Category Archives: Packing Supplies

Online Shopping 2020

This year was a huge year for the entire economic environment of the world.  The Covid-19 pandemic took place this year and it legitimately changed the world and how we produce, ship, and shop.  The majority of the world ended up moving into its own version of social lockdowns and social distancing and it forced a good portion of the world to be on house arrest.  House arrest means that you are not able to leave your home without the fear of being arrested.  This was a worldwide acceptable compromise for health.  It did turn out to be the liberty killer that took away the freedom of much of the world for a virus that turned out to be not what we were told.  It was actually similar to the common flu and just like the flu people who have complicated health issues are susceptible to it.  Now we are still adjusting to the new normal of purchasing.

The change in shopping and purchasing has caused a rise in shipping supplies and use all across the world.  Deliver jobs have become one of the most essential and hired positions across the world.  Sales for online shopping almost doubled in the two month lockdown in the United States and Amazon profited like none other even after a 40% stock market drop. Companies that sell shipping supplies ended up selling more boxes, tape and supplies than ever before.  This is due to the change in how people were purchasing.

Brick and mortar stores changed to e-commerce stores overnight. People were not able to leave their house for fear of being arrested and they ended up purchasing through fear from their home for several months. This fundamentally changed a large majority of stores.  They had to move from the mindset that they would be able to sell face to face and change up to the fact that people would be searching online.  So signage marketing completely went caput.  SEO became one of the most sought after marketing products.

So SEO is now the most important marketing tool.  It is simply the fact that people cannot buy your new brick and mortar, turned ecommerce products if they cannot find you online.  This means you need to budget quickly for the change in order to stay ahead of competition.  If you are new to the game it costs money and takes time to hit the top of the search pages. So get on it fast!

The search for the perfect shipping department products

The retail market is a vast and complicated conglomerate of products and procedures that come together to create a business.  The thousands if not millions of things that have to come together for a single company to even sell a pencil is rather amazing.  Now imagine a new company selling thousands of items and need millions of things to go right every single day in order for them to be successful.  It is a profound and powerful thoughts and is one of the great marvels of modern society.  Today companies can start from nothing and begin the complicated process of being successful and have lots of options and opportunities in order to do it.  So I want to go over some of my favorite things that have allowed my shipping department to get the best shipping supplies for the job.

Trial and error.  This is one of the most important parts of the shipping process.  Lots of things can go wrong.  The wrong products can be sent or the worst retail error of all.  The security tags are still on products that were sent to a customer with no way of removing them.  So having processes in place to take care of this takes time and effort. 

It also usually takes mistakes.  So give yourself some room for error. Bad things will happen and you will have to deal with them. Plan ahead and prepare to also be able to replace things that go wrong.  So if for some reason you are using boxes instead of bags for your shipping supplies be prepared to switch them.  Sometimes it is better to use one medium over another and the reasons can be endless. 

Cost can be a big reason for making changes to items.  If you find out that shipping cost 4 dollars less to use a bag than a box then that is something to keep in mind.  But what if a bag is a dollar more per item than a box? Well there is still a three dollar difference between the two.  But then take into account the damage rate of products.  Have some arrived damaged in a bag vs a box and if so how many.  How much was the damage wand was that enough to offset the 3 dollar difference each time you ship an item out.  These calculations are very important and must be thought through in order to understand the actual cost and best supplies to get.

Working in a warehouse

Back in my college days I have the pleasure of working in lots of different roles.  The summers were filled with many different opportunities and jobs in lots of different industries.  One year I had the opportunity to work in the auto industry.  I found myself working at an Porsche dealer and found myself in the parts department.  My jobs was to manage the entire parts department and keep all the inventory in stock and in its proper location. This unique opportunity lead me to become good friends with lots of different parts of the business world and not just the auto industry.  I found right off the bat that being friends with the local delivery companies was paramount to having a shop that ran well.

Knowing what type of shipping boxes would work best in multiple situations was also key. I found that talking with my local FedEx and UPS delivery driver was a crazy amount of knowledge.  They understood warehouses and what made good ones work.  The vast knowledge was worth taking time out of my day to be friends with them and get to know different aspects of their life.  They were able to walk me through different ways to ship items to be the most efficient. They also told me their preferences as driver and deliverers as to how they were able to load their truck and keep items the safest.

