Category Archives: Packing

Things to Consider when Renting a Private Mailbox (PO Box)

UPDATE:

See all of our mailbox services and fees in one convenient location:
http://www.gpoftallahassee.com/Mailbox_Rental_Fees.pdf 

With the rising number of people exploring the idea of having their own business, especially those which are home-based, the demand for private mailboxes has risen as well.  Even people who simply dabble in the eBay marketplace occasionally feel the need to have an away-from-home location to receive items or payments. So, if you fall into any of these categories, or if you’re just tired of having your mail held every time you go out of town, here are some things to consider:

1) What are the benefits to having a P.O. Box at the U.S. Post Office?   Other than price and 24-hour access, the U.S. Post Office does not have any features that distinguish their mailbox service from private mailbox rental facilities in a positive way.  Delivery service is limited to U.S. Postal Service shipments–so the customer cannot receive UPS, FedEx, or DHL at their PO Box address.  Also, most large parcels will not fit into  the customer’s mailbox, so the postman will leave a notice in your box–then you must wait in the LONG LINE for a Postal Clerk to retrieve your package for you.

2) What can a Retail Mailbox Service Store offer me? A Private Retail Mailbox store, like ours here at Goin’ Postal Tallahassee, can offer all the services a PO Box at the U.S. Post Office can provide–with some added features:

– Ability to handle large parcels and deliver them to you WITH NO WAITING IN LINE!

– Ability to receive UPS, FedEx, DHL, and Freight packages–NOT JUST USPS packages.

– Ability to hold mail for you while you’re away, with no silly forms to fill out before you leave OR when you get back.

– 24-hour surveillance / locked protection of your mailbox and receivables.

– Notifications by e-mail when you receive mail

– For a moderate additional fee, we can scan your mail for you.  You’ll receive emails directly from us on a daily basis with images of all of the mail you’ve received.  We’ll forward physical copies of anything you request, and we can shred the remaining junk.

– If you’re going to be away from Tallahassee, we can forward mail to your current location — great for vacations or “snowbirds”!

So as you can see, unless you ABSOLUTELY require 24-hour access to your mailbox, choosing a mailbox from a private retailer is the smart way to go.  Be sure to contact Goin’ Postal Tallahassee at

Make sure to call Goin’ Postal Tallahassee at (850) 692-3130, visit us on the web at http://gpoftallahassee.com, or drive to our store at 5810 North Monroe Street, Suite 210A, Tallahassee, Florida, and we can help you with your mailbox needs!!!

You can also connect with us on Twitter (http://twitter.com/gptally) or like our Facebook fan page!

The ART of Packaging (Part 3)

PACKAGING

Packaging is the art, science and technology of enclosing and protecting items, in our case, for shipping. Proper packaging is integral to the delivery of undamaged goods. Today, most packages are sorted and fed through high-speed conveyors and bar code reading systems.

Your goal is to protect the shipment from damage while conserving time and materials. This is achieved by using the smallest boxes and amount of packaging materials possible, while providing adequate protection in accordance with carrier guidelines. The guidelines in this chapter have been developed from service guides available from FedEx, UPS, DHL and USPS along with our own “hands on” approach. We will cover these guidelines in 3 parts; the final part we will cover is Sealing.

Sealing

By far, the most popular method is packaging tape. This is available in different sizes and types. We recommend pressure-sensitive tape in 2” and 3” rolls. For heavier items you may choose to use “strapping tape” which is pressure-sensitive tape that is reinforced with yarn.

Common types of tape that should NEVER be used include masking tape, duct tape and cellophane (Scotch®) tape.

Water-activated tape is another popular product. This type of tape needs to be moistened (like an envelope) and then applied to the package. It is usually reinforced with fiberglass yarn and requires less coverage then pressure-sensitive tape due to its strength.

Sealing Instructions

1. Apply at least three strips of pressure-sensitive tape, at least 2” wide, to both the top and bottom of the package.

2. Distribute the tape evenly across flaps and seams, using the H taping method.

3. You must use pressure-sensitive tape, water-activated paper tape (minimum 60lb grade) or water activated reinforced tape.

Making sure your package is protected from movement and shock during transit will ensure that your package arrives safely. Make sure to call Goin’ Postal Tallahassee at (850) 692-3130, visit us on the web at http://gpoftallahassee.com, or drive to our store at 5810 North Monroe Street, Suite 210A, Tallahassee, Florida, and we can help you package your items safely and cheaply!!!

You can also connect with us on Twitter (http://twitter.com/gptally) or like our Facebook fan page!

The ART of Packaging (Part 2)

PACKAGING

Packaging is the art, science and technology of enclosing and protecting items, in our case, for shipping. Proper packaging is integral to the delivery of undamaged goods. Today, most packages are sorted and fed through high-speed conveyors and bar code reading systems.

