When you are packing up your entire existence from your house to move to a new one, there is a lot to consider. While each room will have its own packing arrangements, supplies, and process, you also need to keep in mind that the kitchen has large and small items ranging from your refrigerator to your teacups, all of which require separate attention and care. This also is true for your kitchen knives, even more so because they can be a considerable safety hazard. A lot of people move houses without their crockery and cutlery. But home chefs are not likely to leave their trusty knife set behind. So if the knives are going to come along with you, you need to ensure they are adequately packed and ready for the move.
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What’s so challenging about packing knives?
While some may think there’s absolutely nothing to packing crockery and cutlery – all you need is some packing sheets and packing tape, and you are done in a few minutes; think again. Knives require their category of maintenance. Packing knives can be a tricky process for these reasons:
The Sharpness: Different knife blades have different degrees of sharpness. For example, a butter knife is designed to be blunt since it is used only to spread butter. But a steak knife will have very sharp edges, usually in a jagged or zig-zag shape, to be able to cut through the meat. Regardless of the type of knife, you should always be careful around knives to avoid:
Risk of injuries: Cuts are very common when people absent-mindedly use knives or chopped vegetables in a hurry. So if you are going to clean, sanitize, wrap and pack your knives up for a move, you run the risk of cutting yourself even more.
Property damage: If you are not careful, you may drop the knife and scratch the floor or cause scratches on a kitchen counter. Leaving loose knives around in the back of a moving truck is likely to cause damage to the rest of your cargo. If they are not properly packed, they could even cut through the wrapping, packets, or cardboard container they are kept in.
The Size: Depending on the types of knives you own, you will have to be doubly careful about handling them correctly.
Chef knife: This refers to the knives you use in your regular dining, including butter knives, paring, and utility knives. While these are relatively harmless, dropping them accidentally can damage your floors and even bruise your feet or someone in the vicinity.
Meat knife: Meat knives include the carving knife, boning knife, and cleaver. Culinary enthusiasts may also have salmon, filleting, and Santoku knives. These are very sharp and quick to cut through hard surfaces.
Vegetable knife: This type of knife refers to knives used for peeling and cutting vegetables. Also very sharp, these are designed to cut through different vegetable surfaces and can very easily take a slice of your skin if you are not careful.
The more important thing you need to set aside for a knife packing task is time. This task requires patience, 100% attention, and focus. Loss of any of those can lead directly to serious injury and damage. But apart from this, you will need packing materials for your knives, which are easily available at your local hardware or stationery store. If you have professional movers, you can bring to their attention that you wish to take your knives with you, and they will provide the necessary packing materials for the same.
1. Packing Supplies
Wrapping: Get packing paper suitable for wrapping knives, specifically paper free of ink or any type of chemical or acid. This will ensure your knives do not get spoiled while packing.
Bubble wrap: Buy bubble wrap sheets to put on top of the packing paper. So even if the knives do fall out of the box, they are cushioned by the bubble wrap and will not get damaged or be damaging to their surroundings.
Packing Tape: Get extra packing tape when you buy it for sealing your boxes. This tape is strong and wide and will do the job efficiently and firmly.
Scissors: You’ll need a good pair of scissors to cut through tape, packing paper, and bubble wrap. Try not to use old-school scissors at a time like this. They are likely to be blunt and will slow you down much more than needed.
Painter’s Tape: Painter’s tape is different from packing tape and better suited to help you secure your knives into a knife block if you have one. So buy a roll of painter’s tape as well.
Marker: Always have a black permanent marker handy in case you need to label the different roles of bubble-wrapped knives as per their category and write a warning sign that this package contains a sharp instrument.
2. Prepare boxes
Assign one or two small or medium boxes just for your so that no other kitchen items stand to get damaged if a sharp blade accidentally cuts through the paper bundle and runs loose. Never underestimate the sharpness of a knife, even when you have taken all the necessary precautions. Secure the bottom of the box with packing paper, preferably crumpled or bunched up. This will help create a soft insulation layer for your knives. Use large sheets of bubble wrap to line the insides of the box for extra padding purposes. This will ensure your knives will stay in place and have minimal chances of cutting through any packing.
