Introduction: Using Plastic Grocery Bags to Pack Fragiles

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We recently moved across the county on a super tight budget, and when it came to packing up my kitchen I was wondering how in the world I was going to keep it all from getting broken. I have so many glass bowls, and we've got quite a few place settings since I tend to feed lots of people.

And then, AN IDEA! We had two paper grocery bags stuffed full of plastic bags I've been hoarding over the years. I had been thinking about taking them to Kroger and getting them recycled so we didn't have to drag them with us, but this turned out to work so much better!

The pictures should give you a good idea of how it goes, but these are the basic steps:
  1. Drag all the plastic bags out from your cabinets/drawers/closets/etc
  2. Get a box. Lay down a couple plastic bags on the bottom of the box, or if you have some, extra towels or an old shirt
  3. Lay a plastic bag on the floor, and place your largest bowl in the middle of it.
  4. Fold the edges of the plastic bag up over the edges of the bowl so some of it is resting inside.
  5. Do the same with a smaller bowl - place the plastic bag under the bottom, pull the bag edges over the edge of the bowl
  6. Place the smaller bowl in the larger bowl!
  7. Continue until you have a nicely organized stack - it should look like the first photo!
Do exactly the same thing with plates and cups - just put the bag under it and then pull it up over the sides of the object you're stacking. I forgot to get photos of that part. I was rushing a little. ;)

The goal here is to keep the bowls/cups/plates/whatever to keep from clinking against one another, because that is what will cause breakage! Check as you go by shaking the box slightly to see if anything is clinking - if it is, locate it and add another plastic bag! On a couple of my giant mixing bowls I had to use two layers because the next size down was much smaller.

Once you've got stacks of items, try to pack them very tightly in the box. You can see in the main photo I've got three different stacks of bowls in one box with very little space left open. Wad/roll up extra plastic bags and stick them between the stacks of bowls and also between the bowls and the sides of the box. :)

You can also use newspaper/spam ads - they make great packing material.

Another important thing to do to keep your things from breaking is to pack the boxes all the way to the top and fill in all the empty space with plastic bags or cloth. I packed my fragiles in the bottom of all of my boxes, and then packed the top layer with things that couldn't break - plastic storage containers, utensils, cutlery wrapped in paper bags, towels, old shirts, etc. Plastic lids worked really well to keep the fragile stuff from smacking the side of the box!

I am happy to report that I packed my entire kitchen this way and not a single thing broke on the 2,000 mile journey in a shipping container! (But yet the last minute things we had to throw in the car tended to get pretty busted. I broke a lamp and a clock!) I think I'm going to continue to pack like this forever. I stashed the plastic bags once I unpacked so I can use them for next time! :D

And apologies for the terrible photos - I did lots of midnight packing.I couldn't be bothered. :P