Category Archives: Packing Supplies

Overnight Hiking Trips and Proper Supplies

This past weekend I made my first overnight backpacking trip at a local state park. I’ve been meaning to go for months now, but the stars finally aligned for me and my friends with good weather, an open weekend, and the right supplies.

I will say that it was one of the more taxing endeavors I’ve ever carried out. I underestimated just how much work it takes to hike 10 miles with a 30 pound pack on my back and lots of up and down hills to navigate. By the end, though, I felt extremely accomplished, and I was proud of everyone for having a great time, roughing it for a night, and getting up early the next morning to hike the last half of the trail.

Those sorts of trips are wildly underestimated in terms of the preparation needed. And I say this from a physical perspective and accounting for appropriate gear and things to bring along.

One thing I realized we could’ve used more of was supplies. Be it office or shipping supplies, we could’ve afforded to take some extra cardboard or paper for kindling. In fact, other shipping supplies like tape would’ve also been extremely useful in binding our food packs together for the night. We ended up tossing all of our open food bags and uneaten snacks into a sack, tying that sack to a string and a rock, and tossing the rock over a tree branch to suspend it in the air for the night, out of reach of raccoons and other critters.

But had we had some tape, we could’ve further sealed the bags in order to prevent any scents from escaping. Unfortunately, we did attract the attention of a few raccoons that evening (which impacted my sleep some). But overall, everything worked out quite well.

Going forward, another thing I’ll be keeping in mind is water supplies. We underestimated how much water we would need for camp, and that accounts for cooking and having something to drink with dinner while also having some water for sleeping at night (which I’m often found slugging water in the middle of the night).

So maybe I need to ration my water better while on the trail. Or perhaps we didn’t try hard enough to go out of our way to reach a water source to filter and have along the way. Whatever the case, packing more water from the get go isn’t the best idea considering your pack being weighed down is something you don’t want unless those things are absolutely necessary. And since we could get water out in nature, there’s no reason to carry more than needed.

3 Packaging Supplies You Didn’t Know You Needed

When it comes to being the most prepared you can be for a move or even just for transporting new furniture and decor back into your home, there’s nothing better than having the right shipping supplies available to make transportation of certain materials and items much easier, safer, and efficient.

The thing is, there are a lot of shipping supplies out there that some of you may not be aware of. While moving boxes, bubble wrap, and packing tape may be quite familiar to you, would you be able to name off other products that movers use on a daily basis to make their job easier and more efficient? Probably not.

With that said, check out these three moving supplies to increase your knowledge on the wide variety of supplies out there for your own convenience.

Moving blankets.

These are some of the most handy things out there that have more than one use for your move. More than anything, moving blankets are like large, thick quilts used to protect bigger furniture from rips, tears, scratches, and more. Basically, they’re just cushioning and a material in between to help preserve the nature of your furniture and belongings so that nothing becomes damaged or broken. The last thing you want to happen when moving is add more to the stress of the move.

As another use, though, moving blankets are amazing for transporting heavy pieces of furniture without wheels across flooring that’s prone to scratching. Not only do the blankets protect your floor, they also make it a heck of a lot easier to move things around in tighter spaces.

Padded wrapping paper.

As an alternative to moving blankets, you can use padded wrapping paper instead. Basically, this looks like brown paper bags that have cushioning built in so that it can be wrapped around pieces of furniture to prevent any sort of scratching or tears. While this is more of a temporary, lighter weight material for moves compared to the permanent heavy duty nature of moving blankets, it can be quicker and easier to use in a pinch.

Stretch plastic wrap.

This kind of looks like Saran wrap and is available in different dimensions to fit your needs. They’re great for wrapping drawers so that they don’t come flying open in transit like you’re probably used to. This stuff is pretty great for protecting softer furniture from rips and tears, too. Heck, it prevents your furniture from getting dirty or wet, too.

Picking Up Your Home Can Pick Up Your Mood

I get pretty stressed when the house is out of order, things are laying around in places they shouldn’t be, and for the most part, everything is just in a state of constant disarray.

Honestly, I’m probably like most people who find these things bothersome and stressful, and by the time you even want to do something about it, it’s too big to tackle all at once (which only adds to the stress even more).

