Using Cardboard as Insulation

Extreme conditions in the weather can really make us quite uncomfortable, especially if we’re exposed to them during long periods of time.

When it’s seriously hot out, sweating happens, making us extremely uncomfortable. But so long as we drink plenty of water, we are, for the most part, able to survive just fine. Perhaps the sun can be pretty bad with UV rays, but again, with any layer of clothing covering your skin or proper application of sunblock lotion, humans are fine.

When it comes to the cold, however, things aren’t as easy. No longer is the temperature extreme just “uncomfortable.” Rather, it’s dangerous. While we eventually begin to lose feeling in our extremities, meaning you don’t feel as much one way or the other, this is bad soon after in that frostbite can occur and your body can begin to shut down. So, having proper gear is extremely important when the weather turns freezing.

The thing is, a lot of that appropriate gear can be quite costly. From heavy duty snow boots and gloves to insulated tents, clothing, and materials for your vehicle on the road, your expense can begin to rack up just preparing for cold weather.

But what if I said that a common, everyday material would suffice as insulation? What if cardboard happened to be that material?

Because corrugated cardboard has pockets of air within its walls, it makes quite an amazing insulator. You may be padding your tent walls and ground space with cardboard (which also helps to make a more comfortable floor in the tent to sleep on), which would be smart in colder, mountainous, and snowy areas. You may also just have cardboard in your vehicle in case the need arises.

There’s a reason that people who are homeless sleep on and in cardboard, and it’s not just because it’s free. The insulating properties of old shipping boxes and other pieces of cardboard is amazing, as it keeps the coldness of the ground from seeping into someone’s body.

Similarly, you can use it in your vehicle if you had to sleep in it on a long road trip, as it’ll do some good to keep a vehicle warm after the heater and vehicle have been turned off.

No matter the case, old cardboard from shipping boxes or packaging boxes should be appreciated for the uniqueness and versatility they possess in all of their various uses.

Organizing Your Home Entertainment System

A lot of us like to splurge a little bit when it comes to having an entertainment system in our living rooms. We get a large HDTV with a sound bar (and sometimes peripheral speakers). We convince ourselves we need the cabinets and stand. And we even include things like old record players, DVD racks, book cases, video game systems, and decorations. Well, at least I do.

But the one thing everyone knows when it comes to these electronic masterpieces is how dang messy the cords and plugins can be. Things become tangled of their own accord. Plugs pop out of their sockets. Extension cords are in abundance just to be able to reach an outlet that’s farther away than you’d like it to be. Everything is in a state of disarray, and it only becomes worse if you don’t get it all organized from the get go.

We’ve got a few quick tips on taming the beast that is home entertainment system hookups, and it takes less time than fixing it all months down the road.

Bind your cords.

This is one of the most important and useful tips I can give when it comes to organizing your home entertainment system. If you have any cheap shipping supplies lying around like labeling tape, zip ties (these work best), or even twine, get to using them on your cords.

One thing I will note is that you’ll want to bind together like cords. So, having your video game console cords bound together separate from your TV cords is a smart idea. You can even go so far as to color code them if you want. Some electrical tape is colored and would do the trick here.

Use an outlet extension.

And no, not the two outlet brown cord we all seem to have lying around. Get yourself a heavy duty extension cord that has a power button and at least 5 to 6 outlets on the strip. These will allow you keep everything in its proper place and have an extension cord that’s grounded. Without this useful tool, powering your entire entertainment system is nigh impossible.

Keep it hidden behind the system.

You don’t want unsightly cords and the shipping supplies you used to bind them all to be all over the place, do you? Keep it all hidden and away behind your TV stand and cabinets so that it looks clean and organized up front.

Practicing Proper Boxcutter Safety

Boxcutters are an essential item for cutting cardboard, especially on items like shipping boxes or other cheap moving boxes. However, though most people have seen them and likely used them, an overwhelming amount don’t practice boxcutter safety because they’re always in a hurry or simply don’t know how to use it correctly. Check out these safety tips below.

Always point the blade away from your body.

And be sure no one else is around you when you make your cut. This is the first thing most people will teach you about boxcutters, and yet it’s something people still fail to heed. Cutting away from your body is much easier to do in the first place, but it also ensures that you don’t cut yourself (or any of your clothing, for that matter).

