How to Safely Pack Dishes & Glasses

Multicolored dishes, bowls, and cups on white shelf

Packing up your kitchen can be one of the most headache-inducing steps when you’re moving, but it doesn’t have to be. In this article, we’ll walk through how to pack dishes, whether it’s for a move or for storage.

Packing Dishes

In general, you’ll want to avoid leaving extra space inside your boxes while packing dishes. And of course, the sturdier the box, the better — one split bottom can mean the loss of a whole set of dishes.

Choose Your Packing Materials

Sturdier boxes are better, but you don’t necessarily have to spring for dish barrels. You’ll want a few key packing materials, including:

  • Packing paper
  • Packing tape
  • Medium boxes
  • Markers for labeling

Packing paper is by far the most important material when it comes to packing dishes the right way. You’ll be wrapping your dishes in the paper to provide cushioning, but you’ll also need to line the boxes with packing paper, so make sure you’re stocked up.

How to Pack Dishes Step by Step

You likely have a wide variety of dishes in your kitchen, from heavy-bottomed casserole dishes to elegant stemware, and you will need to pack each in a slightly different way. But in general, here are a few simple steps to follow when you’re packing dishes for a move or storage:

Step 1: Put Together Your Boxes – Fold the boxes you’re going to use to pack your dishes, and then tape them up. Make sure to be generous with the tape because these boxes will have to carry a heavy load.

Step 2: Create a Cushion – Crumple up a few sheets of packing paper and line the bottom of the box. Ideally, you’ll end up with about 6 inches of cushion at the bottom of the box. This is critical if you want to avoid any cracking or breaking in transit.

Step 3: Start Wrapping – Place a piece of packing paper on a table, wrap up a dish in it, and tape the paper together so it doesn’t unravel. Then place the item carefully in your box. Make sure to start with your heaviest dishes first — you’ll want these to be at the bottom of the box.

Step 4: Fill Up Extra Space – As you’re packing, fill up any empty space with packing paper. Then, when you’ve filled up the box, add a layer of paper to the top for extra cushioning. Close the box, seal it shut with tape, and label it clearly.

How to Pack Wine Glasses

Most people feel a little nervous when it comes to packing wine glasses. The good news is there’s a straightforward method for packing them that can help cut down on breakage.

Step 1: Pack the inside of the wine glass with packing paper or a piece of soft fabric to provide structural support.

Step 2: Place a sheet of packing paper on a flat surface, and then set the glass on its side in the corner of the paper. Then roll the glass across the paper, folding the paper in as you go — as if you were wrapping a bouquet.

Step 3: Repeat this with more pieces of packing paper until the glass is covered, then tape the seams shut. Depending on the size of the wine glass, you might only need one piece of packing paper.

What Should I Pack First When Moving?

A good rule of thumb while packing is that you should start with the least used spaces first — that means your garage should take precedence over the bedroom. Because you’re likely using your kitchen every day, it should be among the last rooms you pack. In terms of items, you should pack non-essential items first. For more on how to get packing for your move, check out our comprehensive walkthrough here.

Young woman smiling at camera holding a moving box in a room

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to pack plates for moving?

Place a plate in the middle of a piece of packing paper and fold the corners over it and tape it in place. Once you have three or four wrapped plates, stack them and wrap the complete stack. Then place them vertically in a box. Once the box is packed, fill any empty space with packing paper.

How do you wrap a mug for moving?

Fill the inside of the mug with crumpled paper, then wrap the entire mug in two or three layers of paper and seal with tape.

How do you pack a casserole dish for moving?

Most large pieces of cookware, including casserole dishes and cast iron skillets, should be wrapped in packing paper and packed together tightly in a box.

How do you pack a dish barrel?

To prevent your glasses from moving around inside the dish barrel box, use a cell kit to hold them in place. Otherwise, fill the bottom with about six inches of crumpled packing paper, and then individually wrap your dishes and place them in the box.

What size box is best for packing dishes?

A 1.5 cubic foot moving box (16×12.5×12.5 inches) is the most common size. It can safely carry up to 60 pounds but aim to keep the weight under 50 pounds. This box is great for books, for packing kitchen items, dishes, fragile and small appliances, lamps, and shades.

How do you pack dishes without packing paper?

If you don’t have any packing paper on hand, any items made of soft fabrics will do, including socks, t-shirts, and other clothes. Wrap these items around your plates and glasses as if you’re using paper.

How do you pack glassware?

Ideally, you’ll have a cell pack inside the box you’re using to store your glassware. From there, fill the inside of each glass with wrapping paper, wrap the entire glass with packing paper, and seal with tape.

What can I use instead of bubble wrap?

The ideal is packing paper, although if you can’t get your hands on that, bubble wrap should be your second choice. If you’re in a time crunch, old newspapers can also do the trick.