One of the biggest concerns while packing your items before you move is your items breaking during transit. This is especially true of kitchen items like dishes and cutlery. After the amount of money you’ve spent investing in quality homeware pieces, there can be nothing that can get more devastating if they break during the move!

Dramatic much? Not really! Glassware and other kitchen items cost a ton of money, and when not packed properly, they’re the items that break. The kitchen is also the last room you’ll tackle before your move and the first room that you’ll try to get in order once you arrive at your new place.

You might have a number of questions pertaining to packing dishes for moving. After all, the better your job at packing them, there’ll be less chance of breakage. To make things easier for you, we’ve explained the packing process so you won’t have to worry about opening your boxes and finding broken dishes.

The Preparation

1. Gather Your Packing Supplies

Having enough packing supplies ready is the trick to having immaculate dishes in their original form when you arrive at your new home. So it goes without saying that gathering all your supplies is the first step to the process since packing dishes is a little more complex than if you were to pack other household items. You’ll usually need the following packing supplies:

  1. Boxes
  2. Packing paper
  3. Bubble wrap
  4. Packing tape
  5. Labels and markers or Sharpies

A reason why we suggest you have a lot of packing paper at your disposal is that you cannot leave empty spaces in the box when you’re packing dishes. While it might not matter much with other household items, empty spaces in a box filled with dishes could result in the dishes shifting and breaking during transit. You can also keep pieces of linen or cotton ready to stuff in these empty spaces inside the box if the need arises.

Also See: Best Packing Materials And How To Use Them

Did you know? You can buy dish boxes for your dishes which come with extra padding inside to protect your dishes. While they will cost more, they’re also thicker and sturdier.

2. Prep Your Boxes

Once you’ve gathered all your supplies, it’s time to prep your boxes that the dishes and other glassware will go into. While it might not seem like much, these two steps will ensure that the items inside stay intact.

  1. Tape the bottom of the box multiple times: Dishes are heavy items, especially if you’re placing expensive china inside. You don’t want your dishes to fall out from the bottom because you didn’t tape it enough.
  2. Add padding, as much as you can: At the bottom of the box, place at least four to five layers of packing paper before you start packing your dishes in. What you can do is crumple the paper and create a good layer of cushioning. Dish boxes already come with padding, so you can skip this step if you’re using those.

Related: Gather Boxes for Moving at Affordable Rates | Best Dish Pack Boxes For Moving

The Execution

Now that your boxes are prepped and ready to go, it’s time to start packing your dishes in. But there’s one question that might have been surfing in your mind for quite some time now – everything in the kitchen comes in different sizes, so will packing them involve the same process? No, the trick to pack bowls are different from packing dishes or glasses. So, let’s look at them one by one!

1. Packing Plates

Plates can be heavier than most other breakable kitchenware, so it’s best to start with them first. Since plates are flat, you can start by placing a sheet of your packing paper on a flat surface and then placing your plate at the center. Once this is done, start folding the sides of the packing paper inwards over the place and wrap it securely.

You can even use packing tape to secure the folding, but it’s not really necessary. You can then start stacking these plates vertically in the box. Why vertically, you ask. Because when you stack plates on top of each other, they’re more likely to break, no matter the amount of packing you’ve done. So, stack them in a compact manner next to each other leaving no room to the sides for them to shift.

We also recommend you use a smaller box for this purpose instead of a long elongated one since you don’t want the box to get too heavy! It’s also better if you stack the same-sized plates next to each other. If there’s space to the sides, stuff it with packing paper. Also, remember to put a few crumpled packing paper balls on the top for extra safety.

Once you’ve done these steps, tape your box at the top thoroughly. Then either write or place a sticker on the top that says “FRAGILE THIS SIDE UP” and you’re good to go!

Tip: Always stack heavier dishes at the bottom followed by the lighter ones on the top. This will ensure that the dishes at the bottom don’t shatter due to pressure.

2. Packing Bowls, Glasses And Mugs

When it comes to packing bowls, the initial method you have to follow is the same – place the bowls at the center of the packing paper and start folding inwards. Though you might feel that packing bowls or glasses in a bundle might save you some time and packing paper, that’s really not advisable! You’re just increasing the risk of these shattering, so it’s best to pack each item individually.

What you can do differently with glasses and mugs is stuffing the insides with packing paper for extra safety. When you start wrapping it, place it horizontally on one side of the packing paper and roll it with the paper to the other end. After this, stuff the ends of the packing paper within and around the glass or mug. When you’re stacking them, do so in a vertical manner rather than horizontal, and try placing items of the same height next to each other!

With expensive china you can add more layers of packing paper and bubble wrap the same, securing it with tape once done. Put lots of crumpled packing paper before you tape the upper end of the box as you did while packing plates. Also, don’t forget to put a “FRAGILE THIS SIDE UP” sticker on the top of the box!

Tip: You can make a small colored mark on boxes that have to go to particular rooms so that unpacking gets easier. For example, if it’s expensive china and you want it in the dining room china cabinet, the color could stand for the dining room!

3. Packing Stemware

Ever heard of the term before? Stemware includes those glasses that are extremely fragile from top to bottom and have a stem, like a wine or a champagne glass. They break easily because of their shape and since they are made of either crystal or glass. Packing stemware can seem challenging, but it’s really not. The process is the same as what you would follow for glasses, but with more caution and padding.

