How to Store the Most Common Fragile Items
Preparing for a move is a hectic process that leaves you tired and impatient, which in turn leads to moments of carelessness that could result in losses. If you’re not careful, you could drop one of your antiques or mishandle a box of glass or porcelain kitchen essentials, causing them to crack or break. Fortunately, most of these packing and moving tragedies are preventable with the right skills, tools, supplies, and some effort.
Before you start packing your fragile items, you should:
Make the Necessary Preparations
Packing up glass, porcelain, crystal, and other breakables is a slow process compared to other items, so you should give yourself enough time to complete the task. If you don’t plan on hiring movers, then it’s best that you start well before the moving day so you can pack the items without rushing yourself.
Get the Right Tools and Supplies
You need to protect your fragile items from receiving any direct impact that may cause them to break, including colliding with each other during transport. For this, you need various supplies, such as:
- Heavy-duty plastic containers. For packing fragile items, we recommend using plastic storage bins rather than cardboard boxes because they’re not as stable or durable as plastic. This poses the risk of tearing from the bottom or buckling when other boxes are stacked during storage. Plastic containers are not only durable and easy to stack, but also easy to pack due to the convenient handles.
- Small to medium boxes. These can be used to pack some items, provided they’re not overloaded.
- Bubble wrap. Each item should be wrapped with bubble wrap or another packing wrap for fragile items before packing them in plastic containers. You can also use foam peanuts or paper to cushion the items from impact and prevent damage when moving the containers. Consider filling any spaces in the containers with different kinds of packing materials to keep the items secured within.
You will also need some packing tape, packing paper, a pair of scissors, and a large table to spread out the items. Avoid using newspaper because it can leave markings on your pieces. Blankets, old towels, and paper towels are also not recommended for wrapping fragile items because they’re neither strong nor reliable, especially since they’re hard to secure with tape, causing them to slip easily. Use the right supplies to avoid any regrets.
Pack Each Fragile Item Accordingly
Here are some ideas to pack some of the common fragile items:
1. Cups and glasses
Each individual cup or glass should be wrapped with packing paper before placing it inside larger pieces—with crumpled paper in between—to save space. The pieces can then be placed upright inside a small/medium box or container lined with packing paper at the bottom. Add some paper in all spaces around the glasses and above them. Make sure the heaviest pieces sit at the bottom, with the lighter ones on top. Handle wine glasses with extra caution because of their delicate stems.
2. Plates and dishes
Plates and dishes should be arranged vertically in a small to medium box or container lined with packing paper that has been crumpled at the bottom and top after placing the items. Each plate should be wrapped in bubble wrap and tape to secure it. You can add a piece of paper in between the plates or buy plastic or cardboard dividers to help keep the pieces steady. Check the weight of the container or box, so it doesn’t become too heavy to move.
Each piece should be wrapped individually with paper and packed with the flat side down. The bases can be disassembled and put in a large box, and the spaces filled with bubble wrap as needed.
4. Picture frames
Frames should be wrapped in packing paper and placed in small to medium boxes or containers lined with paper. With the frames placed vertically, add crumpled paper between each piece and some more on top of the frames before covering it. This will prevent the frames from shifting around when moving. Larger frames measuring three feet and above should be covered with a blanket, wrapped in plastic, and then moved separately.
5. Specialty items
Oddly-shaped fragile items like chandeliers only need to be packed in a way that shields them from external impact, so they can’t move around in the box or container. First, choose a suitable size of box or container where it can fit completely, including any protruding parts or handles. Disassemble any components that can be taken apart and wrap each piece in bubble wrap completely, and secure it with tape. When you’re done, line the bottom and sides of the box with paper, and then place the piece inside it. Fill any spaces with crumpled paper, and the top as well. Close the lid and tape it securely.
Label “FRAGILE” Boxes
When you’re finished packing your fragile pieces in boxes and/or containers, mark them using a bold felt maker as “FRAGILE.” This way, you, the movers, and anyone else helping you will know how to handle those specific boxes with extra care.
Consider Using Climate-Controlled Storage Units
Even after safely packing your fragile items, you should still protect them from heat and humidity fluctuation that can damage electronics, photo albums, artwork, paper documents, and other sensitive valuables. Getting a self-storage unit with climate control will ensure that your valuables are kept at a consistent temperature year-round.
Take the time to shop for packing materials and pack your fragile items carefully to prevent damage while moving. Most self-storage facilities offer climate control units to store sensitive items. They can also offer other convenient features such as access control, surveillance systems, and dollies and ramps for safe transport. Thus giving you peace of mind that your items are safe and protected.
If you don’t want to pack the fragile items yourself, or are unsure about how to go about it, you should seek professional help from your moving company. Most movers have specialized boxes and containers for handling fragile items, such as picture/mirror frame packs and dish packs they can use. Plus, they have the skills to do it right.
Lastly, wherever you decide to store your fragile items, make sure to set the containers closer to the floor, with the larger and heavier containers at the bottom, to prevent accidental tip-overs.