How to Pack Fragile Items Before Your Move

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Look around your home, at all of the fragile, delicate items within it. When you really start to consider what’s “fragile,” there’s a lot more of these items than most people realize. The dishes in your cabinets. The figurines on your mantle. The glass tabletop in your living room. All it takes is one mishap for these items to be irreparably damaged—shattered or broken into a thousand little pieces with no way of recovering them!

Now, imagine you’ve got a move coming up and you need to transport all these items from one home to another. All of the sudden, the prospect of relocating doesn’t seem so easy! How in the world are you going to safely pack up and transport these fragile items without putting them in jeopardy?

The good news is that packing delicate, fragile items is easier than you might think, so long as you exercise proper care and attention. And, if you don’t feel confident packing these items yourself, there are always professionals who can do it for you. Here’s a quick guide on how to pack fragile items before a move and what options you have for protecting these delicate objects before and during a relocation.

Identify fragile items

The first step for packing fragile items is to identify them. Identify not only which items are fragile, but why they’re fragile. Here are a few common reasons something might be considered delicate:

  • Material: Some materials have a very low tensile strength, which makes them prone to breaking with impact or under duress. Most of the time, these materials are obvious: glass, ceramic and porcelain are all prone to cracking, chipping and shattering. If you’re not sure what an object is made of, try to find a stamp that says the material on it, take it to an appraiser for identification, or look online for more information.
  • Shape: Some items are considered fragile because of their shape. For example, items with a bottleneck or concave area are naturally weaker at these points. The more angles something has, the more geometric stability it generally has. Curved and narrow sections are naturally more prone to breakage as a result. Consider this as you look at an object through the lens of fragility.
  • Age: Time makes fools of us all! Even generally resilient items can be considered fragile if they’re old. Age can make plastic brittle or make soft metals malleable, which can lead to warping or breakage during a move. Consider the age of your objects as you pack them to avoid damaging items that might otherwise need a little extra love and attention due to their age.

Remember, even things that don’t look delicate can be. Consider a piano, for example. Pianos are imposing and strong, but can become damaged by even the slightest catalyst like moisture or jarring. Now, while you’re not likely “packing” a piano before a move, it’s a good reminder that delicate objects come in all shapes and sizes.

Step-by-step packing instructions

Once you’ve sifted through your things and identified the fragile items you need to pack, consider how you’re going to pack them. It’s best to approach the job with an overabundance of caution and the right materials. Here’s a quick step-by-step approach for properly packing fragile objects:

  1. Wrap items in protective padding. Smaller objects should be wrapped in bubble wrap or a similar padding material. Larger items should be wrapped in towels and plastic wrap for maximum cushion.
  2. Use the right boxes. Make sure you’re packing fragile items in moving boxes after they’re wrapped—not just any old cardboard box! Strong boxes are important for structural stability during the move.
  3. Use packing fill. Packing peanuts and/or inflated packing cushions are important for keeping fragile items in place. The less opportunity there is for these items to move, the less risk there is for damage.
  4. Seal boxes tightly. Once filled, make sure to tape off and seal boxes tightly, to prevent fragile items from shifting. This will also prevent any accidental spillage if the box is mishandled.
  5. Label accordingly. Every box with fragile material should be labeled accordingly. Write “FRAGILE” in big, bold letters or use a red sharpie to make sure they stand out. Some people even put a special sticker or stamp on fragile boxes.

Above all else, take the time to pack fragile items and give them due attention throughout the process. It’s going to take more time to wrap and package these items, but it’s worth it to preserve them and save yourself the headache of damaged or broken items after a move.

Leave it to the professionals

Don’t want to leave anything up to chance when it comes to your fragile and delicate items? Leave the packing to the professionals! Professional packers and movers will know how to treat your delicate items and can make sure they get due attention during the packing, loading and transportation phases of your move.

Another great reason to hire professional packers is to protect yourself against accidental damage. A reputable packing company will be insured, which means if something does happen to your delicate items while in transit as the result of improper packing, you’re covered. You don’t get this same peace of mind when packing your own items. If something breaks as the result of poor packing, it’s on you.

Fragile items can be a pain in the neck to pack, but they have to get from Point A to Point B somehow! Follow the above packing tips for fragile items or leave these items to the professionals, and give yourself the peace of mind you deserve when it comes to your most delicate belongings.

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