How to Pack Kitchen Items: Your Dishes, Appliances and More

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You’ve tackled the clothes, books and knickknacks. Now comes the hard part: Packing up your kitchen. However, the room that nourishes and fuels you is also filled with lots of fragile, oddly shaped items. So, how do you make sure your plates, gadgets and pantry goods make it to your new place in one piece?

Packing a kitchen efficiently is all about strategy, supplies and a bit of Tetris-inspired organization. If you follow these tips, your kitchen items will be settled into your new home before you know it, and you’ll be whipping up your first home-cooked meal without skipping a beat. So, don’t fret — with some bubble wrap, sturdy boxes and a little patience, your kitchen will be packed up in no time.

Take a deep breath and dive in — Mayflower is here to help you pack your kitchen with care.

Declutter Your Kitchen First

Before packing, declutter your kitchen to reduce the number of items you’re moving. Remember to be selective. Go through cabinets and drawers and toss anything that has expired, as well as items you haven’t used in over a year. Donate unused kitchen gadgets or dishes in good condition to charity. Plan meals for the week leading up to your move so you use up perishable food and only buy essentials. 

Keep out the bare necessities for your final days in the old place and first in the new one, setting aside plates, cups and cutlery for each person, as well as a couple of pots or pans, dish soap and towels, and your coffee maker.  

Packing Supplies Needed

Having the right supplies on hand makes all the difference when packing your kitchen for a move. So does using checklists to organize how you pack, keeping similar items together and labeling everything well. 

Before you start packing, be sure to gather the right supplies. Start with sturdy boxes in multiple sizes, ensuring they can be fully closed. Additionally, you’ll need packing paper for wrapping dishes and glassware, sealable plastic bags for pantry items, packing tape, felt markers and bubble wrap, packing peanuts, newspaper or towels for cushioning your belongings. 

Plan Out Upcoming Meals and Set Aside Essentials

Take an inventory of the food and pantry items in your kitchen so you know exactly what needs to be packed. Check expiration dates and throw away anything that has gone bad to avoid packing waste. 

A few weeks before your move, plan meals to use up ingredients you already have. This avoids wasting food and minimizes leftovers. Only buy necessities like bread, milk and snacks and cook larger portions so you have leftovers you can lean on. 

Leave out some essentials like plates, utensils, cups, bowls, a can opener and snacks, as well as a dish towel, dish soap, a sponge and any crucial appliances. These will come in handy for the final days in your old place and first ones in the new space. 

Kitchen Items to Move 

Your kitchen probably contains a lot of fragile items such as dishes and glasses, but you most likely also have appliances of all sizes, cookware, food and other miscellaneous kitchen items that need to be packed and moved. Follow these simple moving tips to make sure everything gets packed and moved safely and mess-free. 

Dishes and Glasses 

Moving your plates, bowls, cups and glasses requires extra attention so they arrive safely in your new home. Start by gathering sturdy boxes specifically designed for moving dishes and glassware. You’ll also want packing paper, bubble wrap or packing peanuts to prevent breakage. 

Begin wrapping each dish individually in a few sheets of packing paper, folding the edges over as you go to securely cover the entire item. For an extra layer of protection, wrap plates and saucers in bubble wrap before using the packing paper. When packing multiple plates of the same size together, place a sheet of packing paper between each one. Wrap cups and mugs individually and protect the handles with an extra layer of paper. Place them upside-down in the box. Stand plates on their edge in the box, never stacking them flat.  

For odd-shaped items like pitchers, vases and serving dishes, wrap the handles separately before covering the entire piece. Double wrap delicate glassware like wine glasses. Even if they’ll be in dividers, it’s best to wrap each glass individually. Don’t stack anything on top of the glassware in the box — even if there’s room. 

As you pack, distribute weight evenly in the boxes. Place heavier items like stoneware on the bottom, building up to lighter things like cups and glasses. Separate each layer with crushed packing paper. Seal boxes well with packing tape for secure moving and handling. Then, clearly label the outside of each box with its contents and the room it should go to in your new home. 

Your move will be less stressful knowing your plates, glasses and other kitchen essentials made it through unscathed, ready to be used right away in your new home. 

Flatware and Cookware

When it comes to packing up your flatware and cookware, the key is to keep things organized and protected. Start by gathering sturdy boxes in a variety of sizes, along with packing paper, bubble wrap, a marker and labels. 


The easiest way to pack up your flatware is to bundle it and put it back in the tray before wrapping it with paper. Place the wrapped tray in a box and you’re done. If you prefer, you can also bundle utensils together by type — knives, forks, spoons — and tightly wrap them in cling wrap before putting them in a box. 

