If you’re traveling with small breakables or a bottle of wine or “spirits” you now can pack them with confidence that they won’t spill or break in your bag with the new inflatable protectors.
They’re reusable and worth the investment. They’ll keep your item secure and the other contents of your bag clean, especially if it is oil you’re packed. The other option is to pack and ship the item home or ahead. If you elect to that do that then continue on for some tips.
Fragile items need to be packed properly or else they break. The shipper who handles your items may be doing their best, but they handle too many packages to take the kind of care that you might
want them to. Additionally, many items must be packaged properly when shipped, or else the warranty becomes void. Heck, even getting Aunt Violet’s best china into the car can be an adventure in itself. Here are a few pointers to insure that your cargo has the best chance of arriving intact.
What’s on the outside of your package can be as important as what’s inside. If the package is being shipped through a commercial service, find out if there are any specific requirements. For instance, many shippers will not accept a package that is wrapped in paper, or has no return address. You will not be able to talk anyone at the counter into ignoring these regulations.
Now there are packaging stores which sell new packing materials. They’re good at providing odd-sized containers for items like bicycles and mirrors, and are generally knowledgeable about shipping regulations.
The best packing material is the original packing material. Especially when you buy electronic equipment, try to save the foam pieces that hold it inside the box. Carefully break down the original box, and put it all in the attic or basement.
It is often cheaper to ship two smaller packages, rather than one large one. Call the shipper, and find out how they set their rates. Find out if there is an extra charge for home pickup or weekend delivery (there often is).
The most common container used is a cardboard box. Some have thin, one-layer sides, while others are thicker, having two layers sandwiching a third, corrugated one. Use the second kind; it’s much more protective. A few items to consider:
There’s three basic packing materials that seem to be widely available: foam “peanuts” (choose the biodegradable kind, please), popcorn, and newspaper.
Foam “peanuts” are generally the best material: they are quite resilient, and absorb shock well. They also “pour” well into odd-shaped areas.
Popcorn (air-popped) is a nice, environmentally friendly packing material. It’s cheap, and absorbs shock almost as well as the “peanuts”. It’s not as resilient, though, and is generally best used once.
Newspaper, when crumpled into semi-tight balls, works almost as well as the other two materials. It’s the cheapest of all, if you have old ones lying around, and it’s interesting to unpack a box years later and read about old happenings. It is not very resilient, though, and is adversely affected by humid storage.
You’re going to need more tape than you think. When you rebuild a new box, you’ll reform it by taping the seams, and reinforce it by taping the edges and sides. With a used box, reinforcement is even more important, so don’t skimp. You’ll even want to tape the corners of very heavily packed boxes
Paper tape is now less common: it needs to be wet with a sponge for the adhesive to stick. It’s good for closing boxes, less so for reinforcing edges. Again, 2″ to 3″ wide is best.
We all know what the goal here is: to make sure that all objects are securely packed and protected from rough handling. There are a few things important to mind; they might seem obvious but are still essential to your packaging experience.
Make sure that packing materials cover the bottom of the box, before you place anything into it.
Insure that the objects do not touch the sides of the box. If you can, keep at least an inch of packing material between the objects and the sides of the box: you’ll do just fine.
Pack things tightly and leave as few gaps as you can. When you finally close the box, it should feel like you’re compressing the materials slightly.