Category Archives: Office Supplies

Online Shopping in a Pinch

There’s truly something to be said about the expediency that is online shopping in this current day and age.

As a little bit of background context, my fiancee and I went to a music festival just over a week ago that lasted for around 5 days. The amount of stuff we were able to cram in our truck and use in that span of days was astounding.

But the thing is, we wouldn’t have had as much as we did if weren’t for some last minute online shopping we did just a week before the festival began.

The amount of shipping boxes that kept showing up to our house just days before we departed was actually kind of funny to me, especially since we had ordered it all in such short notice.

For example, we wanted to have a little fun with our outfits this year. So, we ordered a few hair decorations and even some fairy lights to string around us.

Then, we knew we would want pop up camp chairs that were low enough to the ground to fit in with the festivals lawn chair standards while also being convenient for carrying and cheap enough to warrant the purchase. We found a pair of chairs that will be amazing for us down the road for both hiking, camping, and future festivals.

Then, we had to get a few new tapestries. You’re not truly doing festival camping right unless you’ve got some weird and trippy tapestries! Luckily, we found a few for very cheap online and they were in shipping boxes outside our front door in no time.

Overall, we had a blast at our music festival and made good use of all the things we bought for the week we were roughing it out with tens of thousands of other people.

I just can’t get over how quickly boxes of goods arrive at your front door these days. You’re almost better off ordering things online than actually going out to the store simply because you’re saving money on gas, saving time not driving somewhere and browsing limited products, and saving your sanity not showing up and realizing they don’t have the product you’re looking for. Why not shop online if you can eliminate all those factors from traditional trips to the mall or local store?

Hand with credit card and a small shopping cart coming from laptop screen isolated in white

Overall, I’m very pleased with our purchases, especially because we received around 10 different boxes of things for under a hundred bucks and got them within two days of purchase!

Items to Bring to a Festival in Retrospect

I just got back from one of the US’s largest music festivals of the year, Bonnaroo. There’s not much more that I can say about the festival itself other than you’ve got to go to understand the love, positivity, and amazingness that humans can bring together in one weekend.

A big part of the experience is camping out among tens of thousands of festival attendees, and that means for 4 to 5 nights straight. This can be a hectic and unsettling experience for people new to that sort of thing, but I can guarantee that over 90% of people who visit Bonnaroo learn to love what it means with getting to know your neighbors, being out in the wilderness, and adapting to a totally new way of life for 5 days of the year.

With that comes learning what to bring each year, though, and every single time I go, I notice something that would be extremely convenient for the next year. Here’s a few of the items I’ll be bringing to Bonnaroo next year and every year forward:

Storage bins.

Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, TN

Shipping supplies and boxes and whatnot are something a lot of people don’t expect to bring to a campsite, but you wouldn’t believe how useful an organized set of storage boxes actually is. By the end of the weekend, I was searching for a few items and taking up more time and stress than was needed, so next year I’ll be looking at different office and shipping supplies such as cardboard boxes and plastic storage bins.

Lanyard koozies.

Didn’t know these were a thing until this year, but it’s exactly what you think it is: a lanyard that hangs around your neck and has a foam pouch for your beer to hang from your neck while keeping your hands free. They looked cool and were super useful.

Sun reflector.

I’m looking into getting a big one of these for next year in order to reflect the morning sun away from my camp in the mornings. It’s not just the light that bothers you, though; it’s the heat that can be brutal and cause you to lose precious sleep.

Comfortable and supportive shoes.

This should seem like a no brainer, but a lot of people like me know how great Tevas and Chaco sandals can be. The problem is, at night or during particularly long days of being on your feet, very comfortable shoes are a godsend when you just want your feet to not hate you. I made the mistake of bringing an old pair of tennis shoes this year when I should’ve had a better pair for standing and walking all day at times.

DIY Jerky Pt. 1

Making your own things, whether it’s related to your home, your entertainment, or what you consume, is always going to be cheaper and more rewarding than purchasing it from other people. The downside to all of this, though, is that you have to spend more of your time.