The problem with handling this sort of recurring situation is getting to the root of it all: and that’s organization.

But organization is an intangible sort of thing, you know. It’s hard to nail down what it means to be organized and how to instill such a “skill” in yourself. The good thing is that a lot of it starts with the type of storage and supplies you have around your home. The more tools and containers you have to be organized, the more likely you are to be successful at keeping everything cleanly and in order.

So, that’s where I started recently with my girlfriend. We got a few containers meant for storage purposes and some other basic shipping supplies like packing tape and sharpies so that we could mark on the containers to show what goes where. The good thing about such tape, too, is that it can easily be peeled off and replaced if you happen to dedicate that container to other items.

Since we’ve taken the time to actually get things in order and have dedicated spaces for an assortment of items, things have been so amazing around our home. Nothing is ever scattered out and about anymore. And we’re so, so much better about keeping things picked up and in their right spots. It’s amazing how a few containers, some shipping supplies, and a will to do it all can completely transform the way you keep your home in order.

And even better than all of that is how happy and relaxed we are in our home as of late. The amount of stress that can build up within you when you’re surrounding by a state of disarray is criminally underrated. Only after getting everything cleaned up and constantly spotless did I realize how much less stressed I felt each evening after coming home from work. There’s no other way to put it than saying I’m just genuinely happier and healthier (mentally, especially) because of the changes we’ve made.

What Is “Too Many” Boxes?

I grew up in a household absolutely stocked with cardboard shipping boxes. While that may bring to mind a house stuffed full of different sizes and shapes of boxes in every room, that’s not exactly the case.

For a little bit of context, both of my parents have worked for the post office all of their lives. So, it’s really no surprise that we always had a gajillion cardboard boxes on hand for any given scenario.

Heck, Christmas time was always super easy considering there was always another box to use for wrapping gifts in. I never had to seek out bags or other containers to wrap any gifts in. I’d just go to the back room, grab a handful of boxes that fit the various items I wanted to wrap, and went to work. It was always super convenient around the holidays that we had so many boxes.

The funny thing, though, is that we never really got much use out of these abundant shipping boxes for the rest of the year. I mean, if we ever actually had to ship something, I’d know where to look for a box that fit whatever it was I’d be sending. But in regards to other uses for boxes, we didn’t find many.

It comes as no surprise that we’d have such an overabundance of cardboard boxes in our home, though. Considering that my parents basically lived at the post office, they happened to bring home a lot from time to time to keep our stash up to date and fully stocked.

When I look back on all the boxes we had, I can’t help but feel like we could’ve made more use of them throughout the year. Whether we wanted to do crafts, use them for practical things like kindling or storage, or even recycle half of the stock of boxes since we never used even that many, I feel as if we had far too many boxes.

In reality, though, my mind is probably imagining far more boxes than we actually had, especially because my most vivid memories of that back room were from my childhood. And when you’re a kid, everything is much bigger and grandiose than when you’re an adult and have a greater sense of perspective. Overall, the impressive collection of boxes never cost my family a penny, so I suppose that’s why we always had an “overstock” of boxes. Why not have more than you need if it’s not costing you anything, right?

Your Hobbies Should Make You Happy

For the past half year or so, I’ve been talking about how great it would be to have live plants in our home. I mention it to my family on phone calls home to check in. I mention it to friends in random conversation. I’ve mentioned it to my girlfriend a heck of a lot.

But I finally found an excuse to get a handful of houseplants this past month with my girlfriend’s birthday coming and going, and we’re proud parents of about 6 different succulents and two other houseplants.

It was actually quite a fun process to go pick them out and find the pots we thought would fit the aesthetic of our home. While buying plants at a local shop and not a department store likely cost us more than it could have, we felt better knowing the plants were taken care of and probably healthier in general.

Repotting when we got home, however, was slightly more of a task than we realized considering we haven’t done such a thing ever, so we wanted to make sure we had the right soil, were handling our plants and their roots with care, and knew what pots were perfect for which plants.

One thing we were lacking, though, was gardening supplies. Luckily, we had a few different shipping supplies that sufficed, such as a boxcutter to churn up the soil and a few cardboard boxes to put excess soil in.

