When moving overseas, you'll be taking your belongings with you and that usually includes some fragile items. But if you're unsure of how to pack your items so that they arrive at the destination intact, keep reading for tips on shipping fragile items overseas.
Even if you won't be bringing every heirloom item with you during your international move, there still might be at least one or two things that will need extra care and protection during shipment. Those fragile items that are important enough to bring with you overseas, should warrant the same care and though when you're packing them.
Take Extra Special Care
Treat your item like a baby. Although resilient, babies should be handled with care. The same goes for that fragile knick-knack of yours. Babies are swaddled in a blanket to protect them from turning on their stomachs too early. You will be "swaddling" your "baby" with bubble wrap and packing peanuts to prevent it from breaking.
Use Proper Supplies
While using a towel, t-shirt or other make-shift packing material might do well for a short-distance move, international moves take much longer to execute and your fragile items won't be as safe wrapped up in an old t-shirt as they will be when packed with bubble wrap, packing paper and packing peanuts.
When packing you'll also need good quality packing tape and boxes in good condition. Boxes with rips, holes or tears should obviously not be used for shipping your items or belongings.
Examine the Item
Does the item you're hoping to ship have delicate areas like a thin handle? Is the item an oddly-shaped antique? Items with odd shapes will need special care when wrapping to prevent them from breaking during shipping.
Anything that could snap during transit should be wrapped with thin strips of bubble wrap similar to the way you would wrap a mummy. The idea is to make the area as flush with the rest of the piece as possible. After it's wrapped in bubble wrap, tape it tightly in place.
DO NOT put tape directly on your item. Keep the tape on the wrapping only.
After you've wrapped the extra-fragile parts of the piece, swaddle the item and tape it up tightly and then wrap it with packing paper. Repeat with another layer of bubble wrap and packing paper and place it inside a sturdy box.
TIP: EXTREMELY FRAGILE ITEMS SHOULD BE PACKED IN TWO BOXES! Pack the first box as described and then place it into a second box with packing peanuts all the way around, top, bottom and sides to prevent too much shifting during transit.
Different Packing Materials
- Bubble Wrap - Designed to protect and cushion lightweight items. Used in multiple wraps and layers to ensure that the item is completely protected, especially on corners and edges.
- Air Bags - Used primarily as void-fill materials for lightweight items and not recommended for items with sharp corners or edges. Extreme hot or cold temperatures may affect the ability of air bags to provide adequate product protection.
- Polystyrene Packing Peanuts- Used primarily as void-fill materials for lightweight items. Overfill the box with loose fill, gently close the flaps and seal the box securely for the best results. Do not use with flat or narrow products that may move to the edge or bottom of the carton in transit. A minimum of two inches of cushioning should be used around the contents due to shifting and settling properties of the peanuts. The peanuts cause static electricity and may damage electronic items so anti-static peanuts should be used with electronic items.
- Engineered Foam Enclosures - Materials may include expanded polystyrene, polyethylene, polypropylene or co-polymers and the should be pre-engineered for specific products.
- Foam-in-Place/Foam-in-Bag - A foam, sprayed into the box or mixed in packets, that expands and forms a protective mold around contents. It must be properly used, with even foam distribution around the contents. Because this material is offered in varying densities, it is important to select the most appropriate foam to meet the requirements of the product.
- Corrugated Liners and Inserts - May be added to the package to increase strength and improve package performance.
- Crumpled Kraft Paper - Used primarily as a void-fill material for light-to-medium weight, non-fragile items and items that are suitable for such packing materials. The paper must be tightly crumpled and at least two inches of paper must be placed between the contents and the outer box.