1. New boxes are the best, used corrugated boxes can lose 60% of their strength in one use.
2. If you want to reuse a carton, make sure the carton is fully intact, no holes, tears and has not been previously crushed.
3. On a used box make sure to remove any existing labels and addresses.
4. Do not use any boxes that used to contain ORM-D materials (household quantities of hazardous materials such as perfume, aftershave, compressed cans, bleach, cleaners, chemicals.) Usually they display a blue and white label with ORM-D on it.
5. Keep fragile items away from the edge of the carton, maintain at least 2-3 inches of cushioning between breakable items and the box.
6. Pack the box tight, once packaged the items should not shift inside the box. If you can give the box a good shake without feeling the items move around, that is good.
7. Boxes should be packaged to withstand a drop from 3 – 4 ft. Conveyor belts and transfers can equal being dropped 3-4 ft. Most items are damaged on the conveyor belts and sorting systems, next is being crushed from being stacked.
8. Styrofoam peanuts are great filler, they are not protection. Heavy items will simply settle thru peanuts unless wrapped in foam or bubblewrap to spread the weight out.
9. Fragile items need to be protected before you gift wrap them. You can protect the outside of the box but unless you protect the item from moving around and damaging itself you won’t accomplish what you need to do.
10. Fragile, This Way Up, Top Load Only stickers look good, but do not have any effect on how a package is handled. The conveyor belts don’t read and the drivers and loaders are too busy to. Packages will be stacked and placed on conveyor belts how best meets the needs of the system.
11. Best practice, include a slip of paper in the box with the full name, address and phone number of the “ship to”. The best is to also include a count of the number of items in the box.
12. Small gifts or cards should be attached to larger items to help keep them from being lost. Many small items are thrown out with shipping boxes due to being left under a flap, lost in the Styrofoam peanuts or other packaging materials.
13. Declared value coverage can be purchased, but the coverage will not cover you unless the items are properly packaged. Make sure you hold on to receipts to prove the value of the items. If something happens, make sure the recipient retains all the packaging and damaged goods until the claim has been paid, regardless what you are told during the claim process. Hanging onto the materials until the end ensures that lost claim papers and mistakes don’t cost you the claim. Remember that all claims are subject to the carriers approval of the packaging and proof of value. If they don’t approve it then the claim will be denied.
14. Toys and items requiring batteries add a whole new level of complexities to the shipment. Be sure to declare ANY batteries that are in your shipment.