There are a range of reasons why goods need to be appropriately packed – for selling goods online via an eCommerce platform, or for moving home.
Moving home can be incredibly stressful. Yet trying to fit your life in boxes and suitcases, alongside the logistics of a move, can be one of the most difficult parts of the process. An added worry is wondering how best to pack fragile items, and knowing how to best protect your prized possessions.
Worries around moving home are usually greater when you are moving either long distances across the country, or even further – abroad. In these circumstances, it can be tricky to find the best method for packing fragile items for shipping, alongside identifying the best packing material.
Naturally we want to protect and secure all of our belongings the best we can, regardless of whether they are delicate or not. During a move, boxes often get knocked over and thrown about as removal companies attempt to be ‘in and out’ of a property as quickly as possible. This means that there are various household items that require extra care, including furniture and possessions you may not have considered fragile. Alongside having the best packaging materials, you should follow appropriate steps to package your items in the correct way. Wrapping them in other soft furnishings such as towels and clothes doesn’t often end well!
What are fragile items?
Doing a rough inventory of all your possessions before you begin the packing process is important, as it’s an opportunity to best determine how you pack and the appropriate materials you will need. In addition to your packaging materials and packing method, you’ll need to consider what is packed and/or stored away first in your removal lorry or van. Fragile items should never be packed in boxes loaded at the base of your removal truck as the added weight of stacked boxes can cause unnecessary strain.
Knowing how to pack successfully all boils down to knowing which of your possessions are fragile versus those that are not. In addition to the obvious items like glasses, plates, mirrors and ornaments are goods such as lamp shades, computer and television screens, and personal day-to-day items like cosmetics and toiletries. If they don’t have a place in your suitcase and are instead destined for a moving box, they need to be appropriately wrapped and protected to avoid any messy spillages!
Fragile items are not just items that are easily broken, but also goods that can be damaged. Although some goods are unlikely to crack or shatter in comparison to delicate glassware like wine glasses, goods made from ceramic and crystal, as well as soft upholstery fabrics like velvet, are susceptible to dents, scrapes and discoloration if not packed correctly or with the appropriate packaging.
What’s the best packing material for fragile items?
Naturally, the packaging materials you need are determined by the types of goods you need to pack and protect. However, how you pack them is also a factor when it comes to choosing your packaging material.
In addition to individually wrapping items, moving boxes that carry fragile items should also be lined with packaging foam sheets, bubble wrap, packing paper or foam peanuts. For glasses and mugs, or other small and delicate items such as decorative Christmas baubles and ornaments, you may wish to source box dividers made from either cardboard or foam. These will stop items from shifting within the box and potentially causing damage to other goods.
For fragile yet hollow items, it’s also worth stuffing these with packing paper or foam peanuts to give them a little extra weight and stability. Likewise, you should also pack hollow items and their accompanying lids and components separately – a lid placed on a jar can do great damage when journeying in a removal van. This same principle applies if you are packing fragile items for shipping.
For the most delicate of items, consider packing these in individual or smaller boxes where possible. Doing so will ensure that these items aren’t put under unnecessary weight pressure when packed away with additional items. Removal boxes can get heavy, and you do not want to place your small ornamental items under a similar weight! Alternatively, if your items require extra protection, or you have lost the original packaging or box materials for your goods, you can order ‘die cut foam’ that is made to order. This is a foam block with a customised hollowed out shape that snugly fits your item.
Steps for packing fragile items
Glassware and ceramics
When it comes to packing glassware and ceramics, use a medium sized cardboard box or smaller. You should also use plenty of packing paper (which can be purchased as a roll of brown paper), but alternatively you can use newspaper. Just be sure to thoroughly wash the glasses when they are unpacked – ink from the paper may have transferred.
Ensure to wrap each item individually with your chosen material so that it covers the item at least three to four times. For additional protection, consider opting for bubble wrap or thin foam sheets rather than packing paper.
Computers and TVs
Given the value of some computers and TVs, custom foam packaging (e.g. die cut foam) is recommended. This ensures that your item is adequately protected. Such foam can be delivered to your door in as little as a day or two, and is high quality yet very low cost.
Should you prefer to use another material, bubble wrap is recommended. Additionally, place your computer or TV in its own box, and if possible, ensure that the box closely matches the size of the item. TVs and computers should fit snugly in a box rather than rattle about in a larger box with other items. LED screens can be very easily dented or damaged in this way.
Electrical goods should be packed and stored similarly to glass and other delicate items. Any damage to an electrical item could cause a potentially dangerous malfunction. Electrical goods should be packaged in either bubble wrap or foam sheet wrapping to minimise the risk of accidental damage.
Some household appliances like toasters and kettles should be packed individually if possible, rather than placed in a larger box with several items. These items are heavier than they seem and could cause damage to one another. If your item is awkwardly shaped, consider using foam packing peanuts to minimise the amount of surrounding free space within a box.
Antique and delicate furniture
For items that require extra care, you should use both bubble wrap and individual foam sheet pieces to protect your item. An antique lamp, for example, should be covered with a foam sheet wrapped around both the thin stand and base element. Wrapping as many individual aspects of an antique piece of furniture is essential for reducing damage. Likewise, an antique sofa should have all elements covered separately, such as foam sheets wrapped around the legs, and plastic wrap covering the individual cushion elements and sofa frame (if detachable).
The best packing tip
Planning ahead is key, and you should make adequate investment in the best packaging for fragile items