Think about it, though. If there was no downside (i.e., time and effort), then everyone would be making their own stuff and businesses wouldn’t exist. That’s why the saying time is money is and always will be true: because if it’s more convenient and quicker for you to have someone else do it for you, they will for money.

I’m always an advocate for DIY, however. Wood projects? Do it on your own. Dinner? Cook it yourself. No matter what it is, I’ll try to do it on my own before paying someone else unless it’s a highly specialized thing that I just cannot do on my own.

One of those things I’ll be making this week is my own beef jerky. First off, jerky prices are absolutely insane when you think about it. Whether you’re having it sent to you in some shipping boxes online (which is arguably cheaper than getting it from any local store) or buying it off of shelves, jerky is priced way too highly for a lot of products that are subpar or worse.

Instead, I prefer to make my own jerky. While it does involve some time and patience, it always ends up turning out tastier than anything I’ve ever bought from a store and I save more money doing it. I really don’t know why I don’t make it more often.

The biggest thing to keep in mind when making your own jerky is the cut of meat you’ll be purchasing and curing and the type of cure/seasoning/salts you’ll be using to actually cure it before dehydration.

Those factors are what determine the flavor more than anything (and even the consistency and toughness). Perhaps you want to go for a slightly fattier cut of meat, or maybe you want something leaner. That’s where you’ve got some give and take in the process to perfect what suits your own taste buds. For me, I prefer a specific brand of seasoning and cure salts that I order online. So, when I see those shipping boxes arrive at my house, I know it’s go time and the jerky will be aflowin’ within days.

DIY is Better Than Paying Someone Else Extra

When it really comes down to it, I’m a DIY kind of guy. I didn’t use to be this way, first off. In fact, I was pretty big on buying things premade simply because time was more valuable to me than anything. If I had to do it myself, I’d pass on it. I felt my money got a lot more mileage out of buying me more time and less work.

Well, that was the lifestyle before. But the past few years have shown that I’m actually far more inclined to do my own work and put my own time towards something if it means saving money. Don’t ask me what changed, honestly. I think it was just maturity and aging that made me realize my money was worth saving for other things, especially since doing things on my own has taught me how to be better at those very tasks.

That’s why I do my own packaging if I’m going to ship a few boxes to some family or friends. I know that a lot of shipping stores will offer to do it for you and package for you, but I find that rates are higher this way. Instead, I try to gather what shipping supplies I do have and put those to use for shipping by packing the boxes all up, taping it off, printing my labels out, slapping them on, and simply paying for shipping once I arrive to the shipping drop off location. By using my own shipping supplies, I’m able to save by buying in bulk and staying away from others doing the work for me.

This is exactly why I’ve begun to do my own stuff with wood working, repairing things around the house, changing my own oil, and always cooking my own food. Sure, others can do those things for you, but it always comes at a price that I just cannot justify when I know I could tackle it on my own with a little bit of patience, time, and learning.

It’s no wonder my dad has done all this stuff on his own from the get go. I’m beginning to understand what makes a conscious homeowner when these tasks are concerned. Rather than have others handle your problems at a price, just do it yourself. There’s no easier way to put it than that. Is it easier for you to just shell out extra for someone else to do it? Yes. Is that the way you want it done, though? Probably not.

Hobbies = Passion

Have you ever created your own things out in the shop or somewhere in your home and felt extremely accomplished and proud of your work? To me, it’s one of the best feelings simply because you did it 1) on your own time and 2) with your own money. And the best part? It’s all outside of work, it’s usually something you really have been wanting to do whether it was an interest or for someone else, and it’s all YOUR work.

That’s how I got hooked on making my own cornhole boards. I never thought I’d enjoy it or be good at it, but the best way to get ahold of a pair of boards is to make your own. With a few old shipping boxes broken down and placed beneath you as you work, your cleanup will be much easier, from spilled paint or stain to lots of sawdust beneath your project.

