How to Pack Glasses and Dishes for a Move, So Everything Arrives Unbroken

updated Aug 7, 2020
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(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Moving is the worst! I should know: I’ve had six apartments in 13 years. And while I don’t really have a lot of stuff in the other rooms (I’ll never understand some peoples’ obsession with shoes!), I do have a lot of dishes and glasses in my kitchen. Glasses that I’m super sentimental about; they were my grandmother’s and I have very fond memories of drinking Boost! out of them when I was little (any South Jersey kids here know what I’m talking about?).

I’ve broken a few more than I care to admit. So during my last move, I decided to call in an expert. Lior Rachmany, CEO and founder of Brooklyn-based Dumbo Moving + Storage, came to my apartment to show me how to properly pack up glasses and plates. He had a few other pointers to share, too, which makes sense considering he’s packed and moved more than 6,000 apartments! Here are his tips.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

The Best Packing Materials

Back away from the bubble wrap. “Packing paper is more flexible than bubble wrap and it’s faster to use,” says Rachmany as he quickly shoves paper into a glass and crumples the excess paper around the outside. That was fast! The paper not only protects the item, but it also creates little air pockets when you crumple it. He says bubble wrap is bulkier than necessary and will take up too much room in the box.

Buy: Packing Paper, $22 for 175 sheets

Cardboard is also your best friend (compared to plastic bins) — especially for fragile items. Tall boxes are best because, as I soon found out, you want to pack things vertically. You can find special dish and china boxes, which are double-corrugated for added strength. You will also need packing tape. Lots of it.

How To Pack Dishes and Glasses for a Move

What You’ll Need


Credit: Lauren Volo

1. Tape the bottom of the box

It’s not enough to just tape the middle seam of the box flaps. If you don’t want the bottom to open up when you pick up the box, Rachmany has a trick. Tape the seam of the flaps (a few times), then tape along the middle going the other way (to create a plus sign), and then tape down the edges of those pieces of tape along the side of the box. You’d rather be safe than sorry, right?

Credit: Lauren Volo

2. Make the box easy to access

You’re working with a tall box (see above), and you’ll need to be able to reach the bottom. Rachmany likes to temporarily tape two adjacent flaps down so that he can really get in there to work.

Credit: Lauren Volo

3. Add some padding

Ball up some packing paper and place a nice layer — about three or four inches — to make a cushion.

Credit: Lauren Volo

4. Start with the plates

Rachmany says to start with the heaviest items first (your plates). Wrap each one individually.

Credit: Lauren Volo

5. Add them to the box

Put each plate in the box vertically (as in, standing up on its side). “Each one supports the other,” he explains. Pack the plates nice and tight, as you don’t want there to be any movement when you shake the box. When you’re finished with the layer, add paper to the sides and then on top of that layer.

Credit: Lauren Volo

6. Wrap up the bowls

Working with one bowl at a time, start by putting the corner of one piece of paper inside the bowl and then crumpling the paper around the rest of the bowl.

Credit: Lauren Volo

7. Add them to the box

Again, place the bowls in on their side. When you’ve finished the layer add more balls of packing paper on top.

Credit: Lauren Volo

8. Wrap up the glasses

These are lightest and most fragile so they get packed last Rachmany says. Wrap them like the bowls — with some paper inside the glasses and the rest crumpled up around the glass.

Credit: Lauren Volo

9. Add them to the box

These can go in a single layer on their side.

Credit: Lauren Volo

10. Close up the box

Add a few more balls of packing paper and check the box to see if you hear or feel any movement when you shake it. If you do, stuff a few more balls in wherever you can. Then, close up the box and mark it so you know what’s inside.

Note: This will seem like a lot of paper. It is! But it should be recyclable in your area. Or you can go online — try Craigslist or Freecycle — to see if anyone else in your area can use your supplies for their own upcoming move.

A Few Other Pointers for Packing Up Your Kitchen

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

1. Take precautions when packing knives.

“Wrap all your knives together and tape the pointy end, so you know it’s the top,” Rachmany says. And pack them pointy end down to avoid stabbing yourself later when you reach into the box.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

2. Tape up your pantry items.

Vinegar almost always leaks, I’m told. Tape around the cap. Also, tape the top of your salt and any other opened pantry item.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

3. Wrap up pots and pans, too.

You may think your pots and pans can just go in a box but Rachmany says it’s best to wrap them up so they don’t get any dents or scratches during the move.