How to pack, protect and transport fragile valuables

Published on , in Cleaning & Decorating, Security, House Removals.

Just about anyone can pack books, DVDs or clothes. Fragile items, on the other hand, require a deft hand and an expert’s touch. Nobody wants to arrive at their new property carrying shards of crockery, or unwrap a parcel to discover a broken heirloom.

To ensure the worst doesn’t happen, here is your definitive guide to wrapping, protecting and transporting breakable valuables. Get your safety hat on and let's go!

Prepare in advance

Valuables are often broken as a result of rushed packing. Tend to your breakables as early as possible. This not only gives you time to do it right, but also to accrue DIY packing materials like junk mail and old newspaper.

Tools you’ll need:

  • Boxes (if you’re in need of quality packaging we’ll help)

  • Bubblewrap

  • Packing paper (or old newspaper/junk mail)

  • Scissors

  • Good quality packing tape

Identify & Isolate Your Valuables

Needless to say, fragile items need special care and their own packing space. Go through your house and set aside all potential breakables so they receive special attention. The last thing you need is to overlook something once you’ve spent all that time bubble wrapping. Keep an eye out for:

  • Vases

  • Crockery, including the special Christmas set

  • Clocks

  • Glass-mounted paintings

  • Heirlooms - check the mantelpiece!

fragile plate set

Packing Fragile Items: The Essential Tips

Now you're prepared, let’s whizz through our tried and trusted methods for packing breakable items.

Wrap items individually

Every item - be that a glass, ornament or dinner plate - should be wrapped individually in crumpled packing paper. This is why we warned you about starting early! It takes time, but it’s worth the payoff of having an intact crockery set.

Stack plates vertically

It’s tempting to pack plates side by side, as you might when you load the dishwasher. However, this creates an unsteady base and makes the pile liable to toppling over.

Fill empty space

Boxes are cube-shaped, but not many items fill every inch. If there’s empty space in the box, fill it with crumpled paper, packing peanuts or bundles of socks. The same goes for glass and vase interiors; fill them with material to minimise shock and rattling in transit.

Heavy items at the bottom, light at the top

If you pack multiple fragile items into one box, keep the heavy, bulky stuff at the bottom. That way when boxes are unloaded and placed on the ground, the impact doesn’t crush the weaker items.


We’ve heard horror stories about fragile items being turned upside down because of poor labelling. Write FRAGILE and THIS WAY UP on every side of the box, making sure your labels are visible from every angle.

Pack first, load last

We told you all about packing early. That being said, you want to avoid loading your valuables too quickly. When you open the vehicle, fragile boxes should be a) quickly accessible and b) secure. That means adding them on a square, steady surface, preferably as close to the van door as possible.

Good luck!

So that's our quick tour through the world of packing valuables! What do you think? If you have any tips or feedback, feel free to get in touch and we'll spread the good word to our readers. Happy packing!

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