How To Pack and Move Your Most Fragile Belongings
Moving is stressful, but it becomes extra stressful if you arrive at your new home only to find that you’re opening boxes to reveal broken items.
If you’re packing your own belongings, here are some of the things that get broken most often, and how to keep them safe.
If you’ve been caring for some plants for years, it’s worth the extra effort to take them with you when you move to your new home.
The first step is to stop watering them shortly before you move. This will reduce the weight. You should also trim back any overgrowth that looks vulnerable to breakage. Small to medium sized plants can be grouped together in an open box, with padding between each pot.
One of the main issues with moving larger plants is tipping. To help prevent this, put the pot inside a cardboard box that’s just slightly bigger than the plant pot. Stuff the corners of the box with crumpled paper to provide cushioning and to keep the pot upright.
A common error with moving plants is to close tops of boxes full of plants. If movers can’t see the plants inside, they may try to stack other boxes on top.
The safest way to pack electronics is in the boxes they originally came in, so if you know you have a move coming up, hang on to any original packaging you’ve got.
If you didn’t save the boxes, you can still keep your electronics safe without them. The key is lots of padding; it’s worth the expense to get bubble wrap. The other important thing is to be aware of sensitive surfaces, like the fronts of speakers and screens.
Any screen should ideally be covered with microfibre fabric to prevent scratching. Then, a generous layer of bubble wrap around the whole item will keep it well padded. The wrapped screen then goes inside a very solid box. Remember, you paid a lot for these items so it’s worth it to spend the effort making sure they’re well protected.
The strength of the mirror is in the frame, so any weight should be carried by the frame. For this reason, you’ll be packing your mirror on its side in a box.
If the box is too large to have one mirror on its own, make sure you don’t pack anything smaller than the mirror, as these items can impact on the glass and break it. Try other framed artwork of a similar size, or even trays. Just make sure there’s tons of bubble wrap around each individual item.
Dishes and Glassware
China cartons are larger boxes with double-thickness cardboard and reinforced corners. If your dishware and glasses were expensive, it’s worth the investment to get some. Sometimes you can find second hand ones online for much less.
The most important part of packing dishes and glassware is to pad the bottom and corners of the box with balls of crumpled paper. Make sure everything in the box is nice and tight, as you don’t want things to shift and break.
For dishes you’ll be packing like items together: plates with plates, bowls with bowls, etc. You don’t need bubble wrap for dishware – lots of newsprint will work fine. Wrap each item in a few sheets of paper, and then wrap a group of four to six like items together in a bundle. Put each bundle on its side in the box and fill up a layer. If you have enough room in the box you can do multiple layers, but be sure to pad between each one.
For glasses you’ll be individually wrapping them in several sheets of paper, but not bundling them together as you did with the plates and bowls. For stemware, cushion the stems by crumpling paper around them before you wrap each glass. Do the same for teapots or anything else with a handle.
Bottles of Alcohol
Whether you’ve got a few bottles of nice whisky or a wine collection you’ve been cellaring for years, alcohol must be moved carefully. This is hard because it’s so heavy.
Most movers won’t take alcohol because it’s flammable if it breaks. The best option is to move your bottles yourself in a car. Simply divide up your bottles into smaller boxes (they’re heavy, remember) and make sure each bottle is individually padded with bubble wrap.
Assuming your appliances are new enough to be worth the trouble to move them, it’s important to remember that you can’t put them in a box. Instead, you’ll be ensuring any internal moving parts are secure and loading them into the van as-is.
This is especially important with washing machines, especially front-loading ones. These come with special bolts that keep the rotating drum in place. If you didn’t keep these from when you bought it, no problem – you can buy another at your local hardware store.
If you’re moving your refrigerator, it’s important to remember to defrost it first. Give away any food you can’t eat before you move, give it a good clean, load it onto your van and pray for smooth roads.
Doing it Right Costs Less
It’s tempting to cut corners when packing because it’s so time consuming and, let’s face it, tedious. For wrapping fragile items, the cost of packing materials can really add up.
It’s inevitable that you’ll find yourself questioning the care you put into packing when you’ve been at it for days. Just remind yourself how much you spent on your possessions in the first place, and how much it would cost to replace them. In most cases, it’s less expensive to get good packing materials and spend the time to make sure your treasures arrive at your new home in one piece.
Jennifer Priest writes for the blog on Cassidy’s Transfer & Storage. Cassidy’s has over 100 years of experience in packing specialty items and moving them safely. Whether it’s local, long distance or international moving, Cassidy’s moves anything anytime anywhere.