In tern, I was able to take their advice and purchase the best shipping boxes possible.  It lead me to spending less on damaged parts and overall a more efficient parts department.  The cost of many of the high end sports parts I was purchasing and shipping across the country was in some times extravagant.  The cost of fenders and wheels for racing vehicles was nearly always in the thousands and having them arrive damaged would cost much more than the cost of proper packaging.  These small details meant the return rate for my products went way down to a nearly non existent percentage.

I was able to save thousands of dollars in a single summer and it lead to rave reviews from my supervisors.  From there I was able to take their praise and get a higher paying position for the next summer.  In tern, I was able to hand off my process to the company and give them a sustainable way of decreasing their costs on a yearly basis.  It was a great job to have and much experience was gained at it.

Collecting Cardboard Year Round for Gifts

Every single year, I remind myself to hold onto some of my old cardboard boxes and shipping boxes. From one year to the next, I do a pretty good job about swapping out older boxes for those that are newish, especially if I happened to order something large online that comes in a big box I can use around the holidays.

What’s funny is that I never would’ve gotten into this habit if it weren’t for my mom stashing away hundreds (seriously, hundreds) of boxes from one year to the next, all for the sake of the holidays. Of course, it helped that she worked at the post office all her life, meaning there was no shortage of cardboard around our house growing up. Still, having so many boxes on hand meant she could sift through what she had available and find the perfect size and shape of box for whatever it was she was wrapping.

Thus, I got into the habit of collecting cardboard for the purpose of using around the winter holidays. But what started as a collection for gift giving soon turned out to be far more useful throughout the rest of the year for other various scenarios.

For example, having a handful of decent sized shipping boxes meant I could make a little storage area in my basement that helped clear up a LOT of clutter in our home. We’ve also been able to utilize our cardboard whenever we go camping, go to music festivals, and go to family functions that required us taking a lot of hot food that couldn’t be spilled in the vehicle en route to the function.

Whether you’re using your cardboard for gift wrapping or other things around your own home, holding onto cardboard and reusing it throughout the year is actually a super great thing for the sake of sustainability and being environmentally friendly. You don’t have to ascribe to that line of thinking year around, especially if you’ve never bothered to recycle or care about the environment that much. Nonetheless, reusing your older materials for future things is an amazing way to reduce your waste on a yearly basis, and it’s something you should feel proud about even if you weren’t intentionally doing it in the first place. Sometimes your actions do good without you realizing it, and that’s definitely something you can feel good about no matter what your intentions were.

The Top 3 Items on My Christmas List

I don’t usually have a specific thing in mind I want for Christmas from one year to the next, and it’s not often at all that I have multiple things within the same category. But for whatever reason, I’m gung ho on getting a lot of kitchen appliances and tools. I’ve asked my parents, my partner, her parents, and my grandmother for something that will end up in our kitchen. It’s almost to the point that I’m really starting to see my age show. I recall the days I’d ask for video games, new technology, and even clothes (I thought my age was showing then). But when you just want to cook with new and cool things, it’s pretty obvious that you’re settled into life as an adult.

So, I figured I’d share some of my list with you guys to get an idea on the cool new things I’m wanting for my kitchen next year. Maybe you’ll see a few of these as essentials you’re missing in your own kitchen. For me, it’s been eye opening how much random junk we have in our kitchen, from tools and old pictures to shipping supplies, like packing tape. I want my kitchen to be a sacred space for me and my food and nothing else. It’s time we make the kitchen less of a storage place and more of an art space. Less of the shipping supplies and random things as storage, more of the artist’s tools for creating beautiful, tasty, healthy dishes. That’s my dream for my kitchen, at least.

Lightweight wok.

I think the wok is an incredibly underrated kitchen cooking pan. I use it for all the east asian dishes I make, but I also use it for a quick saute of some veggies or even for just mixing large quantities of noodles or something else. It’s too useful and versatile to not have an amazing wok

Food processor.

With this, you can make your own salsa, you can make your own hummus, you can make pastes and sauces, and you finely chop anything you need. This is a vegan’s dream appliance, and you better believe it’s at the top of my list.

Air fryer.

This is an easier, healthier, cleaner way to fry your foods in quick order. Oil frying just takes so long to mess with the cleanup that it’s not even worth it. And if you do it inside? It stinks up your house. I can’t wait to have an air fryer.

Order Your Holiday Gifts Now Instead of Later

Now that we’re officially into the thick of holiday season, time starts to feel like it dilates a lot simply because there are so many holidays in such a short time span. Think about it: Halloween at the end of October; Thanksgiving at the end of November; Christmas at the end of December; and New Year’s also at the end of December. It’s quite the lineup of holidays in essentially 2 entire months (Oct 31st to Dec 31st).

