the dishware flat on a piece of packing paper (or other wrapping material from the above list), pull and fold the corners of the paper onto the top of the dish. Depending on the amount of jostling the box may have to withstand, you may choose to individually wrap 4-5 dishes and then wrap them all in a bundle for added protection.
For glasses, with a section of crumpled packing paper (or the packing material of your choice), stuff the cup or glass. Then, place a glass on the edge of the paper and roll to wrap it completely. Tape the end of each paper with masking tape to prevent unwrapping.
Step 3: Layer them in your moving box
Load the wrapped dishes and bowls on their side in the moving box. Create a level layer of dishware.
When loading glasses, place each glass standing up, side by side. Create a level layer of glassware. If packing a variety of cups or glasses, load the heaviest on the bottom of the box.
Step 4: Fill excess space with towels
When your dishes are packed away in their moving containers, fill any excess space that you might have at the top with dish towels or small blankets. This will add extra protection to avoid instances of them moving out of place during transportation.
Step 5: Seal and double tape your box
If you’re packing your dishes away in cardboard boxes, seal them with shipping tape twice over. Double taping the flaps closed will help guarantee they don’t accidently fly open. If you’re using a plastic storage container, you may not need to use tape, but if the container has a little bend or doesn’t seal properly, it doesn’t hurt to use tape to seal the edges of the bin for added protection.
Packing Tips for Dishes and Glasses
- Label your boxes: with what the boxes actually contain in addition to the room. This will save you from having to unpack all your kitchen boxes just to get a cereal bowl the morning after your move.
- Keep your boxes and packing paper after unpacking: Boxes can be used for your next move or you can help others by posting free boxes on social media.
- Pots and pans won’t require extra protection: When packing pots and pans, store them in different boxes than your dishes and glasses, but you don’t need to take the extra steps to wrap each one. To prevent minor scratches on nicer cookware, you can use padding with towels to prevent jostling or rubbing together.
- Place heavy items at the bottom in the moving truck: When loading boxes into a moving truck, avoid putting heavy items on top of the boxes or somewhere they could fall onto boxes with fragile items.
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Browse all our guides for moving and packing:
- How to Move a Couch
- How to Move a Mattress
- How to Move a Refrigerator
- How to Move a Piano
- How to Move a Pool Table
- How to Pack Shoes for Moving
- How to Pack Dishes and Glasses
Other helpful moving resources:
- Ultimate Moving Checklist
- Where to Find Free Moving Boxes
- Tips for Hiring Movers and Packers
- How Much to Tip Movers
- Should you Stage your Home When Selling?
- Change of Address Checklist
- Moving with Kids
- Moving with a Dog
- Ultimate Guide to Unpacking