The Do’s and Don’ts When Packing Items for Shipping

Do choose clean and strong boxes. When packing items for shipping, it is always best to use a new box to reduce the risk of it getting damaged in the travelling process. If you reuse a box, ensure that it is rigid and has no holes or damage to the corners. It is also important that your cardboard box has a listed burst strength (found on the bottom of any decent box) that is greater than the item it will hold.

Do use a large enough box for your item(s) to be protected. When selecting your box, it is important that you leave an allowance of two inches on all sides of the item for protective packaging materials. When packaging your item, you should fill all of this space so that when you shake your box, your product has little or no room to move.

Do protect your item with protective packaging materials. If you are packaging multiple items, every item should be wrapped individually, especially if the products are fragile. Delicate items must also be placed away from all sides of the box to protect the contents of the package from shock and vibration. Good quality packaging materials such as bubble wrap or packaging peanuts are useful to place around your items to prevent damage in the transport process. For maximum protection, use a combination of protective packaging.

Do use proper packaging tape. Sellotape is no replacement for packing tape. It is not strong or thick enough to adequately protect packages during shipment. Use a good quality packing tape on all sides and corners of your box with extra strips down the middle of the top and bottom of the box to ensure that the contents remains secure through the entirety of the journey.

Do use a label. Ensure that the recipient’s full address is written clearly on one label with a returns address written on another. The recipient’s address should be placed on the top of the parcel, avoiding seams and tape. If you are using a reused box, ensure that there are no old labels left on the package to avoid confusion.

Don’t use heavily marked boxes. For long-haul shipping, you should not reuse boxes that have large quantities of printing or images on the outside as this can cause confusion.

Don’t use a weak box. Don’t try to salvage a broken or weak box that is unlikely to hold the weight of your items.

Don’t use inferior packing materials. Filling the empty space around your products with newspaper, shredded paper, or anything else with a low resiliency will not protect your items from damage.

Don’t try and squash your item into an envelope. Don’t attempt to ship a valuable or even slightly fragile item using just a (padded) envelope. They do not offer adequate protection to valuable or delicate items and are often handled alongside bulk mail using sorters and bags, instead of other packages. This means that they are likely to suffer a worse journey than they otherwise might.

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