How to Pack Shipping Containers

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    Select a Box

    • 1). Select a sturdy cardboard box that is larger than the item(s) you're shipping. Your shipping box should act as an "armor" against damage from poor conditions or handling of the package. Do not load the box with more than half the weight listed on the "Box Makers Seal," located on the bottom of the box. Avoid used boxes if possible since they tend to be weaker and more likely to tear, dent or break.

    • 2). Double-box your items if necessary. Companies such as UPS offer shipping boxes with either single or double walls. Single-walled boxes are the most common and work well for most items; however, some items may require extra support. Large electronic items, dishes, glasses and other fragile contents should be placed in a double-walled box and insulated with at least 2 inches of padding.

    • 3). Determine whether or not your item(s) need insulation. Bubble wrap, foam peanuts and newspaper are all effective and popular options for padding. The rule of thumb is to fill the box almost to the top with padding and to completely cover the enclosed items with it. Contents such as clothing, bedding or other soft items clearly supply their own padding, but a protective layer of plastic is always a good idea in case of a torn box or even weather damage. Breakable items such as glass or ceramics should be wrapped individually with padding placed between multiple items. Items such as metal parts, wrenches, hammers and other "unbreakable" tools should be given only enough padding to keep them from rattling or busting holes through the box.

    • 4). Secure the box. Use packing tape to seal up any open flaps. Start at the underside of the box seam and wrap the tape all the way around the box at least two times in each direction. Adhere your shipping labels and be sure all are visible and properly filled out, then ship the package.

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