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Your Mother’s China: Tips for Packing and Moving Fragile Items

December 13, 2018 | Moving Guides & Tips, Packing Guides & Tips

During a move, many people who do their own packing worry about packaging fragile materials properly. Improper packing strategies can lead to broken plates, damaged electronics, and shattered Christmas ornaments. Learn these strategies for packing and moving fragile items to help ensure that your breakables are well protected throughout your upcoming relocation.

Stock Up On Wrapping Materials

Bubble wrap isn’t the only type of wrapping material that is available to people who are moving. You have a variety of materials at your disposal to help you protect your fragile items.

  • Thin foam wrap
  • Packing peanuts
  • Styrofoam boards
  • Expandable foam packaging

Plastic wrap can be used to wrap foam around your items, while packing tape can be used to secure bubble wrap in place.

You may also be able to use materials around the house to pack fragile items (such as plastic grocery bags and old newspaper). These materials can be effective in some cases but are best used in tandem with designated packing materials.

For example, use plastic bags and newspaper to fill space in a box that contains a fragile item, like a teapot, wrapped in bubble wrap. The teapot is protected by the bubble wrap, and the space around it is filled by inexpensive household items.

Mix Fragile and Soft Items Together

Pillows and blankets make good filling material around objects like porcelain, mirrors, mugs, and cups. Pack your fragile materials in boxes with soft items to help cushion the box throughout the move.

While you’re packing, set aside soft items that might be useful for packing fragile materials. Towels, blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, and cloth napkins are all possibilities. Keep these items accessible so you can use them when they’re needed.

Buy Extra Strong Boxes

You’ve probably noticed that some expensive pieces of electronic equipment will come packaged in extra tough boxes. This is because fragile items need to be protected by extra strong boxes.

Box strength is measured by weight capacity, crush test, and bursting test. The bursting test is the force that it takes to rupture the box, while the crush test is the force that it takes to crush a box standing on its edge. Double corrugated boxes are able to perform better in crush tests and bursting tests than single corrugated boxes. Buy extra strong boxes for your fragile items.

When taping up your extra strong boxes, wrap tape around all corners and edges. This will help prevent the box from being crushed in the event of an accident.

Buy Boxes of the Right Size and Shape

Specialty boxes like mirror and painting boxes can help protect items of strange sizes and dimensions. When shopping for boxes, look for containers that are specially designed to hold your home’s most fragile items.

Label Boxes Properly

Boxes that contain fragile items need to be treated with proper care. Unfortunately, you won’t know that a box contains a fragile item unless you label it with the word “fragile.” Depending on how many fragile items you have, you could find yourself spending a lot of time writing the word “fragile” on every side of every box that contains a breakable item.

You’ll save a lot of time if you can label your fragile boxes with stickers that say “fragile” on them. These stickers are sometimes sold through packing supply companies. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of finding a sticker that has text on it, buy bright-orange, circle-shaped stickers from a local office supply company.

These stickers will serve as a marker that a box contains fragile items. Be sure to communicate with your moving company when the movers arrive to let them know that boxes labeled with bright-orange circles contain fragile items. Remember to label boxes on all sides with the proper stickers, including the tops and bottoms.

Keep Fragile Items in One Location

During the packing process, keep all your fragile items in one location. Keep the piles of boxes fairly low in case a stack of boxes should be knocked over. When the movers arrive, having the fragile boxes all in one location will make it easy to show your movers which boxes need to be handled the most carefully.

Communicate With Your Movers

If you’re working with a reputable moving company, your movers are sure to handle your fragile items with care. Still, it’s important to communicate with your movers to ensure that everyone loading the truck knows which boxes need the gentlest handling. Gather all of your movers into the section of the house that contains the fragile items, and show them the special labels on the boxes.

If you have more questions about how you can protect your fragile items during a move, communicate with your mover before the big day arrives. At Bekins Van Lines, we’re here to answer your relocation related questions, so your move is sure to be less stressful and more successful. Call us today with all your move-related questions.

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