Posting shortcuts: top packing tips for a safe delivery
When it comes to packaging goods for delivery, it can be tricky knowing how to go about certain things, such as selecting which materials to use, finding out where to buy them, or packaging items safely — particularly if they’re very large or an awkward shape. But, as a sender, it’s up to you to make sure whoever’s opening your parcel at the other end doesn’t find damaged goods. To make your life easier — and help your next parcel arrive at its destination unscathed — here are our top packing tips.
Getting hold of cheap packing materials
Depending on how much you’re posting and how big the items are, packaging materials can be pricey, so one savvy posting tip is to ask local retailers for any spare boxes they’ve got lying around that they don’t need — but only if they’re in quality condition and strong enough to contain your goods. That way, you’re helping them out and saving cash — just make sure you remove all stickers and labels so that the destination doesn’t get muddled. You should also remember to measure your goods before buying packaging materials to avoid spending money unnecessarily on boxes that are the wrong size and can’t be used.
Recycling and re-using packaging
There’s no need to fork out on new packaging materials every time you want to send a parcel — it’s fine to re-use old bubble wrap or polystyrene chips to cushion your goods as long as they haven’t been damaged or popped in previous deliveries. While you’re packing, you should also check that none of the items are touching each other to reduce the chances of anything getting damaged. To check how secure your package is, give it a light shake before taping it up — if it moves, you’ll know it needs more padding. If you’re repurposing boxes used for previous deliveries, check that they’re sturdy and haven’t weakened before sending.
Packing bulky and fragile items
When items are particularly bulky or an unusual shape, you’ll need to be extra careful when it comes to packaging them. If there are any sharp bits sticking out that could damage the packaging, make sure you cover these up so they don’t burst through. One way around this is to pack the box containing your items inside a bigger box, using plenty of padding so the inner box doesn’t move about.
Corrugated cardboard is also great when it comes to packaging fragile items (these include tech products, car parts, musical instruments, ceramics or anything containing glass) — boxes made of this material are thicker and therefore much safer, so whatever’s inside will be far less likely to smash. You’ll find that most carriers will exclude fragile items from compensation for damage, so double check your goods are well packed and padded before sending.
Get the box right
You want the box to be just the right size when you’re packing — if it’s too big, the contents could move around and get damaged en route, and if it’s too small, it could burst. The ideal box is one that’s just slightly bigger than your item and sturdy enough to take its weight. As well as measuring your goods, ensure that your box will be strong enough to contain the contents. If you’re dealing with particularly heavy items, you may want to consider putting your cardboard box inside a wooden crate.
Tips for sealing the package
When it comes to taping up your box, ordinary sticky tape won’t cut it — you’ll need the strong stuff for your parcel to survive its journey. Use parcel tape or special reinforced tape, and always apply at least one layer for extra strength. Don’t just use the tape to close the box — cover the corners and edges too to make it even more secure. One of the most secure methods is to tape a vertical strip down the main seal, then a horizontal one at each end to secure all gaps. Please don’t use string, shrink wrap or plastic strapping as it can get caught in our machinery.