How to Store Fragile Items

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It’s easy to overlook simple packing rules when it comes to fragile items. We’re usually in a rush and want the job done as quickly as possible. But a slap-dash effort can result in heartbreak when you open your box and find that your martini glasses are shattered. Fortunately, you can avoid this scenario by using the right tools and implementing some simple strategies. Below is a five-step plan that will protect your delicate items and ensure that they remain in the same condition as when you packed them.  

1. Create an inventory

Unlike your other belongings, fragile items can’t be packed willy-nilly. You need time and patience if you want them to arrive in one piece. Weeks before the move, put aside some time to gather all your glassware, crockery, crystal figurines and other breakables. Create an inventory so you know exactly what the space requirements will be. This will give you a good idea of how many boxes and supplies you’ll need. 

2. Buy your packing supplies

The most important thing about packing fragile items is that they need a strong base and plenty of padding to minimise impact. Here are the materials you’ll need:

  • Heavy-duty plastic containers. While boxes are ideal for general items, breakables require a sturdier base. Plastic containers with snap-lock lids are more rigid and can be stacked without the bottom giving out.
  • Small boxes. If you’ve got items that are small and only slightly fragile, like ceramic figurines, use archive boxes. Try not to overload them or you’ll put pressure on the base.
  • Bubble wrap. You’ll need bubble wrap to cover each item before you put it in the container or box. You may also need extra layers to provide more padding or protect corners.
  • Wrapping paper. There are always going to be gaps in boxes, which should be filled with scrunched up wrapping paper. Avoid newspapers; they can leave ink marks on your plates or glasses.
  • Tape. All boxes should be taped shut, ideally with Fragile Tape. If plastic containers don’t have snap-lock lids, use Fragile tape to secure them.

3. Start packing

This is the most important part, so don’t rush it. When it comes to packing itself, your technique will depend on the item and its size. Are you packing martini glasses or plates? A mirror or crystal lamp? Below you’ll find some guidelines to get you started.

Glassware

Wrap each glass with wrapping paper and place it upright in the container. Make sure you put extra crumpled paper in the gaps to avoid movement. Try to put the heaviest glassware down the bottom and the lightest on the top.

Crockery

Each plate should be covered in bubble wrap and packed vertically into the container or box. Why vertically? Because your plates can sustain more weight this way and avoid damage. Make sure you pack them tightly to fill up all spaces. For more stability, place a hard cardboard divider between four or five plates. Fill any small gaps with crumpled wrapping paper.

Lamps

Disassemble the lampshade and wrap all parts in bubble wrap. Place in a box and fill empty spaces (including the lampshade) with crumpled paper or more bubble wrap.

Picture frames, artworks and mirrors

If you’ve got small picture frames, these can be covered in bubble wrap and placed vertically in a container. Fill gaps as necessary. For larger frames, artworks and mirrors, you’ll need to protect the glass or canvas by securing a piece of thick cardboard over it. After doing this, attach some bubble wrap to the corners. These parts are prone to damage during moving. Lastly, wrap the item completely in bubble wrap and store it vertically, either on its own or in a custom frame/mirror box.

Unusual items

Not all objects fit neatly in standard boxes. You may have a chandelier, dolls house or sculpture that has an unusual shape. If possible, dismantle each component and wrap it in bubble wrap or wrapping paper, depending on how delicate the parts are. Then, place it in an extra-large box and fill the gaps with crumpled paper. If you’ve got large pieces that can’t be packed, cover them with a double layer of bubble wrap and tape the wrap so that it doesn’t come off. Place in a large wooden crate. Cardboard won’t withstand the weight of heavy sculptures, which is why you’ll need a stronger base. If you don’t have one, speak to your removalist about getting wooden crates for large and heavy objects.

4. Label your containers and boxes

When everything has been packed, mark the delicate items with Fragile Tape. Make sure it’s visible from all sides. This will ensure that your belongings are packed and moved correctly, both on the truck and in your storage unit.

5. Choose the right storage unit

Fragile items can deteriorate in hot or cold weather, which is why you should opt for a climate-controlled unit. But whatever you do, don’t stack them on top of each other. If space is limited or you want to save money, install shelves to store them vertically. Not only will this keep them separate and off the ground, but it’ll also provide easy access if you want to retrieve them.

Final thoughts

Packing fragile items can take time and effort, but it’s worth it if you want them to arrive in one piece! To ensure success, create an inventory, buy the right materials, follow our packing instructions and store them in a climate-controlled unit. If you’re planning to store delicate items and you want further advice, feel free to contact our friendly team and they’ll help you find the right solution for your needs.

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