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How to Pack Fragile Items

2014 May 28
Written by Mark

Fragile items are always a challenge to pack because they need different types of protection against pressure, heat, dents, punctures, breakage and drops. Fortunately, anything can be packed to withstand most threats, provided the correct boxes are used and there is sufficient protective material to form a barrier around the item. Here are practical tips for packing fragile items for moving or shipping:

Choose the Right Box

Always choose a sturdy box that allows a minimum of 2 inches between the box and the wrapped item. Hard plastic, rubber or metal boxes are best for providing protection against external pressure but a good, strong corrugated carton box will work just as well. It does, however, require some reinforcements. Before packing fragile items in a corrugated box, seal the bottom of the box with packing tape. Place about 2 to 3 layers of packing tape for good measure.

Packing Breakable Items

Breakable items include glass, crystal, china, decors, porcelain, dishes, and many types of collectibles. In most cases, each item will have to be wrapped individually using paper, such as old newspapers, kraft or newsprint paper. For very delicate items such as crystal stemware or handcrafted glass, use bubble wrap for each piece and tape the ends to keep it secure. If packing several pieces of stemware and glasses, use a carton divider with the box.

Mirrors and Frames

Secure the mirror to its frame using tape to prevent it from shifting during moving. Do the same for picture frames that have glass covers. For added protection, use specialized corner protectors to protect the edges of the frame. Wrap the frame with paper and secure it with tape. For an extra layer of protection, use polyethylene foam or bubble wrap. Always lay the frame flat on the packing box and pack larger pieces individually.

Computers, Electronics and Other Gadgets

When packing fragile items such as computers and other electronic gadgets, it is best to use the original boxes since these are already designed to keep the items secure. In the absence of the original box, pack the items in a slightly larger box that can be stuffed using styrofoam or bubble wrap to prevent the gadgets from shifting. Pack and secure individual pieces such as speakers and components separately.

Remove or unplug any accessories still attached to the computer such as USB cables, flash disks, external hard drives, DVDs or CDs. If the computer contains important files, make backup copies just in case a problem occurs in the system during moving or shipping. Secure all wires, jacks and cords with twisty wire and label them for easy reference later. Pack the wires with the gadgets they are used with. Once the gadgets are packed inside the box, label them “Fragile”. It is also a good idea to label them for identification later, for example: CD Player for Living Room or CPU for Office.

Use a Crate for Special Items

A crate is often the best option when packing fragile items such as valuable art, large picture frames, heavy marble or stone, large pieces of art, vases and large glass or porcelain pieces.

Pack Fragile Items the Right Way

Once the box has been secured with tape, place a layer of packing material on the bottom for cushioning. Use bubble wrap, styrofoam pellets or noodles, or foam peanuts. Place the item or items securely in the middle of the box, leaving about 2 inches of space from the inner surface of the box. Fill the empty space with more packing material.

If necessary, put packing material between the items as well. Fill the box and put a layer of packing material on top of the item. To check if the item is indeed secure within the box, try shaking the box. If the item moves, consider adding more bubble wrap and securely wrap it with packing tape. The key is to ensure that the item is secure and will not shift inside the box. Layering of multiple items can also be done to save space, provided the heavier items are placed on the bottom. Once done, seal the box with packing tape at least twice and mark the box “Fragile” on the top and on the sides. Make sure to mark the box with an arrow to indicate which side should be on top.

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