How to Pack Mugs for Moving (Bonus tips for Moving Glasses, too)

Few feelings are more inviting than holding a warm coffee on a cool autumn morning.

No matter where you live or where you are, it’s a pleasure you can always count on.

That is unless you’re missing your favorite mug. You know, the one with the neat design—you got on that memorable trip—you know, the one you broke moving two apartments ago.

For those of us with a passion for coffee or tea, and a strong emotional bond with our favorite drinkware, losing a treasured mug is like losing a loved one. If you’re looking to keep your mugs for the rest of your natural life, The DC-based relocation experts at HW Moving have created this guide to ensure your coffee cups and mugs—as well as your glasses—stay safe during your move.

Material Needed for Packing Mugs for Moving

This DIY project can be done on the cheap. Depending on the prices of your nearest storage shop (and what you’ve got lying around), you shouldn’t have to spend too much.

You’ll want to convert a large table into a packing station and xxx.

  • Cardboard boxes: You want a box large enough to fit a few dozen mugs but not so big that it gets prohibitively heavy. The small-to-medium-sized boxes at your nearest storage or moving shop will do fine. Feel free to use gently-used boxes lying around the house, but avoid any excessively worn and bent.
  • Packing paper: You can get large bundles for ten dollars, but if you’re budget constrained or far away from a moving supply store, newspaper.
  • Packing tape. Your neighborhood pharmacy or hardware store should have some heavy-duty clear tape, and the standard stuff should suffice for most jobs (We recommend Scotch Heavy Duty Shipping tape or Duck Duct tape).
  • Glue
  • Scissors or kitchen sheers


  • Corrugated Dunnage: Corrugated dunnage refers to smaller pieces of cardboard used strategically to reinforce moving boxes. They’re available in a lot of forms. We love the tall “L” shaped pieces;  you can use them like support beams in each of your box’s corners. If you’re having a hard time sourcing such materials, U-Haul runs a free cardboard box renewal program.
  • Bubble wrap: You’re going to need bubble wrap for the mugs that are really special to you in any way. Packaging paper should be enough for the rest of the cups to keep them safe during transit.

How to Pack Coffee Mugs vs. How to Pack Coffee Cups

It’s the one question lingering since you first started forming memories: what’s the difference between a coffee cup and a coffee mug?

Give up?

Mugs are a cup variety known for their thick lining, layered to trap heat and—along with the body heat emanating from your hands—helps keep both warm for a good long run. They usually have a handle, too.

Coffee cups are smaller and more stout containers for intimate spaces like your breakfast nook or a fancy coffee shop with minimalist chrome decor. A wide lip exposes more surface area to be cooled, helped by a much thinner—often porcelain—lining. Unlike mugs, cups of coffee are best consumed in a single sitting.

You’ll want to separate your coffee cups from your coffee mugs for moving. Since coffee cups are lighter, more brittle, and fragile, they’re best left for the top of your boxes.

Gather Your Moving Mugs and Materials at the Packing Station

First, we will need a workstation to wrap and pack our mugs. Any dinner table or sizable flat surface larger than 4 “ x 4” will do.

Clear the surface and give it a light scrub, then lay down your wrapping paper stack where you can easily access it. Place the rest of your materials next to your wrapping paper. If you lack the space for this, put your supplies in a box, set it on a kitchen chair, so it’s accessible while standing up.

Group Similarly-Sized Mugs for Moving Before Packing

It’s much easier to stack and sort items that are of similar size. Since there are no rules or standard sizes for coffee mugs—arguably the most rebellious cup format—sort them by height and width.

Strengthen and Prepare Your Box

Many packing aficionados focus on arranging items to ensure the least amount of movement (and, therefore, breakage).

And while most items break due to in-box collisions, that’s not the only reason for breakage (And we’re pulling out all the stops to ensure a long and glorious life for your coffee mugs and glasses).

Moving boxes face a surprising amount of pressure getting from point A to point B. On the sides, from shifting often heavy objects pressing against its sides, vertically, from another box on top, and the bottom flaps, carrying the full weight of your box’s contents.

Here’s how you can shore up your box’s strength:

  • Reinforce glue job: Most boxes are made from a single sheet of cardboard—glued or stapled—on one flap. Inspect the tightness of the adhesion by gently pulling on the flap and looking for discernable gaps. glue job by gently pulling on the flap and looking for gaps between the cardboard layers. Fill in any perceivable gaps with glue.
  • Bottom flap: No other flap will experience more force. Tape in a “t” shape from the middle of the flap in both directions, ending about four inches after it bends around the bottom face. Finally, tape one long line around the circumference of your box (And the four points of the “t” where your tape ends). It should look like:
  • Vertical strength: Further strengthen your box’s vertical integrity with corrugated cardboard inserts. These odd-shaped cardboard bits can add structural support to prevent flattening or collapse.

Bonus tip: After you flip it upright, lightly tape down two of the opening flaps to make it easier to move items.

Wrapping Mugs for Moving

Now that you have your station and materials set up, it’s time to apply the first level of security to our coffee mugs and glasses: wrapping paper.

Keeping mugs individually wrapped helps prevent scuffs and cracks during moving; this step is especially important for more fragile and scratch-prone porcelain mugs.

Follow these steps to begin:

  1. Lay a single sheet of wrapping paper or newspaper on your station.
  2. Check to see if your mug is dry (If not, dry it out with a towel or paper towel and set it aside for a half hour).
  3. Place your mug in the center of your wrapping paper, lying on its side, with its top and bottom aligned with the two opposite corners of your wrapping paper.
  4. Take a few sheets from the corner near the opening, and wrinkle the paper inside. Then, wrap the remaining corners around the mug, securing it with tape.
  5. Repeat three times with the remaining corners

Layering Mugs into Your boxes

This is where your Tetris skills come into play.

Fragile items often break when colliding with other objects in their box. The key here—and a necessary task of any sensitive packing job—of your job, any packing job really, is to make sure there’s little space for collisions as possible.

Start with your heaviest mugs. Place each one carefully on the bottom layer (which should have a 2-inch thick layer of stuffing), arranging them snugly, one by one.

Once you finish your first layer, inspect for open space between mugs; add more filling if you spot any.

How do you know if it’s tight enough?

Carefully lift your box and shake it (gently) to double-check your packing job. Hear anything move? Add more filling until you can’t.

Next, place a cardboard divider on top, further insulating your mugs from damage. Keep layering until your stack reaches about two inches from the top.

leave a few inches at the top

How to Pack Mugs for Moving: Closing the Box

Once you’ve filled your box right up to the top, place a final sheet of cardboard over the mugs, then fill it with packing paper, packing peanuts, bubble wrap, or newspapers.

You’re free to go the high-end route and nab yourself some xx wrapping paper, starch packing peanuts, and bubble wrap.

Best ways to Pack Glasses for Moving

How do you pack glasses for moving?

If you’re moving glassware as well as moving coffee mugs and cups, you’ll want to handle them a bit differently. But, Since glasses are lighter and more fragile, you’ll want to load them into boxes last. One layer of bubble tape around the paper should add serious protection.

The #1 Best Way to Move Mugs and Glasses: Carefully

You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t want to make sure your favorite drinkware pals stick around for as many lovely mornings as possible. By taking a little extra prep and using some items lying around the house, you can ensure a long-lasting relationship between you and the coffee containers holding your precious memories.

HuberWilmot Moving & Storage’s vetted and qualified relocation specialists are experts in ensuring the longevity of your most valuable possessions, providing clients with award-winning service, and ensuring a safe, secure, and efficient move. Request a residential move quote today.