Pack Glasses for Moving

Glassware is often one of those things that are prided in a house, alongside the china and family heirlooms kept on display. Fine stems of champagne flutes and engraved table tops, elegant vases and of course, the ever-treasured crystal – there’s bound to be tons of it. All of this suddenly becomes a problem when moving.

How to pack glasses for moving is always a big question. There’s a reason moving houses involves being surrounded by mounds of boxes and almost infinite supplies of bubble wrap and tape – items get jostled and moved around, and in the chaos of being packed, loaded, unloaded and unpacked, many tend to break. Glass, notorious for its fragility, demands at least twice the attention and packing supplies. However, done right, your precious glassware will be safe and secure. Read up on our glassware packing guide to know just what to get right.

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Get The Right Supplies

Transporting anything safely rests on how well it has been packed, which in turns rests on the packing materials used. Glassware demands specific kinds of packing supplies that only help make your job that much easier. Unlike with other items, you can’t just get away with using old or free cardboard boxes and a load of newspaper and duct tape. Read on to get an understanding of what is required to keep your glassware nestled in a cushion of protection.

Boxes: This one’s quite the obvious no brainer, right? While you’d naturally need boxes, you ought to get a specific type to pack glasses for moving. These are called dish barrels – the name comes from the wooden barrels that were once used to ship china overseas. They’re made of much stronger, thicker and sturdier cardboard than regular boxes. Thicker walls help protect your dishes by absorbing travel shock.

Additionally, since they’re commonly used to pack glassware, they come with dividers. The cell dividers keep the items inside the box firm in their place. This prevents them from shifting around and coming in contact with each other during the transportation, which tends to leave damage on impact. This structure makes it an overall sturdy box. The sturdier your box, the less likely it is to get knocked over, cave in, dent when stacked next to other boxes or shifted around in the truck.

If you can’t get a hold of dish barrels, you can make use of regular boxes. However, these need to be sturdy and new, strictly avoid using old, flimsy boxes. With the right amount of padding, these should make for a viable replacement.

Packing paper: Just like with the boxes, you need a specific type of packing paper to keep your glassware as safe as possible. This will be the first protective layer your glassware will be exposed to. Thus, strictly avoid using newspapers. Not only is the texture bad, but the ink will leave stains behind that you may not even be able to wash off. Keep the newspapers as stuffing material, to be used when it isn’t coming in contact with any glassware.

Avoid rough paper in general, as this can scratch the surface of your glasses. The packing paper should be smooth and soft. Do not skimp out on how much packing paper you get; use it generously so that your glassware remains as safe as possible.

Bubble wrap: High quality bubble wrap should be used in plenty when packing glassware. The bubbled texture provides a great cushion for fragile items and absorbs shock, keeping your items intact. These are especially useful for stem glasses.

Packing tape: From reinforcing the corners of your boxes to holding bubble wrap in place,  you’ll need plenty of packing tape to help secure things. Make sure to use strong, wide packing tape instead of regular duct tape or masking tape. You can also make use of a tape gun or an applicator.

Permanent markers: Sure, you know just how well you’ve packed your glassware. But you need to make sure your movers know this too, or all your effort will get wasted if they treat these boxes like the other ones. Mark these boxes ‘Fragile’ as soon as you seal them up, along with handling instructions.

Old sheets: Now’s the chance to use all those old sheets, towels and t-shirts lying around the house. These make for great stuffing material, just like the newspapers. The cloth acts as a great shock absorber and protective cushion. Keep an eye out for any other things around the house that you can use as cushioning material.

Prepping The Boxes

Before you get to packing, allocate some time to prepare the boxes. Clear out space in one room of the house and lay out the required materials.

Reinforce the boxes: Tape the bottom of the boxes to make sure they don’t cave out and spill all the contents under the weight. Run a diagonal strip of tape in the shape of an X, and tape up the sides about one-third of the way. This helps the box retain its shape and sturdy corners.

Add padding: Crumple some paper and place it in the box, covering the bottom completely. This acts as a protective layer to absorb shocks during the move, so be generous. Around 6 inches should do for a medium or large box. This can also be newspaper. But ensure you don’t fold or layer it – the crumpling is much better in terms of shock-absorbency. You can also use packing peanuts, styrofoam, or bubble wrap – anything that serves as a protective cushion.

Divider cells: Place your divider cells firmly on top of the crumpled paper. You can buy divider cells online or from moving companies.

