When it comes to posting items using the mail service, it can sometimes be a little nerve-wracking if the item you are sending is fragile or particularly valuable. If those parcels have to travel overseas, it can be even more worrying, as it will be spending a lot longer in transit, so the packaging will have to stand up to a lot of movement and there is more potential for things going wrong. Fear not – we’re here to help you out with our handy packaging tips.
Firstly, no matter what you send, use a box. A good, sturdy box at that. Even if you’re only sending a scarf, don’t be tempted to use parcel paper. This can tear easily, leaving the contents exposed to damage, or as a worst case scenario the paper could be destroyed entirely, for instance if it gets wet and disintegrates, leaving your item discarded with no packaging or delivery address. Always use a box if you want the added peace of mind.
Secondly, packing material is key. This is particularly true if you’re sending something breakable or delicate, but in general, you need to make sure that whatever you send is properly packaged and ready to go. The best materials to go for are bubblewrap (which should be used to wrap and secure around each item), scrunched up newspaper (for lighter parcels without fragile items) and foam or plastic packing beads or shapes, which will fit into the rest of the space around unusually shaped items to keep them protected.
Your best friend when you’re sending parcels abroad should be parcel tape. This is much stronger and wider than normal sticky tape, so don’t feel inclined to scrimp on this. The packing tape should be used across all of the ‘seams’ of the box to make sure it doesn’t burst open. If the top flap of the box sits flat (as opposed to bulging as a result of too much packaging, in which case some should be removed) use lots of tape to secure it. String around each side might also help reinforce it.
Write the address very clearly. If your handwriting isn’t clear, print the address out in a large, easy to read font and cover it with sticky back plastic to avoid any ink smudging in the rain. You may also like to do this with your return address and any ‘fragile’ notices you are attaching, though bear in mind that these may go ignored in the busy postal systems in each country.
Paul Black is a prolific blogger who likes to offer up his advice on all manner of useful everyday topics