The process was more fun than I would’ve imagined, simply because it felt like we were really taking care of the plants as living beings, not just as “decor” to our home. Sometimes, it got tricky to plant some of the succulents since they had spines that would prick my hands, so nestling one of the chunkier guys into a small pot and putting new soil in with it was extremely tough. Again, we were lucky to have some of those shipping supplies handy, though.

But so far, it’s all paid off. We get compliments on our succulent table. We enjoy having the blinds open far more often so that they can get sunlight. We feel happier to have them around. And heck, they’re great for giving us a sense of responsibility while also having us respect the life around us outside of each other and our dog.

It’s just been one of the best decisions and I feel we’re only bound to get more here in the next few months while summer starts to pick up.

Gifting in Boxes or Bags?

With spring finally here and Easter around the corner, gift giving is in session. It’s only been a few months since Christmas was here, but a few months is all it takes in the gift-happy culture of the US.

When it comes to giving gifts, though, I prefer to wrap mine in boxes. Any old shipping boxes usually do for whatever I’m giving away. I just think that a gift in a box wrapped up shows a lot more effort went into the gift than just placing something in a bag, stuffing some tissue paper in on top of the item, and calling it a day.

But that’s to each their own, I suppose. While I like to have my recipient think there was a lot of thought that went into the gift, not everyone else does. And I can’t fault others for being more efficient with their time and gift giving even if it does make their recipient think of the gift as less special than a wrapped box.

My gifting habits are a main reason as to why I do have a lot of old shipping boxes and other cardboard laying around my home, though. I’m always using them for something with how versatile they are.

It’s funny to see what people think when I give them Easter gifts all wrapped up in the style of a birthday or Christmas present, though. People always expect baskets or bags around this time of year, but a fully wrapped box just seems to say a lot more in my opinion. It stands out a lot more, too.

I’d say my favorite part of wrapping gifts in boxes is honestly the type of paper I wrap it with. Whether it’s a specific pattern tailored to the occasion or just plain, thick brown paper (which is actually pretty classy, I must say), it’s fun to change it all up and keeps me, the gifter, interested and excited in the whole process.

That’s not even to say how many compliments I usually receive on my wrapping and the paper I chose. I’m always getting asked where I got my paper or how I wrapped my gift, and it’s honestly kinda nice to have that recognition for my efforts.

Overall, though, I do it for the recipient. I get joy in the whole process because I know it’ll bring joy to whomever I’m gifting the item to. If you can’t get joy out of that, what’s the point in gifting someone a thing you don’t truly care to spend money on? If that’s how you approach it, don’t bother giving them anything at all.

Odds and Ends for Your Hobbies

You know that hobbies can be quite niche, ranging from things like collecting rare spirits to raising a garden inside your house. People enjoy different things for different reasons, and almost always there’s certain gear that just cannot be substituted for extremely in depth hobbies like painting needing palettes and oil paints or even baking requiring specific pans and ingredients.

But for most hobbies, there are a few things that can be substituted, and this usually allows you to have an array of supplies that can span across multiple hobbies. When versatility is allowed, it’s best to make the most of it so that you can save money, save space, and ultimately still get the job done without losing out on whatever supplies you needed in the first place.

One of my favorite hobbies as of late is camping. While I enjoy hiking and carrying my pack with me to set up camp somewhere in the wilderness, I also don’t ever shy away from trips with friends that involve packing up the truck and getting on the road to the nearest campgrounds for a weekend of fun.

Sometimes, though, we’re in need of basic supplies that we always end up forgetting. So instead of planning last minute what we need, I like to keep these common shipping supplies in my truck to be accessible whenever we actually need them.

Scissors.

Scissors may perhaps be the most useful thing to have when you’re out camping and most people don’t realize how useful they really are. From cutting twine to opening foods, you can’t go wrong have a pair of heavy duty scissors available on your camping trips. Heck, they’re even good for cutting, cleaning, and preparing tougher meat.

Tape.

