March 22, 2013

6 Tips for Packaging Fragile Items for Long-Distance Shipment

We’ve all been victims of packing up a fragile item only to hear once it arrived, it was broken. There are tips and tricks you can use when shipping delicate items to make sure they get to their destination in once piece.

1. Use Sturdy Boxes

Image via Flickr by supervillain
Everyone likes to recycle boxes but some simply are too far gone to reuse. If you find you need to add a lot of packing tape to corners of a box or to cover holes on the sides, top or bottom, it’s best to skip that box. Be sure the boxes you are using are sturdy and are large enough to handle the item and packaging materials.
For the most delicate items, wrap the item in a smaller box and before placing in shipping box.

2. Where to Find Great Packing Materials

If you’re shipping items to far away distances you do need to choose the right packing materials. You’ll need plenty of Styrofoam peanuts; the pink ones are static free which is nice on the receiving end. You’ll also need bubble wrap—for the best results, find the wrap with small bubbles. Newspaper and shredded newspaper are also great packaging tools.
The best place to find Styrofoam peanuts and bubble wrap is at a company that specializes in shipping. Companies like Purolator have expert freight knowledge when it comes to packing delicate items and can sell you the packaging materials you need.
For newspaper and shredded newspaper you can either save old newspapers or find out if your local recycling center offers them for free; many do. Recycling centers may also be a great place to find sturdy reusable boxes.

3. Use the Right Tape for the Right Job

The wide, clear packing tape should be used to reinforce boxes and close them. Masking tape, on the other hand is great for mirrors and picture frames with glass. Make an “X” on mirrors and picture glass with masking tape to reinforce before wrapping them in bubble wrap.

4. Protecting Very Fragile Items

Description: Use Styrofoam peanuts
Image via Flickr romana klee
Small figurines, pottery and odd-shaped glass or porcelain items need special attention to avoid damage during freight. Cut long pieces of bubble wrap and wrap these items like a mummy. If you have an odd-shaped item that is many dimensions, reinforce each side with bubble wrap and then tape to make them capable of being shipped.
Some packaging experts say with very small items, once they are wrapped like a mummy, gain added protection by placing them inside plastic zip bags.

5. Use Ample Packing Materials

Once you’ve bubble wrapped items and placed the very delicate in smaller boxes or plastic bags, it’s time to place them in boxes for shipping. First place shredded newspaper or Styrofoam peanuts on the bottom at least six inches deep. Start inserting your items with heavier ones on the bottom. Do not over pack boxes.
Next, use shredded newspaper or Styrofoam peanuts and pour in the shipping box on all sides. Make sure the top layer of packing materials is as firm as the bottom.
Once done, if you shake the box and things rattle, you need to insert more packing materials.

6. Mark Your Boxes

A final tip for ensuring your items are not damaged during shipping is to mark your boxes using a wide-tip permanent marker. Write the words “fragile” and “this side up” and draw up arrows so the shipping carrier is aware of the fragility of the items inside.
Stop fretting about whether items will be safe during shipping and instead employ these tips and your items will arrive safe and sound.

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