But what makes it so entirely packed for me in particular, though, are birthdays. When my dad’s falls on at the end of October, mine falls mid November, my brother’s falls late November, and my mom falls in late December, well, you’ve suddenly just introduced 4 more important dates alongside the 4 I already named that are holidays.

Needless to say, around this time of year you can find quite a bit of shipping boxes sitting on our front porch thanks to online shopping. And while a lot of people mumble and grumble about how online shopping has ruined this era, I think they’re just resistant to any sort of change in the first place. In all reality, shopping online has helped unique stores sell their niche products to niche audiences, and retail companies have been forced to shift their thinking and practicality of selling products by also moving online. Without such a boom in Internet sales, malls would be overcrowded like they used to be and traffic would be worse around this time of year. At the very least, Black Friday may be less ridiculous than it used to be.

The thing is, procrastination still happens no matter what type of shopping you’re doing, so it’s important for us to stay on top of our holiday and birthday gifts early and often. In fact, we’re sitting down this weekend to order multiple items for our parents and family members to have it done here and now instead of waiting until December to have things shipped. As everyone knows, the longer you wait, the better chances that a few shipping boxes won’t arrive to your home on time for a certain holiday or birthday. And I’d rather not stress this year about holiday gifts like I did last year. It’s just not worth it and takes no time to do.

Overall, I’m stoked for the holidays this year simply because it seems like I’ve got everything planned out much farther in advance than I ever used to. It’s smooth sailing from here!

Updating Our Basement

My fiancee and I are revamping our apartment over the next few months, something I think we’ve both been wanting to do for awhile now. As a little bit of background on our place, we’ve lived in it for just over a year now and renewed our lease for one more year. While next year is looking like the time we’ll buy a house, we still have an entire 11 months left in our cute little apartment and felt there’s still plenty of time to switch things up and make it look even nicer and homier.

I think the way we’ll go about our small “renovation” process is from room to room. Read on to follow our steps for doing so.

The basement.

I think this is the place most in need of some updating, so this is where I’ll start. First and foremost, the basement as it currently is does have a nice sectional couch, a small home entertainment stand, a big oak table with 6 chairs, a washer and dryer, and a dartboard. Oh, and there’s a standing lamp too!

So, to kick things off, I think the biggest problem with our basement is the fact that the walls are pretty barren. Ultimately, this gives off the effect of “Oh, this is clearly a basement.” Because the walls are white cement blocks stacked on one another and the “ceiling” is floorboards from above with nails sticking through, not much in there seems like an actual room despite all of our other furnishings and decor.

This is where some cheap, easy “renovation” comes in to help fill the walls. While there’s not much we can do about the ceiling being floorboards since we’re renting the place and don’t own it, there is quite a bit of room on the walls to put up posters, to paint (we’re allowed to do this), and even hang tapestries. We’ve currently got a few old Bonnaroo posters hung up with some shipping supplies (mostly packing tape), but shipping supplies won’t cut it when it comes to heavier duty items or even painting the walls.

My first idea with renovating this part of the basement will probably stick with my fiancee, and that’s painting the walls a darker, more colorful shade of green. We’re huge naturalists and love the idea of green all over our home (mostly plants!). So, having the back wall a forest green would give a sense of atmosphere in the basement that looks great with ambient lighting while also being a color that’s not too “out there.”

Life Changing Things Are Everywhere If You Look

For the last three or four months, my fiancee and I have talked about getting into yoga.

For a hobby that can be very life changing, it’s not as simple as just saying “Hey, I want to do yoga.” Or, perhaps it really can be. But considering we said that over 150 days ago, it goes to show there’s got to be some sort of intentionality and will behind the words in order to enact such a life-changing hobby.

Like most things, I think you kinda just need to dive in head first if you want to see if you’re even remotely interested in something. And the best way of doing that is ordering yourself an okay yoga matt, firing up some sort of free YouTube tutorial, and trying your best to follow along. How else are you supposed to get a taste test for such a unique activity? I suppose there’s the option of paying a monthly fee and going to a yoga studio for better hands-on guidance.

My way of looking at things, though, is trial and error on your own. I’d rather order a few shipping boxes worth of yoga gear, get a feel for what I’m about to do, and just sit and learn. It’s how I’ve picked up running (i.e., buying nicer running shoes and doing a little bit of research). It’s how I suppose I’d tackle anything in front of me from here on out, really.

