How To Pack Fragile Items: A Step-By-Step Guide for the Bay Area Relocation

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With over 30 million Americans relocating annually, knowing how to pack fragile items can help you save some of your most prized possessions from breaking. Delicate objects like TVs and china are an essential part of every home, making learning how to secure them one of your top priorities during a relocation.

Be prepared to take notes, as we have a lot of ground to cover. If you plan accordingly, you should be able to prepare everything without much trouble. However, most delicate objects take longer to secure properly, so if you want to move efficiently, you might want to consider hiring one of the Bay Area movers.

Like With All Relocations, You Should Always Start by Making a List

As with any move, creating a detailed relocation to-do list makes the entire process very straightforward. You’ll have a much easier time keeping track of all the tasks and your progress, minimizing the amount of relocation stress you have to deal with as the move progresses. You don’t have to worry about writing down everything, just add everything from this blog, and you’ll be good to go.

Go Through Your Entire Inventory Before You Start Packing Fragile Items for Moving

To correctly assess the number of materials you need, you’ll have to go over your entire inventory. This is particularly true when moving fragile items, as they usually require significantly more materials compared to the rest of your belongings. Doing this in advance will help you find all the commonly forgotten objects to pack, and maybe even an item movers won’t move, allowing you to deal with everything properly.

A girl writing her inventory list for Bay Area movers
Doing inventory will help you determine how much materials you need to get

What to Use to Pack Fragile Items?

To properly pack dishes, plates, or any other delicate belongings, you’ll need to acquire all the necessary supplies. The good news is that you can get anything you need from one of the major retailers or the local movers in the Bay Area. Before heading out, make a list containing all of the following materials:

The Best Packing Material for Fragile Items Come With the Item Itself

While a random container is better than not having one, it’s best to move a delicate item in its original packaging. Since it was custom-made, it fits the object perfectly, ensuring it stays safe throughout the entire process. If possible, keep any electronics and all delicates in their original boxes, and you won’t experience any problems when relocating them.

Find Free Materials and Use Some Alternatives You Have in Your Home

If you haven’t kept the original packaging, or you forgot to set aside enough resources in your relocation expenses checklist, you can try to find some of the materials you need for free. Besides asking around for leftovers, you can also get plenty of boxes at one of the local retailers, that’s if the store manager allows it. You could also check out Freecycle or any other platform dedicated to sharing free goods.

You probably don’t know it yet, but you also have some neat alternatives right in your own home. Using clothes for wrapping has several benefits, making it one of the better relocation hacks. Besides securing the delicate object, it will also save you both time and money. For example, most clothing and towels are excellent wrapping and padding materials, while socks are perfect for protecting glasses.

Man putting winter clothes in the box
Using everything you have in your home for padding is one of the best moving tips out there

Secure Each Cardboard Box Before You Place Anything in It

While you may have wrapped everything correctly, it won’t do you any good if you forgot to secure all the containers. You’ll need to seal the bottom of each cardboard box with tape on both sides and add a thick layer of cardboard to reinforce the base. Most objects will also require you to pad the container with bubble wrap, crumpled-up paper, or packing peanuts. Once you’ve filled the box, check if the item is adequately secured by gently shaking it. If you don’t hear any movement, tape the top lids, and the package will be good to go.

Packing a delicate vase
A padded container will keep even the most delicate item intact

Wrap the Least Used Things First

If you have an extensive collection of delicate objects, you might not even know where to begin. Usually, it’s best to start with the things you haven’t used in a while. In fact, anything you don’t require every day can be packed significantly in advance. This includes various expensive art pieces like paintings, small figurines, action figures, and even souvenirs from your last staycation in San Francisco.

If You Can’t Start Preparing in Advance, Contact a Moving Company in the Bay Area

Although they may not be as tricky as relocating a piano, securing delicates can take a lot of time. If you want to do them first, you may have to start preparing a lot earlier than you might have initially planned. However, if your San Francisco rental application was just approved, you likely won’t have enough time to secure every item you own correctly. If you have too many delicate, breakable belongings, but you have to move in a hurry, it might be better to hire a Bay Area moving company to assist you. Otherwise, you risk leaving something out, which could ultimately cause the particular item to break during transport.

