The art of packing fragile items: tips on how to pack like an expert

Packing clothes, books and toys is relatively easy, as preserving them does not require much effort and professional packing materials. Delicate porcelain, glassware, and other breakable items, however, are very prone to damage. Keeping them intact when moving across the state is quite an art. You will have a lot of organizing to do prior to the fragile items packing process.

For some of the items, it may be best to hire a moving company. It will handle the packing and transportation for you. Some companies also might offer extra insurance for items of value. If you’ve decided to do the packing by yourself, you’ll need to take special precautions to keep everything well secured. Below, we’ve included materials, instructions, and tips for successfully packing and moving some of your fragile articles.

How to choose the right type of packing materials?

The first step in preventing your fragile belongings to end up broken is to pack them properly. Use appropriate moving supplies. If the original package is not available, here are some materials that will help:


Newspapers may seem like the cheaper choice, but the black ink can dye your valuables, causing them to stain permanently. Instead of using traditional newspaper, look for dye-free packing paper. This will allow you to securely wrap your prized possessions without any damage. And it can be used to fill open spaces in moving boxes to prevent items from shifting.

2#Bubble wrap

Another great material, bubble wrap will protect valuables and fragile items such as glass, collectible items, art and more. When putting your stuff in a box, don’t assume bubble wrap will protect it all by itself.  Add some buffer in the form of packing foam.

3#Packing peanuts

Fill your moving boxes with packing peanuts for additional security. They serve as a barrier around your fragile items.  If the things inside move around when you shake it, you haven’t used enough padding, so add more.Because packing peanuts are small and soft, they easily fill up all those nooks inside your boxes, keeping your fine antiques and electronics from damaging.

4#Boxes and wooden crates for extra fragile items

You are going to need a considerable amount of boxes in a variety of sizes. Small boxes are easily lost or damaged, so put them in bigger ones. Boxes obtained from local stores are not always clean. And they may not withstand the weight of the valuables that you’ll be putting in them. Reinforce the bottoms and the corners with packing tape, just in case! Also, make sure to not only fold over the box tops – tape them. For more valuable breakables you will want to use crates made of wood, specially designed for this fragile items to provide maximum protection.

You can find all of the above packing materials at Wal-Mart, ULINE, or The Home Depot.

Regardless of the efficiency of the tips above, the best way to pack fragile items depends on their particulars:


Crystalware, rare vitrics, and glassware are easiest things to damage while shipping or moving. Packing glassware is not a difficult job, but it requires a lot of effort. You should consider packing glassware with packing paper and in some cases, you can use bubble wrap. Place all similar objects (cups, glasses, etc.) together in the boxes.  There should be no emptiness inside the box, otherwise, they could break while transporting.

The plates are stackable, which makes them easy to pack. Just wrap them up with a layer of packing foam.

House electronics

Electrical appliances are usually very expensive, very fragile and either bulky or oddly-shaped. They are likely to suffer considerable damage if improperly loaded. Take a photo of how your electronics are connected, so you can remember where all the wires go.Remove any detachable parts from your electronics and pack them separately, but inside the same moving container as the main part. To avoid any chance of damage, place the heavier components at the bottom and then arrange the lighter ones on the top.

Artwork and antiques

Artwork and collectibles are not only very delicate but also irregularly shaped and it only adds to the challenge of packing them. Apart from wrapping expensive and fragile items in several layers of packing paper and foam sheets, it will be a good idea to pack them in custom wooden crates, to avoid breaking.  Larger paintings should be stored together and away from any smaller, more fragile pieces. Protect each frame from the other by using an extra layer of foam sheets in-between the pieces. To safely pack small fragile items, wrap each of them in bubble wrap, place them in small boxes and cushion with packing peanuts. That way the items won’t shift inside. Place the smallest pieces, such as souvenirs, magnets, and figurines in an egg carton – each one in a separate section.

Lamps and shades

First, you should disassemble the lamp. Wrap the base, harp, and bulb separately in bubble wrap. Use paper pads for larger lamps. Place them together in a carton, filling spaces with crushed packing foam. LED bulbs can be wrapped in bubble pack and put in a box. Never wrap lamp shades in the inked paper! It can permanently stain a shade’s delicate linen. Carefully wrap each shade in three or more sheets of tissue paper.

Musical instruments

Most musical instruments have their specially designed cases and are easy to relocate. Just inform your movers or friends about its specific handling requirements. On the other hand, if you are planning on moving a piano, you are strongly advised to hire a professional moving company.

  • Labeling and transportation

After having packed your fragile items, you need to make one more step – mark the boxes. Label them with relevant instructions such as “fragile“,”this side up“, or similar, written on all sides of the boxes. We also recommend that you note the room that the box should go into at your new house. Proper labeling highly increases chances of having your belongings delivered intact.

Fragile items labels for boxes

There’s no way to guarantee a perfect ride for your fragile items, but careful packing and labeling is probably the best preventative measure.

When loading breakable items into the moving truck, remember that heavier items should definitely stay below lighter ones. Extremely large pieces, such as glass tabletops, or full-size mirrors are better placed between mattresses or other large soft pieces. You should make sure nothing can fall over your boxes and cause damage. Careful driving will be very beneficial, of course.

  • Unpacking

When you start unloading delicate items and taking them inside your new apartment, you should handle them with as much attention as before the trip. Take your time. You don’t have to unpack everything in one day, so don’t force it.

Unpacking can be fun, so make the process feel like the end of a pleasant project.