Your goal is to protect the shipment from damage while conserving time and materials. This is achieved by using the smallest boxes and amount of packaging materials possible, while providing adequate protection in accordance with carrier guidelines. The guidelines in this chapter have been developed from service guides available from FedEx, UPS, DHL and USPS along with our own “hands on” approach. We will cover these guidelines in 3 parts; the next part we will cover is Inner Packaging.

Inner Packaging

While products like books, soft goods or catalogues do not require inner packaging, most items will require the use of some. Inner packaging can serve several purposes, such as, cushioning, void-fill and surface protection. Cushioning refers to protecting the item from the shock that occurs from impact (dropping the item). Void-fill refers to filling up the empty space in a box so that the object does not shift during transport. Surface protection refers to protecting delicate surfaces from scratching or other damage during transport.

The two main reasons for properly protecting your items are:

  1. So the product arrives safely.
  2. So the carriers will reimburse you for damage that does occur.

The major carriers will not pay on claims for items that were not adequately packed. Most use the ISTA test. The most important of the series of tests would be a “drop test.” Your packaged item, based on weight, should be able to withstand a drop from AT LEAST 18 inches. If properly packaged, you can be somewhat certain the product will arrive safely to its destination.

Bubble Wrap®

Bubble wrap is an extremely versatile protective material that is great for cushioning, void-fill and surface protection. When you use bubble wrap as a cushioning material, make sure that you use enough wrap to completely cover all sides and corners. You will want at least 2” of padding between your item and the walls of your box. You will also need to use enough bubble wrap or other void-fill product (i.e. loose-fill peanuts) to eliminate the movement of your item within the box. Once you have finished packing the item, shake the box to see if there is any movement. If there is, you must add more packaging material.

Foam Wrap

Foam Wrap is another versatile inner packing material. It is great for surface protection, but it also great for cushioning and void-fill. It is a very light weight, soft and resilient material, but should not be used in place of bubble wrap. It is applied to items in the same manner as bubble wrap.

Loose-fill Peanuts

Also called foam peanuts, these are commonly used for void-fill. They are not recommended for cushioning because items will tend to shift toward the exterior of the box. This makes your item much more susceptible to damage.

Foam in Place

Foam in place is the closest “stock” material that you can purchase to engineered foam. It offers excellent cushioning properties and is very versatile as it molds around the product being packaged. It is made with two different chemicals that expand around the item when mixed.

Engineered Foams

Engineered foams provide the ultimate in cushioning protection. Due to it’s cost and manufacturing process, this is usually only produced by companies producing and shipping large amounts of items (think of the end caps that computers are shipped in).

Inflatable Packaging

Inflatable packing is typically used a void-fill. These are bags of air that keep products from shifting around. They can reduce the cost of shipping and have a more professional appearance then loose-fill peanuts. However, the volume of air in each of the bags can change greatly due to temperature and altitude.

Crumpled Paper

Various types of paper can be used for void-fill or surface protection. It should NOT be used for cushioning. Kraft paper is available in a variety of base weights. This is essentially, thickness. The thicker the paper more the protection it will offer. Kraft paper should be tightly crumpled with at least 4” of product surrounding your item.

Corrugated Inserts

Corrugated cardboard is not only a great outer packaging material, but also a multi-purpose inner packaging material. It can be used to create blocks to prevent shifting within the box, or as dividers. It’s most common use is as a stiffener.

Making sure your package is protected from movement and shock during transit will ensure that your package arrives safely. Make sure to call Goin’ Postal Tallahassee at (850) 692-3130, visit us on the web at http://gpoftallahassee.com, or drive to our store at 5810 North Monroe Street, Suite 210A, Tallahassee, Florida, and we can help you package your items safely and cheaply!!!

You can also connect with us on Twitter (http://twitter.com/gptally) or like our Facebook fan page!

The ART of Packaging

PACKAGING

Packaging is the art, science and technology of enclosing and protecting items, in our case, for shipping. Proper packaging is integral to the delivery of undamaged goods. Today, most packages are sorted and fed through high-speed conveyors and bar code reading systems.

Your goal is to protect the shipment from damage while conserving time and materials. This is achieved by using the smallest boxes and amount of packaging materials possible, while providing adequate protection in accordance with carrier guidelines. The guidelines in this chapter have been developed from service guides available from FedEx, UPS, DHL and USPS along with our own “hands on” approach. We will cover these guidelines in 3 parts; the first of which is Outer Packaging.

Outer Packaging

There are lots of choices available for your package. The most common ones are: The corrugated box should be used whenever possible, but there are times when your item may be better suited for a different type of outer packaging. A relatively small item that is somewhat fragile like a CD in a jewel case may be better suited in a bubble mailer. Mailing tubes are great for items like posters. Wooden crates are best for heavy or extremely fragile items like a car engine or rare original oil painting.

