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Shipping, Packing & Mailing Research Center

Articles

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Staples? wants the items you send to clients, customers, or family and friends to arrive in the same condition they left you. Packing tips and shipping advice go a long way toward ensuring your items get where you want them safely and efficiently.

A broad range of packing and shipping supplies is available for sending just about any item by major carriers, including UPS, FedEx, and USPS. Staples also has nationwide office centers staffed with experts on shipping services that provide hands-on help if you need it. Let these packing and shipping tips get you started -- whether you're packing for a move or packing items to ship.

Choose the Right Container

The most important packing tip is to match the container with the weight and delicacy of the items. That’s easy with our wide assortment of shipping and moving boxes available, from cube, flat, multilevel, round, or rectangular boxes to lightweight and heavy-duty ones. Corrugated boxes with a pleated layer sandwiched between two rigid sheets are available in single-wall, ideal for shipping lightweight items such as clothing, and double-wall, suitable for heavier, more fragile items such as computers. Specialty shipping boxes are also available including wardrobe boxes for clothing, computer boxes for computers and peripherals, and mailing tubes for documents, magazines and other flexible materials. Padded envelopes and bubble mailers with self-adhesive closures are available for shipping small, lightweight items faster at less cost.

Protect the Contents

Another shipping tip from experts is to make sure that boxed items have their own protective wrap so they don’t move around freely in the container during handling. Packing peanuts and bubble rolls are ideal for protecting your boxed items. The peanuts are Styrofoam curls that take up any dead box space and are lightweight enough to lower shipping costs. The bubble rolls are plastic sheets with small air-filled pockets that cushion items against impact, an ideal choice when protecting items like books. Other fillers include cellulose wadding - multiple layers of tissue compressed into a single sheet, and packing paper, both options can be used to wrap delicate items and are often recyclable. Additional wraps consist of corrugated sheets and foam layers, as well as corner protectors for flat, rectangular items like picture frames.

Protect items, such as decorative arrangements or sales displays, in stretch and shrink wrap, a transparent plastic that binds items tightly together for presentation. Secure together multiple boxes for one-destination shipping with strapping supplies.

Put the Right Labels on the Container

A variety of address labels get your package precisely to its destination. They’re available in a range of sizes and colors, with smudge-free surfaces or transparent layers so that printed or inked information doesn’t wash off during shipping. One option for companies is purchasing address labels with pre-printed logos. When packages arrive at clients or customers who may work in multi-office buildings, the free advertising may be worth the additional cost.

Shipping tags and seals, including warnings like "Fragile," "This Side Up," or "Rush Delivery," are available as well, as are specialty labels like package list envelopes that contain combination shipping and receipt information.

Close Your Package the Right Way

Good packing tape is key to sending boxes and packages safely. Clear acrylic tape, cloth tape, and reinforced brown paper tape are available in different gauges and tensile strengths for varying weight boxes, and in widths from 1 to 3 inches. Clear tape is ideal for shipping items short distances while the stronger reinforced brown paper tape is better suited to shipping internationally or across the country. Cloth tape provides a secure, long term seal for storage. One good packing tip is to use packing tape to place an X on mirror or glass faces to provide extra reinforcement for these breakable items before shipping. And if you’re using a lot of boxes to pack items, consider getting

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