Make sure your other hand or other parts of your body aren’t in the path of the knife.

This is especially true for your fingers. It’s easy to get used to cutting shipping boxes and other cardboard with a boxcutter, but don’t ever slip up and hold a part of the box in the direct line of the cutter’s path.

Keep your eye on the blade as you’re cutting at all times.

Rather than watch where you’re going to be cutting, watch the blade itself as you move it along the box. This ensures you don’t accidentally misjudge where the knife’s blade is because you’re looking ahead. Avoid messing up your cut or, worse, cutting yourself and simply keep your gaze on the boxcutter’s blade.

Store boxcutters in a safe place when you’re not using them.

If the blade is retractable, which most are, make sure the blade is fully covered and locked if it has a locking option. You don’t want to reach in a drawer for something else and cut yourself because you left the blade exposed. It takes no time at all.

Don’t toss a boxcutter to another person.

Even if you think the blade is closed or fully retracted, you should safely hand boxcutters to other workers or people with the handle first.

Don’t try to catch a falling boxcutter.

Just move out of the way and let it fall to the ground if it falls when you’re using it. Whether or not you think the blade is retracted, it could come loose and cut you if you attempt to grab it. Most boxcutters are cheap enough that if they break, it’s not a big deal to get a new one.

3 Ways to Use Packaging Supplies Around the Holidays

It happens often—you stock up on office supplies, many of those including stuff you can use to ship items, and then the supplies sit there unused for years. You forget about them (much like other home essentials that have been untouched for ages) and they continue to sit there.

What gives? If you’re going to spend the money on supplies, you surely meant to use them at some point, right?

Well, we all have good intentions on most of our purchases. Shipping supplies are no different. Life just gets in the way. But luckily, there are ways to make use of those supplies you once intended to use, and you can have fun using them this holiday season, too. It may take a tad bit of work on your end, but it almost always guarantees to make someone else (and yourself!) happy around this time of year.

Send a small gift to an old friend.
When life gets in the way of your household and items you don’t use, it also tends to impede close friendships. People move away. You fall out of touch. What better way to rekindle a friendship than to randomly send a small bauble or a book as a gift to an old-time friend of yours? Pack it in a box, tape it up, wrap it, label it, and ship it out. They’ll be surprised and see that you cared enough to think of them.

Mail a family Christmas letter.
Whether you choose to send one of these to your elder family members that you can’t always visit, family friends, coworkers, or someone you know who’s away at college, family Christmas letters are nice little surprises for people that may not always be able to keep up with your life. These also show you care when you send them to someone close, and it’s a great way to show off the family and home!

Decorate your house.
Use your scissors, tape, twine, and packing paper this year to spice up your decorations, whether you’re wrapping “fake” gifts as decorations with packing paper or using twine as draping on your trees.

And for the decorations that don’t make it up this year, think about using some of your cardboard boxes and packaging tape to store what you don’t use. You can simply box up the clutter and store it in the attic, basement, or a closet (especially since it’s tough to throw certain things away).

There you have it. Three simple ways to repurpose the shipping supplies you once bought but never got around to using. Whether you’re making an old friend’s day, touching base with a distant family member, or decorating your home, you can be sure to get some use out of these common items that you’ve neglected for too long.


4 Essential Items for Shipping Packages

When you need to ship something off, whether it’s a returned item, a gift to a family member during the holidays, or something that is pressing and needs urgently sent, you want to have the bare essentials for getting your package there. While going to a delivery store solves a lot of those needs, they will always be more expensive to rely on for materials than having everything ready on your own.

Next time you’re at your local office supplies store, consider picking up these shipping supplies to ensure you’re ready for your next impromptu (or planned) item to be sent.

Packaging tape.

Also called packing tape or shipping tape, this is essential in making sure your box is properly sealed and won’t come open in transit. Packing tape is made to hold cardboard flaps tightly together, and it’s an all-purpose, easy-to-use item for other projects or things around the house when needed.

Packing paper and bubble wrap.

Having both may seem overkill, so having at least one of the two helps to keep your item secure and protected from the jostling around that happens when being shipped. Packing peanuts also fall into this category, but that seems like extra if you at least have packing paper to fill the empty spaces within your box.

