One of the most painful things about moving is packing up everything. What you see here, alas, is only a fraction of what I have. Teaware, as we all know, are fragile, breakable things. Pots, cups, dishes, kettles, everything is breakable, and everything needs a lot of wrapping. I find that a lot of it is really difficult to do right, and sometimes people who pack and then ship these things don’t do it properly, resulting in breakage.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is to pack a teapot with the lid on the pot itself and just wrap the whole thing with bubble wrap. That’s dangerous. The lid, while it sits on the pot, can easily be rattled in shipment and comes loose or, worse, get damaged, as happened to one of my pots. One of the pots I bought recently was shipped to me with only a little tape holding the lid onto the body. Of course, when I opened the box, the lid was loose. I was really lucky it wasn’t in pieces.
There’s also the issue of cushioning. Ideally, you want space between all pieces of stuff — some sort of buffer in between each and every piece, so they never touch during shipment and will never come into contact with hard surface. They also need to be cushioned against impacts along the walls of the box, so there needs to be space there too. Boxes that are too small are disasters waiting to happen.
Shipping metal is no less difficult. While tetsubins are pretty hardy and can take a lot of abuse, things like tin, pewter, copper, or silver are much more fragile and will dent or scratch easily. With these, you have to be extra sure that the cushioning is enough to support all kinds of blows to the box — especially since some of these are heavy and if they are allowed to shift in the box, the momentum will create a greater force to dent what’s next to it. I’d suggest shipping them singly, if possible, or if one must ship them together with something else, do so in a way that minimizes the chances of breakage with the way you place different items, etc.
Teas are easier to deal with, especially if they’re of the oolong variety and come in bags. That’s almost a no brainer, so long as the box itself is relatively air tight and (hopefully) won’t be exposed to high temperature or sunlight. Puerh cakes are a bit of a pain, but generally speaking when I ship these things I almost expect damage — it’s just part of the cost of shipping them. Broken edges, roughed up wrappers, and missing teadust are par for the course. If they’re not flooded I’m happy.
What’s really difficult is deciding to get rid of some pieces. I have a lot of teaware that I think I should probably cull from my collection, either because I no longer use them at all, or in many cases, never really used them in the first place. In this picture alone I see three pieces that I never use and I should probably get rid of, but I have a hard time bringing myself to do it. On one level, I’m a hoarder at heart, so I want to hold onto them. I also feel, somehow, that selling these things is not quite right. I sometimes gift items away, but you can only gift so many things, and not a lot of people take tea related gifts, in any case. Sometimes they’re also pieces that I don’t deem gift-worthy — if I’m not going to use it, why should I inflict it on someone else? Then there are the tuition pieces. At some point I’m going to take pictures of all of them and then show them here, so that others can learn from my tuition mistakes, but those pieces I’m sort of stuck with forever, and all I really need to the resolve to throw them in the trash. All in all, the problem of too much teaware is really a dilemma that has no good resolution.