USPS cardboard boxes
Boxes. Maybe they seem too picayune a topic for a blog, but the eBay and other online sellers I know expend a good deal of brain space on what boxes they have on hand, and will they have the right-sized box for that next sale? Well, did you know that the USPS actually has 29 different Priority Mail boxes available for free at the USPS.com Get Mailing & Shipping Supplies page? Stamps.com has just come out with a new pdf guide of these boxes, complete with box sizes and weight limits for every Priority Mail box and envelope the USPS provides.
I think many of us sellers are leery of using the free Priority Mail boxes because we are thinking of the flat-rate boxes, which can actually be more expensive to use for shipping items of a light to medium weight. What they're good for, not surprisingly, are heavy items that are not too large.
"Most sellers are only aware of the Flat Rate Boxes, but the USPS has 29 total boxes for Priority Mail, " said Eric Nash of Stamps.com, which has other whitepapers and information available from their site.
Boxes have actually become something of an obsession for me. I hate it when I don't have that perfect-sized box on hand for an order, and therefore have to use a larger box than is necessary; this can be especially costly for international shipments.
But wherever possible, if something is light enough and can go first class, I reach for the generic box; boxes I get as a buyer with my Amazon.com Prime account often do the trick for those. It's gotten to the point where when I order a small item from Amazon Prime, such as a single bag of coffee, I think about how it will be nice to re-use the box it comes in to ship something out.
What about padded mailers? "Priority Mail Flat Rate Padded Envelopes
are a great option to lower shipping costs, " the Stamps.com guide reminds us in a tip. "The Padded Envelope is flexible enough to include a small box inside to protect your items, but you are charged for only the low shipping cost of an envelope!"
If the item you're shipping is not susceptible to damage, go for it. But don't make the mistake I made once (and never will again), of shipping a hardback book in a padded mailer. With some bubble wrap, yet. The distraught buyer emailed me a photo of this lovely Joseph Campbell after it arrived, with what looked like a corner that had been chewed off by a dog. Oh, the humanity! How on earth did that shipment go so wrong? Did the mail carrier drop it in the street and then accidentally back over it with the truck?
At any rate, all my Amazon book shipments now go by sturdy cardboard box.
Need a bigger box but only have smaller boxes of the same size? Try taping two of them together.
What other tales of box triumph or tragedy can you bring to the packing and shipping table? Post a comment here!
Read more: When you need to ship your car from one city to another, you have to choose between various companies that offer different quotes. It is believed that cost to ship a car across the country has to be lower than an international one. It is not true. The price of a shipment depends on numerous factors, including the miles traveled, the weight of your car, the method of shipment and the status of a company you choose as your auto carrier.
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