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Use Cereal Boxes For Shipping Ebay Items

My goal for this month is to declutter and sell my extras on ebay. In the past I have used the free flat rate shipping boxes from the post office. However, with prices on shipping so high, it seems I get less bids. I discovered that I can ship a lot of what I sell in cereal boxes. They are sturdy (and I also reinforce each direction with tape), and much lighter than the post office boxes, or regular cardboard boxes. Lighter packages mean less postage, which in turn increases the likely hood of someone bidding on my item.


By April from Missouri

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January 16, 20080 found this helpful

I, too, am an eBay seller, and packaging is very important to me (whether I am buying or selling.) Cereal boxes and the likes don't really offer a lot of protection unless it is something like clothing or something light and fluffy like that. Not good for glassware, china, jewelry lots, etc.

I think most people would rather pay alittle more for shipping and have it get to them safely.

Check your local stores for boxes, packing peanuts, etc...most places are more than happy to give them to you. Even college offices have these types of things that they need to dispose of. Cuts down polluting Mother Earth with these reusable resources. Post a "Wanted" on your local Freecycle group for packing materials.

Some regular corrugated boxes aren't that much heavier than the cereal boxes, but give much better protection.

If you ship books, pamphlets, etc that may need some reinforcing, please use corrugated cardboard and not cereal box/poster board type of cardboard. I have had 2 books ruined lately from eBay sellers as they used lightweight cardboard for reinforcing, or just wrote "Don't Bend" on the pkg, and of course both books were not adequately packaged, and they got damaged. This is not USPS's fault, it was the seller's.

Putting books or clothing and the likes in a plastic bag before packaging is much appreciated, and doesn't add to the weight of the pkg. yet it protects the items from wetness.

In every package (eBay and non-eBay) include an invoice, or at the least, a piece of paper with the shipping information (who the pkg is going to and their address as well as your return address.) If the shipping label gets destroyed, at least there is a "second chance" for the pkg to get to its' destination with the information enclosed in the pkg.

If you have a Paypal acct, I highly recommend using the shipping label option through PP if you own or have access to scales for weighing the pkgs.

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January 16, 20080 found this helpful

Hi - I've done quite a lot of selling on ebay. Did you know that you can go to and get all the boxes and mailer bags, any size, delivered to your home for FREE? They are priority boxes and are flattened so there are many per package. If you don't wish to ship priority, you can simply fold them inside out so the priority info is inside. MUCH much better than a cereal box. I received one very poorly packaged item before Christmas and I was very disappointed. If I'm packing something breakable, I often cushion the sides and corners with empty soda cans - they don't add hardly any weight and don't crush easily inside a box. And they are recyclable. No need for packing peanuts either!! There are SO many thrifty ideas for packaging - but PLEASE don't take a chance on cereal boxes and risk a disappointed customer! And a disappointed customer isn't likely to bid on your items again - plus you risk an unfavorable feedback.

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January 16, 20080 found this helpful

I believe a seller would get more repeat customers if the package is wrapped professionally. I sure wouldn't want to receive an item that was mailed to me in a cereal box. I sell on eBay and I've mailed out a number of items in the large 10 x 13 inch clasp envelopes and have used bubble wrap around the item. You can purchase a box of these envelopes cheap enough at an office supply store and they average out to be 20 cents per envelope. I use padded envelopes when I ship books by media mail and I've never had a complaint of a book being damaged. Too many sellers put the blame on the post office for items that have been damaged, and it's actually the seller's fault in the first place. I get a big laugh from some of these auction pages that say that the seller is not responsible if any item is damaged in the mail. Very few items are ever damaged in the mail, it is the shipper who is at fault.

I used to add on a small handling fee and no longer do that. I charge exact shipping and I print off my own shipping labels and indicate the cost of shipping. I don't have anything to hide from the buyer, and I believe that my sales have increased because I want to be fair and honest in my business practices. I own two scales, one is for heavier packages and the other scale is for my lighter weight packages.

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January 20, 20080 found this helpful

As a buyer on ebay, I don't mind inexpensively packaged stuff, but if it something really worth something...don't skimp. One time, I was surprised when I bought an mp3 player and paid $8.00 shipping and the guy put the mp3 player in an unpadded envelope and paid 67cents to mail it. No padding, etc. Boy was I rather surprised at his "cheapness"....not even CLOSE to $8.00 worth of shipping.

I appreciate sellers who try to keep down costs. I don't mind the priority rates, but they do add up quickly. I especially appreciate sellers who don't try to make extra money on the s/h which quite a lot do.

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January 26, 20080 found this helpful

i wouldnt recommend using cereal boxes they are flimsy and would not hold up very well during shipping..its not worth a few pennies to get bad feedback..i say get a padded enevolope or a decent box.. from another ebay seller

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January 26, 20080 found this helpful

also you can get any type of box for free at your local grocery store just ask the kid when hes putting the stock out..he will be happy you took them off his hands less work for him..also he will give you the packing material to if you ask..i have never paid for boxes or shipping material or bubble envelopes..

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July 31, 20090 found this helpful

Yet another eBay seller here, and ditto on the cereal boxes being too flimsy. A good rule of thumb is to envision your package being dropped about ten feet to the ground--this is what can ( and usually does!) occur as it makes it way through various post office holding points.

And as another poster mentioned, risking the negative buyer feedback is something you don't want to do; it colors your seller reputation and less people will be willing to part with their cash as far as you're concerned.

Make use of the free Priority Mail packaging; though Priority is a little pricier, many folks want it because it gets from you to them in 2-3 business days, maximum--one side of the country to the other ( even to Alaska and Hawaii, I've seen).

There will always be buyers who prefer the cheaper Parcel Post; make friends with the bunch at your local grocery store, department store, drugstore--you get the idea. Find out when they get their shipments in, and be there before they compact their boxes for disposal.

Many times, you can get a wide variety of sizes--and clean boxes that may only need to have bar codes blocked out with a thick permanent marker ( the post office frowns on those bar codes) but otherwise present a more professional-looking shipping carton.

Also, Office Depot occasionally runs a buy-one ( or buy-two) get one free on shipping boxes. It may seem costly, but the more you sell, the more boxes you'll need--and you really have to consider them as part of the cost of doing business.

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March 8, 20120 found this helpful

Please do not turn priority boxes inside out a ebay seller sent me one and the post office caught it and charged me the difference, I let the seller know she said that had never happened before.

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March 8, 20120 found this helpful

I work for a shipping company and see this a lot and you would be amazed at the things packages go through when being shipped. All I can see is I would recommend not being cheap because these packages often to do not stand up to the things that they go thru in the shipping process and it will end up costing you more in the end in replacing the item and as someone mentioned tho post office offers boxes for free.

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