Black marker.

Sharpies are great for labeling on cardboard. Not only does this handy marker serve as useful around the house very often, it’s perfect for writing addresses on cardboard if you don’t have prepared labels. The post office is especially fond of these packages, as slapping on postage is all that’s needed beyond your already-written address.

Shipping boxes.

Shipping boxes serve as the container itself. While you can have this done for you wherever you’ve having your package shipped, buying a few different sized boxes to have at your house is a good idea in case you need something in a hurry or you just want to save money. You’ll likely also have some of these sitting around from previous packages that have been sent to you, so using these is even cheaper (i.e., free!).

No matter how few packages you think you’ll send in the future, you’ll want each of these shipping supplies to at least be prepared for when the time comes. And as I’ve mentioned for almost every one of these things, they have household use outside of shipping packages, to boot. You just can’t go wrong with having these essentials at the ready.

4 Tips on Being Crafty with Your Kids

Let’s get this out of the way: I’m not a crafty person. In fact, I consider myself quite bland when it comes to my creative side. I like unique and creative ideas, but my skills in creativity with art and hands-on activities are very lacking.

But let’s be honest, getting crafty with the kids is something that is great for their own expression, their tactile development, and simply bonding with them. Even if you also consider yourself as uncreative as me, you can do these few things to bond with your children and have fun doing it, too.

Be cheap.

There’s no reason to spend a lot on art supplies or specific, high-dollar tools and paint when you can use a lot that you have around the house already. You’d be surprised at what all you can get out of your assortment of things at home, such as packaging supplies: scissors, packaging tape, cardboard boxes, and bubble wrap are all things that you could use to get crafty with your kids.

Limit the time.

I think we all seem to think that craft time requires a lot of time to think, do, refine, and clean up. You should really only spend time setting up, getting at it, and cleaning up. Art is messy and art is fun because it’s messy. Don’t overthink whatever it is you’re doing, as you may be less interested in doing it again for your children in the future. Spend no more than 30 minutes doing something with your kids.

Prepare a mess-free area.

You don’t want paint, glue, and paper scraps everywhere on your nice hardwood table, do you? Buying some sort of cheap plastic tablecover will protect your furniture (and even floor). This also saves you a lot of time during the cleanup process.

Have. Fun.

Don’t stress about the mess. Don’t worry so much about the time or thinking about the next project. The whole point should be to have fun with your kids and encourage them to have fun. Bonding and laughing and being creative together is very beneficial to your children. If they see that you’re not having a good time, they’ll be far less likely to enjoy it themselves.

No matter how much you lack creativity, it’s easy to set aside time to just do something new and hands-on with your kids. You’ll love it. They’ll love it.

See? Craft time with the kids isn’t as hard as you thought. Bust out the packaging supplies you cast aside long ago. Grab some cheap paint and plastic table covers. Get to crafting.

How to Maximize Your Storage During the Holidays

When I think of Christmas, I think of my mom pulling out the decorations from under the staircase just before Thanksgiving would come around. Her storage typically consisted of big, long cardboard boxes containing her 7-or-so synthetic Christmas trees. Of course, there were other containers and boxes of ornaments, decorations, and wreaths—but Christmas, to me, felt like a house with long brown boxes strewn about. I even recall it being hard to walk around the house simply because everything was so crowded and out in the walkways. Nothing embodied the Christmas spirit better than getting ready for the season with decorations and the house undergoing a lot of change.

As I got to thinking about other storage purposes in which cardboard boxes could be used, seasonal decorations came to mind. Here’s a list of things you could possibly use them for:

  • From fake pumpkins with cords to synthetic spider webs and sheets, Halloween usually inspires people to put up decorations that surround the house (inside or out). Lights, children’s costumes, and various other fall decorations can be stored away easily in boxes.
  • As already mentioned, almost everyone seems to have a fake tree in a big box, whether it’s the one that the tree came in or otherwise. Ornaments, wreaths, stringed lights, and other baubles need put away for that one month a year!
  • Now, while not a holiday that one typically thinks of for decorating, spring has many “things” that need stored away. Whether it’s baskets and multi-colored grass or egg-coloring kits, there’s enough that could be put away in a single box.
  • Fourth of July. Spare fireworks, an assortment of American flags, and other patriotic accessories can be put away until summertime. Whether you store them in your attic, the garage, the basement, or elsewhere, boxes—yet again—come in handy.
  • Back to school. We all know that the kids celebrate summer break and can put the backpacks, books, school supplies, and sports equipment away. But you don’t want all those things tossed around haphazardly. Having it in an easily accessible location allows you to keep everything organized and at the ready for when it all starts back up again.

