How to Prepare Parcels for Shipping

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Make sure your gift arrives in one piece - pack it correctly!

Things You'll Need

  • Cardboard Boxes
  • Old Newspapers
  • Address Labels
  • Bubble Wraps
  • Marking Pens
  • Packaging Tape
  • Packing Peanuts
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Remember the three Cs: contain, cushion and close.

  • Select a corrugated box made to carry the weight of its contents. Rated boxes have a certificate stamped on the bottom that identifies the gross weight the box can carry.

  • Remove any labels or other shipment markings from used boxes.

  • Use enough bubble wrap, crushed newspaper (stuff it into plastic bags to keep the ink from rubbing off on your wrapping paper), popcorn or packing peanuts to ensure that the contents of the box won't move while being handled.

  • Put a layer of cushioning in the box, set the packages inside and then put layers of cushioning around and between the boxes. Follow with a layer on top, overfilling slightly to allow for settling.

  • Protect fragile items by packing them toward the center of the box.

  • Pack cookies in loose, unsalted popcorn to keep them from breaking.

  • Keep a bow from getting crushed by taping a plastic berry basket over it.

  • Keep in mind that the U.S. Postal Service won't deliver a package that weighs more than 70 pounds. UPS delivers parcels of up to 150 pounds.

  • Put an address label inside the box before closing in case the original is lost or damaged.

  • Seal the box with pressure-sensitive plastic or nylon-reinforced tape. Make sure to reinforce the edges. Avoid masking and cellophane tape, string and paper overwraps.

  • Print the complete address on the box in large letters and place it so that it isn't on a seam or closure. Cover the address with clear tape to prevent ink from smearing if the parcel gets rained or snowed on.

  • Provide the post office box number or apartment number if applicable. Remember that UPS cannot deliver to a post office box.

  • Put a return address on the top left-hand corner of the box (on the same side as the recipient's address). Include your name, phone number and complete return address, including the ZIP code.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't ship a container that's too large: Measure the height, width and depth of the box. Add them together and then multiply by two. This number may not exceed 108 inches for the U.S. Postal Service.

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