A happy couple packing and shipping items in large boxes.

How to Pack and Ship?

How to Pack and Ship – Small and Large Items

Planning to ship a small, fragile item? Or do you need to move a large and heavy piece of furniture out of state? Regardless of what you’re planning to transport, it’s crucial to leverage the best packing and shipping practices. The underlying goal is to minimize the risk of damage – ensuring the item reaches its destination in pristine condition.

Read on for valuable tips on how to pack and ship both small and large items – based on industry best practices and field experience.

Packing and Shipping Smaller Shipments– Shipping Boxes

When it comes to parcels or small packages, it’s important to understand that when shipping or moving long distances, it is a bumpy ride. The more your shipment is handled the greater your chance for accidental drops. This does not mean your goods are going to be damaged, it means that you have to prepare your shipment to withstand the shock of moving and shipping. By partnering with the right moving company, you can safely ship antiques, glassware, ceramics, or any other small items with peace of mind. Here are a few practical packing tips for smaller items.

Use the Right Box

It might sound obvious, but the size, material, and quality of the box are important. It can make the difference between dealing with issues surrounding exchanges/returns and receiving an item in one piece. The box should neither leave too much space for items to rattle around nor fit too tightly to squash them. It should fit perfectly with at least 2 inches of extra space for padding.

The best way to guarantee the right size for shipping fragile or small items is by ordering or building custom shipping boxes. It is also important to ensure the cardboard material is sturdy enough to contain all the packing material and your items without falling apart.

Internal Packaging

Ensure the breakable item is cushioned by adequate internal packaging. This can include crumpled paper, polyethylene foam, loose-fill polystyrene peanuts, or bubble wrap. Fill empty spaces around the box and between the item with padding material to secure the items in place. If you’re planning to ship multiple items in the same package, wrap them individually with bubble wrap or any other padding material.

To help secure the protective material, you can use packing tape to keep the wrappings in place. As an added safety net, fill out the interior of hollow items with bubble wrap or crumpled paper. If done correctly, you should be able to move the box in different directions with little-to-no movements inside.

Expert Tip: Consider working with a mover such as Ship Smart, who offers on-site packing services for smaller, delicate items. This ensures the items are secured right from the beginning and they can back their packing with full-replacement insurance.

Taping and Labeling Best Practices

Once the items are safely in the box, it’s time to seal it for shipping. Ensure the package is perfectly shut and secured with high-quality tape. The packing tape should cover all potential openings on either side of the box – and never skimp on tape! The final step in packing a smaller, fragile item is labeling the package with a “FRAGILE” sticker. This serves as a cautionary sign to ensure people who handle your item are aware of its delicate nature. Make sure you put it on at least 3 sides of the box so the handlers are sure to see it.

Consider Insurance – you can never be too careful

Sure, you might use the best material and practices to secure your package – but some risk factors are beyond your control. This is why you should insure valuable items once they’ve left your care. At Ship Smart, there are full-replacement insurance options to give you peace of mind and mitigate loss due to unfortunate events.

Packing and Shipping Large Items – Freight

Large items such as a couch or other heavy furniture come with their own set of packing and shipping challenges. Unlike smaller shipments, the packaging has to be stronger and offer more protection. They have to withstand environmental elements, compression from indiscriminate stacking, and rough handling by heavy machinery (trucks, forklifts, lift-gates, etc.). To avoid such problems, you need to pay more attention to the packing of heavier items as explained below.

Use Durable Packaging

When packing large items, it’s highly advisable to use corrugated cartons that can withstand the weight of other items stacked on top. These boxes should be sealed with reinforced water-activated tape to properly secure the items during transit. For an extra level of protection, you can add a layer of Styrofoam around the shipment. Depending on the characteristics of the items, Ship Smart also offers full-wood crating options (delicate or valuable pieces), insulated sectional crates (electronics), A-frame, lined crates (mirrors, and other upright pieces), suspended crates (chandeliers), or skeleton crates (heavier pieces).

Use a Proper Pallet

Large freight items are exposed to a lot of stress while being lifted or hauled. With this in mind, it’s important to use a pallet. It helps secure the product and facilitates easier handling with a pallet jack or forklift. But remember that not all pallets are created equal. Only use top-grade wooden skids rather than corrugated pallets.

The freight can be secured to the pallet by either banding the product or using stretch-wrap. You can also use edge/corner boards and load protectors (trays or corrugated pads) to safely secure the item to the pallet. When packing freight for shipping, always employ a technique that caters to the unique characteristics of the item. For example, bags of flour can be secured using the interlocking stack method in a column to keep them within the footprint of the pallet.

Note: The product should not hang over the edge of the pallet skid.

Cushion or Wrap the Items Appropriately

Just like smaller items, the interior packaging of freight should be lined with appropriate padding. Start by placing the items at the center of a box or crate to prevent them from tilting during handling. Next, fill the empty spaces around the box with a dense cushioning material to prevent the items from shifting. It’s also important to use a sufficient amount of stretch wrap film depending on the weight of the item.

Go Ahead and Ship the Smart Way – ShipSmart!

Shipping large packages or packing small, delicate items can be a daunting task. Between ensuring the optimal safety of your valuable goods and saving on costs, you can be easily overwhelmed – and this is where Ship Smart comes in.

Ship Smart is built on a business framework and culture that is designed to provide a seamless customer experience. We strive to make you happy as evidenced by their positive online reviews and an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau (BBB). As an industry veteran, we have all the necessary skills, knowledge, experience to facilitate a seamless packing and shipping experience.

We leverage the best practices and protocols in the industry to ensure your items are delivered in a pristine condition. Whether you need on-site packing or custom crating, we’re the guys for the job. Give us a call today and save money on shipping items the right way.


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