So, if you’ve got a few spare boxes lying around the house, put them to use! Don’t even think about discarding them or burning them—you know there’s always a section of your house or season of the year that could use some organizing. Think seasonally! Any holiday can surely spark your imagination to consider putting things away neatly. What most people regard as fodder for fire or simply trash, you can use for tidiness.

Growth of E-Commerce Creates New Packaging Challenges

Just ten years ago, e-commerce was mostly used for the purchase of relatively small items that would be shipped in a few days to your home or office. If you needed a large, bulky item, such as a new TV or maybe even a new toilet for your home, you would take a trip to the electronics or home improvement store.

You would look at the available items, compare their various attributes and prices, then make your pick. Once you’ve paid for your TV or toilet, you would just pull your car around to a loading area in the back of the store and have a staff member load the bulky item in your vehicle.

However, have you ever asked yourself how these big items would make it to the store to begin with? In most cases, it would be on a pallet. A big cube of items would be sent out by the manufacturer, then moved around in nationwide distribution centers until a retail store needed it.

Even though pallet shipment and distribution may seem like relatively straightforward concepts, there’s actually a lot of science behind them. During the last decade, we’ve perfected them and introduced new technology, such as robots that help create more efficient pallets and stack items in warehouses in ways that make the most optimal use of every square inch available.

Another thing that has changed in the last ten years is how consumers shop for big and bulky items, like the TV or toilet mentioned in the previous example. It’s becoming increasingly common for people to purchase home improvement and construction supplies, appliances and large electronics online and have them delivered to their home in one or two days.

Now, if you order a TV or toilet from an online distributor, your item will initially be sitting at a warehouse. To get to you, it would first need to be removed from its pallet, transported around the facility to a packing area and re-packed for delivery. This is where the challenging part comes in. Many e-commerce fulfillment centers aren’t well equipped to pack bulky and fragile items.

According to information from Sealed Air, big, heavy and fragile items are experiencing rates of damage during transit that hover around 20 percent. This results in losses for businesses and consumer dissatisfaction. E-commerce fulfillment centers need to work hard to find solutions that will make these items parcel-ready.

To improve their ability to handle such items, businesses can do a variety of things, including:

  • Package items in their primary shipping boxes right at the manufacturing point.
  • Identify which items need special protection during intra-facility handling and transfers.
  • Make changes to the design of their facilities so that parcel preparation areas are large enough and are fully stocked with the right type of shipping boxes for items of various sizes and weights.
  • Create a consistent packaging strategy and ensure that all employees are properly trained on how to safely handle, prepare and pack all types of items.

The latest trends show that consumers are increasingly shopping online for large items, such as car parts, home appliances, building supplies and more. This makes creating an effective pallet-to-parcel strategy that not only gets items to consumers fast, but ensures that they arrive in one piece, highly important for any business in the e-commerce world.

The Best Way to Pack Your Moving Boxes

Moving is a daunting and rather scary task. Part of any move means playing close personal attention to the boxes you are going to use for the move. Packing your shipping boxes carefully has many advantages. Doing so makes it easier for your movers to move your items quickly and easily. When you pay close attention to your moving boxes and make sure that all is contained properly, you’ll also reduce the risk that anything will break during the move. Packing up your boxes also ensures that you have enough boxes on hand to get the job done during the move. This means you won’t face a sudden run for additional moving boxes at the last minute.

The Bottom of the Box

The bottom of the moving box needs specific personal attention. This is where people pick up the boxes and lift them. It’s also where people tend to put most of their effort. You want to make sure the boxes have enough reinforcement. Reinforcement is typically done with enough tape. Packing tape is a strong substance that can hold up for a long time and still stay in good shape.