If you happen to be stuck with regular boxes, they’ll need a lot more to make them sturdy. Securely tape up the bottom and the edges to ensure it retains shape. Then, take sheets of cardboard and place at least one or two on the bottom to ensure it won’t cave with the weight of the contents.

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Sorting

Every moving process is preceded by the process of sorting things out. This helps you decide which items you want to take with you, which items you’d rather sell and what needs to be gotten rid of.

1. Start with the glasses in the cabinets. Set them all out carefully, and examine each piece closely. Look for cracks, chips and stains. Single these pieces out  – damaged items are not worth the effort of moving. If there are such pieces that you can’t get rid of due to monetary or sentimental value, make sure you are that much more careful when packing and transporting them. The rest can all be recycled.

2. Next, walk around the house looking at what other items there are. Gather the vases, photo frames, trophies and show pieces together and repeat the same process. Lastly, list down bigger items like table tops.

3. Sort out all the items by type. Group them up – glass bowls in one place, vases in another, and all the glasses grouped up by type as well: stemmed glasses, goblets, etc.

4. Finally, you can wash all your glassware pieces before you pack them up. However, this isn’t a necessary step but an option. Just ensure that they’re all dried out before packing. Leaving them out to air dry for a while after wiping them down is recommended.

Packing Glassware For Relocation

We finally come to the mammoth task at hand – packing it all up. How you pack your glassware depends on the type of glass it is. Accordingly, your process will change. We’ve further divided it up into categories so you know just how to go about this.

How to pack drinking glasses – individually wrapped

  • Lay a thick blanket or towel on a flat, smooth, stable surface.
  • Place sheets of packing paper on top of this.
  • Stuff the glass with a sheet, then place it on another sheet. Place it at an angle at the corner of the sheet.
  • Start to roll the glass in the sheet, tucking in the sheet in the mouth of the glass as you roll.
  • Roll until you reach the end of the sheet. By now, your glass should be covered in a thickish layer of packing paper.
  • Fold over the open ends at the bottom of the glass, careful to not leave any space for it to shift around in the paper.
  • Use packing tape to secure the paper and prevent it from unravelling.

This roll and tuck method ensures each part of the glass is adequately cushioned in paper to protect it. 

  • Once the glasses are all individually packed, grab one of the pre-prepped boxes.
  • Place the glasses one by one into the box. Place them upright, with the mouth or opening facing downwards. Here’s where dividers can come in handy.
  • Once one of the layers of glasses is set, you need to use some stuffing material between them to make sure they stay in place and don’t clang against each other. Packing peanuts, strips of cloth, bubble wrap or crumpled newspaper should do just fine.

You can also add another layer of glassware to this. However, make sure that the heavier glasses are at the bottom and lighter glasses go on the top. Additionally, ensure your box is sturdy enough to take the weight.

  • Only start to add the second layer after you’ve covered the first layer with a sheet of bubble wrap. If you hear any clinking sounds when placing them in, it means you need more cushioning around the glasses.
  • Once again, ensure all gaps are filled with packing materials.
  • Leave at least 3 inches between the final layer of glasses and the top of the box. Fill this up with more crumpled paper and bubble wrap.
  • Once you’re done, lift the box up and gently shake it to listen for any clinking or feel anything moving or falling over. This is a good way to test if your packing is secure enough.
  • Once you’re sure of the sturdiness, close the lid and fasten it down with tape. Make sure the lid is securely shut and tape up the edges a few times over if you need to.
  • Lastly, grab a permanent marker to write down handling instructions in big, bold letters on the box.

Packing Vases

Packing vases follows a similar process to packing drinking glasses.

  • Stuff the vases with lots of packing paper or other material. Then follow the roll and tuck process.
  • Vases can be uniquely shaped. Ensure every dip has enough packing around it and make sure to cover the jutting out edges with enough packing paper and bubble wrap to prevent cracks and chips.
  • You will have to pack the vases depending on their size. Just ensure there’s enough cushioning between all of them. Take care to not overload the box.

How to pack stemmed glasses

Stemmed glasses are wine glasses, champagne flutes, cocktail glasses, and any others that have a narrow, fine stem piece. Stemmed glasses always feel like a bit of a gamble due to the fragility of the stems and the worry of them snapping into two.

