Packing Materials

Written by Sarah Provost
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When you purchase your packing materials online, you can generally get better prices, quick delivery and excellent customer service. Since these are supplies that generate quick reorders, the intangibles of service become especially important. You can also find a much larger variety of choices when shopping on the Web.

Inner and Outer Packing Materials

Packing materials can be divided into outer materials such as boxes, tubes, and bags, and inner materials such as popcorn, bubble wrap and other kinds of cushioning. How many different kinds of these packing materials you'll need to keep on hand depends of whether you generally ship products of approximately the same size, such as jewelry or clothing, or ship everything from televisions to light bulbs. Here are a few options you might not be aware of.

Tubes are, of course, the best way to ship large flat items such as blueprints, maps, etc., but they are difficult to store, both for the shipper and the receiver. Tubes with slightly squared sides make stacking and storing a whole lot easier. And while corrugated cartons would seem to be pretty much standardized, there are excellent boxes available now with built-in suspension for shipping laptop computers.

Styrofoam peanuts are falling into disfavor for environmental reasons and because they are hard to handle. Bubble wrap, air bags and cushioned foam wraps have mostly replaced popcorn. And if you are shipping particularly delicate items, look into the Instapak Quick packaging system. The item is placed in a padded bag, which is then heated gently to conform to the item's shape, creating custom-molded cushioning for each item.

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