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It’s no secret that household glass items are easily breakable. So when you pack fragile items like drinkware, plates, vases, mirrors, glass tables, etc., it tends to cause a bit of anxiety. Moreover, some of these items often have sentimental value. Your favorite coffee mug, that plate or bowl that you just really like for some reason, that souvenir shot glass — whatever the object, the right glassware can have the magical ability to make all the difference between a house and a home. 

Packing glassware can therefore be one of the more delicate and time-consuming parts of the moving process. Because you want to be sure that your stuff is not only safely packed away, but that it also arrives at your new home fully intact. And you want to avoid any unpleasant surprises (i.e., scratches, cracks, or broken glass) when unpacking too. All this requires time, effort, patience, and care. 

Enlisting the help of a professional moving company is always a good call when it comes to moving your fragile items safely. They’ll have the know-how, plus all the necessary moving supplies. And for added peace of mind, you also might want to consider moving insurance

Meanwhile, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to help you prepare for your move and guarantee that all your glass items and plates are safely packed away, travel-ready, and arrive at your final destination in one piece.

What You'll Need: Packing Supplies

Most items made of glass are not only fragile but also tend to have a unique shape. This usually means that you can’t just pile them into a box on top of each other. To prevent breakage and guarantee each piece is secured, you’ll want to safeguard most of your stuff individually. You’ll also want to minimize the risk of damage in the moving truck. So you’ll need to get creative, use a bit of geometry and physics, and fill out a lot of empty space. Here are the essentials you’ll need to prep:

Boxes for Packing Glasses

The boxes glasses are sold in traditionally come with cell dividers, which separate and secure each individual glass. So if you’ve kept the original packaging, you’re in luck. If not, your local liquor store might be able to help. Or you can get creative, do a bit of measuring and cutting, and make some yourself. And you also want to make sure your boxes are sturdy. Moving boxes have “double-wall corrugation,” which means they are extra insulated and more durable than your average everyday box. The extra layer is meant to absorb impact and prevent vibration. And that’s exactly what you want when you pack glasses for a move.

Boxes for Packing Glasses

See also: How to Pack a Kitchen For a Move

Soft Packing Paper and Bubble Wrap

You’re going to need to fill out as much extra space as possible. And this means plenty of extra cushioning. Stock up on some sheets of packing paper and rolls of bubble wrap accordingly. Another age-old, universal method to fill excess room is with crumpled paper. So get some old newsprint, magazines, and any other non-essential paper you may have laying around — and crumple it up. You can also use clothes, moving blankets, and towels to bulk things up and add protection. 

Packing Tape and Permanent Marker

Packing tape is essential for most of your moving process. But it is especially useful when it comes to packing glassware. Remember that you’re going to be wrapping and securing a lot of small fragile stuff separately. So make sure you stock up. 

And you’ll definitely need a permanent marker (or two) to label things — both for yourself and the movers. Depending on the items, just flipping or turning the box they’re in may cause damage. Moreover, crystal glasses are usually quite light, whereas a box full of plates tends to be rather heavy. So clearly visible labels and cues like  ”this side up,” “top of the box/side of the box,” “fragile,” “heavy”, and so on are very important here. 

Sort Out Your Glassware Items

Once you have all your supplies, start sorting. Make plenty of room and place them somewhere they won’t easily be overlooked — so as to avoid any accidents before the move even commences. You likely have several sets of plates, bowls, glasses, etc. Make sure they are all neatly grouped together, set apart from each other and your other stuff, and ready to be packed away.

It might also be useful to read our Packing Guide.

Best Way To Pack Glassware:

Here’s a breakdown of how to pack and store some of your more common glassware items:

Glass Tables

Moving glass tables can be especially nerve-racking and cumbersome. They usually won’t fit in a normal-sized moving box. But since glass tables are traditionally flat and not very geometrically complex, you basically just need to cover them with as much protection as possible. Remove any detachable parts (legs, frame, etc.), and pack these separately.  Depending on the shape, size, and weight, you should be able to wrap the glass up in moving blankets, clothes, wrapping paper, and/or bubble wrap. If you do — make sure you provide plenty of cushioning. But the right picture box might just do the trick too. And if your glass table happens to be particularly delicate, not so easy to take apart, and extra important to you — the moving professionals can provide additional services such as packing for you. 

Glass Tables Packing Tips


Picture boxes are also ideal for packing away and transporting mirrors, as that’s what they are designed for. For larger mirrors, the process is similar to packing a glass table. Cover the mirror with as many layers of extra protection as possible, tape it up, and handle with care. With smaller mirrors, you can use t-shirts, bubble wrap, packing paper, and so on. No matter the size, make sure your mirror is laid firmly against a flat surface, clearly marked, and well-protected on all sides — be it separately, in a box, or in the moving truck.

Wine Glasses

Stemware (i.e., any glass with a stem) is particularly tricky to pack and move. When you pack wine glasses, wrap each one individually, taking extra care with the stem. And you want to fill as much empty space as possible (including the inside of the glass). You can use bubble wrap, cloths, socks, t-shirts, packing paper, and so on. And tape will help secure the layers of protection. 

Boxes with wine glasses need to be layered too. Make sure you have cushioning at the bottom of the box and use packing paper between the glasses themselves. Once they’re in the box, provide an extra layer or two of protection on top. The tighter the box is packed, the less likely it is that the glasses inside will move around.

Shot Glasses

Shot glasses are usually a little easier to pack. They’re smaller, have a simpler shape, and the glass itself is generally thicker. And like most glasses, they can be stacked on top of each other, like most glasses. So you don’0t have to wrap each one separately. But you do want to make sure that they are protected and secured. Some bubble wrap, packing paper, or a t-shirt or two should be enough to wrap an individual stack. But make sure you fill up the box with extra cushioning. 

China and Crystal

When packing china and crystal, you want to be extra careful. These are some of the most delicate items in your entire move, so make sure you treat them with attention and care. The packing itself is similar to packing wine glasses. Wrap the items, secure all stems and handles, and use plenty of cushioning. You can pack certain sets (plates, saucers, cups, etc) together, but make sure to have a layer of protection between each piece. The boxes should have sturdy dividers and extra layers of protection, filling as much empty space as possible. Vases will likely require a separate box. Secure the boxes and label them accordingly.

How to Pack Plates

It’s not as time-consuming to pack plates as it is for some of your other glassware. When you pack dishes, bowls, and plates, you can usually stack them — even if they don’t necessarily match. Wrap each piece individually (and a few times over) in cloth, packing paper, or bubble wrap. And don’t stack them too much, because you don’t want them cracking under their own weight. Provide cushioning both between and around them. With bowls, fill them like you would glasses. Wrap and secure the stacks (and individual pieces), put the heavier stuff at the bottom of the box, and fill any extra space. 

Tips to Pack Plates

And remember that loading, transporting, unloading, and unpacking glassware and plates can be tricky too. Securely tape and clearly label all your boxes, and make sure that everyone involved in the moving process is aware of what’s what. Plan ahead, be patient, and take your time. If all goes well, there’s a very good chance all your glassware and plates will arrive at their new home fully intact and without a scratch.


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