Pots and Pans 

Your pots, pans, lids and other cookware should be individually wrapped in packing paper before being packed. Wrap each item, nesting smaller pieces inside larger ones. Make sure to pad handles and any other protruding parts. For expensive and irregularly shaped appliances, be sure to prepare them for transportation. Take apart any removable cables, tape down any moving parts and remove any accessories. Clearly label each wrapped bundle so you know exactly what’s inside when unpacking. Pack these in both small and medium sized boxes. 

Small Appliances

Packing up your small kitchen appliances can seem like a daunting chore. But with some strategic planning, they’ll be wrapped up and ready to go in no time. 

Unplug Everything First 

Before you start packing anything, make sure all appliances are unplugged and cooled down. This is for your safety as well as to avoid any accidental damage. Once unplugged, wipe down the exterior of each appliance to remove any grease or grime. This will prevent dirt and odors from building up while packed away. 

Group Similar Items 

Gather similar appliances together, like your coffee maker, blender, food processor and toaster. Pack these in medium boxes lined with packing paper — or, better yet, in their original boxes if you have them. Make sure any detachable parts like lids, pitchers or blades are wrapped separately to avoid scratches. Then, pack them alongside the main unit. Clearly label each box with its contents and which room it should go in at your new place. 

Protect Fragile Parts 

For appliances with glass components like a microwave, Instant Pot or slow cooker, wrap fragile items in packing paper before packing them in the original box; using a box with Styrofoam inserts or cardboard dividers; or placing the entire unit in an oversized box, filling in empty space with packing paper or air pillows. Seal and label the box “fragile” and “this side up” with arrows pointing towards the top. 

Keep Cords and Manuals Together 

Don’t forget the cords, hoses and instruction manuals for each appliance. Keep them together, either rubber-banded or in a sealable plastic bag. Pack them in the same box as the appliance or in a separate cord box. This will make unpacking and setting up at your new place much easier. 

Large Appliances 

Large appliances like refrigerators, stoves and dishwashers can be tricky to move since they’re heavy and awkwardly shaped. When it’s time to pack up these big items, keep these tips in mind: 

Don’t worry — Mayflower can transport bulky, large and irregularly shaped items. First, measure your appliances and doorways to ensure everything will fit in your new place. Knowing whether the items fit will prevent issues on moving day. 

Disconnect all appliances at least 24 hours before moving and drain excess water from items like dishwashers. Clean appliances inside and out, wiping up any spills or splatters. This will prevent odors from building up during the move and storage. 

For refrigerators, securely tape the doors shut to prevent them from swinging open, and place padding like blankets, towels or packing paper inside to prevent damage. Tie down or remove any loose shelving or drawers. 

Stoves should be thoroughly cleaned before moving. Remove grates, burners and any other detachable parts and pack them separately. Tape the oven door shut and cover stovetops with a sturdy material like plywood to prevent scratching. 

Dishwashers should be emptied, cleaned and dried completely to prevent the buildup of mildew. Remove any detachable parts like silverware baskets and pack them separately. Tape the door shut for safe transport. 

Once at your new home, inspect appliances for any damage before plugging them in. Re-install any loose parts and test to ensure everything is functioning properly. It can take 24 hours for refrigerators to reach the proper temperature, so avoid over-filling them right away. 

Food and Pantry Items

Do not take any perishable food items with you on your move — only take things that you are sure will travel well. 

For the food and pantry items you’re keeping, gather plastic bags, packing paper, permanent markers and boxes. Use the bags for loose items like rice, beans, snacks and spices. Wrap glass jars and bottles in packing paper before placing them in a box. Clearly label and date all boxes with their contents using the markers. 

Shortly before your move, donate any unopened non-perishable foods to a local food bank or shelter. Mayflower partners with Move For Hunger, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to reducing food waste and food insecurity. Many of our agents participate by accepting pantry donations so be sure to ask if they offer this service. 

Start packing from the top down. Pack heavier items like canned goods, boxes of pasta and bottles of oil and vinegar on the bottom. Add lighter items as you move up.  

Plan Your Move with the Only Moving Checklist You’ll Ever Need

Make your move easy and learn how to pack a kitchen by using the moving checklists, planners and tools developed by the trusted movers at Mayflower. We created this comprehensive checklist based on 90-plus years of experience moving customers across the United States. 

Mayflower Can Help You with Any Size Move

Whether you’re moving to an apartment across town or to a new house across the country, follow the same steps for packing and moving your kitchen. If you aren’t sure how to pack your kitchen — or simply want help packing and moving your home — Mayflower, America’s most trusted moving company since 1927, can help you with packing, unpacking and so much more. 

Mayflower can quickly and securely pack up any room in your house and transport your furniture and packed boxes. Our team can help with small moves and long-distance moves. We’re here for whatever you need so get a quote today. 

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