The Evolution of Industry-Leading Materials and Items

Since the dawn of time, humanity has always had a way of getting a message or even a gift to other people long distances. Whether it’s through word of mouth and a runner who traveled long distances, someone on horseback to get somewhere farther away even quicker, or even machinery that creates parcels and other machinery that carries them across the world, we’ve always had something in place in order to send messages and packages long distances.

So when you stop to think about how shipping boxes are the current “best” option for packages in today’s shipping standards, it really makes you wonder what the next step is. I mean, really, if something as simple as a cardboard box is the best we have, what’s the next rung up? What’s the next evolution in the shipping industry that will change the world? Will it be a new material that is even lighter and sturdier than cardboard? Will that material take too much money to produce or too much time in comparison to cardboard? Will it be as environmentally friendly and recyclable as cardboard?

There are a lot of questions surrounding the future of packaging and shipping, but the reality is that right now, shipping boxes are the best at what they do. So until we discover a way to refine those boxes or create something entirely new, everything is good where it’s at.

And when you think about the evolution of things, they only need to change when change is needed. When pressure is put on someone, something, or some being, things begin changing and that person or thing adapts accordingly. As of right now, there’s nothing better than cardboard in terms of how cheap it is, how sustainable it is, and how lightweight and strong it is. Once the next material just happens upon humanity, I’m sure we’ll adopt it slowly into shipping until it just makes sense to mass produce in favor of cardboard. But until then, cardboard will likely reign supreme for many years to come.

What’re some other items or materials you can think of that are the “best” at what they do currently and simply don’t have any competition to dethrone them? I can think of a few off the top of my head, but one that stands out for sure is the iPhone. Currently, there is nothing “more advanced” or “better” than the iPhone, even if it was considered luxury. It is the bar and always has been the bar for smartphones. Even if Google phones and Samsung phones are on par, they aren’t ever strictly better. I’m just curious to see what happens when the iPhone becomes obsolete when the next piece of technology comes out and blows it away for good.

When will that be and what will it be?

You Can Never Have Too Much Supplies

Growing up, I learned the value of work ethic applied to your life because of the diligence and respect that my parents treated their job with. They always made it a point to show up early, work hard, and put their careers at the forefront of their lives. No matter what happened, they never missed work. Heck, I don’t even recall them ever missing because they were sick. Work was, quite frankly, non-negotiable with other things in their lives.

Now, while I think that at some point they could have relaxed a hair, they had had this work ethic instilled into them through their parents (and their parents through theirs). It’s no doubt what has happened to me. I take my job seriously and realize that it’s a top priority in my life that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Just like my parents, I don’t miss work just because I’m sick or something else has come up. I make it to my job no matter the cost.

One thing they also instilled in me is having an appreciation for everyday things. In particular, they always had an incredible stock of shipping supplies and the likes. (And I think it’s because they always had worked for the post office, because they never ran out of postage, cardboard boxes, or any other shipping supplies.) While these things seemed mundane to me when I was a child, I realize now that it’s the commonplace items that we rely on (otherwise they wouldn’t be commonplace).

Nonetheless, I now make it a point to keep my place stocked with all sorts of packaging and office supplies, because when something needs shipped, it needs shipped right away. And all of these supplies have served me quite well beyond just shipping things. I can use my boxes for storage, my tape for repairing small things, and labels for other projects, too.

Without fail, I come to think of my parents when I see who I’ve become. From day-to-day items to the common tasks involved in my dayjob, I know that my work ethic, habits, and ideals were bred out of their own hard work and ways. I’m definitely interested to see all the traits, habits, and preferences that my children take on from me, though there are a few bad habits that I’m hopeful they will drop, too. I guess that’s not up to me to decide, though, is it?

Ecommerce and Valentine’

Now that February has come around, you can focus on that one holiday that people love to hate and hate to love: Valentine’s Day. It’s a holiday surrounded by loathing, love, and lust alike, but no matter how you regard the day of hearts and the color pink, it’s undoubtedly one that ecommerce businesses love to capitalize on.

If you’re someone who runs one of these online businesses, you know what I’m talking about. It’s so easy to market niche Valentine’s Day products to starry-eyed teens and college students who want to make a big impression on a crush or someone they’re recently in a relationship with. Or, even more, anyone selling jewelry knows that it’s a huge day for sales, as spouses come in to make big impressions on their husbands and wives or are even looking for tokens of forgiveness.

But as technology and society progresses, so too do transactions on the internet. Fewer and fewer customers are making trips to the store when they can simply buy things online and have them shipped right to their doorsteps. Why go out and make an effort in a big store when you can just pinpoint exactly what it is you want online (and often search for very specific and niche items) for less effort and sometimes less money?

