The thing about breakables is that…well, they’re breakable. Dishes can easily be cracked, vases can be shattered, mirrors can be reduced to bits of glass, ornaments can be ruined, and heirlooms can be quickly ground into dust. Since you probably want to preserve you delicate possessions, and the possibility of breaking always exists, you will have to be proactive to protect your breakable belongings. Here are a couple tips to get you started safely packing and storing your precious breakables.

1. Save the Best for Last: First of all, you should pack up everything else before you start to pack your breakables. Packing breakables generally takes a longer time than packing less delicate items. To ensure that you have enough time to properly care for your delicate belongings, pack up everything else first, and then focus on the breakables.

2. Use the Right Box: Make sure you pack your breakable items into the appropriate sized box. Don’t try to stuff them into a large box that could easily become overloaded and heavy. Dishes, cups, and other small breakable items should be packed into a dish pack. Dish packs are boxes that are specially made to move breakables. They are made of thicker cardboard and often contain divider inserts to help absorb the shock of any sudden movements.

3. Pack it in: When loaded into a moving truck or storage unit, boxes are usually stacked several boxes high, so your belongings could easily be damaged if they are not sufficiently protected. Start packing each box with a soft bed of newspaper, tissue paper, or packing paper to cushion everything. You want to line each side of the box with crumpled paper to increase shock absorption. The top and bottom of the box in particular, should each have about 6 inches of crumpled paper. You can also place an additional layer of cardboard on the top and sides. The box should be slightly overfilled with cushioning so that you can’t easily push it down after taping it closed. If you can hear the breakables clunking or rattling in the box when it’s full, there isn’t enough packing paper to prevent damage. When you begin packing, place breakable items in the box with the heaviest, sturdiest breakables at the bottom and the most fragile at the top.

4. Fill up Empty Spaces: Make sure to pack the box tightly and fill empty spaces with packing paper or other items to absorb shock. You can nest smaller wrapped items within larger items to offer more support and pack the box tighter. You can also use other items such as 2-liter plastic bottles, packing peanuts, or rigid Styrofoam to help support breakable items and increase shock absorption.

5. Wrap It Up: The key to protecting your breakables is to wrap each piece individually. Place items in an upright position on a sheet of paper. Thoroughly wrap the item in paper and put another sheet of crumpled paper inside. Items such as jars or vases should be tightly packed with paper to keep them safe. You can wrap thin glassware or very delicate items in several layers of paper to offer increased protection.  Dish packs often come with dividers inserts that separate items and also offer greater protection.

6. Bring on the Tape: Only use packing tape to tape up boxes as it is wider and stronger than other types of tape. Ensure that your boxes are set up and taped properly. You should tape the bottom of the box and up the sides to about 1/3 of the distance to the top of the box. You can use additional tape to make sure the ends are securely shut and the box is square.

7. Move it Yourself: While you should always make sure to advise movers on which items are fragile and properly mark each box, there is no better way to ensure that your breakables stay in one piece than to move them/store them yourself. If you are moving locally and decide that you don’t have the time to pack your breakables or money to have someone move them, then you can always move them yourself. Nobody will take care of your valuable, breakable property like you will..and, like the old saying goes, “If you want something done right, do it yourself”.