How to pack and ship items for friends and family.

ship a gift Shipping gifts can be a real pain.  Getting the gift to your recipient in one piece is challenging, especially if the item is not properly packed. Choosing appropriate packing materials and using them correctly keeps your gifts safe as they travel.  Are you buying someone something that is made of glass or another fragile material?  What about something oversized or difficult to handle?

Packing Materials

Selecting the correct box is the first step to securely packaging your gift for shipping. The box must be strong enough to protect its contents and large enough to hold sufficient cushioning materials. Heavy, corrugated cardboard is the often the safest choice.  Corrugated boxes are rated.  On the bottom of the box is a seal that indicates the edge crush test rating and maximum weight rating.  It is not okay to use moving boxes for shipping as they are not strong enough to survive the rigors of transport.  If the box has been previously used, check its condition carefully to make sure it has no weak spots or cracks. If you are shipping something oddly shaped or especially fragile, a plastic shipping crate may be a better choice.  Remember that if you are going to insure your shipment you should not use a used box as many insurance carriers and shippers like FedEx and UPS will not pay claims on damaged items shipped in a used box.


When shipping multiple items, wrap each one separately and pack them as close together in the box as you can to prevent movement. Use lots of cushioning material, making sure to cover all sides of each object.  Make sure there is a minimum of 2 inches on all sides of each item.  Effective cushioning materials include bubble wrap or packing peanuts. Pay extra attention to fragile objects such as glass, ceramics or electronics. Fill any hollow items with cushioning material. Cover any protruding parts such as handles with extra padding or cardboard for additional support.


sealing the box, gently shake it. If nothing moves, it is securely packed.  Remember that no item should be within 2 inches of the walls of the box.  Always use tape designed for shipping to seal your box. Ordinary household tape is not reinforced properly and is not suitable for shipping. Securely seal all the seams on the top and bottom of the box. Inspect the box for any other seams or protrusions that might snag on machinery, and cover them with additional tape. If applicable, mark the box “fragile” in large letters. Safely and securely packaging your gifts for national shipping is essential to ensure they arrive at their destination without damage. More tips like these and information about cross-country shipping can be found on our blog.

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