How to pack dishes for a long distance move (2023)

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Packing dishes for a long-distance move can be difficult. There are some steps that you can take to make the process easier and help prevent damage to your dishes and fine china. In this article, you will have all of the information needed to pack your dishes in such a way that they don’t break during your long-distance trip.

How to pack dishes for a long distance move (1)

Materials you need to pack dishes

When packing, there tend to be spaces between dishes. While extra space can be nice at times, you want as little wiggle-room for your fragile dishes like glassware and fine china because it won’t do much to protect them from breaking if they get bumped or banged up during transit, or while in the truck or your car/van. Packing paper will provide a protective cushion that’s more effective than other materials in rounding out your dish-packing supplies list. Likewise, you’ll also need plenty of boxes – preferably with lids so that all those breakables are securely enclosed at one end while open on top to make loading easier when the time comes for unpacking too.

To pack your valuable dishes safely for a long-distance, you’ll need the following materials:

  • Packing/wrapping paper: This piece of wrapper is handy for all types of dishware and pottery, and the rule of thumb when it comes to wrapping is – the more, the better. You can replace it with a newspaper, crumpled paper, or additional paper, but it’s risky for your plates and bowls because of possible newspaper ink transfers. You can also make use of bubble wrap or other sleeves made of another cushioning material.
  • Dish boxes/glass pack boxes: Special boxes take the worry out of your breakables. These unique packages are designed with thicker and more durable materials – which protect fragile items from getting damaged in transit, as well as absorbing shocks so that accidents don’t happen at all. With the extra padding item to keep things safe inside, these special containers will make sure you have a happy homecoming no matter how far away it happens.
  • Packing tape: A poor quality piece of tape dispenser will only cause frustration in the long run. You don’t want to end up having your boxes fall apart as you’re trying to seal them shut, or spend a lot of time taping and re-taping because the adhesive doesn’t work right away. Get yourself proper materials for better results.

Other packing materials you’ll need include:

  • Medium-sized boxes
  • Labels and markers

When calculating how many moving boxes you need, add on some dish boxes. To avoid breakage, they are more sturdy and thicker than typical boxes. The extra padding absorbs shock, making for a more stable carton. A dish box item provides better protection if an accident happens.

General steps to packing dishes for a long-distance trip

Packing dishes and fine china can be a time-consuming task since they are some of the trickiest items to pack, but following these five steps will make the process much easier:

1. Assemble each box and tape them well. The boxes may get heavy so be sure to use enough tape that the box won’t cave under the weight of your dishes. This first step is one of the very important preparatory steps in protecting your items.

2. Line each box with crumpled up paper to create a six-inch cushion at the bottom. Be sure to scrunch it all up, and not just fold or bend your pieces of paper as this is what will protect you best from any spills that occur while transporting them.

3.Layout your packing paper on a flat surface. Then, the next step is to place the dish in question right down next to it. Wrap up and secure with scotch tape as per need before putting it away for safekeeping until you’re ready to use again.

4.The key to packing dishes properly is in the order you pack them. Always start with the heaviest items, like plates and bowls, so that they take up more space at the bottom of your moving boxes than lighter pieces such as glasses.

5. For the fifth step: After you wrap your dishes and pack them in the box, make sure to ball up some paper at the top of the box as padding. Tape it shut and label it with what room it’s going into, which way is right side up (upside down), how fragile they are inside if any or not there’s a lot of weight so that no one throws it around by accident.

Remember not to pack the dish boxes till when they become heavier items. Be conscious of how much you’re loading into each box and try to keep each one under 45 pounds.

How to pack bowls and plates

Bowls in bundles and plates have the same method of packing. There are no handles or protrusions on these dishes, making them excellent for learning to pack dishes. It is essential to put heavy dishes in the boxes first. Bowls and plates can be packed individually or in bundles. Individual dishes are recommended, so stack only one at a time. It can save you some plates, especially the dinner plates and regular flat plates. Handling expensive dishes takes time. Use extra effort when deciding how to pack your dishes.

First, layout your packing paper or newspaper on a flat surface and then place the dish in the middle. Move the paper one corner at a time to meet in the middle. Next, place each dish in the box in the vertical position, as though you are loading a dishwasher. Repeat for each dish until your box is full. For lighter dishes, start another box once the first layer is complete.

How to pack cups, mugs, and glasses

You can pack mugs and cups the same way you would small bowls. However, Stemmed glasses are typically more durable than packed paper. Start by filling your cups, mugs, and glasses with crumpled packing paper. You can use one layer of paper or two sheets to wrap glasses and other breakable items. Spread out the packing paper on one corner of the dish.