First stuff the insides of the glass with packing paper and then move on to wrapping it. Place the item horizontally on one end of the packing paper that’s flat on a surface and start rolling the item with the paper till it reaches the other end. Crumple and wrap the wrapping paper that’s around the stem securely and see to it that no edge of the stemware is poking out. You can also use two sheets of packing paper for this process for extra safety. If you feel the need to, by all means use bubble wrap!

When it comes to stacking stemware in the box, ensure that your box has extra padding at the bottom, more than you’d need for stacking plates or bowls. You should also ensure that no empty spaces remain between stacked stemware, and try to fill these up using packing paper as best as you can. Once done, add extra crumpled paper on top and then close and tape the box well. Put a “FRAGILE THIS SIDE UP” sticker on top and voila, the box is ready to be moved!

Also See: Packing Dish Washer for Moving

Did you know? Something that many people do while packing stemware is double-boxing. It involves placing your packed box within a larger box that’s already filled with crumpled packing paper on all sides!

Additional Tips For Packing Dishes

Here’s a round-up of the article with more tips that you can keep in mind as you pack your dishes:

  1. Remember to sort through and keep dishes that you will be using till the day of the move aside. You can keep a box labeled “ESSENTIALS” for this purpose so that you can also use these dishes on the day you move to your new home.
  2. You can use towels or liners to add cushioning to your dishes when you pack them. These can also act as substitutes for packing paper or bubble wrap!
  3. Don’t let the weight of the box exceed 45 lbs to 50 lbs. The heavier the box, the more the risk of the dishes inside shattering.
  4. Know how to load the boxes in the truck when you move. Be gentle with the loading and place the boxes under heavy furniture like dining tables or inside cabinets to ensure that they don’t shift.
  5. Always put heavy items like plates and bowls at the bottom of the box when you start packing.
  6. Avoid wrapping your dishes in newspapers since many of them have ink that bleeds and will transfer to your dishes. Instead, you can use newspapers to fill empty spaces in the box.
  7. When you’re placing pots and pans in the box, place them in nesting groups. This means placing them one on top of the other with the smallest at the bottom followed by pans that are bigger in size.


Packing dishes isn’t a very complex process, especially if you start the process early. We suggest you gather all your packing supplies and start packing dishes that you won’t be using in advance. You can expect the whole process of packing your kitchen up to last a good seven to eight hours, so keep that in mind too. In the end, all you need to remember is to pack carefully and add as much padding as possible, and your dishes will be safe and sound!


How do you pack dishes for a long-distance move?

Pack your dishes into the cardboard boxes you’ve rented or bought. Fill these boxes with packing peanuts or crumpled-up paper towels to create space between the smashed plates and cups. Kids will love helping with this step-through adults should consider placing items that are more breakable among these loose materials during this process, so it doesn’t get smashed during shipping!

How do you pack dishes, so they don’t break?

When you pack a dish, its surface will be exposed to pressure from the other items that surround it. Why not just wrap it in bubble wrap? There must be at least a centimeter or two of room between dishes both around and on top; if too much pressure is put on the side of the dish, the lugs (the indentations) will make cracks. To preserve these lugs whilst also cushioning against unexpected impacts, package solids separately with cushions such as clothes and towels according to size and origin before packing whichever vessels happen to be open or empty. Leave any fragile objects like artwork out.

How do you pack dishes for moving with bubble wrap?

Always use the plastic wrap on flat dishes first. Before placing it around your dish, cut off any excess plastic, sandwiching it between the dish and the bubble wrap. Use a lot of bubble wrap and tape to provide coverage for your glassware and china–these things shatter easily, and you need lots of protection to keep them safe during transportation.

How do you pack a casserole dish for moving?

Put the casserole and its lid next to each other in the box. Put them on their side, so they stay safe. Fill a glass with water and place it inside one of the foam pouches. Put two pieces of paper around the pouch and over the glass, so it is protected.

Can I use newspaper to pack dishes?

When packing plates, avoid using newspaper since the ink may come off and stain the plate. After everything is packed, tape down the top of the box and write “upside down” and “fragile.”

What is the best way to pack China for moving?

  • Place poured plates in groups of four or three and bowls in groups of two to three. Before bundling china:
  • Wrap it separately.
  • Wrap each glass and mug individually.
  • Wrap a wine glass’s stem with a folded sheet of paper before wrapping it in packing paper.

Is it necessary to pack pots and pans?

Yes, especially nonstick ones since they’re very susceptible to scratches. So, wrap them individually in packing paper before you stack them in boxes so that you avoid any damage.

Is bubble wrap or paper better for packing?

While both are equally good at ensuring that fragile items don’t break, packing paper saves space and ensures that the surfaces of the items you pack don’t get scratched. Bubble wrap on the other hand can ensure that extra fragile items don’t break, so it’s up to you to decide which suits your needs best!

Where can I get free packing supplies?

Online: You will find packing supplies like cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, and packing paper for free on websites like Freecycle and Craigslist.

Offline: You can also pick these up at local retail stores that sell groceries, books, liquor, or even recycle items.

Also, don’t forget to make use of the things you have at home like plastic bags, newspapers, suitcases, and cardboard boxes that you ordered items in!

Is large or small bubble wrap better?

Large bubble wrap is better when you pack fragile dishes since it gives greater protection against shocks and impacts because the bubbles are filled with more air. Small bubble wrap on the other hand can be used to pack items that you don’t want to be scratched.

What is the hardest room to pack?

Like we mentioned before, packing your kitchen is the hardest and most tedious room to pack. Not only does it take an exceptionally long time to pack, but it’s also a room that you use till the end, so you have to plan what to pack in there before you start!

Also Read: List of Affordable Moving Companies in the US