A Basic Guide to Proper Packaging

The goal of sending a package is for it to get to its destination in the same condition as when it left.  Sound too obvious?  Well, it’s not.  Packages are frequently arriving at their final destinations in an altered state, and its not always the fault of the carrier.  Any carrier that takes pride in itself will handle packages appropriately and be staffed with professionals who make a living off of deliveries, so they aren’t going to jeopardize their own jobs by poor work ethic.  On the other hand, an improperly packaged item is susceptible to damage and destruction along the way.


A properly packaged item starts and ends with the shipping supplies.  These are the common denominator of all packages, but also the hidden key to a successful shipping experience.  Shipping supplies usually consist of four categories: cushion, sealant, boxes (or envelopes) and labels.  Let’s look at each category a little more closely:

CUSHION: shipping supplies don’t have to be an obvious product that you purchased at the post office.  Crumpled newspaper makes a great filler.  It’s incredibly important to fill all empty spaces in your package so that nothing is moving around inside of the box in transit.  Wrap each item individually with some kind of cushion, like the newspaper or bubble wrap, making sure to pad fragile items with extra care.

BOXES: Whatever you are sending, make sure it is being sent in a sturdy, outer box.  Compartmentalize your items in smaller boxes, or even bags if you need to protect them against possible moisture or pests.  Use double wall boxes for shipping heavier items, and make sure that any box you are using is in good condition and properly sealed.

SEALING: Not all tapes work well for shipping.  It is important that whatever tape you do use adheres to following the guidelines- plastic tape should be pressure sensitive, paper tape should be water-activated, and reinforced tape should be water-activated as well.  Any tape that you choose should be at least two inches wide, and you should use the H taping method on the top and bottom when sealing your box.


LABELING: Delivery information should be included inside of the package as well as outside, including both addresses.  Make sure that any other addresses or stickers have been removed or covered.  Packaging slips and labels should be facing the same direction, and be on the same side of the package.  The labels should be on largest surface.


Most carriers can’t promise continual compliance with any instructions you may have annotated on your package (such as “this end up”), but it would still be a good idea to indicate them all the same.