Roll the dish to the opposite corner. Additionally, fold in the excess paper for additional protection of the breakable dishes, or use a bubble wrap. Feel free to bundle two of your dishes in one sheet of clean paper. To advance, place the next dish next to the first one and keep rolling to the end of the paper. To get the best results, your favorite mug and beer stein must be the same shape and material.

How to pack stemware

This is your most delicate dishes. You must know how to pack these dishes before you start the whole packing process. Use packing paper to form a paper padding, packing the bowl before adding packing tape to secure it. Then tilt the glass into a corner of your packing paper. As you roll the glass to the opposite corner of the overlapped paper, crumple the paper as you go.

For large packing paper, wrap two glasses in one sheet. When the first glass is wrapped in half a sheet of paper, lay the second glass next to it. Once the paper is fully wrapped, roll and fold again. Check that you can’t feel the edges of your glass on the sheets of paper. If you can, wrap the glass(es) in more wadded-up packing paper.

How to pack other kitchen items

For wrapping large objects such as pitchers, apply paper to the handles first. The teapot must be wrapped in rolled-up paper, then some more paper around the spout. To place the teapot upside down on the bottom of a stack of packing paper, fold a few sheets over it, and tape it in place. Separate the lid from the pot, and place both in the same box (the teapot should remain upside down in the box).

Package knives individually in paper, then bubble wrap. (Or wrap them in protective sleeves made for knives.) Label the bundles so you’re aware of sharp edges when you unpack. Nest packs of the graduated pot and pan sizes. Set up a small pan inside a larger pan and line the smaller pan with more packaging paper. Insert smaller pans and so on. Wrap nested pans with at least three more sheets of packing paper. before packaging it, seal the bundle with a piece of tape

Fill your packing box to the top

Wrap each bundle until you are three inches from the top of the carton. Also use crumpled layers of paper on the top, as well as small non-breakable items such as lightweight wooden or durable plastic trays. So that when you tape down the top flaps, you cannot press down on the top of the packaging box. If your carton is not well-packed, the resulting compression could damage your contents.

Mark all your boxes to make unpacking easier for the movers. Soon, you can flatten all of your dish barrels and packing boxes, as well as straighten and arrange all of your packing paper. Store packaging materials in a dry place. If you expect to be moving again soon, you should re-use your packing materials to help save on costs.

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Other Long-Distance Moving Guides

Long-distance moves are undeniably tricky. We’ve put together a few guides to help you manage some of the thornier points of a long-distance move. And of course, if you need help with your long-distance move, just give us a call.

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  • About
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Harrison Stevens

VP of Marketing at Bellhops Inc

Despite spending 35 years in South Florida, my family moves every 1-2 years. This experience has given me a lot of knowledge in what questions to ask when selecting a mover and how to prepare for a move. I even used Bellhop to move from Florida to Colorado in 2021. I spend my free time with my family, hiking, exploring breweries and new restaurants in the area.

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How to pack dishes for a long distance move? ›

Pack plates vertically instead of horizontally – this will make them less lightly to break. Place at least 2 layers of crumpled packing paper on the bottom of the box. Put a layer of bubble wrap, cardboard, or a foam plate in between each plate.

Should you pack dishes vertically or horizontally? ›

Pack plates vertically instead of horizontally – this will make them less lightly to break. Place at least 2 layers of crumpled packing paper on the bottom of the box. Put a layer of bubble wrap, cardboard, or a foam plate in between each plate.

What do you wrap dishes in when moving? ›

The best material to use for packing your dishes is packing paper. Packing paper is essentially the same thing as newspaper but it's blank. It's often referred to as unprinted newspaper.

Is bubble wrap or paper better for packing? ›

The Takeaway: And The Winner Is….

Both! Packing paper is the clear winner for wrapping fragile items and saving you space, and also for protecting surfaces from getting scratched. But bubble wrap wins out in protecting valuables and fragile items from breaking during the moving process.

How do you wrap dishes cheaply? ›

Wrap each dish in paper, then bubble wrap so the plastic doesn't damage the surface of the dish. Slide each dish into the dish pack. Fill empty space with packing materials to prevent shifting. Seal the smaller, packed box and slide it into the larger box.

How do you pack fine china for long distance moving? ›

For fine china, place a plate face down on the packing paper sheet. Fold each corner inwards and bunch the paper together at the center of the plate to create a seal. Use a small piece of scotch tape or packing tape to secure the paper in place. Wrap each piece of china individually to prevent scuffs and breakage.

