How To Pack China For Moving (Safely!)

How To Pack China for Moving

If you own china, you know that few things cause more angst than packing and moving your china. For many of us, china is the plates in your house that you don’t even eat off of for fear of any kind of scratch or, gasp, a chip.

So it’s no wonder that throwing all your china in a box and tossing it on the back of a moving truck doesn’t exactly give you a warm and fuzzy feeling.

Don’t worry, I’m here to tell you that you can move your china without issues! I’m going to share with you my best tips that have helped me move a box of china (that my Grandmother gave me over 10 years ago) about a half dozen times successfully.

Properly packing china for a move comes down to having the proper packing materials, including dividers and bubble wrap, along with being very mindful of where you keep it during the move itself.

Let’s start by going over the packing materials you’re going to want. Then I’ll walk you through how to pack your china and finally, I’ll discuss very specifically where to store your china during the move.

Table of Contents

Packing Materials

Bubble Wrap
Bubble wrap should be your absolute best friend when it comes to packing fragile items.

This is not the time to skimp on packing materials! Jen and I have lots of packing ‘how-to’ guides where we talk about ways to save money by using socks and other materials to serve as packing materials. However, packing china is not where you want to go cheaply.

Spend a few bucks to get the proper materials. The peace of mind alone will be worth the money spent. (And it’s not exactly a ton of money either)

  • Small Box – As small of a box as your china will fit in. As will be the main theme going forward, extra space will be our enemy.
  • Dividers – You can purchase this as a box with dividers built-in (recommended) or get dividers separately to fit your box.
  • Bubble Wrap / Padded Packing Paper – I prefer bubble wrap here as a cushioned buffer for your pieces, but packing paper will do the job as well.

How To Pack Your China

This will vary a bit based on your box and dividers as well as how many pieces you have in your china set.

With that being said, let’s go over some general guidelines you’ll want to follow.

Use as Small a Box As Possible

As I mentioned earlier, extra space is the enemy when packing fragile items like china. The extra room allows items to shift, move and bounce when you hit that pothole that you never saw until the last second. Every time items move it is an opportunity for them to clang against one another and scratch, chip or even break.

Find a small box or even divide your collection into multiple small boxes if necessary.

Also, make sure the box is sturdy. It should be thick cardboard or better yet, hard plastic or similar material. You don’t want anything that could lose its integrity, break down and put your china at risk of getting smashed.

Dividers, Packing Paper and Bubble Wrap

Layer the bottom of your box with a layer of bubble wrap (A layer of crumbled-up packing paper can also work here). This will create an extra buffer of protection between your china and the evil outside world that wants to destroy it.

Now, utilize your dividers as much as possible. Wrap each piece in its own packing paper and place it within the proper divider space. It should have enough room to fit into the space, but not enough to where it can move freely within the space.

Rinse and repeat this process until all your china is sitting safely inside the packing box.

Tape and Label

Label Boxes Fragile
When it comes to labeling boxes fragile, the bigger the better.

Finally, tape the box and mark it both ‘FRAGILE’ and ‘CHINA’.

Don’t be afraid to be obnoxious and mark every side of the box. This will let whoever is moving it, whether that’s you, your brother or your movers, know that this box needs to be handled with care.

Where to Store Your China During the Move

Just as important as how you pack your china is where you pack your china.

I have never moved my Grandmother’s china in the back of a moving truck. There’s just too much that can happen in the back of a truck during a move for me to trust it 100%.

Personal Vehicle

Instead, I store the box in the trunk of my car. I’ll place other items around that box to secure it in place, whether that be other boxes (usually also with items I value highly) or things like pillows, blankets or cushions to brace everything in place.

Now, I realize that no place is 100% safe, and in the unfortunate event that I was rear-ended then that would be really bad for my china and everything else in my trunk. However, I feel I have way more control over the safety of things that I can monitor more closely and more securely.

In the Moving Truck Cab

If putting your china in your personal vehicle is not an option, then up front in the truck cab with you (if you’re driving the truck) is another good option.

If you do decide to put it in the back of the truck, then find a spot that is safe and secure. You don’t want other boxes piled up on top of it. You also need to make sure that if the box is on the top of a stack that it is not going to go sliding off and end up crashing down to the floor.

Try to place it at the top of a stack of boxes that is wedged against tall objects that are not going to move. This could be the side of the truck, a tall dresser, fridge, etc.

Final Thoughts

Some items need a higher level of care than others during a move. Your china set is definitely toward the top of that list.

But, moving your china doesn’t have to be an anxiety-producing stress-fest. Get yourself the proper materials, take your time placing and arranging all your pieces inside it’s box and be very mindful of where you place your china during the move.

Follow these steps and your china should arrive in your new home ready to (only on the rarest and specialist of occasions) used!


I've been a college coach for going on 20 years now and that career has led Jen and I on quite the journey. We've lived in 7 different states and have moved a dozen different times. We've learned A LOT over the course of all those moves and we want to pass on our knowledge to help others going through the moving process.

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