  • The roll and tuck won’t work right off the bat with stemmed glasses. First, take care of the stems. Wrap the stem up securely in bubble wrap and tape it up to secure it.
  • After stuffing the opening, wrap the glass as described above.
  • Ideally make use of dividing cells for stemmed glasses as the stems give them a higher risk of breaking.
  • Don’t try to pack in too many glasses as the box will lose shape and the glasses can be damaged. Seal the lid securely and mark the box with handling instructions.

If your dish barrel boxes are limited, try to save them for the stemmed glasses. If you’re stuck with regular boxes, make sure the bottom has been secured to not cave or break open. Make sure the glasses are arranged as close and as tightly as possible without the danger of them breaking due to pressure. Cushion them well inside the box, and ensure there’s no clinking or shifting around when the box moves.

Packing table tops   

Transporting large, flat, fragile objects always comes with a bit of added apprehension. Their shape doesn’t offer much sturdiness, and it’s much easier for them to crack or break apart. However, everything will stay safe with the right type of packaging firmly positioned in the right places. Use this same process when packing other similar objects like mirrors, large cases and panes.

  • First you have to separate the top from the rest of the table. Take a look at your table and figure out how this has to be done. Some will be able to just lift off from its stand, while others may have to be unscrewed or gently lifted off the suction cups they’re attached to.
  • Add some sturdiness to the glass itself. Use good quality masking tape to create square grids across the tabletop. This actually provides some sort of stability to the glass. You may want to use stronger tape to ensure better sturdiness but beware, you risk sticky gum residue on your tabletop. Masking tape leaves behind little to no residue that can be easily washed off. But make sure you remove it as soon as you get to the new house as the longer it’s left on, the more difficult it becomes to remove the residue.
  • Grab two pieces of cardboard to place on either side of the glass. This should be big enough to cover it adequately. Also use the edge protectors that came with the tabletop if you still have them.
  • Generously wrap packing paper around the entire table top and secure it with packing tape. If the edges are exposed, use bubble wrap and wrap them up before layering on the packing paper. Avoid using tape to secure the bubble wrap, or use masking tape, but try to avoid using too much.
  • Cover the wrapped glass with bubble wrap, or soft sheets and blankets. You want to be generous with the cushioning so don’t hold back.
  • You can DIY a box to place the tabletop in – you need a large, regular cardboard box. Cut it open so you have a large flat piece of cardboard, place the tabletop on it, and fold the other side over like a flap. Trim the box and clamp down the edges to perfectly fit the tabletop. Secure it with loads of tape.
  • Make sure you mark the cardboard with handling instructions, and write Fragile in bold. The movers will handle it that much more carefully when loading and transporting the tabletop.

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Additional Tips On How To Pack Glasses For Moving

1) Sometimes if you’re running out of boxes and supplies, you may have to pack glasses and dishes in the same box together. In this case, make sure the plates and dishes are at the bottom. Being heavier and sturdier, they make for a good base. The glasses can go on top.

2) You can also stack bowls inside one another. However, make sure each one is individually wrapped securely before stacking. If you hear glass against glass when the box moves, you don’t have enough cushioning.

3) If you have non-breakable items like plastic or wooden trays, place them on the top of the glasses, along with the crumpled paper. It adds further stability.

4) When loading boxes into a truck, they are generally stacked one over the other. To avoid the top of the box caving or bending and thereby harming your glassware, you have to have adequate cushioning. Stuff paper into the box to the extent that when you close the flap, you can’t dent or depress the top of the box in any way.

5) Alongside handling instructions, make sure you mark your box according to room/contents so they go into the right room when unloading.

6) Spare no expense when packing crystal glasses and bowls. Keep them packed in a separate box and purchase cell dividers if you must. You also have an option of purchasing additional moving insurance for these sorts of valuables, that cover them in the event of any damage.

7) If you have certain items of sentimental value or heirlooms that are fragile, you may want to keep them within sight at all times. In this case, make use of a suitcase. Pack it up for sturdiness just as you would a box, and place your wrapped up items inside. You can even use sheets and towels for cushioning. Just ensure you do not pack too many things too close to each other. Packing glassware for a move takes up loads of time and effort, which is why we recommend spacing yourself out. Leaving it for the last minute is sure to result in chaos and some shards of glass. Schedule a moving timeline and keep your supplies ready in advance. Ensure you have the right kind of movers for your move – those who are equipped with what your moving needs are and the professionalism to handle fragile items well.