The upper and lower joints must fit into the case in the correct direction to ensure that
it to shut correctly, and the case should not be forced shut like an overstuffed suitcase. If the pieces are in their proper positions, the case should close securely but easily. The mouthpiece can be placed in the case with the ligature on it, and then the mouthpiece cap will be placed over both, with care being taken not to nick or crack the facing of the mouthpiece by hitting it with the cap. I prefer plastic caps because of this. It is better to take the reed off the mouthpiece before storing it. Reeds left to dry on the mouthpiece can warp, as a way to make them play badly in very little time.