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Whether you're shipping gifts to your grandmother or to your best client, you'll want the items to arrive on time and intact. Following are tips to help simplify the holiday shipping process.
|Type of mail||When to use it (for delivery by 12/25)|
|Parcel Post||Through December 11th|
|Priority (two–to–three–day)||Through December 18th for all U.S. destinations and through December 22nd for local destinations (150 miles or fewer from your location)|
|Express or overnight||Through December 20th for all U.S. destinations and through December 23rd for local destinations (150 miles or fewer from your location)|
Be sure your box, padded envelope, or mailing tube is the appropriate size. A container that’s too big, even packed with cushioning, may allow your gifts to shift too much and become damaged. A too small container may not provide sufficient padding, also causing potential damage.
If you opt for a box, the USPS recommends boxes made of "heavy, corrugated cardboard. Thinner boxes, such as most shoe boxes or gift boxes, are not strong enough for shipping." UPS goes one step further, saying, "use a new box. The more a box is used, the more it loses its original protective qualities and may not adequately protect your shipment. If you must reuse a box, make sure it is rigid and in excellent condition with no punctures, tears, rips, or corner damage, and that all flaps are intact." 1
|Vases, glasses, and similar items||Stuff paper or padding into the center of the item|
|Picture frames||Remove glass insets from picture frames and wrap them separately|
|Toys and electronics||Take out batteries and wrap them individually|
|Computer equipment||Pad and pack in Electro Static Discharge (ESD) bags|
Before sealing your package, hold the flaps closed and shake the box back and forth. If you can hear the items inside moving around, you need more padding.
Then seal the box with strong packing tape that is specifically designed for shipping and at least two inches wide. Tape all box seams shut; UPS suggests using three strips on the top and bottom.
To be sure your package arrives at the correct location, the USPS stresses the importance of providing accurate and complete address information.
Consider placing a duplicate address label inside the package. Include your return address, the recipient’s mailing information, and a list of the package’s content. This way the shipper will be able to return or deliver your package if the outside becomes damaged or unreadable.
If you’re shipping fragile objects, perishables, or items that cannot be bent, print or stamp this information above the recipient’s address, below the postage, and on the back of the package. To streamline this process, consider a pre–inked stamp with the words fragile, do not bend, perishable, etc.
If you're really pressed for time, save yourself the hassles of shipping packages. Head into your local Staples store and visit the authorized UPS Ship Center; store associates will pack your boxes and then ship them. Find a store in your area now.
No matter how carefully you package your item, it may be damaged during transit. To recover potential losses, consider insuring your packages. Should a package arrive or be returned to you damaged, save the packaging as evidence for your claim. Also, save your receipt showing you purchased insurance until you know your package has arrived safely.