In fact, despite only having made 4 pairs of boards, I’ve got a buddy who has made his own too, and I’m thinking about asking him if he’d want to set up a sort of side business for both of us where we simply met up, made a few pairs of boards every other weekend or so, and then sold them to people willing to pay $200 for a pair of well done, regulation boards.

That’s exactly how extra money is made and how you can become incredibly skilled at something. The more you do it, the better it will be. The more passion you put into it, the more skilled you’ll become because you love it. And the more you can get someone else in on it, the more you’ll stay committed to your craft and give it the time it needs.

Of course, this extends to things that you’re not selling, too. My mom has a wreath shop back home where she will send wreaths off with friends, family, and really anyone that asks. They’re seasonal, they’re holiday themed, and they’re for big life events in general. So, despite not making any money on her wreaths, she has grown a huge selection of crafts, wreaths, and other garland that she will exchange with people, and her wreaths seem to get better and better every single month. Because she’s passionate about them.

That’s really all this takes. Having the right materials and supplies, like the cheap wood you can get at your local department store or a few shipping boxes that you’ve used for easier cleanup. Whether you’re doing something for your home, gardening outside, making cornhole boards or wreaths, or even doing some sort of art or cooking for others, make it a hobby you love and a passion you don’t want to live without. That’s when the good stuff begins to happen.

When You Can’t Make It Home to See Your Parents

I’m often guilty of not seeing my parents as much as I could despite living just two hours away from them. The thing is, if I’m going to make a trip home to see them, I want to be able to stay for at least a night. A two hour trip there and back is absolutely doable in one day, but I just feel like that decreases my time spent with them while also increasing my stress of driving in a single day.

So when it comes to more “minor” holidays like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, I often don’t make it home since 1) I’m usually doing other things with my girlfriend’s family who already live in town and 2) there’s just not enough time in the weekend to dedicate 4 hours driving back home.

Deutschland, Neu-Isenburg, Familie, Windenergie

So, that’s why I like to usually pack up something small in some shipping boxes and send them to my parents for more minor holidays like these. It lets them know I’m still thinking about them while also saving me major time and stress in driving and planning out a full weekend.

The good thing is that my parents never mind and always understand that my schedule is busier than theirs, so they’re always accommodating and happy to see me when they can. The better thing is that I can still give them the time of day they deserve by showing I care and thought of them with a few gifts shipped to their home. They always appreciate anything unexpected like a new shirt I found or a book that made me think of them. It’s cheap and easy for me and pleasant for them without causing any sort of hurt feelings among our relationship.

Recently I’ve found that sending my dad a new hat or a tee shirt I thought he’d like is the best for him. He’s always liking more hats and wearing stuff that he knows I, myself, enjoy wearing (which is funny because I used to want to dress like him and now the roles are reversed).

As for my mom, she’s the reader in the family. So sending along a book or some sort of craft or materials for her wreath shop will make her day instantly. She’s always down to read something new, use something for her wreaths, or make something she hasn’t ever made before.

Ultimately, showing your parents you care is what matters most. It doesn’t have to be something extravagant or expensive. As long as they see you’re thinking about them, even if you can’t make it home, they’ll be quite proud to call you their child.

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?

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!

Making Sending Parcels Economical by Cost Effective Packaging

Packing a gift or parcel correctly will help you save on the cost of mailing the parcel. Shipping a parcel can be expensive. The cost of shipping a parcel weighing 1-2 pounds is about $7. The number of parcels delivered by FedEx and UPS combined is about 32 million. Packing a parcel correctly can help reduce the cost of shipping. You can reduce the cost of shipping a small parcel containing a birthday gift or large parcels containing products to be sent to customers by cost effective packaging.

You should choose the method of packing and shipping according to the product. Shipping costs of heavier objects are more than lighter ones. If you are planning to send media related items like DVDs, manuscripts or sound recordings, the US Postal Service offers an affordable media mail service. The media mail service of the USPS is intended for those who plan to send media related or educational items.