A big part of this experience, then, is the cardboard box. All around the world, millions of shipping boxes will be in transit to arrive on Valentine’s Day in hopes of making it before “the deadline” of the exchange of gifts between two lovers.

Whether those shipping boxes make it in time or not, though, is up to the purchaser. Did they pay for same-day, one-day, or two-day shipping? Can they trust ground shipping or priority to make it in the 7 business days that was advertised at checkout?

No matter the case, business is booming in mid-February for all online businesses simply because of “love.” Whether or not it’s really in the name of love or not for those customers is irrelevant if it means business is booming for online retailers and distributors.

So, there it is. Just like other big holidays, Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to cash in for businesses considering how crazy people can become during gift-giving season. If you’re an ecommerce company, you’re likely reaping the benefits of doing things electronically, because that’s exactly where the younger generation goes to buy their gifts nowadays.

Building the Right Office for You

Having a good set up in your office is essential for keeping your productivity high and your motivation higher. Without a comfortable and familiar setting in your office, why would you have any will or umph to get stuff done? I sure know I need familiarity, style, and a personalized environment that fits my working mood.

For example, I’ve recently added a couch to my office in order to keep it “homey” but also just to fill space. The more space there is that’s empty in my office, the more I just feel . . . meh. But with an environment more conducive to relaxing every now and then, I feel like I can knock a lot of work out at once at my desk and then kick back on my couch for 30 minutes to wind down and reset for another productive bout of work.

So, now that I’ve got that locked down, I’ve been looking at new desks, office chairs, and desk lamps. As it stands, my desk is pretty plain and my chair is alright. And I have no desk lamp. Things could be spiced up with more drawers, better (and prettier) wood, and a more comfortable chair. I really feel like these things will allow me to knock out even more things during the periods I’m at my desk for a long time.

Additionally, I just got myself a great new mouse. Before, I was simply using my track pad on my laptop. It wasn’t that great, and I’ve been pretty in need of something better. Luckily, I just found a $50 mouse on sale for $30. I’ve mapped a lot of different buttons to things like controlling my volume for the music I play while also including different “productive” buttons like cut, copy, and paste. This, I feel, will give me a big turnaround in productivity as well. No longer do I have to worry about my stupid track pad actually registering me highlighting an entire paragraph for which I can copy and paste. Instead, I’ve got a reliable piece of technology that won’t leave me frustrated.

From here, it’s really just decorating the rest of my office with interesting trinkets and useful office and shipping supplies like staplers, new pens, and abundant tape. In fact, having the appropriate amount and kinds of office and shipping supplies will help me to remember I’m at work and not in my living room, considering I’ll be quite comfortable once I’ve got the dream set up of an office.

So, in all, it’s all about surrounding yourself with enough stuff to feel familiar with the office and comfortable where you work while also remembering to stay quite productive throughout the day. It’s a balance to maintain for sure, but one that’s worth striving for and buying a few extra items to attain.

Super Bowl Ads Are Coming Soon

(Mention shipping boxes in regards to advertising of delivery products and subscription boxes)

With this weekend’s culmination, the next two teams to head to the Super Bowl have been determined. Say what you will about the way the Rams and Saints game ended and talk as much smack as you want about the Patriots, but none of that will change the outcome of who our next contenders will be for this Super Bowl: the Rams and the Patriots.

A lot of times, people like to meet up with friends, family, and even coworkers to watch the Super Bowl. Finger foods are prepared and thoroughly enjoyed, fans become ravenous for a win, and those who aren’t invested in the game wonder why the heck it’s such an American tradition to watch the silly game.

But perhaps one of the biggest things people talk about concerning the Super Bowl in the last decade or so is commercial presence.

Super Bowl ads become hugely discussed in early February simply because of how many people watch the game each year. It’s a no brainer for companies to spend tons of money just to secure a spot, but it ends up paying off big time considering the tens of millions of eyes who are watching their commercial.

So this year, we wanted to make a game out of the commercials. Count how many times you see shipping boxes throughout the 3 to 4 hour event.

Some companies like to show their national and even international presence by showing packages shipped to new areas. Others are simply showcasing their brand identity through their shipping boxes. And even other companies want to highlight the presence of a new fad: monthly subscription boxes.

I’m here to say that I fully expect to count at least ten instances of cardboard boxes showing up in Super Bowl commercials. With at least 50+ companies slinging their ads at your eyes, you’re bound to see some of the things I’ve mentioned. Just keep your eyes peeled and watching for the likes of parcels and packages on the go.