Corrugated Boxes [Crushing Resistance = 8 (out of 10); no cushioning]

These are the most popular type of packaging due to its low cost, stackable and lightweight characteristics, while offering superior product protection.

You should always use new or almost-new boxes. The carriers can/will decline or reduce claim payments in the event of damage for used boxes. Shipping with old boxes reduces the amount of protection. If you offer “recycled” boxes, make sure that they are intact with no tears, rips, punctures or crushed corners.

Corrugated boxes also have different types of construction and strength ratings. This should be taken into consideration, especially with heavily insured items. You can usually find a certification stamp on the bottom flap which indicates the box strength.

Corrugated Mailers [Crushing Resistance = 9 (out of 10); no cushioning]

Corrugated mailers are similar to boxes, in that they are both made from corrugated board. The real difference between them is how they are assembled. Mailers typically fold and lock themselves shut.

Corrugated mailers are typically used for smaller flat items (i.e. books, pictures).

One big advantage to them is their stacking strength. When assembled, there are usually 2 to 3 walls, or layers, of corrugated board. These extra layers create excellent protection for your items.

Bubble Mailers and Padded Envelopes [Crushing Resistance = 0 (out of 10); has cushioning]

Bubble Mailers and Padded Envelopes are a good choice for shipping products that need some cushioning, but are not overly fragile. These items typically include CDs, DVDs or games.

Though they have excellent cushioning properties, they have no stacking strength. You would not want to use them for items that can be easily crushed. Instead use a corrugated box or mailer.

Mailing Tubes [Crushing Resistance = 0 (out of 10); no cushioning]

Mailing tubes are a good choice when shipping long narrow items like posters, blueprints, artwork or calendars. These tubes can also be shortened by cutting the tube down. (USPS Parcel Post requires additional handling)

Stay Flat Mailers [Crushing Resistance = 8 (out of 10); no cushioning]

Stay Flat Mailers, as the name implies, are flat mailers used for shipping smaller flat items that cannot be folded. They are great for shipping photographs, important letters and even CDs without jewel cases.

Courier and Tyvek® Envelopes [Crushing Resistance = 0 (out of 10); no cushioning]

These products are used to ship non-fragile items, such as soft goods or catalogues. Both envelopes are water and tear resistant.

Wooden Crates [Crushing Resistance = 10 (out of 10); no cushioning]

If you’re shipping an item that is extremely fragile (i.e. original oil painting), valuable (i.e. medical equipment), or heavy (i.e. car engine) you may choose a wooden crate. These offer the highest level of protection and can accommodate much heavier loads.

Wooden crates are not used very often, but you should have a plan in place in case one is needed. The most popular options are: a) Build the crate yourself; b) Hire someone to build one on-sight; c) Purchase pre-made crates. Building the crate yourself is the most cost-effective, but may not work well for you if you do not have the supplies or know how. It’s usually easiest, though more expensive, to have someone available that can come out and build the occasional crate for you.

Making sure your package is protected from the outside elements, as well as handling, is vital to making sure your package arrives safely. Make sure to call Goin’ Postal Tallahassee at (850) 692-3130, visit us on the web at www.gpoftallahassee.com, or drive to our store at 5810 N Monroe Street, Suite 210A, Tallahassee, Florida, and we can help you package your items safely and cheaply!!!

You can also connect with us on Twitter (http://twitter.com/gptally) or like our Facebook fan page!

Handle With Care…The Do’s and Dont’s of Shipping Fragile Items

Fragile items need special care.  In general, a fragile item must have at least 2-5 inches of approved protective material around it.  Some approved protective materials include:

  • Bubble wrap
  • Styrofoam packing peanuts
  • Approved air packs

Improper cushioning materials (i.e. those which should NOT be used) include:

  • Clothing
  • Blankets and linens
  • Pillows
  • Plush toys
  • Shredded newspaper
  • Newsprint

Once the fragile item has been bundled up with 2-5 inches of padding around all sides, place it inside a sturdy box.

Seal that box with an approved packing tape such as:
pressure-sensitive plastic tape

  • nylon reinforced tape
  • water activated tape
  • clear packing tape
  • brown packing tape. 

Improper tapes (i.e., those that should NOT be used) include:

  • Masking tape
  • Scotch tape
  • Cellophane tape
  • Duct tape
  • Electrical tape

That box should then be placed inside another sturdy box so that the interior box has at least 2-5 inches’ worth of space between its sides and the sides of the exterior box. 

Fill the space around the interior box with approved protective material, seal the exterior box with an approved packing tape, and your fragile item should arrive…safe, sound, and intact!

And remember, for extremely valuable, fragile, or oddly-shaped items, visit Goin’ Postal Tallahassee at 3491 Thomasville Road in Tallahassee, call us at (850)668-1840, or visit us on the web at www.goinpostaltallahassee.com and get expert advice on how to ship those special items!