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How to Choose Shipping Supplies and Packaging Materials

Shipping your products safely and securely is now easier than ever with so many choices among shipping supplies and packaging materials. Even very fragile items can be protected as they are being handled and transported to their destination.

Shipping supplies come in a variety of shapes and sizes and vary in price as well.

Determine What Shipping Supplies You will Need

If shipping mid-sized to large items, you will likely use boxes for shipping. An exception to this rule is if you are shipping toxic materials or liquids that require special containers.

Boxes should be chosen according to size and strength. Corrugated boxes are recommended for added protection and strength, especially with heavy or fragile items. Select a box that’s the appropriate size for your item, not too big and not too small.

Envelopes can be used to ship smaller items. Use padded envelopes for fragile or breakable items.

For items that are already secured in a small box or case or for small clothing garments, you can use the very lightweight Tyvek envelopes. These are about as thin as paper, soft and flexible, but are also very durable and water-proof. They seal very easily and securely too, which is a big plus. No tape required!

Other shipping supplies you might need include shipping tape, labels, sturdy straps for heavy boxes, mailing tubes for rolled paper or poster items, small mailers for CDs or DVDs, and possibly shipping tags for overseas shipments.

Be sure to buy tape that’s made specifically for shipping. Some tape can easily come unwrapped because it’s not sticky enough to hold under pressure.

Also, be sure to get extra sticky labels to ensure proper delivery. Imagine if the label falls off.  If it contains the customer’s address as well as your return address, your package will not reach your customer and may not be returned to you!

If your labels do not seem sticky enough, reinforce them with clear shipping tape.

Free Shipping Supplies

If you ship smaller items domestically on a regular basis, you can enjoy the benefits of free shipping supplies. USPS provides a number of free shipping supplies such as boxes of various sizes and shapes, envelopes, and labels.

These are to be used for priority mail. You can pick these up at your local post office, or you can order them online for free.  The only stipulation for getting these supplies is you must use them for shipping via USPS only.  UPS and FedEx also have a limited number of free boxes and envelopes available when using their services.

Packaging Materials

Packaging materials and supplies come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are made to secure and protect your products. There are packing peanuts, which are small cardboard or Styrofoam peanut-like items that can be used to cushion an object within a box or to fill empty spaces.

There are a variety of bubble materials and bubble wraps for wrapping fragile products made of glass or ceramic. Bubble cushioning products or air-filled plastic products can be used to secure items and fill extra space.

For large electronics or appliances, there are edge protectors.  Other protective materials include stretch wrap, wrapping tissue, and foam rolls.

If you own a business and ship products often, you can save on shipping supplies and materials by ordering wholesale. You will find many companies online that specialize in shipping supplies and can offer you bulk discounts on these items. If you anticipate needing lots of shipping supplies, compare prices and quantities online to enjoy savings on all your shipping needs.

What shipping and packaging supplies do you use?

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