Tips for Shipping Packages

Man Delivering a Fragile Package
Many of us ship packages throughout the year but the holidays can be especially busy for shipping. Save time and money, and ensure your parcel gets there on time and in one piece by planning ahead and packaging it properly. This is a page about tips for shipping packages.

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December 15, 2010

Do you have to mail gifts and don't want the bows to be mashed, yet don't want to leave them "plain?" Cut out pictures of pretty bows or make flat "bows" and "ribbons" out of construction paper and glue them on. You could play with this idea and have creative fun with it.

By Sid from Bristol, TN

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 170 Posts
July 30, 2010

When sending a package in the mail, after I write the address with a felt-tip marker, I cover it with tape or melted white candle wax. It is then protected from the rain or snow. I also put tape over the return address so I don't have to worry about the addresses being smeared!

By dorothy wedenoja from New Creek, WV

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Diamond Post Medal for All Time! 1,298 Posts
December 18, 2018

I mailed an item out yesterday that needed to be less than 3 pounds (cheaper cost). The box itself was already 1 lb 4.15oz.

My tip: Trim a little bit of box side flaps to reduce some cardboard weight. Do not trim entirely if it's a larger box because all flaps on boxes are designed for safe/sturdy transportation.

For what I was shipping (sweater), it was completely fine to cut off some cardboard and my box reduced to 1 lb 2.35 oz.A box over the shipping weight.

That helped because my box with the sweater ended up being just a little under 3 lbs!

A box under the shipping weight.
The inner flaps removed from the shipping box.
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November 21, 2013

Use newspaper to wrap gifts! It's especially nice when you ship to another state and you can read what's going on in that area. It saves money on the fancy wrappings.

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 170 Posts
April 8, 2011

I live in Pennsylvania and often send packages through the United States Postal Service to Alaska. To make sure that the tape sticks well to the box, I use the top edge of a wood ruler and, using pressure, I drag the ruler across the direction of each strip of tape.

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April 8, 2011

Tips and advice for shipping packages. Post your ideas.


Shipping UPS

I always send packages to friends and family by way of UPS. I have never had anything damaged or lost by sending it through that company, but I have had plenty of items damaged, ruined, and lost through the postal service. Costs a little more, but worth it to know your items are safe!

By Robin (01/09/2005)

By ThriftyFun

Tips for Shipping Packages

I wonder if Robin knows that UPS and FedEx both drop some parcels at the post office for the USPS to deliver. You pay more than you would with USPS but they may still be the one doing the delivery. (01/09/2005)


By Ruralroutesix

Tips for Shipping Packages

The post office has something called "media rate". It's supposed to be for books or VCR tapes and it's much, much cheaper than first class. If it's something fragile, I wouldn't ship this way. (01/09/2005)

By Lee

Tips for Shipping Packages

I've been sending packages through the post office for years and have never had a problem. I often send packages parcel post to save $$. Just be sure to allow extra time for delivery. I was told at the post office that the in-state and close out-of-state deliveries only take a day or two more if mailed parcel post. Can be quite a savings......especially during the holidays with lots of packages to mail. I also re-use boxes and the plastic mailing bags that I receive items in. If the bags are marked up, just turn them inside out. Cardboard boxes can also be taken apart, then remade inside out for a nice clean box. And of course, I always recycle the styrofoam "peanuts"! (01/09/2005)


By renee

Tips for Shipping Packages

I am wondering if Robin works for UPS as I wonder why almost all e-bay sellers send their packages by USPS, then even give you free boxes, have never not a a package lost by USPS. (01/09/2005)

By Phyllis

Mailing Packages Through The US Post Office

The postal service provides an envelope that costs less than four dollars to mail as much as you can get into it, regardless of weight. The envelopes are free at the post office.

By Lynn

Editor's Note: Here is the latest information on US Post Office's latest flat rate pricing. They offer envelopes for 3.85 and now have boxes available for $7.70, to anywhere in the US. (01/10/2005)

By ThriftyFun

Tips for Shipping Packages

"I am wondering if Robin works for UPS as I wonder why almost all e-bay sellers send their packages by USPS, then even give you free boxes, have never not a a package lost by USPS."


That's a silly thing to suggest, IMO. Why do you think the Post Office sells insurance? They are brutal with packages. I actually have worked at UPS and they are brutal with boxes too. The key to sending packages with either is to pack them REALLY, REALLY well. They could care less what happens to one particular boxes contents. They don't want damage goods but when you are working in the warehouse it's all about speed and packing as many boxes in the truck as you can. When the packages are at the counter or are with the delivery person, they may take great care of them, I don't have experience with that. But in transit, it's all about speed so you need to pack very well and use a LOT of tape. (01/10/2005)

By Janet

Tips for Shipping Packages

The flat rate box is $7.70, not $7.00. (01/10/2005)

By Katie A.

Tips for Shipping Packages

Few people realize that if you mail USPS your package is guaranteed to reach it's destination in less time for less money than any other shipping means. If, by chance, your package is damaged or lost all you have to do is file a form with the USPS (contact your local post office) and the package will be located or you will be monetarily reimbursed for it's value. (01/11/2005)


By Marilyn

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