Shipping is an essential part of our global economy today. Perhaps the most important part is the packing of the items to be shipped. I experienced this when my family helped to pack a shipping container for a charitable cause. Our group was sending supplies to start a school in Africa. We sent toys, clothes, furniture, books, and educational items. We were able to pack the desks on top of each other to form a wall around more delicate items that could shift or be crushed. Everything was wrapped with plastic film and padding to prevent damage during the weeks at sea. By using wisdom to maximize our space as well as position the items for stability, our container arrived with virtually zero damage. Customs was another story!
To plan packing accordingly, consider the size and type of item and the mode and distance it must travel. From my personal experience, it seems that local carriers are more apt to take a little more care with the item. Larger commercial or freight carriers do not have the resources to check for “fragile” on each package and sometimes things become crushed or damaged. Similarly, I have seen items literally thrown into an airplane's cargo hold, with no consideration for content or orientation. I have also seen things waiting on the tarmac to be loaded when it begins to pour rain. Consider this when packaging your items. If you will not have some measure of control over the items, prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
Smaller items may ship well in a padded envelope. Larger items could be wrapped in padding and placed in a small box. Try to have some kind of water- resistant layer to preserve the item, and I always place clear tape over the receiver's address so it can survive dampness. Padding can be foam sheets, bubble wrap, or packing peanuts. Fun side note: some packing peanuts were developed originally as a “healthy” snack. When it did not receive the anticipated welcome, it was re-purposed as packaging or craft noodles. You can tell which ones they are if you get the tip wet and it starts to dissolve! Especially important is to tape the package shut securely, too.
The take-away is that as long as you are well-prepared, your shipment should reach its destination in tip-top shape. You can never totally prepare for the unknown, but you can get close. By ensuring plenty of cushion and a snug but ample fit of your item within the outer packaging, you reduce friction and possible breakage. Adding a plastic or other moisture-resistant element, your package can avoid damage from weather or spills. Also clearly displaying and protecting the address information ensures no delays or confusion along the route. Organizing large shipments with multiple packages with an inventory sheet and a labeling system or code stickers will help the receiver easily know that everything has arrived, and even what has shipped in each package. The ultimate goal is for the shipment to arrive safely to its destination and be put to good use by the intended recipient. It makes everyone's life a little better!