No Broken Dishes: How to Pack Like a Professional Mover

Ross Sapir, founder and CEO of Roadway Moving, offers tips on how to keep your most fragile items safe during your next move.

Moving is typically both a costly and long process. A trusted moving company can take some of the weight off your shoulders. Doing it yourself can definitely help save during a move, but how do you know you’re doing it right? We spoke with Ross Sapir, CEO and founder of one of America’s top moving companies, Roadway Moving, for some helpful tips for packing the most commonly fragile and tricky items: glassware, dishes, artwork, lamp shades, liquid cleaning supplies, alcohol bottles, mirrors, electronic equipment and framed pictures.

Glasses and Dishes

When packing glasses, the key is to keep it light. Roadway Moving recommends using multiple small boxes and packing them lightly. Line the box with crumpled paper and carefully stuff paper inside of the glasses. Wrap the handles and stems (if applicable) and place all glasses upright in the box.

A standard rule of thumb while packing is to put heavier items at the bottom and smaller items at the top. Once your package is full and sealed, give it a gentle shake. The contents of the box should shift very little or not at all.

Much like glasses, dishes should all be wrapped individually as well in packing paper or bubble wrap. Line the inside of your box with paper like you did with the glassware, and make sure each dish is properly covered before stacking them vertically in one pile.

Framed Items

For artwork, mirrors and large framed photographs, use a picture box. This type of packing box is designed to perfectly fit over and protect your items to ensure large artwork and frames are secure during your move. For added protection, these boxes can be stuffed on all sides with more packing or bubble wrap. Mirrors can also be placed in a flat box after being wrapped with several layers of bubble wrap. When it comes to smaller framed items, you can stack them vertically as long as they’ve been thoroughly individually wrapped.

Lampshades and Odd Shapes

Lampshades make for an interesting packing problem because they’re typically both very fragile and oddly shaped. The trick to packing a lampshade is to pack it individually. Wrap the shade itself in packing paper or bubble wrap and fill the rest of the box with paper until the lampshade doesn’t move when shifted. Always pack the lamp and lampshade separately, and make sure to unscrew the bulb from the base and pack it securely.

Electronics

If possible, remove any bulbs or batteries from electronics as well before packing. Sapir recommends using double corrugated boxes, wrapping each piece of equipment individually and placing items upright in the box. Double corrugated boxes can hold much heavier weight and withstand harder impacts than a single-walled cardboard box.

Liquids

Finally, the last thing you want is for bottles filled with liquids to break or leak while in transit. For liquid cleaning supplies, first remove the caps and seal the opening with plastic wrap. Return the cap to the top, secure it with tape and store the bottles upright.

When packing alcohol or other glass bottles, you will want to follow a similar procedure and tape the caps of any opened bottles. Instead of individually wrapping each bottle, you can use a divided liquor box, which can be found at any liquor store.

Happy moving—and do something fun with all the money you saved by packing yourself.