Top Tips on How to Pack Dishes for Moving

Packing takes time, energy, and patience. Especially if you’re packing fine china, and other fragile kitchen items. If not done correctly, you’ll have a collection of smashed and broken junk when you arrive at your new home. To help ensure a kitchen catastrophe doesn’t occur, we’ve put together the following tips on how to pack dishes for moving. We give you step-by-step instructions and advice you need to pack your dishes like a pro, including how to pack other fragile kitchen items.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

How to Pack Dishes for Moving

Tip 1: Use the Correct Boxes

When packing things like linens, toys, books, tools, and other nonfragile items, any clean box will do.  However, when packing dishes, especially fine china, you need a specialized box known as a dish pack. What makes a dish pack different from other boxes? The fact that it’s a double corrugated box, which means it has two layers of cardboard instead of one. This double layer of cardboard is a godsend when packing fragile dishes. It adds an extra layer of protection that will prevent your dishes from breaking if used correctly. 

Dish pack boxes are also 6 cubic feet and thus extra large. That means they get quite heavy when packed correctly, but that’s a good thing. Most pro movers put dish paks on the floor of the moving truck and stack things on top of them. They must be heavy and double corrugated to withstand the weight and pressure. Northwest sells dish pack boxes and other packing supplies at most of our locations.

How to Pack Dishes for Moving

Tip 2: Set Up a Workspace

Unless you want to constantly trip over stuff, misplace packing tools and possibly drop things, a workspace is essential. We suggest setting up a small, 3’x3’ table as your dedicated workspace. You can leave your packing paper, tape, and a razor knife on the table. Plus, you won’t have to move everything whenever you need to use the table for something else. Of course, if you move out in the next few days, you can use any table you want. The dining room table is perfect if you have a lot of glassware, china, and plates. It’s central, extra large, and super stable.

Tip 3: Have all your Packing Tools and Supplies Ready

Before you touch a single plate, it’s best to have all your packing tools and supplies ready. It’s certainly not a large number of things, but any one of them can cause a problem if it’s not ready. Below is a list of the packing tools and supplies you’ll need when packing dishes for moving, including:

  • Dish pack boxes 
  • Packing tape
  • Packing paper (It comes in big, pre-cut bundles.)
  • Thin bubble wrap
  • Magic markers
  • A retractable razor knife
How to Pack Dishes for Moving

Tip 4: Tape Dish Pak Boxes Extremely Well

Dish pack boxes can weigh up to 100 pounds when packed to the brim. For that reason, you must use extra tape. We recommend at least two or three lines of it on the bottom and the top. Also, on both the bottom and the top, use packing tape to form an “X” and provide even more strength. Most professional packers will also seal the edges of a dish pack with tape. However, if you use enough tape on the box’s seam and make an “X,” it’s probably unnecessary.

How to Pack Dishes Step-by-Step

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to pack a single dish pack full of dishes, glassware, and other fragile items.

  1. Lay a thick layer of crumpled packing paper on the bottom of the dish pack. It should be 2 or 3 inches thick and use about 12 to 15 pieces of packing paper.
  2. Put the box on a chair to prevent you from bending over multiple times.
  3. Put a large plate in the center of your cut stack of packing paper on your workspace.
  4. Grab the edge of 2 pieces of paper and fold them diagonally over the plate.
  5. Grab a second plate and set it on top of the paper and plate. Fold another two pieces of paper over the second plate.
  6. Grab the third plate and set it over the paper and the first two plates. You should now have a “plate lasagna” of 3 plates and about 8 pieces of packing paper.
  7. Grab 2 sheets of paper from under the bottom plate and fold the four edges over, one at a time. Turn the plates over as you do so that two corners cover both sides of the plate stack. (Sort of like putting a diaper on a baby.)
  8. You should now have a neatly wrapped stack of three dishes.
  9. Take the stack and wrap it the same way in 2 more pieces of packing paper.

Now that your first three plates are in the pack, it’s time to put them in the box. This step is critical. They should be on their edge, not flat like in your cupboard. Placing them flat will lead to disaster when they bounce down the highway on your moving truck!

Now make several more 3-plate stacks of dishes. Put them in tightly (but not too tight). Add each one next to the first, on its edge, until you fill the bottom of the dish pack. 

Next, cut a piece of extra cardboard to fit inside the dish pack. Then, place the cut cardboard piece on top of the 1st tier of packed dishes. After that, do the same thing and create another layer of dishes. This time, however, use medium instead of large dishes. (If you feel good about your packing skills, pack four small dishes in each stack.)

Keep doing this with smaller dishes and cardboard layers until the dish pack is almost full. If needed, you can pack small glasses and fragile items, standing up at the very top. (Wrapped in packing paper also, of course.) Fill in gaps at the top with small items and tape your dish pack closed. Congratulations, you just packed your first dish pack full of dishes! Now do the same steps again and fill up another!

These Tips on How to Pack Dishes for Moving Brought to you by Northwest Self Storage

Did you learn everything you wanted today from today’s article about how to pack dishes for moving? We hope you did and that all your dishes make it through the move in one piece. If you need to store your things in self-storage, Northwest can help. We have self-storage facilities in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. They all feature safe, clean, and secure storage units ready to store practically anything. To see the self-storage locations nearest you, visit the Northwest Self Storage main page online!

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