Home » Packing Tips » How to Pack and Store Fine China

There are unique challenges when packing china, dishware, and fragile items. This how-to guide gives tips for properly packing these items in order to avoid damage. Things to consider include the weight of the items, the shape of the items, and the packing materials to use. There are special boxes to use for these items, which are stronger.

Take Inventory of Your China

Before you begin packing, take stock of what you want to pack. Inspect each dish and cup for any chips, scratches, or damage before packing. This way you can make note of this damage or any imperfections so you can give these dishes some extra care to prevent further damage. By doing this before a move, you can take the proper measures in case the worst-case scenario occurs with your dishes. It will make it easier to file a claim against your moving company or with your homeowner’s insurance in case a box is damaged or lost during the move.

Special Boxes for Dishware

Use special “dish pack” boxes that are sturdier than regular boxes. These can also be known as a “cell box.” Most moving boxes are built with a single layer of corrugated cardboard, however a dish box has an extra layer of this material. This way the box won’t be flimsy and can hold up the weight of your fine china.

Wrapping Tips for Storing Dishes and Bowls

When bundling dishes, place some cushioning material between them to prevent chips and other damage. Bundle the dishes in groups of 4 before placing them into the box. When it comes to bowls, use the same technique but group them in sets of 2 or 3 depending on their size. Use plenty of crumpled paper around items to make sure there is no open space.

Wrapping Tips for Storing Glasses

Line the bottom with crumpled paper. Use a parchment paper or similar packing material. Do NOT use newspaper as the ink has a tendency to rub off on the items you’re storing. Newspaper ink is very difficult to remove so there is no need to add to the extra stress of moving by using this cut rate packing material.

Storage Tip! The proper way to pack stemware, mugs, and cups includes using boxes designed for glassware. Pack these items with the rims down and face the handles all towards one direction.

Wrap mugs, cups, glasses, and stemware separately. Use a folded piece of sheet paper to wrap around the stems of wine glasses. For mugs, use extra material around the handles. Once placed in the box, use plenty of crumpled paper around items to make sure there is no open space. You want to make sure the glasses are snug enough to stay still but not so much that they may break under pressure.

For Additional Protection Use Cardboard Dividers

Use cardboard dividers to separate each item. Separate layers by putting some crushed paper on top of the lower layer and use horizontal cardboard to make a level space for each new layer. Stack similar items in each layer.

Sturdy plates can be wrapped as bundles of up to four plates. Sturdy bowls can be wrapped in bundles of two or three. Delicate china plates and bowls need to be wrapped separately. Wrap the lid of a teapot and the teapot itself separately and then wrap the two of them together to make a bundle. Fill the top layer of the box with crumpled paper before sealing it.

Use Plenty of Packing Materials

Storage Tip! Use packing paper rather than newspaper because the ink will come off and make a mess when using newspaper.

Have plenty of packing materials available that include lighter tissue paper, heavier wrapping paper, and sheets of paper. Professional packers may also use Styrofoam peanuts and bubble wrap as alternatives to paper. Packing tape is useful to hold the paper in place when wrapped around an item and to seal the boxes when full.

Distribute the Weight for Best Results

Storage Tip! Use a dish box for extra support and place heavier items on the bottom.

Put a protective layer of crumpled paper in the bottom of a box to get it ready to fill it. Heavier items are then individually wrapped and put into the box first. After that, lighter items are wrapped and placed above the heavier ones. Be sure to think about the overall weight and not fill one box with too many heavy things that makes it difficult to carry.

Dealing with Unusual Dishes

Storage Tip! Use tissue paper as a base to wrap around odd-shaped items.

For very fragile things, make a bundle first that completely surrounds the item with soft tissue paper and then surround this with sturdy paper. Use extra crumbled paper in the box at the bottom, along the sides, and to fill up the top, in order to make a cushion that holds the bundle in the center of the box away from its walls or separated from other items by cardboard dividers.

Label the Box as Fragile

There are a lot of boxes to keep track of when you are moving. Make it easier on yourself to write on the outside of the box. When storing your dishware or any fragile item, make sure to label the box as ‘Fragile.’ Just an added layer of security when either you or your movers are transporting your more delicate items.

One Last Storage Tip: Take Your Time

When packing and storing fine china, dishes, bowls, glassware, and other fragile items, it is important to take the time necessary to wrap everything carefully. This extra care is needed in order to avoid the disappointment of things being broken. Use the right kind of boxes, along with plenty of packing materials, and store them according to the best practices to have a good result.

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