Packing up a home and moving always takes longer than expected. It’s already a stressful enough endeavor without accidentally breaking fragile or sensitive items. You need a strategy for how to pack dishes and glasses.
Dishes and glasses are among the breakable items that should be packed with care during a move to prevent damage. Whether you are putting them into storage or taking them directly to your next home, packing your kitchenware carefully is worth the time.
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 prevent stress when unpacking. It’s worth spending 20 extra minutes to not have your grandma’s handmade cat china broken into millions of little pieces. Or maybe it’s not.
Before learning how to pack dishes and glasses, let’s quickly go over the essential moving supplies.
Supplies for packing dishes and glasses
Containers and boxes
- Dish barrels or dish boxes – Expensive cardboard boxing designed for maximum protection of dishes and glasses. Not needed unless the items are particularly sentimental or fragile.
- Cardboard boxes – Due to the weight and sensitivity of dishware, avoid the cheapest level of cardboard moving boxes. Boxes with built-in, sturdy handle holes are valuable. Make sure to double tape the bottom of the box (check out the best places to get free moving boxes).
Cushioning and wrapping paper
- Packing paper – Ideal cushioning and wrapping material, but you’ll have to purchase it.
- Newspaper – Free alternative to packing paper, but you’ll want to quickly wash the kitchenware after being wrapped in newspaper.
- Bubble wrap – Most expensive option. Few items will need this highest level of protection.
- Foam rolls or sheets – 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 – Contains premium adhesives for long-term storage or storage in places that aren’t climate controlled. Best option for most dishware packing situations.
- Filament or strapping tape – Durable tape with filament strands down the middle for added protection. More expensive than standard shipping tape but best for extreme jostling and climate conditions.
- Masking tape – Great for taping packing paper after wrapping individual dishes, bowls, or glasses. Cheap and easy to rip by hand.
- Avoid: Duct tape – This all-around tape doesn’t adhere well to cardboard, can leave a sticky residue, and can unstick in hot conditions.
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Packing plastic plates, cups, or other dishware? No need to add extra protection. Stack them up and throw them in a moving box.
Packing ceramic dishware? Follow the steps and guide below to learn how to pack dishes and glasses.
How to Pack Dishes
1. 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.
2. Wrap – 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.
3. Load – Load the wrapped dishes and bowls on their side in the moving box. Create a level layer of dishware.
4. Repeat – Return to Step 1 and repeat for each layer of dishes, making sure that they fit snug in the box without empty space.
How to Pack Glasses and Stemware
- Cushion – Before beginning to pack a box, first cushion the bottom of the box with paper, foam, towels or other cushioning materials (see above). After packing each level of glasses, add crumpled up padding to the corners or any empty gaps to prevent movement. Add a thin layer of cushioning before starting a new level.
- Stuff – With a section of crumpled packing paper (or the packing material of your choice), stuff the cup or glass.
- Wrap & Roll – 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.
- Load – Load 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.
- Repeat – Return to Step 1 and repeat for each layer of glasses, making sure that they fit snug in the box without empty space.
For extra fragile glassware, you may consider following MarthaStewart.com’s moving advice and double-boxing. “After you pack the box, place it in another larger box that’s padded with packing paper on all sides.”
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.
- Don’t ruin your boxes or throw away your moving supplies 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 are very durable and don’t require extra protection when packing them up. They should, however, be stored in different boxes than ceramic dishes and glass. To prevent minor scratches on nicer cookware, you can use padding to prevent jostling.
- When loading your dish boxes into the moving truck, avoid putting heavy items on top of the boxes or somewhere they could fall onto boxes with fragile items.
Other Moving Resources
Moving and Packing Items
- 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