Every household has those somewhat delicate items that need a little special attention when they're being moved. Special boxes exist to cushion and protect glassware and dishes, but even with the specially designed packaging, some items need additional padding.
Enter bubble wrap. The plastic wrap that incorporates round pockets of air is ideal for cushioning items that need a bit of extra protection as they're packed and moved or shipped. Invented in the mid-1950s, bubble wrap was originally conceived as a type of textured wallpaper that fit the aesthetic sensibilities of the era, but it was just a bit too quirky to sell well.
Marketed later as greenhouse insulation, the plastic material didn't catch on until a computer manufacturer decided to use it for protecting its components during shipment.
Why Bubble Wrap Is Vital For Moving
There are several items that benefit from being packed in bubble wrap. Whether you pack the boxes for your movers to load or everything is packed for you, bubble wrap offers the additional protection that few other materials do.
- Glass tabletops. You may have a coffee table or end table that uses heavy glass. Sure, it's thick, but it can still be damaged without special padding.
- Electronics. There's not much worse to think about than unpacking that flat-screen TV and finding the screen shattered. Use bubble wrap for an extra layer of protection and mark it as fragile.
- Mirrors. Don't want 7 years of bad luck? Pack bubble wrap around all your mirrors.
- Art. Even art that is not covered with a layer of glass should be wrapped for protection.
- Vases and sculptures. Protect these one-of-a-kind items with proper packing -- that includes the use of bubble wrap.
- Glassware. You'll probably want to use cell boxes that protect each individual glass, but wrap with paper and then with bubble wrap to make sure they get to you in one piece.
- China. Dishes, especially fine china, should also use specially designed boxes to protect plates. Again, wrap with paper and bubble wrap inside the boxes to keep them from rubbing or smashing together.
You may be able to think of a myriad of other uses for bubble wrap as you move. Talk to your movers about their recommendations for packing if you're doing it yourself.
The Future of Bubble Wrap
What's next for bubble wrap? Its manufacturer, New Jersey-based Sealed Air, has long struggled with the problem that their product is bulky and hard to move around. The company has created a new type of bubble wrap that can be sold flat and inflated by movers and shippers as it is used. The wrap will still be just as protective, but it won't be "poppable" in the same way.
For those who don't want to say good-bye to traditional bubble wrap -- it holds a special place for kids and those seeking to relieve stress -- both types will be available for moving and protecting your things. Talk to a moving company like Wheaton World Wide Moving about how they recommend using bubble wrap or how they plan to use it when packing for you.