There’s nothing quite like the feeling of knowing that you’ve sent someone close to you a lovely package that will surprise and delight them. There’s also nothing quite like the sinking feeling you get when they call and tell you it arrived in a million pieces… Yes, packaging for shipping can seem like a lottery. But don’t worry, we’re here to show you the science behind it. Follow our 5 tips and spare yourself the heartache of sending a box of bits!
1. Don’t Skimp on the Box
Are you someone who never throws away a box because it “might come in useful”? You’ve got to weigh up the pros of such thriftiness against the potential damage and cost that might ensue if your items are not properly packaged. Boxes that have been used before or have been stored for any length of time can easily lose their strength.
Atmospheric conditions, previous mistreatment and general wear and tear can mean they may give out when you need them the most. Also, even to start with, not all boxes are created equal. There is a big difference in strength between specialist shipping boxes and general moving/storage boxes. Look for something that’s marketed as packaging for shipping, and that is robust enough to go the whole journey in one piece.
Also, consider the size of the box. A good rule of thumb is when packing fragile items, leave at least two inches of space all the way around whatever you’re packing. Then fill that space with protective packing peanuts or other filler.
2. Double Boxing
Whilst we’re talking about boxes, if an item is fragile or valuable, it’s good to think about double boxing. This involves using a second, larger box to enclose the original complete package. A void should be left around the original box that can be filled with packing peanuts to make another layer of protection. This means that even if the box were to be dropped, there are two separate layers protecting your item from the impact.
3. Bubbles are Key for Packaging for Shipping!
Before you even get to the box stage, it’s useful to think about how large your item will be once it’s been fully wrapped in bubble wrap. Again, this is not a time for frugality. A few cents more spent on bubble wrap will save tears later. Consider the shape of the item you are sending. Where is it most vulnerable? Especially with items that are irregular in shape, it is important to take time to wrap them carefully. If not, you could easily leave a section under-protected.
Whether to package items with the bubbles on the inside or outside can also be confusing. The answer is definitely bubbles on the inside. This will keep your items safe and in position, as the bubbles are more protected from bursting. Also, take care to tape it securely. Look at the item from all angles to check for any weaknesses, and tape them up.
4. Fill Those Gaps!
For safe packaging for shipping, gaps are your friend, but only if you fill them correctly. Packing peanuts, the little peanut shaped styrofoam pieces, are the ideal solution to making the gaps a protective buffer between your item and the outside world. Again, don’t scrimp on them. By all means, save them when you get new electronics and use them when packaging for shipping. If you don’t have enough, simply order some online or pick up from your local self-store.
How to Prepare Bubble Wrap
First, fill around a third of the box with the peanuts. This may seem like a lot, but there will be some displacement when you put your item in, and it’s vital to have a cushioned base for protection. Then ensure that any air pockets have been completely filled before the package is finally sealed.
A good test is to close up the package and carefully give it a gentle shake. If there is movement within the box, it is not packed well enough. Open it up and add more packing peanuts.
It’s also worth mentioning at this point, that you should ensure that all slips and enclosures are in before applying the final tape. Removing the tape will weaken the box.
Other Packing Options
Of course, packing peanuts are not your only option of packing material. In a pinch, screwed up balls of newspaper can also perform this job to good effect. Also, you could consider the more stylish option of air cushion packaging. You could even use balled up old clothes or shredded paper for an eco-friendly option (non-confidential of course…)
5. Seal It Well
You’ve carefully wrapped, boxed and packed your precious cargo. Now the time has come to seal the deal. There’s a dizzying array of tapes on the market all making dramatic claims as to how strong their grip is. However, when it comes to shipping boxes, there is really just one reliable option.
Living up to its name, our top recommendation is shipping tape, also known as hot melt tape. This wide, brown favorite might not win any beauty awards, but when it comes to sticking power, it can’t be beaten. Always use a fresh roll, as it could degrade over time when stored, and again purchase a quality tape. Take care to seal all joins and exposed edges carefully.
For additional strength, also tape across the box in the opposite direction to the join.
So now you know the secret to successful packaging for shipping – great boxes, bubble wrap cushioning, carefully filled voids and careful taping. You can take the guesswork out of packaging for shipping and rest assured it will arrive in one piece. Now that the packaging’s sorted, you need to put your cargo into a trusted, safe pair of hands.
With outlets across the country, we offer a range of services to meet your needs. Whether your shipping is planned well ahead, or you need it in a rush, we’ve got the courier service for you. Click here to see our great services and get a quote for fully tracked shipping.