How to pack fragile items for moving and storage

When moving or reorganising your home or workplace, you’ll probably find that you have some fragile items to pack up – including obviously breakable items like glass, china and picture frames/mirrors and other easily damaged items like computer monitors, TVs and other technology.

There’s more to packing fragile items than simply covering them in bubble wrap, putting them in a box and hoping for the best. Proper packing techniques help fragile items withstand being lifted/moved/stacked up and protect them against damage from vibration (boxes may be wheeled over rough surfaces and shaken by vehicle movements) and impact (boxes could be knocked, dropped or subjected to pressure from other items).

Here’s a list of the packing materials you’ll need to properly wrap and cushion fragile items:

  • Packing paper/newspaper and bubble wrap.
  • Strong cardboard boxes in a range of sizes (up to two square feet, which is probably the largest size you can carry comfortably).
  • It’s generally best to buy new boxes (including some with cardboard dividers for smaller items like glassware) but if you want to reuse old boxes, check that they haven’t become damp while in storage and make sure you can still seal them up properly.
  • If you’ve kept the retail packaging for electronic items (such as computers), using the original cardboard/foam sleeve to pack the items will provide maximum protection.
  • Foam peanuts (or mini air cushions).
  • Parcel tape.
  • Marker pens.

And here’s how to pack fragile items for moving or storage in 5 easy steps.

  • Tape down all open edges and corners in the bottom of each box, then line the inside with bubble wrap and add a layer of foam peanuts at the bottom; you could also use a sheet, blanket or towel to provide extra cushioning.
  • Individually wrap each item with 1–2 layers of packing paper/newspaper/bubble wrap, making sure to tuck some in to any hollow spaces (such as the inside of wine glasses), and secure with tape to keep the protective layer in place.
  • Pack heavier items in smaller boxes and lighter items in larger boxes, placing the heaviest items on the bottom and the lightest at the top and taking care not to over-fill the boxes (which could cause them to break open).
  • Fill any empty space around the items and at the top of the box with bubble wrap, foam peanuts or scrunched-up paper to limit movement.
  • Seal all open edges of the box firmly with tape and write “FRAGILE – THIS WAY UP” a few times in marker pen so that whoever handles the box is reminded to take extra care with it. You could also label the box with what it contains and where it should go to make unpacking it easier later on.

For advice about fragile item storage or to find out about our range of storage units, please contact us.