And no matter what happens, enjoy the game for what it means: bringing together friends and family. It’s a good way to follow up the winter holidays and will tide you over to those on the horizon. Considering there aren’t any major holidays for awhile, a lot of Americans like to regard the Super Bowl as a faux holiday. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t as well.

Getting Started on Your Goals for the Year

Getting started on goals, be they life changing or minor goals you want to get yourself to conquer, can be tough simply because it means going away from your daily routine to tackle new things. And for the most part, the majority of people fail their set goals because they never even attempt them in the first place.

But who can blame those people? That’s the normal thing to do. With good intentions in their minds, they write down goals and feel all excited about what they’ve written down. They feel good about getting the pen to paper. But when it comes down to it, they say they don’t have enough time, enough money, or enough energy at the end of the day.

Excuses. These are excuses to get out of accomplishing a new goal. It does take more time, more money, or more energy to get ahold of a new task, wrestle with it, and defeat it. It does, and that’s the whole point. You’ll never accomplish goals by conserving time and energy. Never. You have to go above and beyond and dedicate more of yourself to grow yourself. That’s the entire point of it all.

If you have to grab a roll of tape or other shipping supplies just to tape up a to-do list to your fridge or cabinets or wall (anywhere visible, really), then do it. Get messy, cheap, or dirty, it doesn’t matter. Those shipping supplies will be the best things you ever had so long as your list of goals are visible to you every single day. Multiple times a day. Whatever it takes, get it in front of your eyes so that those goals are staring you down every single day.

When you think about it, who out there ever felt good about accomplishing a task they put no effort into? No one. If you didn’t do it yourself, put in the sweat and blood, then there’s not much reward or payoff in terms of feel-good emotions. You may feel efficient, sure. But it doesn’t feel as good to finally get there.

So I’m here to tell you that accomplishing your goals is hard work and that’s why most people don’t ever get around to it. Because they don’t change up the way they’re living. Don’t be a part of the minority, though. Do it for yourself and because you know it’ll feel all the sweeter once you’re done.

The Past, Present, and Future of Shipping

Goods that are shipped across the country and internationally are something relatively new in the history of trade. It was only a century ago that most things were bought and sold in a brick and mortar shop. Sure, people would send items long distance, but those were almost exclusively to friends or family members, not for business.

The problem wasn’t that we didn’t have the technology to ship containers or boxes or parcels. It was the technology of payment that was lacking. Think about it. Why would a company want to send you a product if you couldn’t pay them until after you received it? Similarly, why would you want to pay for something across the country and only be sent it after they received your check or cash?

The internet, however, has solved this problem. Credit cards make it easy to put in your payment information in a matter of seconds, and before you know it, your items are being packaged in shipping boxes and loaded up in a truck to start their journey to your house.

It’s taken quite a bit of time for our conception of trade to evolve to the state it has, but it begs the question: What will our business model be like in another 50 or 100 years? Will shipping be twice as quick? Will things remain as they are since our transportation is pretty high speed and efficient as it can get as is? It’s too early to tell what will happen, but I can bet that autonomous vehicles will be a cog in the system that speeds the process up even more. Sure, everyone seems to be a bit timid or even afraid of the idea of vehicles driving themselves, but by taking the human component out of the model, business is actually faster, more efficient, and more objective. (Yes, we’re gonna leave the whole can of worms that is jobs vs. AI out of this article.)

So, what do you think? Will our idea of shipping boxes evolve in the next century, too? Will cardboard be outdated by a newer, cheaper, sturdier substance that is just as eco-friendly? Will shipping become a cheaper thing overall, or will prices rise simply because the efficiency will increase?

If only we could peer just a few decades into the future, I’m sure a lot of these questions would be answered in short fashion.

3 Essential Office Supplies You Need for the New Year

The new year marks a great time to restock on a lot of your supplies within your office or your home. At this point, you’ve probably neglected a lot of your stock anyway or run out completely without having noticed.

Just think about the times when you’ve run out of staples or other essentials. It kind of sucks when your lack of supplies forces you to make a trip to the local office supplies store, right?

Well, you’re not alone in the masses. Whether or not you realize it, a lot of households shirk their duties to keep up-to-date on office supplies in the home. The thing is, you can use these items in a lot of different ways outside of the office. Whether you’re intending to ship something to a distant family member during their birthday or just keep your office space tidy for work at home, you’re sure to benefit from this list of essential shipping supplies items. Here are three essential items you need, especially for the new year:

Packaging tape. A staple in any home, packaging tape seals the deal when it comes to remedying a lot of things. No matter what, though, it allows you to wrap birthday gifts, seal up boxes to be put in storage, and tape up items to be shipped off at your local shipping store. Having some strong packing tape handy is one of the most important items to have stocked in your office.