3. Inspect your Knives
You may not necessarily need to take all of your knives with you, so give them a good look-through before you start packing them all up. See what is essential and what can be left behind. Remember that space costs extra money, so you need to find ways to cut down on unnecessary items taking up space in your moving truck or boxes. If some of the knives have partially broken handles or chipped blades, or any other kind of irreparable damage, making them unusable and dead weight. It’s time to discard those damaged knives and purchase new ones after moving and settling into your new home.
Organize your knives: The best way to efficiently pack your knives before moving house is to arrange all those sharp kitchen items according to their size or category. In other words, sort your knives into groups of similar sizes to make it easier to wrap those kitchen knives with your packing paper and bubble wrap.
If you have more than one knife of the same type (for example, two or more chopping knives or two or more dining knives), place those in one group. Also, knives of similar sizes should be bundled together – for instance, a steak knife and a utility knife are quite similar in size, so group them together. The same rule of thumb applies to boning and filleting knives.
It’s time to pack
Place the stack of white sheets: open up and spread white packing paper in the middle of the kitchen table or kitchen counter. If both the kitchen counter and tabletop are unavailable at that moment, you can use the floor as a packing station. Just ensure it has a flat, dry, and clean surface that is easily accessible.
Place knives per group: Start with the knives in a group-wise manner. Packing group after group ensures knife safety and a sense of organization.
Position at an angle: Positioning the knives correctly is crucial. So position one knife at a time at an angle by the edge of the paper.
Take three sheets: Hold the three sheets from the edge and roll those sheets over the knife a few times until the sharp blade is entirely wrapped up in paper.
Place another knife over the packed knives: Once you have completed the process with the first knife, it’s time to add another knife next to the already covered knife so that the blade of the second cutlery piece points in the opposite direction.
Keep rolling: Continue this process and keep rolling until all the knives from one group or size category have been securely packed. Repeat for all other knife groups.
Knife Safety Rules
Remember that you are dealing with extremely sharp instruments that could slice your fingers if mishandled at every step of the process. So you need to take your time, plan every step, and take the necessary safety precautions when packing your knives.
Always chop away from your body or another person’s body
Keep your knives sharpened
Use cutting gloves
Let the knife fall, don’t try to grab it
Don’t leave a knife in a sink full of soapy water
Keep the knife visible and uncovered
Once you have your knives packed in place, you can take a breather and rest assured that your packing has been efficient and sufficient. Even though knives are a small part of the packing process when you move houses, they require extra care and attention because they are dangerous, especially if you live with small children and/or pets. You want to make sure that everyone moves safely and all your things remain in mint condition till you reach your new home, knives included.
The first and most important rule of knife safety is that when you use it, always chop away from your body or another person’s body. Other rules include:
Never wave a knife randomly around.
Regularly clean your knives.
Make sure your chopping board is secure and stationery.
Keep a designated area or container for your knives.
Use the knife only with your dominant hand.
Always keep an eye on the blade.
Wear cutting gloves where necessary.
How do you pack a knife for moving?
When you are packing a knife or set of knives to bring with you when you move to another location, you need to keep in mind that they are sharp objects that can easily slide out and run loose at the back of a truck. So when you start packing, ensure you have the necessary materials to keep them secure and out of harm’s way. And even better would be securing them in a designated box. Apart from packing sheets, you can also consider a bubble wrap and cloth layer.
Can you ship kitchen knives?
Knives are considered to be a part of the sharp-pointed instrument category when it comes to shipping. So shipping a knife via USPS is allowed, provided it is legal where it is being shipped to. Knives can be legally shipped anywhere within the US. So in the case of kitchen knives, so long as it is sufficiently packed, such that no sharp edges or points are exposed or running the risk of harming anyone, they should be permitted for shipping.
Alex Sherr is the founder of My Long Distance Movers, a blog that provides moving information and resources for people who are relocating. He has more than two decades of experience in the moving and relocation industry, and he is passionate about helping people relocate smoothly and efficiently. When he's not writing or blogging, Alex enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.