Can you use newspaper to pack dishes for moving? ›

Place a stack of packing paper or newsprint on your work surface. The sheets should be large enough to accommodate the dishes you need to pack. Place the first dish in the center of the top sheet and fold one corner of the sheet over the plate until it's completely covered.

Is it better to pack plates flat or upright? ›

Pack Plates Vertically

Pack your plates sideways, or in a vertical manner. This will protect them better during the drive. If they're horizontal, there's a higher risk of them breaking. Add more bundles to the box until it is packed snugly.

What is the one downside to bubble wrap? ›

Cons of Bubble Wrap

As a plastic product, it is not biodegradable, which impacts the environment. It is not typically a branded material, which misses a chance to personalize the shipping experience. Cutting and taping bubble wrap can be a time-intensive process.

What are the disadvantages of bubble wrap? ›

Bubble wrap cons
  • Difficult to recycle.
  • Large rolls of bubble wrap take up lots of space in storage.
  • No sustainable options currently available.
Dec 2, 2021

Is honeycomb paper better than bubble wrap? ›

If it's something fragile or delicate, then honeycomb wrap paper may be the better option because it provides more cushioning. However, if the item is heavier and needs extra protection from shock absorption or impact resistance--such as a box filled with books or DVDs--bubble wrap would be better.

Is it OK to wrap china in newspaper? ›

China and other fragile items can end up covered in newspaper ink once your boxes have arrived at their destination. While it isn't harmful and doesn't stain (most of the time), it adds an additional step once you move into your new home or apartment.

What clothes should I pack for china? ›

  • Pants – 3 pairs of comfortable bottoms, one dressier.
  • Shorts – 1-2 pairs.
  • Short sleeve shirts – 3-5.
  • Long sleeve Shirt – 1-2 casual or dress shirts.
  • One “nice” outfit.
  • Fleece jacket or hoodie.
  • Underwear – 3-4 pairs, ideally travel underwear.
  • Socks – 4-6 pairs.

How do you pack glass and ceramics? ›

Bubble wrap works well when packing ceramics, the air inside the bubble will absorb the pressure from any external sources. Thus, the pressure will not be transferred to the ceramic plates. Wrap each plate with some bubble wrap and finish with duct tape, then stack each on top and seal inside the moving box.

What size box is best for packing dishes? ›

Small boxes (16 x 12 x 12 inches or 1.5 cubic feet): The best boxes for moving books, small boxes are also perfect for packing DVDs, magazines, collectibles, canned food, small appliances, glasses and dishes.

How heavy should a dish pack be? ›

Dish packs have a double thickness and are rated for a maximum weight of up to 120 lbs. They're ideal for plates and bowls, as well as larger and denser items like kitchen appliances.

How do you pack heavy kitchen items? ›

Larger boxes are best used for heavy items at the bottom and lighter items on the top. Medium boxes are best used for appliances, pots and pans and less breakable items. Small boxes are best used for canned food and pantry items. Heavier items should be placed in the base of the box with lighter items towards the top.

How do you pack fragile items without bubble wrap? ›

Packing paper: White packing paper will provide a cushioning layer to protect fragile items during your move, conforming easily to all shapes and keeping dust or moisture from getting at your items. Packing paper is cheaper than bubble wrap so you can save some money there.

How do you pack dishes for moving without paper? ›

Use t-shirts, socks, and other soft and spongy clothes to wrap it around the plates and glasses individually. Pack it tightly in a thick cardboard box. Also, ensure tight packing in the box, as any gaps should be filled up with clothes. That way you can save the package completely.

How do you wrap fragile dishes? ›

‍Plates – plates should be packed vertically in small to medium boxes lined with crumpled packing paper on the bottom and top. Wrap each plate in bubble wrap and secure with tape. Place paper in between the standing plates.

How do you make less dishes? ›

5 Tips for Cutting Down On Dirty Dishes
  1. Own fewer dishes. ...
  2. Wash small things as soon as they are done being used. ...
  3. Start looking for and cooking one-pot meals. ...
  4. Only set out essential cutlery and dinnerware for dinner parties. ...
  5. Make a space for each family member to keep their glass for the day.
Mar 9, 2019

What should I pack first for a long distance move? ›

For this long distance moving tip, we recommend packing an open-first box that includes items you'll need during your first weeks, such as towels, bedding, and a few pots and pans and dishes. Don't forget to also pack a suitcase with toiletries, your favorite clothing items, and personal necessities.