Paintings and other art pieces are the first things you to prepare when relocating

These Next Few Tips Will Show You How to Pack Fragile Items for Moving

Most delicate belongings tend to break fairly easily, so you’ll have to carefully prepare each item if you want it to remain in one piece at the end of the move. Once you acquire all the materials, keep at it, and you won’t have a problem packing anything. Without further ado, let’s go over the most common delicate household objects you’ll have to secure for the trip.

How to Keep Plates, Glasses, and Other China From Breaking?

While pots and pans don’t require any special wrapping treatment, you’ll have to be extra careful when packing all your china. The key thing to remember is to wrap each item individually, as this is the only way you can avoid losing anything in transport. You want to start with plates, as they’re the easiest to secure.

Place a sheet of paper on a flat surface, place a plate in the middle, fold the corners until they meet in the middle, and secure it with tape. See, that wasn’t so hard. If you need more tips, remember to place each plate vertically when loading the container, as this will keep them from breaking. For additional protection, you can always add bubble wrap or a piece of cardboard between each plate.

Unlike plates, glasses, bowls, and other hollow objects need to be stuffed before wrapping, and crumpled-up paper usually does the trick. While bowls are wrapped similarly, glasses, stemware, and other cylindrical things should be placed on the side and rolled from one end of the sheet to the other. Thin glass stems are very prone to breaking, so you may want to add another layer of protection just in case or use a special box with dividers.

How Do You Wrap a Fragile Object Like a TV or a Mirror?

Electronics may be some of the most common household objects, but they are also some of the most sensitive belongings you’ll have to wrap up. As we mentioned before, try to move them in their original packaging when possible. However, if you haven’t kept it, wrapping the object in a blanket will keep it from suffering any damage during transportation. You should also wrap it in plastic to keep it dry, which is especially important if you’re relocating on a rainy day.

Wrapping paintings and mirrors is very similar, but you’ll need to add a layer of clean cardboard before you cover them with blankets. A mirror is extremely delicate, so much that even slightly increased pressure can cause it to break. In case an accident occurs, taping an X over its surface will keep it from shattering completely.

How Do You Pack Fragile Figurines?

Unlike most other delicates we mentioned, figurines come in all shapes and sizes, which makes wrapping them that much more difficult. If you want to learn more about how to wrap fragile items of irregular shapes, check out the video below.

How Do I Protect My Fragile Packages for Shipping and Storage? Label Everything and Load Carefully

Even if you managed to secure everything by the time you have to move, one wrong step while loading the truck could make your entire work seem like it was for nothing. That’s why learning how to package fragile items for shipping is just as important as wrapping them correctly. Before the loading begins, you have to be absolutely sure that all the containers are appropriately labeled. To avoid any confusion on the relocation day, it’s better to label the container as soon as you secure it. Each box should have “FRAGILE” on at least three sides and a label that highlights which side is the top.

Once you got that out of the way, be very careful when loading the truck. Remember that containers with delicates should be loaded last after everything else has been secured. Make sure that the lighter boxes are on the top, and avoid stacking too many of them in any situation. You will also need to ensure they don’t move during the trip. If you can’t find a neat place to fit them all, put the rest of the containers on a flat surface and secure them with rope.

Don’t Cram Too Much Stuff Into a Single Box

While you can safely fill out the entire container when packing books, you always want to avoid cramming too many delicate objects in a single box. Although it’s a common mistake that anybody can make, it could be very detrimental to all the belongings you packed this way.

Undoubtedly, it’s best to keep all the objects separated, but that’s often not feasible. If you have no other option but to place several things into a single container, there’s still one more thing you can do. Since even the slightest of movements could cause the delicate objects to break, using tons of materials will ensure the individual pieces don’t touch each other.

A cardboard box labeled as fragile
A properly labeled box will save you a lot of trouble

If You’re Still Not Sure What to Do, the Best Movers in San Francisco Are Here to Help

Although this guide covers a majority of all delicate pieces you have in your home, there are so many things we didn’t even mention here. Still, it should be more than enough to prepare you for the trip. If you still find it difficult to secure everything correctly, you should start looking for San Francisco movers as soon as possible. While you’ll find plenty of Bay Area moving companies on your search, everyone at Golden Bay Relocation is always ready to handle your breakables.

As one of the top San Francisco moving companies in the Bay Area, we offer all kinds of local relocation services. If you don’t want to worry about a thing, you’ll find our packing service particularly useful, especially since you can get it in over a dozen Bay Area towns. Don’t hesitate to contact our customer support team if you have any questions. They will provide you with all the information, as well as a free quote on all or excellent services.

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