Monthly Archives: December 2016

How to Ship Edible Gifts During the Holidays

I don’t know about you, but giving gifts around the holidays is one of my favorite things in the entire world.  I love packing up a shoebox to be sent to some underprivileged child in a foreign country.  It’s so fun trying to find miniature things that can offer on-going fun or functionality.  I love buying Angel Tree gifts that will be given to little ones who have an incarcerated parent.  And, of course, I love getting gifts for my friends and family!  Technically, I shop for Christmas all year long, keeping my eye out for awesome deals.  A lot of times, though, I don’t even buy the gifts that I hand out personally… I make them!

I get into this kick where I have a great idea and then produce that idea in mass quantities for everyone I know.  Like one year I made blueberry syrup from blueberries that we handpicked.  One year I made everyone this craft out of picture frames.  The last couple of years I’ve been experimenting with giving homemade candy, which has had the very best results.  So this year I made candy boxes.  You know those candy boxes you can buy around Valentine’s Day, that are shaped like a heart and full of truffles?  So that’s the basic idea, except I personalize the actual boxes and fill them with actual home-made candy.

So then the question that begs to be asked is, “How do I ship these during the holiday season?”  Here is what I found out:

  • Ship early in the week so that the gift/candy isn’t sitting around over the weekend
  • Choose the right sized box. The right sized box needs to have a couple inches available on all sides of the item, because the item is going to be wrapped in something like bubble wrap.
  • In the case of my candy boxes, I wrapped them securely in bubble wrap and then wrapped the bubble wrap with packaging tape to make sure that there wasn’t going to be any breaking open or serious shifting in the box. I would not recommend packing peanuts or any other kind of “moveable” cushion, or else your gift will move around in transit and show up in a state of disarray.
  • Make sure that there is no empty space at the top of the box. This you can fill with newspaper or more bubble wrap, so that the box doesn’t cave in when it’s being handled.
  • Look around to find out who has the best rate for parcel post with the fastest shipping time. This is up for grabs during the holiday season!

How to Choose the Right Boxes for Moving

What is the single most crucial component when it comes to making a move?  Well, sure you need to have somewhere you are moving into.  And you definitely need a way to get all your stuff from point A to point B.  But even if you don’t have a moving truck and just use your trailer or personal vehicles there is still something that is more important.  The answer is boxes!  And since boxes are the single most crucial component for moving, choosing the right ones is a big job.


What are some qualities that you want out of your boxes?  How about…

…Strength.  When it comes to buying boxes, you should be buying actual moving boxes or shipping boxes.  These boxes are designed to carry a heavy load, and be stacked on top of each other.  Don’t fret, though.  You can still find used moving and shipping boxes from websites like Craiglist or Ebay.  If you do get used boxes make sure that they aren’t compromised.  Dented corners and any creases lower the integrity of a box more than you think.

…Size.  When your boxes are full, they shouldn’t weigh any more than thirty pounds.  For stuff like bedding this could be a fairly large box.  For books it’s going to be smaller, and then everything in between.  Make sure that each box is filled to the top without being overfilled.  You don’t want any boxes caving in or bursting at the seams and bringing down all of the ones stacked above and below.

…Support.  Using the right kind of moving and shipping boxes should be accentuated by using the right kind of tape.  Choose a heavy duty tape, and use enough of it when sealing your boxes.  There’s no point to having good boxes if you cut corners with the tape.

… Blank.  The nice thing new or gently used boxes is that they come with a blank slate.  Literally.  The sides need to be basically blank so that you can clearly label or even color code multiple sides of each box.  Being able to distinguish your writing from a logo or someone else’s previous label is a big deal.  You want your indication of what side should be up, and if the box contains anything fragile, to be taken seriously.

You can never be too sure or too picky about the boxes that you choose for your move.  After all, you want your stuff to arrive at your new home the same way it was when you packed it up, right?  Otherwise, why are you even bothering to pack it all?

The Best Way for Shipping an Exercise Bike

Consider this scenario: you have an exercise bike at point A, and it needs to be shipped to point B.  Right around now is when an ad for a new exercise bike pops up on Craigslist.  After all, this is the perfect opportunity to get rid of the old exercise bike and get the new and improved exercise bike, the one you’ve always wanted.  But what if you already have the exercise bike you’ve always wanted?  Well, darling, it looks like you’re going to have to ship it.  Therefore, the first thing we are going to have to talk about are packaging supplies.

It goes without saying that packaging supplies are going to make or break the exercise bike shipping experience.  Obviously, you aren’t going to wrap your high-tech gym equipment in garbage bags and send it on it’s way.  Well, what do you wrap it in?

First, make sure the bike is clean.

Second, take a lot of really good, clear pictures of the bike, from every angle.