Black markers. No matter if you’re reading this and think you don’t really “need” most of these items for shipping, everyone can benefit from a black marker. Bottom line: These things are what everyone (mostly!) uses during the holidays to address a gift to someone else, especially because you can write it directly on a package.

Manila envelopes. You can send random items in these things. You can apply to jobs with them. You can store important documents in them. Whatever the case, almost everyone past the age of 18 has used a manila envelope. As a bonus, they’re useful for shipping smaller packages to distant family members around the holidays.

While this list is great for the holidays, you can definitely benefit from having a surplus of shipping supplies year-round. Whether it’s for the office, your kids’ school endeavors, or simply keeping in touch with the family, keeping your desk at home or work office stocked with the appropriate supplies is important.

Tips for Packing Christmas Gifts

Christmas is almost upon us! That means many of us will be shipping gifts far and wide as we send presents to our friends and relatives. The last thing any of us would want would be for our hand picked gifts to arrive broken or damaged. Here’s some tips for packaging your gifts in a way that ensure they arrive safe and sound.

1) Choosing your shipping boxes.

The best rule of thumb is that the box you use should be the smallest possible box that still fits your item. The larger the box, the more likely your gift is to shift and shake during transportation. And the more shaking, the more likely there will be damage. Additionally, using the smallest box possible will also cut down on your shipping costs! Some mail providers even have boxes of various sizes with a flat shipping cost, no matter how much the box weighs.

2) Choosing a filler.

Even if you choose a small shipping boxes, it’s unlikely that your item will fit perfectly. There will probably be some areas of empty space. It’s important to fill this empty space up using a cheap, light filler. In a pinch, balled up newspaper will do the trick, but there are also other options like bubble wrap. Crinkle cut paper strips can be a great way to add some filler to a box, while also making your gift look inviting and festive. You can typically find crinkle cut paper at a local craft store. Regardless of what you use, fill the box as tightly as you reasonably can. Having tightly packed filler will also prevent your gift from shifting around in the box during transport.

3) Tape.

You know how they say the more the merrier? That’s totally true with tape too. Tape keeps your package closed during its journey and so it’s best to use a lot of it. Admittedly, your gift recipient may be a bit annoyed at the amount of work they have to go through to get to your gift, but better to have it arrive safe than damaged!

4) Insurance.

When you send your package, most places will ask you if you’d like to add insurance to your shipping. Really, this is up to you. But, if you’re sending an expensive gift, adding insurance can ensure that, if your package ends up damaged or lost, you’ll be compensated accordingly.

Hopefully, following these four tips will make sure that all of your Christmas gifts make it to their intended recipients safe and sound!

3 Things for Your Home That Have Multiple Uses

Choice is the essence of humanity. If we were all forced to do one thing and one thing only, we’d go mad, dying out from boredom alone.

Decorating your home is no different. And having useful tools within your home is just the same. You want versatile, useful, and interesting things in your house that you can use for not just one reason, but multiple. Check out these things that you didn’t know you’ve been missing out on for your home.

Cheap moving boxes.
Yes, these aren’t necessarily things you decorate with or use daily, but they’re amazing for storing or transporting your picture frames, lamps, or even dishes. Did you know that there were boxes specifically made to protect those exact items? I’m not sure about you, but lamps seem awkward to ship or store, and yet there are cheap moving boxes to get the job done for these very things.

 

Ottoman.

Growing up, I found these things amazing. As a kid I would ride around on it with my brother pushing me from behind.

Okay, I know that’s not the main (or even secondary use) for an ottoman, but it serves to highlight just how versatile these things are. With that said, these are so perfect for storage. Blankets, pillows, slippers, and even chargers for your technology can be stored within your ottoman. If that’s not enough for how great these are, they’re the perfect footrests and extensions to your furniture without having to spend more for a chase when you foot the bill for your brand new couch.

Convertible standing desk.
The new thing in a lot of startup companies, standing desks that can convert down to a seated desk are all the rage. Who doesn’t like having the option to stand or sit when they’re working on their computer? Sometimes it’s just more comfortable to stand up and get your body stretched out and in use from time to time, especially if your computer chair is overly comfy.

Anything that’s a hybrid usually gets better use simply because you have the choice. And as humans, we love our choices on how to use things. The standing desk is no different. In fact, I’m thinking about getting a new desk for my office, and a convertible desk is at the top of my list so that I can be more productive while feeling healthier by standing from time to time.