How to Pack and Protect Fragile Items

By Chelsea Jackson on May 11, 2017

It’s that time of year again: the awkward and taxing time where every student who has completed their final exams just remembered that they actually need to pack and move out of their campus abode.

Before you run off and start shoveling random objects into anything that remotely resembles a box, you might want to procrastinate your impending move to read the rest of this article. Seriously, this article could save you your cherished plates, unnecessary ugly crying, and family squabbles. Okay, the family quarrels might just be inevitable.

Moving is an arduous chore for anyone, while the actual act of moving from one apartment to another can make the calmest person turn against those they care about the most. Seriously though, you might want to rethink yelling at Fin the goldfish. It isn’t his fault that you waited until the last minute to attempt to pack him and his fish tank. Even for an aquatic critter, words hurt.

Instead of snipping at your pet or your family, who is likely rolling their eyes at your attempt to pack an unorganized dorm room in half a day, you should focus your efforts on packing properly.

Granted, nearly every college student and newly initiated adult has been guilty of haphazard packing — shoveling clothes into trash bags and tossing things you didn’t even know you owned into beat-up produce boxes. Though you just want to pack, move and be done with responsibilities (or at least ignore them for a bit), you definitely wouldn’t want to unpack your belongings to find that all your dishes are cracked. Or worse, your laptop that you’ve been cursing at all semester suddenly won’t even turn on, because you packed it with your excuse for a kettle bell.

Although there are many different methods to safely pack your fragile items, here are a few tips that might save you an immense amount of stress and money during your move.

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Unless you’ve somehow managed to bum off your roommate’s printer or you’ve kept prudence while using only the computer lab’s electronics all semester long, then you probably have several electronic devices that you couldn’t or wouldn’t live without. So why would you risk the safety of your electronics, just to shave off a few minutes of your packing time? Seriously, it just isn’t worth it.

Instead, you should take some time and effort to pack your electronics properly so they don’t get damaged during your move.

Rather than shoveling your laptop in its respective laptop case and placing it in any original box, you should wrap your laptop with some cushion before you stow it away. While you can wrap your laptop in newspaper, you can conserve a number of your boxes by coating your laptop with some of your clothes. With this method, you’ll be packing both your clothing and your laptop.

If you’re still skittish that your laptop isn’t safe enough to travel to your new home, you can place your laptop case in another container or box. You can cushion your laptop bag with additional items from your wardrobe, to make sure your laptop doesn’t shift in its secondary container.

Cautiously packing your electronics in your clothes or other soft material, such as your blankets, towels, and pillows extends to all of your electronics.

However, you can also substitute your garment-themed packing buffers with styrofoam. Styrofoam and packing peanuts are incredibly efficient in protecting televisions, monitors, and scanners/printers during any move. Regardless, it is typically helpful if you’ve saved the original box and packaging for your television and such.

If you didn’t hoard your electronics’ original packaging, you might be able to dumpster dive for some similar boxes and packing material that works all the same.


From plates to ceramic lamps, glassware and ceramic trinkets are some of the most delicate items for anyone to pack during a move. Like your electronics, you could also use your clothing and otherwise to cloak your glassware and ceramics. However, this method can make it awkward to stack your plate one on top of the other in your packing boxes.

Instead, you might want to opt to use packing paper or newsprint/newspaper to wrap your glassware and other fragile kitchen items from any harm during your move.

Regardless of how you choose to wrap your glass objects, you shouldn’t pack these items in larger boxes. While you can fit more of your glassware in bigger containers, glass and your cushiony material is heavy and will weigh down the most sturdy of boxes. Don’t risk the chance of your box breaking — split your glassware into small and manageable boxes instead.

Just don’t forget to label all of your valuable boxes with the word “fragile” written on the box in bold marker. Even if you plan on moving all your belongings yourself, it’s easy to forget where you packed what items during any stressful move.

Additionally, you can reinforce your valuables’ protection by investing in sturdier packing material. Rather than scavenge your local department store for old and battered cardboard boxes, purchase some large plastic containers or stronger cardboard boxes.

If you still aren’t convinced that your packing containers are enough to see that your fragile items get to your new destination safely, you can get some packing fillers. When in doubt, buy bubble wrap.

I live in Iowa now, but I was born and raised in Florida. When I'm not writing, I'm probably drawing or cooking.

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