Packing Properly

When it comes to packing your items, you should think closely about the weight of the items. You want to make sure that the weight in the boxes is evenly distributed. Keep all of your heavier items on the bottom of the box. This can include items such as boxes and housewares. You can leave the rest of the box for lighter items. For example, think about packing your clothing in the same area as you pack all of your delicate dishes. The clothing can serve as a means of protecting the more delicate items as the move continues.

Avoid Overloading Your Boxes

Avoid the temptation to overload all of your moving boxes. You don’t want to put all of your items in a large box. Instead, it’s good to use many smaller boxes. Smaller boxes will keep the items in good shape and make it easier to sort through things and create categories for your stuff. For example, you can keep one box for certain types of cookbooks while another is about using and keeping your summer clothing in one place even if you’re moving during the warm weather.

Everything Should be Sealed Properly

When you’re packing, ultimately everything will wind up in the moving van. In many cases, your items will be stacked one on top of the other. You want to make sure that all of your boxes are completely sealed. Take the time to examine each box closely. Note and gaps that you see on the top. You want fix them as soon as possible. This will make it easier for your movers to bring the boxes inside the van without worrying that contents will shift or even get out of the box as the van moves. You should also make sure that you’ve taken the time to mark each box properly. You want to know precisely what’s inside the box once your mover brings it to your new destination. This will make it easier to sort through the boxes once you have them inside. It will also make it easier to place each box in the right space in your new home.

Boxing Basics, How To Properly Pack

There are so many ways to pack or move your belongings. However, what is the right way to go about it? Should you look into hiring a professional, or get starting doing the task yourself? Packing moving can be stressful, especially if you do not have the time to knock it out. Therefore, below is a few ideas of how to properly pack as well as a few boxing basic tips.

Pack Heavy, Travel Light
Let’s say the ultimate decision you chose was to pack your belongings yourself. How should you start? One of the first elements to always remember is to pack heavy and travel light. This means simply, get all of your belongings packed, and only leave out what you will need to travel with. For example, if you pack up your house and leave a set or two of clothes and toothbrush for the next few days, that would be packing heavy and traveling light. It is easier to get all of your stuff packed away, and not have to carry as much while you are traveling to your next destination. This will also help you when you are unpacking your stuff at your new location to not have to stress about where your clothes are or what box you put your toothbrush in.

Pack Smartly
The choice to pack your stuff yourself can be overwhelming; however, there are options to consider when you are packing. For example, finding cheap moving boxes that will allow you to get all your stuff packed fast and properly would be a great start. The moving boxes can be found in a variety of locations; however, you will want to find a company that offers different sizes of boxes. This is essential to do to make sure your belongings are safe and secure. You do not want to get boxes that are too big for a few small items; therefore, finding moving boxes in different sizes is a great boxing basic.

Pack with Your Mind, Not Your Heart
After you have gotten your boxes, you will want to gather your things according to size, weight, and durability. This means simply, to don’t just pack all your clothes in one box, you might want to leave a little room for that picture that you cherish, the clothes can be a great way to protect it during the move. Do not just pack all of your breakables in one box, for this could cause them to actually break is the box shifts during the move. Therefore, pack with your mind, and not your heart. Another great tip would be to separate the dirty items from the clean ones, no matter what the item is, you will not want items to be tarnished or spoiled during the move.

Should You Have Help?
If you were having a hard time moving your belongings, contacting a local moving company would be a smart decision. They are professionals that have chosen this career path in order to help with those heavy items or delicate. They have experience and care about your stuff as much as you do. Therefore don’t hesitate to contact your local moving company if you get overwhelmed, they will be more than happy to help, and to top that off it can save you time and energy since moving can be highly stressful.

Final Thoughts
In conclusion, moving can be an exciting time, or it can be extremely stressful. It’s up to you to decide how the move can be done efficiently and properly. Finding cheap moving boxes in different sizes or contacting a local moving company is one of the best ways to help relieve these stresses. If you chose to pack your belongings yourself, obtain the right packing materials to make sure you are properly packing the items in an ordained fashion, but do not hesitate to call your local professional, as they are customer service driven and want you and your stuff to be just as safe as you do.