While tape doesn’t work so well on anything that’s dirty or wet, it can still do well patching any holes you have in your tent, binding together broken stakes, and even sealing together food packages that you don’t want being broken into by raccoons. Out of all the shipping supplies on this list, tape is probably the most versatile at repairing.

Cardboard boxes.

You can use them for kindling, for storage, or even as makeshift “pads” for the hard ground you’ll be sleeping on. The best part is that you can break them down to save space when traveling with them so that they’re not all boxy and in the way while driving.

When is the Right Time to Buy a House?

I’ve recently been trying to convince a friend to move to the city where I live, and I’ve had a rather tough time of it for reasons that are hard for me to explain. But basically, it boils down to him wanting to own a house here so he’s waiting a bit longer instead of getting an apartment here first to make sure he likes the area.

While we seemingly have differing opinions (and I know my own suggestion to him may not sit well with some of you out there who are advocates of pulling the trigger and buying a home), I’d like to think for someone his age at 26, he’s not ready to buy a house here considering he doesn’t even know if he’ll like it in whatever area he forecloses.

So, though not every item on this list is something you must stick to by the book, these are a few suggestions on when buying a home may make sense in your life.

When you’re getting married.

This one is fairly common among Americans. If you’re marrying someone soon and don’t yet have a house, it could make sense to do as the joint income will help with any expenses you may deem tougher to handle compared to being on your own. Just as well, married couples most likely lived in an apartment together prior to their marriage, so it’s only natural to make the step up to a home if you know that you live well together and are ready for your own place. All that’s required is a little sweat equity, some cheap moving boxes, and a trailer to move out of your old apartment and into your new home.

When you have a child.

While I’m fully aware that raising a child in an apartment can be a cost-effective way of handling child-rearing, I’m still of the mind that owning your own place can be safer for you and your child. Not to mention, you have much more space and privacy to yourself if you were to get your own home while raising your kid opposed to being sanctioned away in a smaller place connected to other tenants.

When it feels right.

Buying a home ultimately boils down to moving forward when you’re ready. There’s no one out there that can tell you you’re not ready or you should already be living in a house. It may never fit your agenda in life or it may only make sense for you to shop around from one home to the next rather than move into an apartment temporarily. Just trust your gut on when you should be looking to buy a home, but make sure it’s for the right reasons and you’re in good financial standing while you’re searching around.

There’s likely no worse feeling than moving into a place, looking at all your unpacked cheap moving boxes, and regretting what you just did if an apartment still makes more sense.

The Era of Quick Shipping

Today’s gold standard for shipping is getting tougher and tougher to refine simply because we’re maxing out the speed at which an item can be bought online, packaged, and shipped to that person’s front door. It doesn’t get much faster than 2 to 3 days without expecting someone to pay a ridiculous amount of money for one-day shipping.

Recently, my mom sent me a small parcel as a joke based on something we had just talked about a few days prior. I was so surprised that the package made it in two or three days time, simply because it wasn’t labeled as having been shipped on one or two days shipping but was merely priority mail through the post office. Yet still, here the package was in just a matter of two days. While the contents weren’t anything special or a must have for me, it was just funny how quickly it got to my doorstep without having extra postage on it for quicker shipping.

Much in the same way, I recently bought gifts for my girlfriend since her birthday is fast approaching, and those shipping boxes arrived at my doorstep two entire days before they were supposed to. Was I bothered by this? Not really at all, no. Sure, I had planned on them arriving two days later, so I wasn’t even looking for them on my doorstep in the snow this past weekend, but nonetheless, they made it to my door on a “non business day” and came as quite the surprise to me. I was pretty happy to have them safe and stored inside rather than having to worry about it sitting out in the open on my doorstep while I was at work two days later.

It ultimately surprises me how quickly items are shipped without paying extra for shipping these days. If we wanted things this fast just a decade or two ago, the price for shipping would’ve increased significantly. But again, today’s gold standard is just two or three days with hardly any extra cost, making online shopping seem as if it were on par with shopping at the mall.

Shipping boxes need merely a label and their contents to get out on the road and onto your doorstep nowadays, especially with streamlined shipping processes in bigger companies. If your shipping setup has a hitch in it or seems outdated by any means, customers will move on to other companies, because today’s era is one of demand and impatience.

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?