How should I ship fragile items?

Every Friday, we answer a common question about fulfillment, shipping, or business. This week’s question comes from a reply to one of our weekly emails. Today we will answer the following question: “how should I ship fragile items?”

Use a well-sized rigid box.

The first rule of shipping fragile objects is to choose a rigid box. The last thing you want to do is ship a Faberge egg in a polybag or padded envelope!

Of course, you can’t just grab any box that’s available. It’s tempting to choose a very large box since you would be able to fill it with more bubble wrap, but this isn’t a good idea. According to Packlane, you want to choose a box which has 2 inches (or 5 cm) of extra space on all sides of the fragile item.

The reason for this is simple: you want to have enough room to pad the fragile object without giving the item(s) enough room to rattle around inside the package.

Fill excess space with cushioning materials

Once you select the right box, cover the fragile item in bubble wrap. Use as many layers as necessary.

After that, you will want to fill the extra void space with different materials. Your options include paper, bubble wrap, Styrofoam, peanuts, and air pillows. If you’re especially enviornmentally-conscious, air pillows and recycled materials are your best choices.

Label your box as fragile.

This is a fairly obvious recommendation, but nevertheless not one that want to skip. Be sure to write “FRAGILE” in all caps on the box. Write the world on at least three different sides so that people will be more likely to see it. You may also want to add a “THIS SIDE UP” label as well.

Insure your package if it’s valuable.

Lastly, if you’re shipping something really valuable, or even if you ship fragile items regularly, you will want to consider insuring your package. You can do this directly through carriers like USPS, UPS, FedEx, or DHL. However, if you ship fragile items regularly, you can also receive a discounted rate from third-party parcel insurers such as Shipsurance.

Final Thoughts

Shipping fragile items can be done safely if you take a few precautions. Choose a rigid box that’s the right size, add a lot of padding, and label the package. If all else fails, insurance will reimburse you for damages!

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