One effective method of reducing shipping costs is to use a cheap and good box of a correct size. You can buy cheap packing boxes and cut them according to the size of the object you plan to send. The Goldilocks principle of ‘Just Right’ should be used when choosing or cutting the size of the box. A box that is too small will not protect the object you plan to send and if the box is too big, you will need to unnecessarily fill empty space with packaging material. Sending a large box is expensive as compared to sending a box that is just right.

Another mistake that one makes while packing is over packing. In your attempt to protect the object, you may over use bubble wrap or packing paper or peanuts. This will make the parcel heavy and you will increase your shipping costs. A few layers of packing material are enough to protect delicate items like a watch.

The smaller the package, the cheaper the shipping should be your guiding principle while packing parcels. Packing intelligently is the key to saving money. If you plan to mail a shirt, you will make your parcel heavy by packing the shirt in a box. Folding the shirt into a small bundle and placing it in a packing padded envelope will reduce weight and save shipping costs.
Sometimes you may not get a box of the size that is just right. When this happens you should get cheap moving boxes and cut them to the size that is just right. By cutting these boxes, you can pack the object in durable material that will keep the contents safe while you save on shipping costs.

You need to make a choice of a carrier that suits your needs. Shipping and mailing companies help customers find the correct carrier to help with their shipping needs. Different carriers are suitable for different types and sizes of parcels. Companies that focus on finding the best carrier for their customers help reduce the shipping costs for their customers considerably.
Finding a company that offers carrier solutions for shipping goods can help you save carrier costs. These companies find the best carrier that suits the needs of customers. They also find the most cost effective among carriers for the type of parcel content and the size of the parcel.

Items That Are Forgotten When Changing Houses

Moving from one place to another can be an exciting exercise. However, it can also turn out to be tedious, and this leads to forgetting some of the crucial items especially when they are many. Mostly, large items such as television sets and sofas cannot be easily forgotten. This is primarily because of their size. Smaller items are however prone to be left behind, and the user may have to spend again in purchasing these stuff. The following are some of the things that most people tend to forget when changing houses:

1. Prescription medicines
Medicines are effective when they are taken according to the doctor’s prescription. There are types such as aspirin and ibuprofen that are taken when the user is in pain. The doctor administers others, and they should be sequentially taken to ensure that they cure the targeted ailment. At many times, medicines tend to be forgotten when moving from one house to the other. This is mainly because medicines are usually stored in cabinets, unlike other items that are in the open space. You should ensure that you carry your prescription drugs with you as their importance cannot be overemphasized. To eliminate forgetfulness, consider placing them and other small sized things in cheap moving boxes that can be readily purchased at the retail shops.

2. Crucial documents
Documents are also prone to be left behind when changing houses. This can lead to a disastrous outcome as retrieving all the documents can be very expensive as well as time-consuming. Some of the papers that most people forget behind include driving licenses, legal documents, and medical records. When moving it is advisable to organize all your documents beforehand and place them in moving boxes. Having a checklist whereby you tick all the items that you have packed is advantageous in eliminating the chances of leaving documents behind.

3. Things that are in storage areas
When moving, many people tend to concentrate on the items that are inside the house and ignore the storage areas. This at many times leads to some crucial items being left behind. This can be avoided by removing these items from the storage zone and placing them in the packaging area. Also, after packing all the things, you should countercheck the storage areas. This ensures that there’s nothing significant that is left behind. Again, some people have external stores away from the house. It is advisable to bring items in such stores near the home.

4. Loaned out items
People usually borrow items from their neighbors. Such things include books, DVDs, and skating shoes. Mostly when moving to a new place, it is easy to forget these items that are with friends. When one intends to move to a place that is close to where they used to live, this is not a big issue as the items can be easily recovered. However, when migrating to a new country, it may be difficult ever to get those items back again. Therefore, you should ensure that you have a right track of the items that you may have given out before changing houses.

5. Clothes at the dry cleaner
Usually, when changing homes, people tend to pay little focus on what is outside the house. This leads to leaving items such as clothes at the dry cleaner behind. You should avoid taking clothes and other items out of the house during this period to minimize the chances of them being left behind.