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Moving should be a happy occasion, opening the door to new memories in your new home. Yet too many people know the heartbreak of unpacking after a move only to find broken glassware or porcelain among their valuable items. Antique teacups that have been in your family for generations or beautiful dinnerware that has been a treasured gift from your wedding day could be lost forever!

Oftentimes, these items are something that you have packed yourself to save time and/or money. Glassware and other breakables packed by professionals seldom break like that.

You might wonder, “Why do so many precious items break when I have packed them myself?” The answer is simple: They break because no matter how lovingly the item was packed, it was simply packed the wrong way.

Instead of asking why, you should instead be focusing on how to pack dishes and other household breakables correctly to protect them during the move. To help you do so, we have created the following guide on packing your fragile items for moving.

How to Pack Dishes

When Preparing to Pack Dishes You Will Need a Few Items:

Packing Material

our Dishes will need secure padding to prevent them from breaking. To save money, crumpled or folded newspaper will work, But, to keep things cleaner you can purchase white packing paper. Other items that are a little more pricier are bubble wrap and packing peanuts. To keep within budget other items to secure you dishes are plastic grocery bags, old nylons or soft towels.


Storage Containers

Dishes should be packed in a stronger, more resistant container than a standard box. If you only have boxes, use extra padding to stop any breakage from happening. The preferred item to use are dish boxes, learn about “Dish Boxes” for moving below. For a little extra money, you can purchase wooden packing crates. For glasses and stemware, a great option is boxes made with individual cells and layers. You can make your own cells and layers by cutting a piece of cardboard and placing it in between the rows of your stemware.


Storage Tools

Don’t forget your other packing tools like packing tape, markers and if you like, box labels!

Dish Boxes for Moving

Before the glassware is even touched, the boxes need to be prepared. The ideal box for moving glassware is called a dish box, a container made of a double layer of corrugated cardboard specially designed to protect your household breakables. Because their thicker walls make dish boxes more expensive than the standard single-walled moving boxes, they should be used exclusively for your fragile items.

We strongly encourage you to use smaller boxes, as these are easier to handle. Once the box is assembled – a simple operation of opening the flat box and arranging the flaps into each other – the bottom seam needs to be secured with strapping or duct tape. This is a type of tape that can only be cut with a box cutter or scissors, as it is made with nylon. To make the box even stronger, add another strip of tape across the main seam to form a cross.

The best way to pack wine glasses and other stemware when moving is to use what is called stemware boxes – the same highly durable dish boxes yet with additional divider inserts to act as an extra shock absorber. Stemware boxes make the confusion of packing stemware a thing of the past!

Stemware Boxes for Moving

Use these special glass boxes that include dividers, to protect your stemware. Delicate glassware and stemware should be placed in the dividers, rim up, to prevent any breakage. Before placing your glassware into the celled box, make sure that you wrap it properly to prevent any broken glasses during your move.

To wrap a glass properly, follow these steps:

  1. Take several sheets of wrapping paper and gently stuff the interior of the glass.
  2. Layout several sheets of packing paper and place the glass on its side, perpendicular to the corner of the paper
  3. Pull the corners around the glass, then gently roll the glass, while gently tucking the packing paper into the globe and around the base until completely wrapped
  4. Place the glass into on of the cells, stem first.
  5. Fill any open spaces with bubble wrap, or wrapping paper.
  6. Once the box is filled, gently shake the box. If it rattles this means that there are some gaps that still need to be filled.
  7. Tab the box closed and mark it as “fragile”.

Packing Paper vs. Bubble Wrap

Packing paper and bubble wrap are two of the most common fragile packing materials used today. Both are known for their strength and durability, effectively protecting fragile items during a move. Two key difference between them are as follows:

  • Packing paper requires significantly less space, allowing you to stack more items without overburdening the box. Meanwhile, bubble wrap makes your items bulkier than they need to be, thereby increasing your number of dish boxes.
  • Bubble wrap is made from polyethylene, a common type of plastic, which is neither environmentally friendly nor recyclable. Packing paper, on the other hand, protects not only your breakables but also the environment.

Although packing paper is the clear choice, adding a layer of bubble wrap between a bundle of paper-wrapped items can offer the extra cushion that your breakables need!

Some people opt for packing dishes with newspaper as a save to save money on fragile packing materials. However, it is important to note that newsprint can leave ink stains on your precious household breakables, doubling the work when you unpack.

How to Pack Dishes and Glasses for Moving

Once you have prepared your dish boxes and your fragile packing materials, it is time to begin packing. For optimal success the first time, we recommend that you follow these simple steps:

  1. Items to pack – Plates, bowls, glasses, cups, stemware, and other breakables.
  2. Make sure that you boxes are set up properly. Tape the corners and edges with reinforced packing tape for added strength.
  3. Buy lots of boxes! You don’t want to pack a lot of items in one box. Allow room for padding. Evaluate how much you want to place in a single box. Don’t overfill any boxes or make them too heavy. These are the boxes that you wont want to drop!
  4. Pack all the glassware from one room into the same box or boxes. This makes unpacking and placing them in the new home much easier.
  5. Crumple up paper and place it in the bottom of the box. You know that there is enough paper if you cannot feel the bottom of the box when you press down. Make sure to crumple up paper and pack it into the corners as well.
  6. Stuff crumpled up packing paper inside the glasses. Make sure the paper is packed gently but firmly in the bowl of the glass. Crumple up more paper and wrap it around handles and stems. Insert paper into the open end, roll and tuck. Make sure that the sides and top of the box are also padded. A few layers of paper can absorb some of those bumps that are bound to happen with toy move.
  7. Place all glassware in an upright position. Do not lay them on their sides or place them upside down. Cushion them with plenty of crumpled packing paper.
  8. When packing plates, lay out a stack of wrapping paper an inch or so thick. Place a plate in the center, then grab the corners of a few sheets of the wrapping paper and bend them into the center of the plate. Place the next plate on top of this.
  9. When the paper has been used, flip the stack of plates over. There should be three or four plates, depending on how much wrapping paper was used. Re-wrap all of the plates with more wrapping paper and secure it with packing tape.
  10. Place the bundle of plates on its side in a small box on the layer of crumpled paper. Add more bundles of plates until everything is snug, then stuff corners with crumpled paper and cover everything with more layers of paper.
  11. Remember the most basic rule of packing, placing the heaviest items on the bottom and the lighter objects at the top. When your packaged bundles are 3 inches from the top of the box, fill the rest with additional crumpled paper.
  12. Tape the box shut and add a label that reads, “Fragile: This Side Up.”
  13. If you are storing the boxes, place fragile items on top of other items.


How to Pack Dishes

How to Pack stemware
How to Pack breakables
How to Pack breakables for moving
How to Pack breakables for storage
How to Pack Fragile Items
How to Pack Fragile dishes
How to Pack Fragile glasses


Wondering how to pack with bubble wrap? The same general rules apply as to packing paper. If bubble wrap is your packing material of choice, ensure that the bubbles face inward to properly cushion the item that needs protection.

Whether you are packing fragile items for a long-distance move, storage, or a move across the street, learning how to do it correctly can result in a highly rewarding experience. Once you have mastered the best way to pack dishes, glasses and all other household breakables, you can begin life at your new home with a smile!

Tom Philips

Thomas Philips is a writer and content marketer with a keen interest in the moving industry. As a travel enthusiast and logistics expert by training, Thomas has been working with various moving companies for the past 16 years. He currently writes for Roadway Moving and applies his expertise through his written works. Thomas makes it a point to give practical moving advice to both clients and readers to help transform their moving experience into an unforgettable one