Third, remove any moving parts or parts that stick out.  Consulting the manual will be extremely helpful for this.  If you don’t have a hard copy still, you can usually find a PDF on the internet.  Basically, you should be removing the pedals, the handlebars, the seat, any control panels, stuff like that.  You’re going to be using the most obvious packaging supplies, like bubble wrap, tape, shipping boxes, and poly bags.  It’s how you put them to use in this case that is the most important.  All of these pieces should be wrapped securely, put in their own boxes, and labeled correctly. You can ship those boxes individually or put them all in a larger box. Be sure to wrap the power cord to the frame of the bike and secure it.  Also, leave the legs on the frame of the bike, which makes for more manageable shipping (double check that this is what your carrier prefers).


Speaking of carrier, who are you going to use to ship your exercise bike?  There are a couple of recommendations and things to consider:

  • You’re going to need to use an LTL carrier because the bike is simply too large for parcel shipment.
  • LTL carriers usually specialize in what they carry, so you are going to need to look for one that specializes in awkward household items.
  • If you choose a provider that does not specialize in what you are selling they wont have the experience or the equipment necessary, which is going to add to the cost. Even though you hear the word “specialized” and think “more expensive”, in this case a specialized carrier is the cheaper option.

Ways to Save on Freight Shipping

Freight shipping is a pretty costly enterprise, and one that is completely unavoidable if you own a company or manage a business.  It’s also getting more costly with more regulations.  How could this be, with ecommerce companies at an all-time high and continuing to rise?  The problem arises with the simple fact that there simply isn’t enough physical space available to move everything that needs to be moved.  Drivers are at an all-time low.  Profits are too, so equipment is breaking and proper repair is not being invested in.


These are some challenges in the shipping industry that you simply can’t avoid.  There are, however, some that you can:

Don’t Guess How Much the Package Weighs

Weigh every single package for an accurate number.  Shipping carriers often re-weigh the items and charge a fee if there is a disparity.  Not only will you avoid the fee, you will probably save yourself a bunch of money on shipping in general.

Properly Classify the Packages

There are eighteen freight classifications, all of them of different specifications, and even the type of shipping supplies that you use factors in.  You stand the chance of being upcharged if you choose the wrong classification, so be sure to communicate with your carrier if you have any questions.

Properly Package the Packages

This might seem obvious, but it still needs to be said.  Choose the right shipping supplies depending on what you are sending.  Carriers have begun to charge based on the size of packages and not just how much they weigh.  Choosing proper materials will also help you save money on shipping supplies, as well.

Palletize when Appropriate

Items that are going to the same place should be put on a pallet and wrapped tightly with plastic.  Not only will this reduce the risk of items being separated and an order being messed up, it will protect what you are sending.  On top of that, you will have a lower carrier fee because the pallet will be much more manageable for shipping and handling.


Have Adequate Insurance

A lot of carriers offer insurance, but you might want to consider looking at third party insurance providers to get the most coverage for your money.  Some online research should help you find the best companies to choose from.

Manage Your Paperwork Well

Make sure that all of the shipping paperwork is properly completed.  It would be a great idea to have someone who is solely designated for making sure that there are no disparities in the orders.  Unfortunately, it’s the shipping paperwork that most often results in shipping issues, and that will cost you dearly.


A Short Discussion About Wedding Favors

Planning for your wedding is an enormous task.  People spend years putting together color schemes, flower arrangements, dress designs, table layouts, reception favors, venue decorations, menu planning, cake creating, and on and on the list goes…  Some people knock this out in a few months and do their best to save money.  Some people want to extend the engagement so they can make sure that every single detail is absolutely perfect.  If you are taking either route, there are still some pretty fabulous tips out there to help you wind up with the best day ever.


What’s one aspect of a wedding that always falls flat?  Or, rather, that seems to be underappreciated?  The favors.  I mean, if we’re all being honest here, how many weddings have you gone to where you actually made to sure to take your favor home?  There have only been a couple for me.  One of them was my cousin’s wedding, and she had made some pretty snazzy Christmas tree ornaments (she got married in December) out of hot glue, ribbon, and starfish (she got married in Florida).


I took that one home because I love a good Christmas tree ornament.  Other than that, I can’t really say I was chomping at the bit to take home a candle with the bride and groom’s face on it.  For my own wedding I skipped the favors altogether and set out a printout on each table saying that I had given the money for favors to a charitable organization committed to finding the cure for brain cancer (my mother had just had a brain tumor removed).


That being said, before you consider dropping four and five hundred dollars on personalized shot glasses or sunglasses, or even those little mesh baggies of butter mints, consider offering small candy boxes at each place setting, each one wrapped differently, with cohesive embellishments and colors.  People aren’t even going to wait to open their own individual present, and there are definitely going to be some squeals when the guests discover they’ve unwrapped candy boxes.


Four, or even two, candies per box is all that is necessary.  You can even make the candy for an added touch, or order it from a local confectioner to promote your local businesses.  Either way, I have found that candy boxes as party favors for any occasion are immediately partaken of and appreciated.  So yeah, it’s candy, but that’s the point!  Everyone loves candy!  Not everyone loves beer koozies and another ballpoint pen.