I really think something like yoga would benefit the entire world if everyone just gave it a chance. Unfortunately, that’s just not how things work in people’s lives. Not everyone will give everything a try, despite there being some amazing things out there that could be healing and beneficial to all.

I just think there’s a turning point in everyone’s lives where they made a specific decision and things blossomed. Of course, this is true for the opposite, too. People can make a big decision that sends them down the wrong path. It’s up to us to have the intuition to know which one is better or worse.

Anyway, I’m quite stoked to see those few shipping boxes on my front porch in just a week or so. Yoga isn’t something that’s easy for beginners to take on without a professional. But lucky for my fiancee and me, there are plenty of videos out there on the internet with professionals giving the tips you need to get started on just about anything.

A Unique Summer Job

I love my job and I truly enjoy showing up to work each day. However, I sometimes think what else would I be doing if I were to take up a different profession, and I continually arrive back at the thought of becoming a teacher. I love communicating and explaining things to people. I love challenging people and engaging with them to help them think differently on topics of interest. Selfishly, I think one of the main reasons why I would like to be a teacher, is that I would not have to work for two to three months of the year and get to enjoy the best part of the year, the summer, in any way that I want!

One of my best friends is a teacher, and while she does enjoy having her summer’s free, she often times tries to find a summer job. The extra income is nice, but it is also nice to have something to pass the days in case she gets bored of lounging by the pool. She has tried many different things: working at a boutique, working at a winery, coaching kid’s camps, and waitressing. However, the job she is trying this summer is probably the one that she has loved the most out of all of them.

She works as an independent contractor for a fulfillment company and absolutely loves the flexibility that it provides for her schedule. She can literally create her own hours and work whenever she wants to. Her job involves her gathering curriculum and other textbooks to sell, and then putting the books in shipping boxes to send out all over North America. The more items she sells and fulfills, the more money she makes. So there is a lot of incentive to work as much as possible, which she does try to do, but it is nice because if something else comes up or she is not feeling like working, she does not have to.

The main part of her job involves going to the local post office and gathering the correct shipping boxes and the shipping labels so she can then send out the orders. Since she privately buys curriculum and other text-books from anywhere beforehand, all she has to do is show up and put the books in the boxes.  She receives a percentage of each of the sales she fulfills and sends out. It is truly amazing how many orders she can fulfill at one time.

I am not ready to switch and become a teacher yet, however when I hear of things like this, it does sound pretty appealing. If you are looking for a summer job, remember to think creativity and check out as many places as possible!

Plans for 4th of July Weekend

It’s hard to believe that the 4th of July is already upon us, especially considering it felt like the new year just began. But maybe that’s me and my wonky internal clock feeling like it’s not here yet when it actually is.

No matter what way you look at it though, it’s here and there’s almost too little time to plan out what’s happening and where I’m going. That always seems to be the case with me, though. Before I know it, holidays are upon me and I make last minute plans with friends or family. Still, I always get it to work out well enough.

Anyway, this year I think I’ll be heading to a friend’s new house for some fireworks in his neighborhood. I’ve yet to visit his new home, so it’s the perfect excuse to go down, hang out, have some drinks with old friends, and relax.

I’m pretty sure he’s got a grill, too, so we’ll likely be grilling out as well. Nothing more “American” than a grill out on the 4th of July.

I’m certain that means we’ll all be responsible for bringing our own drinks, some snacks or meats, and relevant things like particular shipping supplies (think tape and boxes) for storage and carrying things around. There’s never too many supplies to bring, whether they’re office or shipping supplies.

The cool thing will be that the park that’s showing fireworks will be just a few minutes walk away from his house, so no matter how much partying we do during the day, we don’t have to drive anywhere to see them and can be safe by just meandering on over to the park with our lawn chairs, some brews in tow, and good company.

I think that’s all it really takes to have a good time on a holiday, really. So long as everyone is relaxing, there’s good food, conversation to keep everyone engaged, and some drinks, people seem to have fun. I know I love that sort of environment and scenario, at least.

Now that I’ve related my plans to you for this upcoming American holiday, what do you plan on doing for your 4th of July weekend? Considering the holiday falls on a Thursday, I’m guessing most of you have taken off the following Friday so that you can have a 4 day weekend. If you haven’t, submit your request for PTO now!