Have you ever received something in the mail broken?

You feel sort of devastated as you carry the box indoors, with its ominous death rattle.

The thrill of unpacking is gone because you know it’s already destroyed. You pull out the item in 3 pieces and throw it in the bin. It’s a decidedly joyless ritual and not one you would ever wish on your customers.

It’s a pity that when you start a shop there’s no how to guide on choosing and using retail packaging. With the migration of shops online, more and more people are sending and receiving goods in the mail. And things break. How much packaging is enough when you are sending items out?

Err on the side of too much packaging – bubble-wrap everything you send out. Even clothing should be placed in a padded bag as a defense against the unidentifiable sharp objects that litter mailing rooms.

If your item is fragile, bubble wrap is step 2. The first defense istissue paper – scrunch and stuff any breakable items with tissue. It gets into smaller places than bubble wrap, and increases the strength of your products.  Wrap the whole item in tissue, than follow on with bubble wrap.  Never attach sticky tape directly to the item, always on the packaging.

Allow at least a 8 centimeter gap (more if you are sending large items) all the way around the outside of your item to the sides of the box, and fill this gap with filler. Use more offcuts of bubble wrap, shredded paper, air-bags or polystyrene packaging to cushion the fragile item into the box.

Picture in your mind the box being dropped. Would the item break? This is the best guage to whether you need more packaging. Ask yourself how far you want to go: if we are talking Louis XV antique china teacups pad around the inner box and then place it in an outer box with more padding. This may be going a little far for something not quite as irreplaceable, but it’s up to you to decide.

If you are sending multiple items, consider if they are likely to break each other if they hit each other. If no, pack together, but if yes the safest method is to put in separate small boxes and then into a larger box.

Tape multiple boxes together if you can’t find a larger box to pack them in.

Tape the outside box around with fragile tape, and write any special instructions in clear large writing. If you are using recycled boxes, cross out any information on the boxes that is false (e.g. codes, descriptions, dangerous goods badges).

And there you have it – No more death rattles upon arrival for your precious and fragile item. Now, you just have to hope it doesn’t get lost…

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