How To Pack Fragile Items When Moving

Frank Lanigan
Aug 19, 2022
Icon Time To Read5 min read

At a glance

One of the most nerve-racking parts of moving is ensuring that fragile items don’t break on the moving truck. When you take the time to use the right packing materials for your items, you can focus on other parts of the move that need your attention. It can take more time to pack fragile items correctly, but doing it right will create an efficient, safe, and stress-free moving day for you and your family.

Whether you’re planning on packing fragile items yourself or hiring a professional packing service, there are steps you can follow to make sure that your belongings make it to your new home in one piece.

It can seem overwhelming at first, but packing doesn’t need to be a difficult process. Read about how you can make your life leading to moving day a little easier with our packing tips.

Types of damage for fragile items

When you finalize your moving date, you can start the packing process. Most non-breakable items are easy to pack into boxes as you don’t have to worry about any damage. It gets more difficult with items like glasses , china, porcelain, and other delicate belongings. Keep in mind that when packing fragile items, damage mainly occurs in three situations:

  • Fragile items bumping against each other in the box
  • Shock damage from dropping fragile boxes
  • Improperly loading boxes on the moving truck

Knowing where potential damage can come from is a great first step and allows you to avoid those situations—the main goal to keep in mind when packing fragile items is to avoid these situations. Here are some tips on how to pack easily breakable items before moving day.

How to pack fragile items

Glasses, bowls, and plates

Glass kitchenware is one of the most common fragile items to break on a move. Usually, most of the breakable items in your home will come from the kitchen, so be sure to take your time when packing these.

If you’re trying to move on a budget, a few layers of packing paper around the glasses in addition to some crumpled packing paper will keep the glasses from colliding in the box. If that’s all you decide to use, take extra care when moving and loading these boxes as you won’t have much packing material to absorb shock.

Plates and bowls require a little extra care because of the way they stack in boxes. You’ll want to do everything you can to keep stacks upright and provide padding between individual items in the stack. Place a plate down, then a layer of foam or thin bubble wrap down, and place another dish. After you have a stack of five or six plates, start a new stack. While it’s tempting to stack higher and save space, you don’t want to overcrowd the box and risk any falling stacks.

Here are some go-to packing essentials for keeping glass kitchenware safe and secure:

  • Bubble wrap
  • Cardboard dividers
  • Clothing (it helps fill space in boxes—and it’s free!)
  • Foam inserts
Pro packing tip!

If you have bubble wrap or foam inserts, place some down in the box for extra protection before you start packing glasses. When the box is full, you can put another layer on top before taping the box closed.

Wall art, TVs, and pictures

While most wall art won’t fit in your standard moving boxes, there are still ways to protect items like family portraits. The issues you want to watch out for here are drops, frame scratches, and cracked glass. Eliminate drop risks by taking down and putting up wall art with a partner. It’s also a good idea to have a partner when moving it to the truck so that you don’t clip any door frames on the way out.

For most wall art and TVs, bubble wrap, a moving blanket, moving tape, and plastic wrap will do the job:

  1. Start by spreading out your moving blanket on the ground.
  2. Wrap a few layers of bubble wrap vertically and horizontally across each piece.
  3. Gently lay the art face down on the center of the blanket. Fold the moving blanket around the piece and apply some tape so that the moving blanket won’t come undone.
  4. Finally, apply a few rounds of plastic wrap. Be sure that there isn’t a lot of tension in the plastic wrap as you’re wrapping so that you don’t risk cracking any glass on the front of the piece.

If you have the original packaging for your TV or any other wall art or get speciality moving boxes, you can use that instead of this method. Before you tape it up, ensure the item is secure in the box and won’t slide around too much.

Finished and antique furniture

While it may be a stretch to call furniture “fragile,” you’ll want to treat finished and antique furniture as fragile for the sake of your move.

The main issues you’ll see with these pieces are scratches and breaks on the more delicate parts of the piece (think about how wobbly some antique furniture can be). Here, you’ll want to opt for a light moving blanket, tape, and bubble wrap where you need it. If you try to drape a heavy moving blanket on a lightweight antique chair, you’ll risk a break.

If there are any glass pieces, apply some bubble wrap before placing your moving blanket. After that, tape the blanket so it stays secure, but not so tight that you could damage the furniture. Plastic wrap can be used to finish, but again, lighter pieces might not hold up well to a tight squeeze under the plastic.

Light Bulb
Pool noodles make good padding

Tables with glass tops can be heavy and tough to secure, especially around the edges. Buy some cheap pool noodles and make a long cut down one side, then secure the noodle around the edges of the glass to make sure that the edges don’t get chipped.

For tips on packing smaller one-of-a-kind treasures, check out our guide on packing antiques.


You can pack lamps in a variety of ways because of their non-uniform shape. It’s a great idea to place each lamp in a separate box with the lampshade removed. If the lamp is metal or plastic, you may be able to fit several, but try not to crowd the box too much.

You’ll definitely need bubble wrap for ceramic or glass lamps, with plenty of padding in the box to keep it upright. Because you’ll likely be packing more than one lamp, you can set aside a couple of boxes specifically for lampshades.

Info Box
Skip the boxes for lamps

It can be aggravating to waste a whole box on only a lamp. Tablecloths, dish towels, or bath towels will fit nicely and provide extra cushioning for your lamp.

Should I pack fragile items on my own?

We recommend packing your own fragile items for a few reasons. First, you can make sure that your most valuable items get the attention they deserve. Full-service moving companies that pack items are highly experienced and trained to prevent damage, but mistakes still happen.

It doesn’t have to be one or the other—you can still ask your moving company if they can pack the majority of the items, and you can handle the fragile pieces. Keep in mind that if something breaks, some companies will only repay damages to things they packed themselves.

If you don’t have the time or desire, nearly all moving companies offer packing and other services that you may like to use on moving day.

Packing fragile items FAQs

What packing materials should I get?

Boxes, tape, and packing paper are some essentials for moving day. Further protection, which we recommend, includes bubble wrap, glass kits , plastic wrap, moving blankets, and foam inserts.

What if I’m nervous about my fragile items on the truck?

Like you, your movers don’t want anything to happen to fragile items on moving day. Talk with them about specific worries, and they’ll find a solution. Smaller fragile items can usually fit in your car if you aren’t comfortable with them on the moving truck, but watch out for potholes.

What if I can’t find or afford packing supplies?

The cost of packing materials can add up quickly in the weeks leading up to moving day, and in peak moving season, materials can be harder to find. Using materials you have, like clothing, is a thrifty alternative to traditional packing supplies. Read more about how you can find packing materials at little to no cost.

Frank Lanigan
Written by
Frank Lanigan
Frank Lanigan is a writer and internationally-published journalist who has over a decade of experience in the moving industry. With thousands of completed moves under his belt, Frank hopes to bring years of experience to and help readers to navigate moving day with ease.