parcel handling


How to Pack a Package: Key Tips and Practices

Packing a package can be complicated. At first glance, that might look like a strange, even exaggerated, statement to make. What’s so hard about packing a package? You take what you need to send, put it in a box, tape it up and hand it off to a carrier. What’s complicated about that?


The devil is in the details, and when it comes to shipping packages, there is no shortage of details to focus on. Everything from the size of the package to the contents being shipped to the quality of the box itself can make all the difference in how quickly an item ships, how much it costs to ship and whether it ships at all.


Whether you’re sending a package to a friend, loved one or customer, don’t take any chances. Keep these essential tips in mind for how to best pack a package:


When in Doubt, Use a New Box

We know there’s a temptation to sometimes reuse boxes for sending out a package. It’s environmentally friendly to reuse boxes than to buy new ones over and over again. Plus, if you have a stack of unused boxes sitting in a corner in your inventory room or mailing center, why not put them to work again?


But, as UPS® notes, there’s a pretty simple and compelling reason for using a new box with each shipment: “The more times a box is used, the more it loses its original protective qualities, so a previously used box may not adequately protect your shipment.” The last thing you want to think about when sending a shipment out to a customer is if the box itself will hold up, or if it’ll fall apart in transit. There’s no faster way to turn a customer off to your brand than to ship them a worn-down, collapsed package.


That’s not to say you can never use an old box, but if you do, make sure to follow UPS’ guidelines here: that “it is rigid and in excellent condition with no punctures, tears, rips or corner damage, and that all flaps are intact. Remove any labels and all other shipment markings from the box.”


But, when in doubt, don’t take the chance; just use a new box. Your customers will appreciate it.


Not All Items Are Packed Equally

How you pack items for shipment are as varied as the items themselves, but FedEx® has outlined a few standard practices you should always keep top of mind:

  • Wrap items individually with cushioning.
  • Place items in the center of the box. Keep them away from other contents in the package, as well as the sides or corners of the box.
  • Items with irregular or pointed shapes should have their edges or any sharp protrusions taped down and wrapped up.
  • Fragile items should be double-boxed. The smaller box should then be wrapped with about 8 cm of cushioning material within the larger box.
  • Use a protective outer box to shield items that may be damaged during the handling process (e.g. adhesive labels, marking).

Stay tuned to Pitney Bowes Shipping Simplified for more packing and sending fundamentals that every business shipper should know. For an integrated all-in-one shipping solution that streamlines your shipping operations, from packaging and labeling to tracking and sending, check out a demo of Pitney Bowes SendPro®.