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Moving China, Dishware and Other Fragile Items

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Know what needs special care - Determine which of your items are fragile enough to need special consideration when packing, loading and moving – this is important knowledge for the movers to have. While you may have identified some objects like dishes and mirrors as obviously in need of special care, don't overlook other belongings such as pictures too.

Pack with care – The packing process is critical.  Ensure that belongings are packed in a way specifically designed to keep them safe. Leave as little empty space as possible so that these items don't jostle around.  Listen for clunking sounds when you move the box – if you can hear things moving around, you have too much empty space.

Sturdy Box -- Use a sturdy box -- liquor stores are good sources, since their boxes are designed to carry heavy bottles.  Book stores are good sources as well.

Picture frames -- Stack flat or edge-wise in a sturdy box. Place a sheet of bubble wrap, newspaper or even old clothes between each frame to protect them from damage.

DishesAbout Home recommends the following for packing dishes:

  • Use dish barrels which are stronger and thicker cardboard and meant to absorb travel shock.  They cost a bit more than regular boxes, but are worth it.
  • Be sure to reinforce the bottom of the box with strong packing tape.  Draw tape across the bottom and up the sides about one-third the way up.  Secure the ends and keep the container square while taping.
  • A cleaner alternative to newspaper for packing breakables is white packing paper which is available by the bundle online and from movers.


Glasses – Stemware can be packed in partitioned boxes -- use extra sheets of cardboard to create a grid inside the box. You can also pack everyday glassware in boxes:

  • Create a 6” bed of crumpled packing paper on the bottom of your box to absorb shock.
  • Wrap glassware and breakables in packing paper; double wrapping is suggested for extra protection.
  • Begin packing with the heaviest, sturdiest glassware on bottom, ending with the most fragile in the top half of the box.


Label everything -- Label boxes clearly in large, bold lettering indicating that the contents are fragile. Many moving companies offer special stickers for this very purpose.  Consider color-coding your boxes as you pack up your belongings for quick visual recognition of which items should be handled with extra care.

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