When should I start packing for a long distance move? ›

Ideally, begin packing a month before the move. Start by boxing up non-essentials and seasonal items. These include summer or winter clothing, off-season sports gear, and home decor items. Pack essentials last, such as kitchen necessities, toiletries, and pet-related items.

What is the best way to pack for a move across country? ›

Put Heavy Items in Small Boxes

Save books for small boxes and bedding, clothing, or other light items for larger moving bins. Regardless of box size, one of the best tips for a long-distance move is to tightly pack your belongings in their boxes to prevent shifting and damage while on the road.

How do you pack a glass top coffee table for moving? ›

To keep your glass safe and protected, the first thing you want to do is wrap the glass in moving blankets. Ideally, you should wrap two moving blankets all around the piece. After your glass is wrapped in moving blankets, use moving rubber bands to hold the blankets in place. Then wrap the entire thing in bubble wrap.

How do you pack glass jars for moving? ›

Seal the bottle in a self-sealing bag, make sure that you have pressed out all the air and the bag does not have any holes in it. You can place the bottle in a normal plastic bag if you don't have any self-sealing plastic bags. Wrap the plastic bag tightly and ensure that the plastic bag is airtight with tape.

Should you pack pantry items when moving? ›

As long as only nonperishable items are in your pantry box and everything is sealed, it should be safe to transport with the rest of the boxes, but it's always a good idea to double check with your moving company on what can and cannot be put on the truck.

Can you use paper towels to pack dishes? ›

This soft, white paper can be wrapped around plates and crumpled up between and inside items to help absorb impacts. Alternatively, it's common to use newspaper, paper towels, hand towels, and other materials from around the home, but you need to be aware of the downsides of these methods before you try them.

What size box to pack dishes for moving? ›

Small boxes (16 x 12 x 12 inches or 1.5 cubic feet): The best boxes for moving books, small boxes are also perfect for packing DVDs, magazines, collectibles, canned food, small appliances, glasses and dishes.

How do you pack for a move when you have too much stuff? ›

Pack Strategically

One no-brainer solution is using vacuum bags for clothing, bedding, and pillows. By sucking the air out, you'll save a ton of space! Using these bags also keeps items safe from damage during the move. Alternatively, you can use blankets, towels, and rugs as insulation to protect breakable items.

What items should you not move long-distance? ›

Hazardous Materials

For safety reasons, certain items are prohibited from being transported during a long-distance move. These include flammable substances, corrosive chemicals, and explosive materials. Examples of items to leave behind are propane tanks, gasoline, bleach, paint, pesticides, and fireworks.

What is the fastest way to pack for a move? ›

Instead, keep your eye on the prize and follow these packing tips for moving in a hurry:
  1. Pack now and sort later. Don't worry about keeping like items together or having a “theme” for each box. ...
  2. Use soft items like socks and towels to wrap breakables. ...
  3. Set up boxes as you need them. ...
  4. Pack clothes as they are.
Mar 10, 2022

What do professional movers pack first? ›

Professional movers move the heaviest and largest items first. This usually means large pieces of furniture and heavy appliances. After the heavy items are on the truck, movers will then load the moving boxes and remaining items.

How many boxes of clothes should I have when moving? ›

You will need 1 wardrobe box for every 2 feet of clothes. So, get out your tape measure, head to your closet, and measure how many feet of clothes you have, then divide by two. Add in an extra wardrobe box if your closet clothes are jammed very tight together to provide some space in the box.

What is the hardest room to pack when moving? ›

A: The bedroom and kitchen can both be the hardest rooms to pack, since they contain items that you'll need to use during the packing process. Some people find a solution in waiting to pack these rooms last, while others may decide to pack the non-essential items, saving the essentials for the last minute.

Do drawers need to be empty when moving? ›

3. Don't Leave Drawers Full of Belongings. Please empty your desk and dresser drawers before moving day. It's natural to think that your drawers are technically like “boxes” themselves, but moving heavy furniture is hard enough when it's empty, so imagine how much heavier a dresser is when the drawers are full!

How not to pack too much? ›

If you're a chronic overpacker, these 10 tips will cure you of your bad packing habits forever.
  1. Start with a carry-on.
  2. Only pack things that can be worn more than once.
  3. Pack more tops than bottoms.
  4. Bring multipurpose toiletries.
  5. Limit yourself to three pairs of shoes.
  6. Minimize electronics.
  7. Leave 'just in case' items at home.
Oct 10, 2013


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